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2021 reading recap (with charts!)

A few weeks ago I summarised my year of writing, so today I’m turning things around and looking at the books I read in 2021! I’m looking at total books read, moods, pace, length, and genre.

The headlines

  • I shifted from Goodreads+spreadsheets to The StoryGraph for analysing my reading.
  • 69 titles read in total (or 53 full-length equivalent books).
  • I like things adventurous, followed by emotional, mysterious, lighthearted, and funny.
  • Fast-paced, short and snappy – no time for mucking around.
  • Fantasy, scifi, and the gays come out on top.

Analysis changes

2020 = Goodreads + spreadsheets

I did a similar reading recap for 2020, with a range of charts that required some serious spreadsheet action. I mean, I love a good spreadsheet, but it was a lot of work exporting from Goodreads and sorting the data. This year, I’ve got some of my own books I’m keen to get stuck into writing and editing so don’t want to dedicate a day to analysing a year’s worth of reading data!

If you’re interested, you can find my Goodreads profile here: @gbralph

2021 = The StoryGraph

A simple and modern platform with core functionality similar to Goodreads, used for tracking your reading and discovering new books. A stand-out feature is the fantastic, automated visualisations of your reading history. I can’t drill down into the specific areas I looked into last time, but it also took no time at all!

To get this I joined The StoryGraph and imported my Goodreads data – designed to be done once when onboarding (they have all the guidance needed to do it). Since then I have continued manually tracking my reading, just as I would on Goodreads.

If you’re interested, you can find my profile on The StoryGraph here: @gbralph

2021 reading summary

69 books read in total

2021 Reading Goal reached on The StoryGraph.

I’ve included all the titles I read. Though, the total of 69 counts each title equally, even if some were much briefer reads. So, if I discount the short stories and the extended blog posts published as short non-fiction books, and consider each series of graphic novels as roughly the equivalent of one full-length prose novel, my total for 2021 comes out at 53 full-length equivalent books i.e. one per week, plus one more for good luck!

You can find out more about any book by scrolling through my 2021 shelves on The StoryGraph or Goodreads.

The breakdown (charts!)

As mentioned above, The StoryGraph produces some fantastic charts comparing various aspects of my reading history. I’ve screenshotted some of my faves below, or you can check out all my 2021 stats here.

If you regularly use The StoryGraph, or if you’ve imported your Goodreads reading history and are checking it out for the first time, let me know – it’ll be fun to compare!


This kind of data isn’t captured on Goodreads, but it is on The StoryGraph (you can choose to enter the moods of books when you review them or just rely on other users’ inputs). So I was interested to see what kinds of books I apparently go for!

There’s a huge chunk of adventurous, followed by emotional, mysterious, lighthearted, and funny, then a range of other moods making up the final quarter of the chart. Looks about right to me! And it makes sense that what I prefer to read is also what I tend to write in my own books.

The StoryGraph chart summarising 2021 reading data: moods


The majority of my reads in 2021 were fast-paced. With so many distractions in my life and the world, I need my books to trot along at a good speed or my attention starts to wander… And just like above, my reading seems to align well with my own writing.

The StoryGraph chart summarising 2021 reading data: pace


A majority of titles read come in at less than 300 pages, followed by around a third at 300–499 pages, and only a small sliver greater than 500 pages. Though, I suspect this data is being skewed a fair bit by the short stories and graphic novels I read this year. I admit this is a shortcoming of taking the shortcut and not analysing all the data myself, but I’ve got words to write which won’t happen if I’m busy tinkering with data!

The StoryGraph chart summarising 2021 reading data: page number


Who knew I read so much fantasy and science fiction? I didn’t! Though I did know LGBTQIA+ would be up there, and romance not too far behind. I knew I loved my gays in love, but didn’t realise I also loved my gays in love in other fictional worlds!

If grouped together, comics and manga would be another top genre. Though, again, the shorter nature of these works means you can read them faster (and hence boost their tally!). Young adult, mystery and thriller round out my top 10 genres for 2021.

Below the chart I’ve also looked at my own writing (both published and unpublished)…

The StoryGraph chart summarising 2021 reading data: genre

It’s interesting to compare with the genres of my own writing and how it all fits in:

My favourite books of 2021

I summarised my top 9 fave reads of 2021 + bonus free short story during my bookish Advent calendar last month – check them out!

So, what’s next?

More reading! I know I’ve got teetering piles next to my bed and a Kindle loaded with way too many unread books, so here’s hoping I can made a dent in 2022. Sound familiar? You can see what I’m reading by following me on Goodreads and/or The StoryGraph.

I’d love to hear if you’ve looked into your own reading history. Any surprises? Or do you know yourself and your reading habits better than I apparently do?

If you’d like to join my writing (and reading!) journey, jump on my free mailing list – you’ll get two exclusive short stories right away, and then be the first to hear what’s going on in the emails I send out once or twice a month (max!).

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