Sunday, January 09, 2022

It's the Graph-pocalypse of 2021!

Well, it's that time again: time to get out my spreadsheet and notes, crunch numbers, and share some facts about all the reading I did in 2021.

Let's start with the one readers are usually most interested in, my Best Reads of 2021. First off, let me tell you that I was shocked. I've been averaging between 150-200 books read for several years now, and normally that results in twenty "best reads." This year, I only had eleven. I'm not quite sure what happened!

Here are the links to my reviews:
The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor
Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens
Shattered Dreams by Frank Hayes
The French Paradox by Ellen Crosby
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
Bad Axe County by John Galligan
A Rogue's Company by Allison Montclair
The Scorpion's Tail by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly 

I know many of you would like me to narrow down my list even further. What was The Best Book I read last year? That honor goes to two. I was absolutely blown away by Chris Whitaker's We Begin at the End, and Andy Weir's buddy epic Project Hail Mary was sheer listening delight. 

2021 Book Travels

Many of you who are familiar with my blog know that I like to keep track of where the books I read are set. I not only do this on my spreadsheet, but I also log them on a world map at Zee Maps. You can zoom in and out, move all around on the map, zero in on the markers to see the book titles that were set in a particular area... If you'd like to take a look, here's my 2021 map.

If you don't feel like heading over there, I'll do a couple of breakdowns for you.

 Most Visited Countries in 2021
1. England
2. Scotland
3. France
4. Italy
5. India

I've been a confirmed Anglophile since I was eight years old, so I doubt that any country will ever overtake England in the #1 spot, but did any of the other countries change from 2020? I'm glad you asked. Yes, this year, Australia dropped out of the top five to be replaced by India.

Most Visited States in 2021

 1. California
 2. New York
 3. Texas
 4. Arizona
 5. New Mexico
 6. Montana
 7. Illinois
 8. Florida
 9. Missouri
10. Washington

Were there any changes in this list from 2020? Yes. In 2020, there were more on the Eastern seaboard and none in the Midwest. And the other big change was the fact that the majority of my reading was set in the United States. For some reason, I just wasn't making an effort to read outside U.S. territorial waters. I'm hoping that will change in 2022.

Most Visited Cities in 2021

1. London
2. Los Angeles
3. New York City
4. Chicago
5. Paris

Confirmed Anglophile that I am, it's no surprise that I spend a lot of time in London, but my list looks so... ordinary... I wonder if I can shake it up a bit in 2022?



Now here's where the graphs start in, so hold on to your hats. (I create my free graphs at Chart-Go.)

Online Graphing
I read 162 books last year for a total of 46,136 pages. Would I like to see my stats go back up over 200? You bet, but I doubt that they will. If I read a lot more books, it might just mean that I'm stuck in the house and not going anywhere. I don't like the sound of that!

Online Graphing

This graph clearly shows you how much I've grown to enjoy reading eBooks, particularly in 2019 when I had eye problems and had cataract surgery on both eyes. My Kindle is easier to carry around than a physical book, and I love the convenience of changing the font size and highlighting a word to get its definition.

There will be a new graph when I tabulate my 2022 statistics, since 2021 is the first year that I successfully began listening to audiobooks. How many did I listen to in 2021? Twelve.

Online Graphing

I like to call this graph my Magpie Graph because it clearly shows how I have the tendency to focus my reading on the bright shiny, new books that come out. Was there any change from 2020? A little. I read a few more books published pre-2000 and a few less written post-1999. If you want to know how bad it was in 2021, 98 of those 155 books released in 2000 or later were actually published in 2021. Yikes! I would like to see some change in this statistic in 2022!

Online Graphing

In past years, my reading showed a summer upswing because I was doing most of my reading while sitting in the pool. With my health issues and problems with my legs, I've spent very little time in the pool, and since I'm in the house, the number of books I read per month is relatively consistent. Would I like to get back in the pool? That's what I'm working toward!

Online Graphing

While the number of short story anthologies, police procedurals, and mysteries featuring private investigators showed very little change from 2020, the other categories showed fluctuations, sometimes quite a bit. I read less non-fiction and fiction in 2021 as compared to the year before, while cozies and amateur sleuths dropped by 50%. I'm finding myself less and less enamored of formulaic cozies.

The aforementioned genres/subgenres showed drops, but I read twice as many historical mysteries and thrillers as I did in 2020. Was I trying to escape the pandemic through the books I read? I'm not sure.

Online Graphing

There were a couple of slight changes from 2020 besides having 50% fewer Best Reads. I gave fewer A's and more C's to the books I read in 2021. While I still enjoyed the vast majority of the books I read, it would appear that I didn't have quite as much fun. I'm hoping that will change in 2022. 

Online Graphing

My reading tends to be rather evenly divided between male and female authors, as it was this past year. 

Online Graphing

This is a statistic that remains fairly stable over the years, although I would like to see me read fewer Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) in 2022. I did read more books I acquired from Paperback Swap this year, which is good. This used to be an excellent source, but when they began charging an annual fee, people left by the thousands, and I don't get nearly as much use from it now.

I don't spend a lot of money on things like clothes or shoes which allows me a larger budget for books (and yarn). Suits me right down to the ground!

Online Graphing

My last graph shows another fact that has remained constant over the years: the fact that I really like gathering my family groups of characters around me and only occasionally picking up a book with people I'll only see once and never meet again. Could this highlight some psychological thing deep within me? After all, I was an only child raised by a single parent. I wasn't surrounded by many family members. Hmm... I could be onto something!

You have now officially survived the Graph-pocalyse of 2021. I look forward to sharing another with you after reading as many good books as I can get my hands on here in 2022!


  1. Wow, Cathy! I am, as always, blown away by your record-keeping and charts! So impressive, and you did so much great reading, too. I find your last graph (series versus standalone) especially interesting. I find myself doing the same thing, actually; there's nothing wrong with standalones, of course, and I've read some I've loved. But you really get to know the characters with series, I think.

    1. Yes, and I'm beginning to think that I hit the nail on the head with my supposition that I gravitate toward series because I grew up as an only child and an only grandchild, raised by a single parent. I spent a lot of time in my own company, and the characters in books became my family and friends.

  2. I love your presentation of your end-of-year stats. Those graphs really add some pop to the numbers, as well as making it easy to see trends and relationships. I, too, had fewer "favorite books" to choose from than I normally have, and now I wonder if that's one of the reasons I feel compelled to read more older stuff this year than I have in the past.

    Of your favorites, I've read three of them (and agree with you on all three) and still have the Connelly novel to go. Have a great reading year...again.

  3. Your charts and graphs are amazing, Cathy! I love them. I love series too and I'm not an only child, but I think I was the only reader in our house growing up, including my parents. The only one of your 'best of' that I've read is The Dark Hours. Loved it. On to 2022 and hopefully, for me anyway, more reading. My numbers were way down. I vow to not be so distracted this year. LOL

    1. You had a lot to distract you last year, Kay; whereas, I think I need a distraction or two this year! LOL

  4. Wow, that is an impressive collection of graphs! I'm not familiar with Chart-Go. I'll have to take a look.

    1. I hope they always remain free because their service comes in quite handy.

  5. Awesome way to sum up your year of reading! I'm so impressed. And I'm looking forward to reading The Scorpion's Tail and The Reading List myself this year. :)

  6. I had forgotten about your year-end charts! I do some lookback overview of my own reading, but nothing this involved. (Of course, I also don't have my own reading blog ...)

    In terms of book sources, have you tried Thriftbooks? They've been a good source for books that my library doesn't have or can't get via interlibrary loan. Many of my purchases have been older books, so I'm not sure how their prices compare for newer titles, but there's no membership fee.

    1. I'll have to take a look. Thanks for your recommendation!

  7. I love graph pocalypse! And I haven't read several of your favorites, will have to check them out!

    1. I hope you do-- and if you do, I'd love to hear what you think of them.

  8. I love seeing all your graphs! I am definitely a series reader too. One of my sons was just mentioning to me how he prefers series to stand alones too. If a book has great characters one book is just not enough.

  9. I love these charts. Fascinating. While not an Anglophile ( my father's family was Irish), I have read my share of English mystery writers. But I do love crime fiction set in Scotland by Denise Mina, Val McDermid and others. I look at maps and photos and learn so much history and geography.
    I am looking forward to your reading more global crime fiction this year and I'll check in for suggestions.
    And I see you've visited my city pretty frequently. I do read your blog to find books set in other states (and I check the books listed by country or state section. But I'm glad you found so many good books set in New York.
    I agree on three of the four best books that I read. I plan to read more of them.
    Interesting that you follow so many series. I follow some, but then I want to spread out and investigate new writers and regions. I also have to pick up my global reading.
    Thanks for this always interesting blog.

    1. You're welcome, Kathy. Thank you for being such a devoted follower.


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