So How Did My 2020 Reading Intentions Go?

I have been reviewing what I wrote for my 2020 reading intentions and seeing what I actually did compared to what I wanted to do.

My Own Books
Sarah has said again that I have too many books piled up (Tsundoko) around the house. (Note to self, try not to buy so many books). Did manage to read 25 of my own books, but that isn’t enough. That said, I am allowed to get some more bookshelves! So that is a new year project to sort that all of that out and unhaul some books. I am looking forward to having all my Little Toller and Eland books together in one place too!

Even though bookshops and charity shops were shut for a sizable portion of the years in the various lockdowns, I have bought far too many books this year and the piles of books around the house have not diminished at all. I have bought one more bookshelf and that is mostly full. I am just about to buy another from Shelfstore as I thought the first was very good. In the end, I read 58 of my own books this year, many more than last year.

Review Copies
According to my spreadsheet, I have 124 outstanding review copies to read. Even though there is a lot of books on the two shelves that I have for them, I’m not sure if this is right as I counted way less than that on the shelf!!! I am grateful for every book I receive through the post from publishers, so thank you to you all. I fully intend to read and review as many of those as possible as soon as I can, but also see the blogging post below.

I have read 94 review books this year and whilst the outstanding total has dropped to 93, I am slightly embarrassed to still have review books from 2018 to read and review still. I have tried to keep on top of the books that I was sent or requested in 2020 and only have three outstanding.

Library Books
As I said last year, these places are a precious resource. Sadly, our present government seems hell-bent on eradicating them from our cities, towns and villages. I still have too many library books out, and will still keep getting them out too. The author gets a small amount every time a book of theirs is borrowed and for the reader, most books are free or have a nominal reservation fee. I am fortunate that I have two library cards, and I am going to try not to max each one out…

I read 42 library books this year and still have maxed out cards. Some things never change.

Female and BAME Authors
In 2018, 35% of my reading was by female authors. Had intended to raise that for 2019, but have dropped back to 33%. So will be aiming for 40% in 2020. I want around 5% of my reading to be BAME authors too.

Sadly I only managed to read 31% of female authors this year. I did manage to read 12 BAME authors too which I am pleased about.

Last year I managed to read a poetry book each and every month and sometimes read more than one. I like poetry, even though I don’t always get it, so am going to try to read around two books a month in 2020.

I am pleased to say that I have read two poetry books each month and mostly I have enjoyed them. I do find them difficult to review though, I can’t seem to be able to get the deeper meaning that some reviewers can find.

Literary Awards
Will be aiming to read all of these again (Next year I might get to the Baillie Gifford list as I didn’t this year)

Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards (I am judging the Adventure Travel next year)
Royal Society
Baillie Gifford
Arthur C Clarke

Did really poorly on these awards this year. It is the first year that I have not read the longlist for the Wainwright, but I do have the books so will be finishing off the three outstanding before the 2021 prize is announced. I had read one of the Royal Society and have Bill Bryson’s to read at some point. I had read one of the longlisted books for the Baillie Gifford but have not gt to any of the others. Not likely to read the winner though as I am not a fan of the Beatles.

The World From My Armchair Challenge
Managed to read 13 more books for this long term challenge bringing my total read so far to 44. I have been acquiring books for it though, and have a further 41 books on various bookshelves scattered around the house to read for other countries. I am still looking for travel books (or non-fiction) that are set in or pass through these countries, below. So if you know any, please do let me know.

Antigua and Barbuda
Brunei Darussalam
Capo Verde
Central African Republic
Persian Gulf
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sao Tome and Principe
Trinidad and Tobago
Balearic Sea
Ligurian Sea
Alboran Sea

I managed to read 20 books towards this challenge in the end. And found (and bought) a lot more!


Managed two more from the Discworld series, but these are still to go:
The Wee Free Men
A Hat Full of Sky
Unseen Academicals
I Shall Wear Midnight
Raising Steam
The Shepherd’s Crown

Please feel free to pester me to remind me that need to keep reading them.

I read four more books in the Discworld series. Nearly there.

Science Fiction
Only read two (yes two) science fiction books this year which I am ashamed of really as I had high hopes of getting more than that read. Aiming to read at least one a month.

I managed to read seven in the end, five less than I wanted to. But an improvement on 2019.

I have always been a reader first and foremost and I get immense pleasure from reading and talking about books. It was reading that introduced me to NB magazine and the blog came off the back of that. After a lot of thought, I have decided that I am going to change the way that I am blogging. I am going to still be reading and reviewing on here and Good Reads and so on, but will be drastically reducing the number of review copies that I request as I can’t keep up. I am still happy to receive a book if a publisher or publicist still wishes to send them to me, but will not guarantee when I will get to read it. Instead, I have decided that I will either get the newly released books in 2020 from the library or buy them myself to read as and when I can. I will still take part in Blog Tours, but only a maximum of once a month as I don’t always like reading to a deadline.

Overall I am happy with how I did this year, but there were some disappointments too! All of the above still applies. I ended up doing more blog tours than I intended and have two lined up for January too!

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  1. lindasbookbag

    I love this post Paul. I’m trying NOT to do blog tours in 2021 but… at least I have some spaces at the moment for reading the books I already have. Happy New Year and best of luck catching up with your TBR!

    • Paul

      Thank you, Linda. I am going to still do them, I’ll just be very picky over the ones I sign up to. I think that my TBR is beyond possibilities at the moment…

  2. Nicole Salter

    I might chase you up on those Pratchett’s on twitter. I have Maskerade on my shelf which I didn’t get to this year which means 2 for 2021.

    • Paul

      Thank you, Nicola. Please do remind me!

  3. kaggsysbookishramblings

    My aim is always to read more, and read more of the books I already have. As for review books, I try to only accept ones I really want, or think I will enjoy – but frankly they *are* getting a bit out of hand…

    • Paul

      It is great in one way and also not great in many other ways

  4. Liz Dexter

    Fascinating! I didn’t achieve my aim that I formulated some time later in the year of getting to one shelf of TBR by the end of the year, but have got it down to one and a half which isn’t bad from two with some piles. I’m on 63% women or a mix including women and 20.5% by people of colour, which I think is up on last year and I’m definitely OK with (I was going for over 13% which is the proportion in the UK, I think).

    • Paul

      Take every win you can, Liz. A lot of the problem with the gender split is that editors don’t always commission the types of books that I read at the moment, though it is very slowly changing.

  5. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer

    Two library cards? Not judging at all, just admire your need for two ☺️ You did a great job this year and I wish I could read 190 books! All the best for 2021!

    • Paul

      Your message was stuck in the spam folder so apologies for the delayed reply. It is because Poole Libraries and Dorset Libraries were two separate entities and I had a card for each. Now they are both under LibrariesWest. Thank you, all the best for your reading plans too, Inge

  6. Dorothy ~Jane McLachlan ~ Wortley

    Really enjoyed this post and I am delighted to see that you are going to slend more time reading books that you specifically want to read for you.
    I have added some wonderful recomendations from you to my own reading and reading TBR. I look fkrward to more of your Bookish thoughts.
    Thank You.

    • Paul

      You’re welcome. DJ

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