How I Did on My 2020 Reading Goals: A Report Card

Way back in time, at the very beginning of this year — a blissful time before we knew a pandemic would soon hit us — I had ambitious goals for 2020. In my overflowing excitement (and, I admit, as a way to have you all hold me to them), I shared an overly detailed list of all my 2020 reading goals, plans, and resolutions. But how did I do on those goals? Now that the year is (thankfully) over, it’s time to check out my report card.

Read on to see how my 2020 goals fared. And if you’re up to it, I’d love to hear how the year went for you! Share in the comments below!

Reading Goal #1: Read 50 Books in 2020 — A+

My first goal was simply to read 50 books in 2020. At the time it felt ambitious, because for the previous several years I only read about 25 book per year. This goal was to double my rate.

Happily, I can announce: I did it! And actually, I even exceeded my goal: As of the end of today, I’ll have read 63 books. (That last book is almost finished, I swear; it’ll be done before midnight tonight!) I also have two that are still in process, but alas, they won’t be done until sometime in January.

Of those 63 completed books, 55 were physical books, seven were audiobooks, and just one was an ebook.

Grade: A+

Reading Goal #2: Listen to 12 Audiobooks in 2020 — D

Well, I got more than half-way there, so that’s something. Although I made progress, I only finished seven audiobooks this year. I’m also halfway through an eighth one, so I’ll give myself another half point. Even so, that only gets me about 62% through this goal: a D grade.

Despite not meeting my goal, I’m still happy that I made as much progress as I did. I’d never listened to an audiobook before this year, and I’ve found I can enjoy this format.

However, I also leaned, through trial and error, what settings work for audiobook listening.

  • Listening to an audiobook while running on the elliptical? Not so good. Something about books makes me run slower! I can only run effectively when listening to uptempo music.
  • Listening to an audiobook in the shower? Also not great. My shower is way too loud, so if the narrator suddenly lowers their voice or whispers, I can’t hear it.

In the end, I think I’ll just make sure to always listen to audiobooks while doing the dishes. I might also start coloring in a coloring book, and that could be another opportunity to hear a good story.

Grade: D-

Reading Challenge #1: My Own Diversity Challenge — A-

For my own reading challenge this year, my aim was to push myself to read diversely – in terms of authors, characters, geography, genre, and more. I’m happy to report that, out of my 21 diversity challenges, I succeeded at 19 of them. However, I definitely want to do better next year, especially in terms of those two challenges I didn’t meet.

Here’s a breakdown of my challenge and how I did:

Book Origin Challenges

  • Read 15 books I’ve owned since 2019 or earlier: Success!
  • Read 15 books I acquired this year (in 2020): Success! In fact, the vast majority of books I read this year were new.
  • Read 15 books from Book of the Month: Success! In addition to reading 19 BOTM books I got this year, I also read seven that I had leftover from 2019.

Author Challenges

  • Read 15 books by authors I’ve never read before: Success! Nearly all of the books I read this year were by new-to-me authors.
  • Read 15 books by authors I have read before: Success! But I admit, this was actually a struggle. I only barely made it!
  • Read 10 books by non-white authors: Success! And I’m happy to say, I read more than double that!
  • Read 10 books by authors from another country: Success! I think I even read triple that! I read books by authors from India, Nigeria, Spain, Peru, and more. But I admit, a big portion of them were from England.

Genre Challenges

  • Read 5 nonfiction books: Success! Most of these I read in the first two months of 2020.
  • Read 5 historical fiction novels: Success! And they weren’t just set in WWII 😉
  • Read 5 fantasies: Success! Most of these were YA fantasies.
  • Read 5 thrillers/horrors: Success!
  • Read 5 YA books: Success! I’m learning to love books from this age group again.

Setting Challenges

  • Read 5 books set in Europe: Success! Beyond those set in the UK, I also read books set in Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Greece, The Netherlands, and more.
  • Read 5 books set in Asia: Success! All five were in different countries, from Iran to Malaysia to Vietnam.
  • Read 5 books set in Latin America: Success! Two were in South America, and the other three were in the Caribbean.
  • Read 5 books set in Africa: FAIL 😦 Although I read three (set in Nigeria and Ghana), I never made it to the last two. However, I currently have two books on my TBR for 2021: A Girl is a Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (set in Uganda) and The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (set in Ethiopia). I’m also excited to read a few books about African immigrants, at least one that draws from African mythology, and some upcoming novels due out in 2021. I commit to doing better on this in the new year!
  • Read 5 books set in North America: Success! Although seeing that only one of these was not set in the US (Mexican Gothic, set in Mexico), I think I’ll need to diversify this challenge in 2021.

Character Challenges

  • Read 15 books about non-white characters: Success! I read about characters of a range of races and ethnicities.
  • Read 10 books about LGBTQ+ characters: Success! Representation included gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender or nonbinary characters.
  • Read 5 books about disabled characters: FAIL 😦 If I’m not mistaken, I only read one book with a character with any physical handicap: The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, in which the main character, Alicia Gris, has a limp and chronic pain in her leg/hip due to a childhood injury. This is a challenge that I’ll need to try much harder at next year.
  • Read 5 books about people with mental illness: Success! Representation included depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, and suicidal ideation.
Grade: A-

Reading Challenge #2: Book of the Month Challenge — A+

This year, Book of the Month launched their first reading challenge, divided into three parts:

  • Book Boss: Read a total of 12 BOTM books
  • Genre Genie: Read 5 BOTM books from 5 different genres
  • Debut Darling: Read 3 BOTM book debuts

Only books purchased and read during 2020 counted towards those goals. Anyone who finished all three challenges won a special gift: a book-themed candle!

As I had predicted, I easily met all of the goals!

  • I read five debuts from Book of the Month: The Girl With the Louding Voice; A Burning; Star Daughter; Red, White, & Royal Blue; and One Day in December.
  • I read books from seven different genres: young adult (three books), contemporary fiction (one book), romance (four books), historical fictions (two books), horror (three books), literary fiction (two books), and mystery (one book).
  • In total, I read 16 new BOTM books purchased on my main account in 2020. Nearly all of them were books that were published this year, but I also read two initially released in 2019 and one from 2018.
Amanda BOTM 2020 Challenge
My end-of-year stats on the 2020 BTOM reading challenge
Amanda 2020 BOTM Candle
The cute, bookish candle I won after finishing the challenge!

Grade: A+

Book Buying Resolution: Read 2 Before Buying 1 — F

Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHA. Okay, so I immediately failed on this one. In theory, I was supposed to read twice as many books as I bought in 2020. I’d thought I’d have to read two books for every one that I wanted to buy.

Last January, I want on an unexpected trip to Limerick, Ireland to visit my sister. Since I was feeling like a tourist, I decided to treat myself and buy some books while I was there – mostly by Irish authors. I figured I’d be good for the rest of the year.

But then the pandemic hit, and I felt an increasing need to collect books. I ended up buying a lot of them… probably around the same number that I read. So unfortunately, my TBR isn’t any better now than it was a year ago. I’ll need to work on this in 2021.

Grade: F

ABC Content Plan: Blogs & Reviews — B+

Now on to writing. Part one of my Amanda’s Book Corner writing goal was to keep up on book reviews. I actually did really well on this… until Halloween. Then I kind of fell behind for about six weeks. But it’s not all bad: I am caught up again! A small hiccup, but I think I’ll count this as a win.

Part two of the goal was to write monthly blogs. In terms of “upcoming books” posts, I’ve done well. Although I started with quarterly posts on books being published that season, in the latter half of the year I’ve increased it to monthly posts.

But in terms of writing blog posts… with lots of actual words… it’s been more miss than hit. Including this one, I’ve only written five actual blogs. Sorry, guys! I’ll try to write more in 2021. And actually, I have some other exciting content plans for the new year, too. You’ll find out more in my 2021 goals post!

Grade: B+

Writing Resolution: Write a Full Draft of My Book — F

By far my biggest fail was in writing a draft of my novel idea. I didn’t make any progress on that front, sadly. I blame the pandemic and the intense anxiety it caused me. The US elections certainly added to that, too. And my job has been super busy lately. Yes, those are all excuses… but good ones.

I’m not sure how much novel writing I’ll do in the new year, but I still have ideas swimming around in my brain. Hopefully I’ll find some time to commit them to paper for once and for all!

Grade: F

So my 2020 report card is a bit all over the map. For many of my goals, I feel proud of the progress I made and what I succeeded at. And for the ones I didn’t do as well on, I like to think that I learned what’s working and what’s not working, and I’ll take that with me into 2021.

Let me know how your reading goals went in 2020!

And stay tuned for my 2021 goals post — some will be similar, but I have some new plans, too!

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