Thursday, December 31, 2020

Discussion: How My Reading Changed in 2020


This Week’s Topic:

HOW MY READING CHANGED IN 2020
I cannot believe this year is coming to an end, and wow! What a doozy of a year it was. I was super optimistic about 2020 when it began. I had plans, B I G plans, but instead, I got a pandemic. I am thankful that no one in my immediate family was affected negatively by COVID. None of us caught the virus or lost our jobs, which is quite a blessing. I am also grateful that my company was so flexible, finding me a position where I could work from home. I don't know if I mentally would have been able to ride the trains and buses every day. 

I have seen a lot of bloggers disappear (I miss you!), while other struggled with their reading. I pretty much maintained my rate of 5 books a week and 3-5 audiobooks a week, but there was bit of a change in how I read and what I read. 

I found that I was reading slower. I think not having to commute and knowing I had vacation days to burn subliminally encouraged me to slow down. I still finished the same number of books, but it took me longer each day. Hey, time was a gift 2020 gave me. Without my 4 hour commute and any sort of social obligations, I had more time to do the things I had to, and I really have become a woman of leisure these days. 

I was always pretty good about DNFing, but I am even more ruthless now. Books have always been my escape, but they have been vital for me this year. Therefore, I won't even try to "push-through", not even a little bit. 

I found that books with any sort of political agenda annoyed the heck out of me. Things had been quite ugly since 2016, but they really reached a fever pitch this year. I felt like I was drowning in all that negativity, and therefore, was actively avoiding or DNFing any books that got even the least bit political. Especially if the book was not billed as political. 

Romance always took up a lot of space on my read-shelf, but it dominated this year. In the past, romances were my pick-me-ups, the books I would turn to which were guaranteed to make me feel better. They were needed more than ever this year, and I regularly sought out that comfort. 

I also read a lot more non-review books. It ended up being one of the best things I did. Not only did I find so many wonderful books on my backlist, I found relief. Writing five reviews a week started to feel like a job. It was mostly my fault for requesting so many books, but I always felt the need to feature new releases. Now with so many of my peers MIA and abandoning all hope of growing, I can enjoy my reading more. I think my reviews are better when I am not writing as many too, so it's a win all around. 

Now it's your turn!

Did your reading life change in 2020? 
Let us know in the comments!

30 comments:

  1. I did find myself reading less, because I was so distracted, especially during the home-teaching months and the end of the schoolyear, I was just exhausted. Only 6 and 7 blogposts in June and July...

    Anyway, Wishing you a GREAT 2021, in your personal life AND bookwise ^^

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    1. It must have been quite challenging teaching from home. I don't know if I would have been able to do that. I hope 2021 is good to you too!

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  2. Interesting! I found myself reading more “fun” books. For me, fun is horror, fantasy, and other things that are too far-fetched to be realistic. The realistically depressing books are all still sitting on my shelf. I also started running longer distances in 2020, which means I listened to a lot of audiobooks.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Truth. The world was way to heavy to bring too much weight into my entertainment. That's awesome that you were progressing with your fitness plan. I did get to exercise more this year, since I was work from home, but I sit around a lot more too.

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  3. I agree that writing many reviews feel like a job Sam! I have felt it since two months now and came up with mini reviews for books I enjoyed and full reviews for books that blew me away!

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    1. That's a good approach, and it's great you found a way that works well for you

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  4. I totally agree that "time was a gift" - it was one of the nice things that came out of 2020. I read way more than I normally do in a year, because I had so much more free time! It would have been nice to do things like go on vacation, but I read a lot of fantastic books, too.

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    1. I am bad. The more time I have, the more I waste, but at least I kept my normal pace. That's awesome that you were able to use your time well.

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  5. I had a hard time with political books or books that were overly angsty or sad. I just wanted happy books this year.

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    1. The last five years have made me take a quick U-turn from anything political. I felt bombarded by it everywhere, and books were my escape. I could handle sad, if I was in the right mental place, but I always need to be in the mood for high angst books. Happy books are always welcome

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  6. My reading habits didn't change a lot, other than making a true effort to read more perspectives outside my own, but boy did my blogging take a hit! I appreciate those of you who kept on chugging along in the blogging world.

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    1. I imagine those with school aged children had more hats to wear. You had to do your own job and then make sure your kids' educations were still happening. It could not have been easy

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  7. I love this!! I am so sick of politics and seeing it bombard our lives in a way it never has. Its the hatred of it all that bothers me to no end. Love and understanding is a beautiful thing. I hope we get more of that in 2021. Hope you have a wonderful New Years and that this upcoming year is a good one for you and your family.

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    1. I am awestruck by the amount of money political campaigns raise for mudslinging. I wish candidates used their time to talk about themselves, their platform, their accomplishments, rather all the "opinions" they have about their opponent. I am with you, more love, understanding, and open mindedness too. We've lost that. I hope the year is fantastic for you and yours as well.

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  8. "Writing five reviews a week started to feel like a job. [...] Now with so many of my peers MIA and abandoning all hope of growing, I can enjoy my reading more. I think my reviews are better when I am not writing as many too, so it's a win all around."
    I'm lucky because I'm not drawn to as many books as most readers seem to be (whatever the genre) - as in, I'm picky 😂. Because yep, whether it's 5 reviews a week or a month or a semester, it does suck the joy out of reading sometimes.

    My reading hasn't changed at all because of the pandemic. I still read the same amount of pages and gravitate towards the same genres. Anyhow, I've never read much dystopia to begin with (only a few selected books), but if I ever had consumed lots of it, I'm sure I would have stopped reading it altogether, at least until I could look back to the whole Covid thing from a distance...

    Have a great reading and blogging year Sam!

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    1. Oddly enough, I know a lot of people who found comfort (?!) in dystopians this year. Go figure. I hate to make it sound like I don't like sharing my thoughts on books, because I do. It just can be a lot when I feel like I HAVE to write that more thoughtful review, versus just sharing a few thoughts, you know?

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  9. I was reading more and thought that I would have a record year...until I bought a house on a whim. I am glad we did it and I also think that it was good that we were so busy we didn't have time to think about the pandemic. I did find that I was happiest mood reading this year.

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    1. That house was a big project, but now you have a great reading room and plow through 2021. I remember you saying you were doing more mood reading, which I think is always such a success.

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  10. I definitely found myself going more towards feel-good romances this year - especially ones that made me laugh. And like you, I didn't want any politics in my romances! I am so over all the negativity and hate being thrown around. I just wanted books that made me happy!

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    1. Truth! I think that's why I took a step back from social media. I loved checking in with my people, but it was so toxic and depressing, and everyone shares things without context or even validating it. I just can't. But, there was romances for us, and they were good things.

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    2. Yeah, I pulled back from social media, too. So thankful to all of the bloggers out there that are more into building each other up rather than tearing others down. And yay for the romances!!

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    3. I second that emotion about being supportive.

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  11. Romance was definitely my top genre in 2020! And I had a goal to request less ARCs, but all of a sudden I started getting invited to read more by the publishers. It's so hard to say no! I'm going to try again in 2021. I would LOVE to get to more of the books that are already on my shelves. Happy Reading!

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    1. I am guilty of clicking those widgets, but I have gotten better, or more discriminating? Good luck reading your shelves.

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  12. Great topic Sam!

    As you know my reading was almost non existent. Also, I just could not read romance. Which is so weird because it's normally my escape genre. Instead audio saved the day and I gravitated towards things I wouldn't normally read like Daisy Jones, fantasy, angsty YA, even non fiction.

    I don't really consider it a slump though. I am having fun doing other things and I'll just let myself naturally return back to reading whenever it happens.

    Happy new year!

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I have never had a slump, but I like the way you look at it. You are still reading, if you are listening to audiobooks, but it's interesting that your escape genre isn't calling to you.

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  13. I read more non-review books this year--and took on less review books. Things were crazy. I needed less obligations, so I could give myself rest.

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    1. Agreed. I have featured a lot of my non-review books, but I like that I don't have to.

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  14. Yep, my reading dived off a cliff but it's okay. I'm hopeful that this year, even though it's not going to be normal, will be much better (and better in every way).

    I'm glad that your family came through last year ok and that your work was flexible in finding you a position so you didn't have to commute. Last year really showed me how lucky my husband and I are in our employer for the support and flexibility they showed too.

    I have no idea how you managed to write 5 reviews a week! I'd be writing one liner, "it was fine," reviews by the time I reached number three! :)

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    1. Five full-on reviews is hard. It's been much better for me now. It's great your job was flexible. I dread going back, but I am hoping maybe they will swing shift, not every day in the office, since space is an issue and I am thinking we will be distancing from this day forward. Curious to what the office will be like when we return.

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