2021 YEAR IN REVIEW How Many Books I Read, Money I Saved, My Top Genres, and More Reading Stats
If anything, I find a lot of people in the book community tend to use books as a way to virtue signal or like, show their social justice instead of like, actually being a good person. But anyway, that's my spicy take. [Intro music] Today, I'm going to looking back on the reading stats of my year, including how many books I read, how much I spent on books, and how much I saved on books by borrowing library books for the majority of the year.
I'll be looking at these things based on Goodreads, StoryGraph, and my own personal reading spreadsheet. So if you are a statistics nerd, you will probably jizz when you look at all the data. With all these books that we're looking back on, it would only be fitting for me to mention that this video is sponsored by Book of the Month. Book of the Month is a super popular and fast growing online service for readers. Their mission is to promote new and emerging authors for readers to discover new books that they love. So every month they go through hundreds of book titles and curate the best five for you to choose from.
You can skip any month anytime and you will not be charged. I have the January books with me. The one that I'm going to read is Fiona and Jane. This is a collection of short stories that follows the lives of two Taiwanese American women as they navigate friendship and sexuality. It takes place over two decades.
I'm going to read it this month. And at some point later in the year, I also am planning on buddy reading, Love and Other Disasters. It's about a klutzy girl who enters this reality show cooking competition and her other competitor is the first openly non-binary contestant on there. I love books that take place in a reality show because that shit is juicy. The other books that they have are Reckless Girls, which is a thriller.
Black Cake, which is a contemporary debut. The Magnolia Palace, which is a historical fiction novel. And they even have add-ons like The Maid. So I'll be giving out these books.
And as a bonus, I'll also be giving away a previous selection. They sent it to an address I used to live in and I didn't pick it up until just now. So now I have an extra box. The giveaway details will be in the description.
But if you want the books guaranteed, you can go ahead and sign up for your first box using my code "readwithcindy." That way you only get to pay $9.99. So the first thing we're going to look at is Goodreads. In the year 2021, I read 57 books.
This is actually much shorter than last year when I read 81 books. I tend to be a pretty slow reader when it comes to physical books. I typically only read when I'm going to bed.
But I've been so tired that often times I just skip reading altogether. The only time I get a lot of reading done is when I'm commuting somewhere. But due to the panini going on, thanks to Covid, I have been working from home and not commuting anywhere.
Therefore not many physical books have been read. Another reason why I've been slowing down is also because it was on purpose. I will deliberately slow down reading a book so that I don't have to talk about as many books in my wrap up videos because those are always so fucking long, because I don't know how to shut up.
I can read four books in a month and somehow make that a 30 minute video. I need to figure out how to be more comprehensive, but I just don't know how to shut the fuck up. Until I figure out how to stop doing that, I will continue to read very slowly.
Because the less books that I read in a month, the less that I get to talk about. I can't find this tweet anymore, but someone tweeted at me at some point in the year, he was like, "I noticed on your Goodreads page that you aren't reading as much, you should read faster." And I was like, "Mmm, nah." The total pages that I read is 18,750. I feel like these pages don't really count anyway, because over half of the books I read this year were audio books.
Which is why I wanted to have my own reading spreadsheet where I track the pages read versus the hours listen. So we'll talk about that in a little bit. The shortest book that I read was Wabi Sabi, which was 95 pages. And the longest book that I read was 757 Pages for A Court of Silver Flames. Boy, oh boy, do I wish that book was 95 pages.
If those two books had swapped the page lane, I probably would have had less mental breakdowns this year. And honestly, it really could have been 95 pages. It did not need to be almost 800. That book was overwritten as hell. It was so redundant. The scenes would repeat over and over just from different perspectives.
The author was like, "Editing? We don't know her." The average book length that I read was 328 pages. The most popular book that I read this year was City of Bones. This was shelved by over 2 million people. This does not surprise me at all. This book is quite old.
I think like, over 10 years old and is a really popular young adult fiction. I finally picked up the book because I had a sponsored post by Hulu and I had to pick a book that currently had an adaptation that was on Hulu. So I picked City of Bones. I made my own video about it where I attempted to make a spaghetti a bath bomb because one of the main characters was trying to share like, a quirky story from his childhood where he bathed in spaghetti. The things I do for content. Was it worth it? Honestly, same answer you can say about A Court of Silver Flames.
The least popular book I read was Chinatown Pretty. This was shelved by less than 1500 people. Again, this doesn't surprise me. This is a fairly new book.
This is also the kind of book that you wouldn't really find in a lot of bookstores. I happen to find this book in Kinokuniya, when I was in New York because they often showcase books that are by Asian creators and photography books. I really enjoyed this one.
It was a lookbook that showcases the fashion that seniors around Chinatown wear. I thought it was so cute. I loved seeing all the different fabrics and patterns that they wore, and reading more about their stories. So reading this book brought me a lot of joy.
My average rating for this year was three stars, just a flat 3.0, no decimals. Oftentimes, when I read, I just think a book is okay. I don't tend to have strong feelings about a book. I think the rating of three stars is also the most applicable for so many reasons, because I can read a book where the premise is really interesting, but the execution is not that great, but I can still see the potential in the book.
So I would rate that three stars. I can read another book where I was personally not interested in it, but I could see how a lot of people would really love it and be so into it. And maybe objectively it has a lot of merit in terms of like the writing I would so rate that three stars because that's kind of like meeting in the middle with my subjective taste and maybe the objective quality to the book. Or maybe sometimes I just don't care about the book either way.
I don't hate it. I don't love it. So boom, we got three stars. The highest rated book on Goodreads that I've read this year was White Tears/Brown Scars. This has a 4.59 average. I also rated this book five stars this year, I talked about it in my best books of 2021 video. I can definitely see how a lot of people had rated this book highly because it's a book that talks about how white feminism is very damaging to people of color, especially women of color.
I can definitely see it resonating with many people of color who read it and feel validated by their experiences. And I can also see white people reading this and feeling really guilty and rating it high. So the book wins either way. My first review of the year is the Inheritance Games, which I rated 5 stars. I really started off this year strong.
The reason why I ended up picking up this book for my first book of the year was because towards the end of December, one of my friends had expressed interest in picking up this book because she is a huge fan of Knives Out and reverse harem anime. And that book is basically those two things combined in a young adult book. I wanted to buddy read it with her and I'm so glad that I did because we ended up having so much fun reading it together. Because it was one of those books where it didn't matter whether it was like objectively good or not.
It was more just me enjoying a book and sharing this experience with my friend. Then the last book that I read for this year is Untamed. This is a memoir written by a woman who had been married to a man. He was unfaithful.
She had written books previously about how she had overcome addiction and found her happy ending through her marriage. Obviously now with her husband being unfaithful and her marriage crumbling, she has really had to reconcile with her life not turning out the way that she expected and challenging her values in life. The kicker to it is that she also ends up falling in love with a woman and she had not realized that she was queer before. So that's a lot of self-exploration and discovery there.
It was very fitting for me to read this at the end of the year, because towards the latter half of 2021, this was when I realized that I'm queer as well. But it was nice to see the same thing happened to this woman. And just like this author, I also had to fall for a woman to realize, "Oh, I'm queer."
I actually have this book with me. I bought it from an indie bookstore. It's not for everyone and I will talk more about that in my next video. But for the specific time that I read it in my life, obviously with some of my own realizations and personal events, it was a good fit for me. Despite me rating the majority of the books that I read this year 3 stars, I'm pretty lucky that I both started and ended the year pretty strongly.
Next, we are going to look at my reading stats on StoryGraph. I started using StoryGraph this year because I saw that they have more stats when it comes to books. Specifically with the moods of the books that you read. However, I don't know if it's worth me having a StoryGraph account just to see what the moods and the pacing is because all of it is just decided by you.
And I don't think I'm really good at deciding what mood or pacing of the book is. So I don't really know how accurate this is. The biggest chunk of the pie chart is emotional.
Then there's reflective and then there's mysterious, there's dark, there's adventurous, and then the rest are smaller chunks. It makes sense that the top moods that I've read for these books are like, emotional and informative because I do think I read a lot of like, memoirs and they tend to have a lot more emotions because the authors are based like, "let's unpack this trauma." But it's hard for me to say what the moods are for other books because again, I rate a lot of them three stars, which means most of the time, I probably don't feel anything for it either way. So how do you say what the moods are? I also think I have a hard time determining what the pace of the book is. So a lot of times my default when I read a book, is like, just a medium pace.
I got 51% for media, 28% was a fast pace, and 21% was a slow pace. For page numbers, 62%, was in the range of 300 to 499. There was a 4%, which was longer than 500 pages. Of course, A Court of Silver Flames is definitely in there. And then there's 35% of that had less than 300 page.
I read 71% fiction and 29% nonfiction. My top genre was contemporary. This surprised me. I would associate a lot of the books that I read to be literary. But then I noticed when I looked through the contemporary books, a lot of them are also like romance or literary. And so there's like a lot of overlap.
The second top genre is romance, which is funny because if you have been on my channel long enough, in the first year that I was on BookTube, when I was growing my channel really quickly, some other BookTubers, I think just projected a lot of their resentment towards me by making it seem like I hated romance, and that I was dissing on the romance genre. But hey, now you see that I do read a lot of romance. But we all know it wasn't really about defending the romance genre. It was just about projection. Anyway, speaking of projection, unfortunately, the other genre that I have read a lot is young adult, which also has an audience that is unhinged. But I like to read young adults because I am writing a young adult book as well.
So it's good for me to read other books are like that. And then we have some other books like thrillers, LGBT+, fantasy, mystery, memoirs, literary. There is a section for formats where it evaluates like, how much you read books physically versus audio. This chart is not accurate, because in StoryGraph, I did not log in what format I read these books in. However, I did log it in my reading spreadsheet.
So we'll talk about that later. Same thing for most read authors. I don't think this is accurate. I didn't start logging the books I read on StoryGraph until this year.
All right, now let's look at my reading spreadsheet. This is a template that I use from Hardback Hoarder, and I'll link the template that they made in the description. There's also all these tabs at the bottom for the monthly stats, the yearly stats. You can also track like what books you borrowed from the library versus what books you owned, or buy.
So the first tab is books read. Beyond just listing the title and the author, I was also able to put pages read, hours listened, what the main genre and the sub genre was, what the intended audience was, their release date. There is a column called type of publication, but I don't know what type of publication the books are. So I just marked all of them as traditional. There's the author identity, so it has she/her or he/him. But what I find weird is there is like some other option for like, transgender.
If someone was transgender, wouldn't their pronouns also be she/her or he/him? I didn't bother taking out any of the options because I didn't want to mess with a spreadsheet. I was afraid that I would break it. Same logic applies to own voices, this is a separate column. I don't really like categorizing whether books are Own Voices or not, because there are so many instances where you might read an author of color, but they aren't necessarily writing a character that has the same race as that. And you might be reading an author who is queer, but maybe they are writing like a different sexuality from them. What if an author doesn't know if they're queer yet? That's why I'm not into Own Voices.
But again, I just kept this column because I didn't want to break this spreadsheet, which is a very easy thing that I would be capable of doing. There's also a column for how I acquired this. Like, whether I got it from my library, or whether I owned it, or whether it was a gift. A column that I added for myself is a buddy reads because I like to read books with other people. So I added two columns for whether I read it with another person and who I read it with. So just glossing over the monthly stats, it looks like the month that I read the most books in was February.
That must have been the point where I was like, "You know what, I'm not gonna read that many books, I got to slow down." Indeed, I did slow down because if you see for the rest of the months, most of the books that I read were four at a time. [Laughs] the yearly stats is when we get a really detailed.
The actual number of pages that I read was 7,480. The hours of audio books that I have listened to were 332 hours. Though keep in mind a lot of times when I listen to an audiobook, I will make it a little bit faster, not too fast. I'm not one of those people who read it at two times the speed, but I'll read it I like 1.25 or 1.5.
I bought 11 books this year. Yes, I buy books now and I'll talk more about that later. But I still borrow books for the most part.
I checked out 35 books this year. I know that doesn't add up to the total number of books read, which was 57, but that's because there were some books that were given to me as a gift or from publishers. Out of all the books, I buddy read 21 times. 37 of the books were audio format, and 20 of the books were physical format.
So that means almost 65% were audio books, 35% were physical books. Most of the books I read were adult books, there were 45. And then there were eight young adult books, two new adult books, and two middle grade books. That means almost 79% of the books I read were adult.
As for where I got the books from, 66.7% were from the library. So that takes a huge chunk right there. 19% was owned. I definitely plan on reading more books from Book of a month in the new year, because I feel like if they're giving me all these books anyway, I might as well read like, at least one before I give them away. Again, I feel iffy about the concept of Own Voices.
But since the chart is there, 52.6% of the books I read were non-Own Voices and the other 47% were Own Voices. Some of these 7.2% of books I read were standalone, which makes sense, I tend to not read a series because that's too much commitment for me in the sense where it would require me to actually care enough about a book to read a whole series for it.
For the star ratings, 50.9% were three stars, 19% of them were two stars, [Laughs] and then 15% were four stars. According to the chart for what genres I read the most, 28% were nonfiction.
I don't consider nonfiction to be like a genre. But again, I don't know how to mess around with a spreadsheet, so I didn't want to touch it and ruin it. So I just went along with the categories that were already provided in a spreadsheet. According to that apparently, I read a lot of nonfiction because that's 28%.
17.5% is contemporary, 15.8% is fantasy. When it comes to the sub genres that I've read, the top one would be romance. This makes sense. I like romance more as like a sub genre because I think it's really fun when like, you see characters go on an adventure together and that's like the main plot but then you see how they might fall in love along the way. That's my jam.
Below that, 14% is memoirs. For author stats, the majority of the authors I read had she/her pronouns. Again, there's a section for transgender but I feel like that should be lumped in with she/her because I did read transgender authors that had she/her pronouns. 56% of the authors I read were Whites, 22.8% that I read were Asian, 10.5% that I read were Black, and then the others are mixed.
This statistic does not surprise me because when you look at the publishing stats for a lot of the books that get out there, majority of authors are white. I personally do not have a specific goal of reading a certain percentage of authors of a certain race because I don't want to read an author solely because of their race. Maybe if I was doing like a read-a-thon, like, I host the Asian read-a-thon every year, so that is the case where I'll read more Asian authors. But for the most part, I feel weird about putting their race of authors as like a quota, because I don't think reading a specific race necessarily means that you are woke about a certain race.
If anything, I've personally seen some BookTubers will suddenly at the end of the year start stacking up in a lot of books by black authors, because they don't want to make it obvious that they don't actually care about black people. So then it's like, yeah, if you look at the stats, yes, that person did read a lot of black authors. But do they actually care about black people? Not really. I don't believe in what you read is reflective of your virtues. If anything, I find a lot of people in the book community tend to use books as a way to virtue signal or like show their social justice instead of like, actually being a good person. But um, anyway, that's my spicy take.
40% of the books I read were new to me. 31% were debut, and 28% were books I read before. In terms of publication years, 47% of the books I read were from 2021, 26% of the books I read were from 2020. This makes sense. I tend to prefer to read newer books. The oldest book that I read was from 1994. And that was the Wabi Sabi book.
All right, now let's move on to the books that I borrowed from the library. The last column for this page is amount saved. This calculates the money I would have spent, if I had bought this book. I decided to just pick one source, which is Amazon.
Instead of complicating it with whether I would buy a new or used, or hardback or paperback or whatever, I just plugged the cost directly from the cost that you see when you look up the book and you see the results page. I'm using that as kind of like the baseline price. Since I borrowed 35 library books, I have saved a total of $501.49. In contrast, this year, I bought 11 books. I wrote down how much I spent for each book and in total, that was $232.45. This does not surprise me, especially when you look towards the end of year where I was buying more from independent books.
Indie books tend to be pricier, which is fine with me because the reason why I want to buy more books is beforehand, I never really bought books because I was really intent on saving money, and I also traveled too much so I wouldn't be able to keep books in a collection or bring them around with me. That's just not sustainable. And I don't care about collecting books in the first place.
However, I realized that I can still buy books, deduct them from taxes, because technically, YouTube is like one of my jobs. After I'm done reading them, I can easily give them away to one of you. It's like a win-win because I can buy books from independent bookstores and support them and I can give them away to people who might not have access to those books because all my giveaways are international so I can get them to literally anyone in the world.
It just works out for everyone. That's why I want to buy more books. If you look at my sheet, in the beginning of the year, a lot of the books that I bought were from Amazon.
And I only bought those books because in the first half of the year, before I started living as a nomad and traveling more often, I was living in the suburbs where I wasn't close to any bookstores. So I had to make do with Amazon. But fortunately, now that I am traveling a lot and I'm staying in big cities, I have more access to book shops. And I'm super excited to check out all the indie bookstores that are near me. So just to highlight the indie bookstores I did get to buy from and support, they were McNally Jackson, Books are Magic, and Whose-Books.
Kinokuniya, I really liked them, but I don't think they will be considered indie. However, they are great for finding photography books. I would say my favorite independent bookstore was Whose-Books. The family there was just so friendly.
I bought two books for them, it was over $40. So I'm giving them that money. And I'm giving out those books away for my giveaway in my next video. So now everyone wins.
I do have a separate column for books owned. And this is a combination of books that I bought, as well as books that were a gift or were just given to me by the publisher. There were two books that I read as a gift that was Wabi Sabi and A Court of Silver Flames.
Sierra gave that to me, because she really wanted me to read the book and make a video about it. So if you have really enjoyed me having a mental breakdown over a faerie dick, you can say thank you to her for that. That's a reason why I keep on reading these books. It's because she keeps on giving this shit to me.
So really, you have her to blame or to think however way you look at it. There were also five books that I got from the publisher. So these were books that either the publisher had reached out to me and I figured, "Oh my as well check it out." That was the case for White Tears/Brown Scars. I'm really glad I requested that one because I ended up really liking it. The other books I got were from Goodreads because one of the social partnership people on Goodreads reached out to me and asked if I wanted any, because I'm considered one of like the top reviewers there.
So they wanted to send me books. And I was like, "Yeah, sure, why not." But I definitely think starting this year, I'm not going to accept any books from publishers because I would rather just buy the books from an independent bookstore and just give that away.
And then the last column that I started because I thought it would be interesting to see what books I have not finished. This year, I wanted to be more liberal about just dropping books if I wasn't interested in continuing them. I dropped a total of 22 books. So if you're curious about them, you can check out what the book titles are.
I think the most popular books to point out would be Gideon the Ninth. A lot of people really like that book. I tried to read it, but I figured out that I wouldn't be into it because I'm not someone who reads like hardcore sci-fi. I don't think I have the brain to properly digest the story that way. Oh, another book that people have recommended to me in the comments is Last Night at the Telegraph Club. Theoretically, it seems like a book that I would enjoy because it's sapphic.
And it's written by an Asian author. I don't know I just couldn't get into it for whatever reason so I decided to drop it. There are a lot of books that I actually made it pretty far into. Like, for example, The Lost Apothecary. I think I was like 80% into the audiobook and I decided to drop it because I knew it was going to be three stars.
I knew I didn't care for it either way. And I think at that point, in that specific month I read it, a lot of the books I had already read were three stars. So I just didn't want to take up more time in my monthly wrap-ups by talking about books that I didn't care for. And that's also another reason why I didn't read as many books because I dropped so many of them.
It doesn't matter how far along I get in a book, if I decide to drop it, I'm not going to count it as a book that I read. Honestly a lot the books I put on here, none of them are bad. I think a lot of these books are listed here are actually pretty good. I just ended up not reading it because I wasn't in the headspace for it or maybe I listened to the audiobook but I wasn't a fan of the audio.
I think the only book that I dropped because I realized it would be a bad book was The Other Black Girl. This is a contemporary novel that I've heard a lot of bad things about from other black readers. I just figured it's not worth wasting my time on. And the only other book that I realized I probably would have rated two stars, if I read it, was An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole. This is a romance book that is about a woman who used to be a slave but now she works as a spy. And this other guy who is a confederate soldier, but he's also a spy.
I thought I would like it but as I read it, I was really annoyed by the guy because he kept on acting like he was so unique and special, because he was the only white guy who believe that black people deserve to have rights. And I was just like, "Okay..." I was also annoyed by how quickly they were attracted to each other, because that kind of rubs me off the wrong way.
He was basically like sexualizing her while also at the same time patting his back for what a good guy he is. And I just don't care for men like that. I think I would have enjoyed the book if they were working together.
And they developed feelings along the way of them working together but because it was like instant attraction, and he was like pretending to be racist, but he wasn't actually racist deep down, I just was not into it. So I figured it was for the best I dropped it. So that was my year in total. This video turned out way longer than expected. So I think what I'm gonna do is just quickly go over, kind of like my channel in a nutshell, because a lot of things have happened. [Laughs] I wish I had kept track of how many subscribers I had last year, I didn't bother doing that, because I just normally don't think about that stuff.
But for the sake of posterity, so I can look back on this next year, I have, at the end of the year, with a total of 458,000 subscribers. That's kind of amazing. When I started this channel, I did not think that the channel would be as big as it is. In fact, I didn't even think I would really keep the channel.
I thought I would be bored with it after a week and just stop. I'm really grateful for how much like, it's grown because it's given so many like, fun opportunities. So one of the things I did this year was film that Netflix show. I had like a little web series on the Netflix YouTube channel where I would catfish people. I got to launch my own merch shop like the Yearning collection.
I was really anxious about that, actually, because I was nervous about charging people. I don't like the idea of any of my subscribers spending money on me. So I was really anxious about that.
And that's why I tried to make it as cheap as possible. But I've seen people's reactions to it. I've seen you share your pictures from when you're wearing it on Instagram. And I'm happy that you are excited about wearing the shirt because now it's like we're matching. I also had this opportunity to organize a group trip with you all. So that's going to happen next year in Thailand.
I'm super excited about it. So all these opportunities, you know, wouldn't have happened if I hadn't started this channel, and if you hadn't watched. So I'm very grateful for that. There were a lot of shenanigans on the channel.
Like, me attempting to make spaghetti bath bomb and then me making dick soap to commemorate A Court of Thorns and Roses. I did a lot of movie reactions too. I will be doing more collaborations with Ellias. We watch Twilight together this year.
It was my first time watching it ever. That's another moment to commemorate on this channel. I had never watched Twilight before. So this year, I think we're going to do a marathon of the after movies.
We're just going to continue the train of horrible, unhealthy relationships to mimic our own unhealthy relationships. Outside of my channel, in my personal life, I started my life as a nomad. I've always wanted to travel. So every few months, I basically just move around to a different city.
So this past year, I live in San Francisco, which you can see me show off in my apartment tour. Then I live in New York and Brooklyn. And then, after that, towards the end of the year, I lived in Fort Worth and Dallas.
I managed to escape New York after the city was hit with so many Covid cases. So the timing worked out for me. I did a lot of blogs for all the cities that I've been in, I just haven't edit them yet. So I'll definitely be posting more vlogs in 2022.
I got three tattoos this year, too. So I have this tattoo from San Francisco. I have this tattoo from New York. And I just got my newest one in Texas. Anyway, it has obviously gotten very dark. I filmed this video way too late.
So I'm going to go ahead and end this video now. Oh, and before I end this video, I'm going to pop in a couple of funny comments that y'all have left throughout the year. One of my favorite things about posting a video is pinning a comment that you have left.
It gets really hard because a lot of you write the most heinous bullshit and I want to pin more than one of them. So here are a bunch of funny comments that I want to highlight. I look forward to even more bullshit that you'll write in the comment section for the year to come. Go ahead and unsubscribe from my channel and goodbye.