2020 bookish wrap-up | my favorites, least favorites, reading challenge updates, and general review of the past reading year

Good afternoon friends, and welcome back! Today, we’re finally finally getting the wrap-up of my 2020 reading year. I’ve been putting off doing this post for absolutely no reason. Actually, I’m kind of exhausted thinking about how long this is going to be, so maybe that’s why. However, it’s not going to magically put itself together, so here we are.

Let’s see what I read in the miserably weird year that was 2020.

Total Books Read: 67 | Rereads: 0 | DNFs: 0

Apparently, I was either very generous with my ratings last year, or I’ve figured out the books that I’m more prone to give a high rating. Nearly 75% of the 67 books I read last year were 4 or 5 stars, which is amazing. I also had only one book that I rated 1 star, so that’s even better. The n/a category is for two books that I didn’t rate. One was a collection of short stories, and the other I just didn’t rate for some reason.

In the second chart, we have the books broken down by genre. I’m actually surprised that I read more mysteries and thrillers than fantasy by about 10%. It shouldn’t really be a surprise because in 2019, I read a lot more mysteries/thrillers than fantasies.

Compared to 2019, I at least seem to have read more genres last year, with sci-fi making more of an appearance, and contemporaries, historical fiction, and espionage having a bigger piece of the pie. In 2019, just over 25% of the genres I read were anything other than fantasy or mystery. Hopefully the diversity in the genres that I read continues well into this year. Who knows, maybe nonfiction will even show up next time.

In actual numbers, I read 42 female authors and only 9 male authors, which is good I guess. I’m not sure really whether that’s a good or bad thing; it was just something that I was curious to see.

In diversity, 24 of the 67 books I read were diverse while the other 45 were not. It’s kind of low, and I hope I can do better this year. 50-50 would be great to achieve.

1% of the books I read in 2019 were middle grade, so I am very pleased that I read a lot more of those in 2020. Honestly, middle grade is such a cozy little genre that can be very impactful at times. I really shouldn’t have run away from it so much.

Most of the adult books were either high fantasy or historical fiction, so that’s not much of a surprise. Of course, YA is still ruling my book space, but perhaps these three will be more evenly balanced this year.

For the last graph, we have the books I read each month. It’s interesting to see that I started out the year quite strong with 10 books, and then I dropped sharply and remained mostly between 5 and 7 books each month for the first half of 2020.

May is at 0 books because it was Ramadan and I try not to read during Ramadan (it’s just a personal preference). June and July were summer break, so it makes sense that those were high. You can tell exactly when school started by the drop in August, and the continued up and down movement for the next few months. But I did try to catch up and make up for my lack of reading during that period in December. It wasn’t enough to help me reach my goal, so that’s that.

2020 bookish goals:

yes, it says 90. I brought it down from 110 sometime in the summer when I was wayyy behind, but I still didn’t even reach 90 smh
  • Read 110 books: Ha ha, no. I was very very ambitious with this goal because I didn’t even get to 100. A very sad 67 is all I managed in 2020. But that’s okay, I’m not going to die because I didn’t reach my goal. It is disappointing, but at least it’s making me plan a more reasonable goal for this year.
  • Take part in two reading challenges (and stick to it!!): I actually signed up for 4 and did my best to stick to each one, so I’d say this was a success!
    • I passed my original Year of the Asian Reading Challenge goal of 11 books halfway through the year, and I aimed for the next level which was 21 books, but I only ended up reading 12. I’m happy that I still managed to pass my first goal.
    • For the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, my goal was to read 10 books, and I managed to pass it with 11! Considering that halfway through the year, I’d only read 3, I think I did a good job catching up with this challenge.
    • For the Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge, I wanted to read 26-35 books which was the Inspector level. I’ve got to say, that was incredibly ambitious, but I managed to pull it off. I read about 30 books that were mystery/thriller/suspense. I say “about” because you could argue that I read more, but I’m not sure if it would count, so we’ll stick with 30. If I include the books I’m not sure of, that would be 36 books total, so I kind of also reached the Special Agent level too which I was secretly aiming for. So yay me!!
    • For the Unapologetically Muslim Reading Challenge, I didn’t have a set goal, but I did read 8 books with Muslim rep or by a Muslim author. Which is a very sad number. Like, super duper sad. I really need to work on this.
  • Read at least 40 books with diverse main characters or topics: I marked 24 books as diverse in 2020, which is just over half of my goal. I guess it’s better than 2019, which was only 12, but I really need to read more of the books I have on my TBR that are marked as diverse.
  • Try to read more Adult thrillers and mysteries: Lol no. I think I ended up reading less Adult thrillers/mysteries than I normally do. Most of the thrillers and mysteries I read last year were either YA or middle grade, with just a few Adult ones sprinkled in.

I only achieved one goal.

One.

Uno.

I can’t even blame 2020 because 2020 didn’t really do anything. Or maybe it did. It added undue stress and despair to my poor self making me read a lot less and not achieve even half of my goals.

Anyway, those are the official bookish stats and updates with my goals that I set in 2020. It’s not bad or anything, it’s just a lot less than I expected it to be. Hopefully 2021 will be a lot better.

In the meanwhile, here are some of my favorites, non favorites, and other little bits of bookish info that you didn’t ask for, but I’m still going to give.


Best Books of 2020

The Chain by Adrian McKinty | Someone We Know by Shari Lapena | The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson | Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha | Miracle Creek by Angie Kim | The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan | Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon | Yes, I’m Hot in This by Huda Fahmy | Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys | Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein | More to the Story by Hena Khan | Descendant of the Crane by Joan He | The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang


Best Series Started in 2020

I can not wait to read the next book in The Storm Crow and The Poppy War series. I’m not sure if The Storm Crow is a duology or trilogy, but I am excited nonetheless. And even though The Poppy War didn’t blow me away like people said it would, I am still excited for the next book. I actually finished the entire Renegades series and it was awesome. Which is surprising because it’s sci-fi+fantasy and I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi. And it has superheroes too (more on that below).


Best Sequel Read in 2020

I started reading this series against my will, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I actually liked the second book a lot more than I did the first. I’ve now read the third one as well, and that one was even better, so I’m hoping the series continues being awesome.


Favorite New Author Discovered in 2020

I’m very picky with my favorite authors. I have to have read a good number of their books and systematically love or really like them before I can consider them a favorite author. With that said, I didn’t read that many books by a new-to-me author in 2020, so I can’t really say I have a new favorite author. However, I am looking at Ruta Sepetys because I’ve read 2 of her historical fiction novels and really enjoyed them. So maybe she might become a favorite in the future.


Least Favorite Books

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats // I’ve ranted about this book here already, so if you missed it the first time, you can read it there. Suffice to say, I hated Cecily and the plot wasn’t all that great.

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim // I tried to understand this book, but I eventually just got tired of all the characters. Maybe I didn’t “get” the story, because as far as I’m concerned, they were all just bad and there was really nothing to it.

Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao // It started off okay, and then Chase got introduced and all of a sudden Ali is standing up for herself and she’s falling in love with him and it just kind of went downhill from there. In my mini review, I described my feelings towards Ali as lukewarm, and described Chase himself as “whatever”. It was just so blah.


Most Disappointing Read

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao // I’m really disappointed that this book disappointed me. I was looking forward to it, especially after the controversy, and the discussion I wrote that was influenced by it and all the things that happened. I really wanted to like this but I sadly did not.

Some quotes from my unofficial review:

Ana is killing me with her naivete, her hot headed impulsiveness, and her flipping back and forth between being appalled by her powers, and then reveling in it to drain those she hates of their blood. She’s just giving me a headache.

Ramson. He reminds me of Kaz (from SoC), but then not? His ~feelings~ for Ana are making me sick, and honestly, she doesn’t deserve him. And I think he could be done better.

Anyways, it ended really 😐 like I expected. Ana? Still exhausting. Ramson? Well. The ending? Eh? We’re back to square one which is incredibly frustrating. Idk, it was really disappointing.

Really really disappointing.


Best Cover of a Book Read in 2020

I couldn’t settle on just one cover for this. I love how the cover of Descendant of the Crane is dark yet bright, so intricate and detailed, and just so beautifully perfect. The balance of colors is amazing.

I read Our Wayward Fate in hardback version, and I was in love with the cover. It’s so pretty physically: the purples, the red, the yellows!! I really loved it. It’s a shame I didn’t love the story as much.


Shortest and Longest Book Read

No surprise here. Yes, I’m Hot in This was a graphic novel, and Sanderson’s books are always mammoths.


Book You Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2020 to Read

Oh Queenie. Oh Verity. I can’t believe I didn’t read Code Name Verity until last year. I’ve seen it multiple times at the library, but I never picked it up. I don’t know, maybe I thought it would be boring. And yes, it is boring at times, but the ending crushed me. The ending really made up for the first half of the book.


Most Surprising Reads

I was not expecting to enjoy this series. I mean, come on, it’s superheroes. As in, superheroes wearing latex and spandex and all. And they have really cheesy names like Lady Indomitable and Thunderbird.

Oh, and let’s not forget the best of them all, the one and only Captain Chromium.

I think his colors were gold/chrome or something, but you get my point

I mean seriously, what year is this, why does he sound like a kid action figure?? (maybe that’s the point rukky) He’s your typical golden, super strong, unkillable guy who can melt you with his smile. And he strikes poses too!!

I was dying from the cheesiness of it all.

To explain, I just don’t like most superheroes all that much. I don’t mind watching them on TV (even then I still do a good bit of eye-rolling) but this is the first time I’m seeing them like this in a book. It’s actually a kind of cool concept to take the superhero and villain narrative and use it as a plot for a book, but it’s not my favorite narrative. That’s just my opinion of course. Maybe if I actually see more superheroes in action (besides The Incredibles), I won’t feel this way.

A friend of mine was the one who recommended this to me (sorry for making fun of the characters in your favorite book lol) and I’m kind of glad she did. I wouldn’t have picked this up on my own, and it was a really good series that I would have missed out on. It’s also my first Marissa Meyer book, and this has made me a little bit more curious to read The Lunar Chronicles. Maybe it’ll be the most surprising read for me this year.

And there you have it: my bookish wrap-up for 2020. It was actually kind of fun putting this post together even if it was a pain to go through the books I read and count them based on the information I needed. I’m thinking about doing two more posts, one on my anticipated reads for 2021, and another wrapping up blogging for 2020 and setting some goals for this year. Ignore the fact that those posts may very well end up being published in February or March after the whole period of wrapping up 2020 has passed.

What were your most favorite books of 2020? What books were most disappointing? Did you reach your bookish goals? What’s your most anticipated read for 2021? Do you like superheroes? Share your thoughts in the comments below!!

25 thoughts on “2020 bookish wrap-up | my favorites, least favorites, reading challenge updates, and general review of the past reading year

  1. i loved reading this post!! i’m so happy to see some of my favorite books on your list of faves too (pjo and the poppy war, unsurprisingly, haha). i’m also glad that you enjoyed miracle creek — it’s one of the books i’m making a priority to read in 2021 and i’m really excited to get around to it! and though you might have accomplished “only” one reading goal, i’d say that one was a tough one since you had mini-goals within those reading challenges! i think i failed all but one of the reading challenges i thought i’d participate in haha. wishing you a great 2021, rukky!

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  2. It’s always so interesting to read posts like this; especially the graphs and goals!

    Although you only reached one goal, it’s still great! better than none at all; reading so many books in a trying time like what 2020 was is an achievement of itself ✨ May 2021 is an ever better reading month for you, and that you’d come closer to achieve your set goals xx

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  3. It was so great to see how your reading year went. It is great that so many reads were 4 stars or higher. I would like to read more adult book (and middle grade) this year as well to try to balance out the YA.
    Sometimes it is hard to keep on top of all your goals reading wise but I still think you were able to do well and it is important that you enjoyed books too !!
    oohh I really want to try Someone We Know this year so I’m glad to see it on your favourites !!
    I agree I didn’t love Our Wayward Fates but I really loved Chao’s other two books, they do have very similar themes but still they were really good to me and I thought the romances developed a lot better than this one !!
    again, great post and I loved reading it !! I hope 2021 is a great reading year for you!! 💕

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    1. 😂😂 well, he kind of didn’t fit in any of the categories. Not the best sequel, not a favorite of 2020 for sure, not that much surprising, and don’t get me started on the covers. Hey, at least I didn’t have him as least favorite or most disappointing! 🙂

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  4. 67 books for 2020 is a HUGE achievement!! There were months (like December) where I only read 2 books…
    I haven’t even finished my November wrap-up, let alone my 2020 one, so I’m looking forward to your next 2, even if they don’t come until October!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 67 books is still a great achievement! I did meet my goal last year but only because I only set it to 12 because I didn’t want to put pressure on myself – little did I know a global pandemic would take over the world and I would be spending a lot more time at home and ended up reading 64 books.

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  6. 67 books is incredible! I did 40 last year and that felt like winning an Olympic medal haha! Also if you are looking to diversify your reading this year, I’d suggest The Reading Women Challenge. They have some really great prompts to help you do that. Happy Reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I liked Blood Heir, but before the controversy it was basically being hyped as the book of the year and, well, it wasn’t THAT good. I do think the protagonist didn’t really come to terms with her magic and the fact she actually is a rather violent person.

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