2020 End of Year Book Survey

I've almost reached the end of my reflections on 2020. I wasn't lying when I told you this was my favorite time of year! I love looking back at what I've learned, the progress I've made, the obsessions I've discovered, and more. I've already shared my top 20 books of 2020, but I love filling out this end of the year survey (from Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner) as a more in-depth look at the best and worst of my bookish and blogging life last year.

1. Number of Books You Read: 170 books
2. Number of Re-Reads: 20 re-reads
3. Genre You Read the Most From: Contemporary, per usual

1. Best book you read in 2020?
As always, I can't choose just one! Here's one for each of the top five genres I read this year:

CONTEMPORARY | If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

FANTASY | The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

HISTORICAL | Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

MYSTERY | Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

NON-FICTION | I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

All of my favorites will be mentioned throughout this post, but here's my top twenty books of the year.

A Note: I challenged myself not to repeat any books in the answers below so that I could highlight a greater variety of books. It was difficult, but it helped me avoid highlighting the same books over and over again.

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?
I was really looking forward to The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss based on the adorable cover, the setting, and my bestie's love for it... and then I hated it. I wasn't a fan of the writing, but the romance was the worst.

3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book of 2020?

IN A GOOD WAY | I'd heard great things about Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, but it didn't sound like something I'd typically pick up. Well, I ended up loving it and pushing it on my mom and sister, too.

IN A BAD WAY | After adoring The Flatshare, I really expected to love The Switch by Beth O'Leary. I even pre-ordered a UK copy for their adorable cover! And while it wasn't terrible, I was definitely disappointed overall.

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read in 2020?
There are a handful of books that I pushed on people in real life this year, and one that immediately came to mind is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. My sister, cousin, and bestie all read it based on my recommendation.

5. Best series you started in 2020? Best sequel of 2020? Best series ender of 2020? Best series overall in 2020?

STARTED | Although I had mixed feelings for House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas at times, I can't deny that it made me so hyped for a new series from this beloved author. The last 25%, in particular, totally delivered!

SEQUEL | No one is more shocked than I am that it's How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. I thought I'd written this series off after reading the first four books, and yet I binged a ton more in 2020 and 5-starred this one.

ENDER | Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers was an amazing conclusion to this duology that I didn't even know I needed. I loved seeing where all these characters ended up and have my fingers crossed for another spin-off!

OVERALL | I didn't love every book equally, but I've got to hand it to The Travis Series by Lisa Kleypas. Kelly has been begging me to read it for years, and I refused until our March Madness bet. Welp, she was right. I said it.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?
This was a tough call, and you can check out my ten favorite new-to-me authors of 2020 to see who was in the running. I've got to hand it to Emily Henry. Beach Read was fantastic and has me excited for more from her!

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read?
I had more options for this question than in most years, thanks to the variety of what I read this year. The standout was I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott, which was an essay collection that I adored.

8. Most action-packed, thrilling, unputdownable book in 2020?
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, for sure. I checked this out from the library based on the hype and never expected to love it as much as I did. I'm so happy it's a series and that book two is out soon.

9. Book you read in 2020 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
There are 4-5 books that I've already got in mind for a re-read, but one of them is definitely You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle. I already bought the audio for a future re-read, too! This one was just so much fun.

10. Most memorable character in 2020?
Betty by Tiffany McDaniel was a fictional story inspired by her own mother's story, and wow. That's honestly all I've got to say about this book. I think it's my favorite read of 2020, and Betty was an unforgettable heroine. 

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?
Here are four of my favorites: A Place at the Table by Sadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan, Miss Austen by Gill Hornby, Jane Was Here by N. Jacobsen, D. MacLennan, and L. Nilson, and Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2020?
There were a few contenders that fit better in other categories, so I'll go with The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. I loved how Schwab's writing had a fairy tale quality to it. It was so easy to lose myself in this story!

13. Most thought-provoking book in 2020?
That would be The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi. I learn so much from her weekly podcast, and her book was no different! I love that the principles are applicable to so many situations and plan to re-read this one.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read?
The last two books in the Dublin Murder Series – The Secret Place and The Trespasser – by Tana French. I thought I was done with the series after book 4, but I'm so glad I picked it back up. French won me over in no time!

15. Book that shocked you the most?
I continue to be obsessed with the world of Cormoran Strike and think each mystery is better than the one before it. Troubled Blood – a whopping 944 pages – was full of shocking twists and turns from beginning to end.

16. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2020?
Two favorites from books that I haven't mentioned anywhere else in this post:

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Devotions by Mary Oliver

“The truth of course is that if people really were as happy as they look on the Internet, they wouldn’t spend so much damn time on the Internet, because no one who’s having a really good day spends half of it taking pictures of themselves. Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.” – Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

17. Shortest & longest book you read in 2020?

SHORTEST | And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

LONGEST | The Holy Bible

18. OTP of the year?
Definitely the couple in Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis! I randomly got this book for review, and it ended up being one of my absolute favorite reads of the year. So much swoon – with depth, too. I was rooting so hard for this hero!

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?

CO-WORKERS | I loved how Friends & Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan explored the sticky friendship between a mother and her child's nanny. This was a slower, character-driven read that totally worked for me.

FRIENDSHIP | The ladies in The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes were wonderful. I loved their adventurous spirits and how they helped each other, despite their differences. Friendship + horses + books = my kind of book.

FAMILY | While it was all very messy and dramatic, I am totally here for the family dynamics in The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I didn't always like their choices, but I still couldn't put it down.

20. Favorite book you read in 2020 from an author you've read previously?

ADULT | Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan was a delightful retelling of A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, one of my favorite classics. I loved this world of wealth and drama and thought it was a clever contemporization.

NON-FICTION | Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel was really helpful for me and will likely be a book I re-read in the future. I am definitely guilty of overthinking and indecisiveness, so it felt like this was directed at me.

21. Best book you read in 2020 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else?
I would never in a million years have picked up The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix if my sister hadn't recommended it to me. Horror? Heck no! But y'all, this ended up being a really fun read. 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?
He definitely has flaws, but Jason Larsen from The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez did steal a little piece of my heart this year. There's just something about his charming personality and musical ability got to me!

23. Best 2020 debut you read?
Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin was a satirical take on motherhood, wealth & privilege, and having it all. I loved the elements that felt relatable – and laughed at the drama. This was such a satisfying read. 

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2020?
The desolate, small Texas town in Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore felt like it was a character all on its own right. I could picture it in my mind and loved how Wetmore explored how the heroines were shaped by this place.

25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2020?
That would be If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane. It was the first book I read after my baby was born, one of my most-anticipated 2020 releases, and gave me ALL THE FEELS. I have great memories of reading it!

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2020?
Chanel Miller's memoir, Know My Name, detailed the sexual assault she suffered and the additional trauma of the trial/sentencing. It's infuriating and heartbreaking, especially because you know it's one story of many more.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
Lucy Parker's Headliners was such a great addition to her London Celebrities series. I still think she's an underrated author! She's so great at contemporary romance – just the right amount of drama and so much swoon.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
I debated this one for a while, but I think Long Bright River by Liz Moore is the most vivid in my mind. The way it depicted the opioid crisis, addiction, and poverty was absolutely heartbreaking. It's a heavy read.

29. Most unique book you read in 2020?
The most unique story was Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, in which two kids set themselves on fire when angry. The most unique format was Annie's Life in Lists by Kristin Mahoney, written entirely in list. 

30. Book that made you the maddest?
My least favorite book was The Marriage Game by Sara Desai, but What You Wish For by Katherine Center made me the biggest. The heroine made me want to scream, and the writing was so internal. Show me, stop telling!

1. New favorite book blog/bookstagram you discovered in 2020?
I'm cheating because this isn't a book blog, but I'm obsessed with Em for Marvelous. I originally started following for her goals posts but have quickly become a fan of everything she shares on her blog.

2. Favorite post that you wrote in 2020?
I mainly wrote mini reviews for my Quick Lit posts, but my favorite discussion post I wrote was about what I've learned from our newest love. A close second was my post about my favorite bookish memories!

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2020?
Maybe this photo of The Heir Affair? It's what first came to mind. I've stopped posting to bookstagram, so I didn't take very many creative bookish photos this year. I did love this photo with my newborn in it though.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Did I participate in any bookish events this year? I honestly don't think so. 

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2020?
My sister discovering a love of reading! I've always been the only avid reader in my immediate family, but sister became a total nerd in 2020. She's even featured on my blog now! I love our monthly dates to Barnes & Noble. 

6. Most challenging thing about your blogging or reading life this year?
Some of the challenges to my blogging and reading life stemmed from having a new baby and making time for both hobbies. As I approach 10 years of blogging, I've struggled a bit over my vision (goals?) for this space.

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?
In terms of views, it was my post celebrating 10 Years of Top Ten Tuesday! I doubled the fun and made two lists: one revisiting my past answers to 10 topics and one sharing my 10 favorite past topics I'd answered. 

8. Post you wished got a little more love?
There isn't anything that jumps out at me, though maybe my posts about my planners? And I think I might enjoy writing my My Year in {2020} posts more than people like reading them. Oh well. Haha!

9. Best bookish discovery?
I love this nerdy tee from Bookshelf Tees, and Lauren Naylor Designs' bookmarks are gorgeous. And my AirPods have increased my audiobook consumption more than I ever anticipated, so they deserve a mention, too.

10. Did you complete any reading challenge or goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I did! I completed most of my reading challenges/goals that I set for myself, and you can read about them here. I've already set new bookish goals for 2021 and am so excited to see how I do!

1. One book you didn't get to in 2020 but will be your number one priority in 2021?
I can't believe I haven't read Admission by Julie Buxbaum. Even though it didn't come out until December, I've read most of her past books early for review or the day they released. This is a 2021 priority, for sure!

2. Non-debut book you are most anticipating for 2021?
How can I choose between Sarah J. Maas and Mhairi McFarlane? I will reluctantly give the the edge to A Court of Silver Flames because I can't wait to be back in this beloved world. Here are all my 2021 most-anticipated releases.

3. 2021 debut you are most anticipating?
Early reviews have me excited for Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano. As far as non-fiction, I'm really looking forward to Share Your Stuff. I'll Go First. by Laura Tremaine. But I've got my eye on more books!

4. Series ending you are most anticipating in 2021?
I cannot for the life of me think of any series that are ending in 2021! I'm excited for a bunch of sequels but can't think of many endings. Maybe Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez if it's the last book in that companion series? 

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2021?
For reading, I'd love to catch up on all my NetGalley reviews. It's just 15 books, some 2021 releases included, so it's manageable. For blogging, I want to improve my email newsletter which means I've got research to do.

6. A 2021 release you've already read and recommend to everyone?
I didn't read any 2021 releases in 2020 and haven't loved any that I've read so far this year enough to rave and recommend them to everyone. But The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George is the strongest contender!

If you completed the survey, leave a link below.
I'd love to see what made your list for 2020!

1 comment

  1. Yay for Addie LaRue making more than one appearance on this list! I loved that book <3


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