Featured Reflection

2021 Year-End Reading Review

What I Read

I read 175 books in 2021, compared with 146 in 2020.

2021 Reads by Type

  • 86 novels
  • 21 novellas
  • 30 non-fiction books
  • 38 graphic novels and art books

2021 Reads by Genre

Of the 107 novellas and novels I read, here’s the breakdown by genre:

  • 86 romance
    • 20 contemporary romance
    • 22 sci-fi romance
    • 7 fantasy romance
    • 14 paranormal romance
    • 29 historical romance
  • 8 sci-fi
  • 9 fantasy
  • 4 general fiction

Reading Stats

  • 133 unique authors
  • 82 new-to-me authors (61% of authors read)
  • 24 re-reads from previous years (21% of novels and novellas read)
  • 61 self-published and small press books (35% of books read)
    • 43 novels and novellas
    • 4 non-fiction
    • 14 graphic novels and art books
  • 132 books by women (75%), 29 books by men (17%), 6 books by openly non-binary and trans authors (3%)
  • Of 96 books I picked out to read in 2021 at the start of the year, I read 24 and DNF’d 22
  • DNF’d 57 books overall

Books by Author Diversity

  • 7 books by Black authors (6 unique authors)
  • 24 books by Asian authors (16 unique authors)
  • 2 books by a Latina author (1 unique author)
  • 15 books by LGBTQ+ authors (15 unique authors)
  • 2 books by disabled or openly neurodiverse authors (2 unique authors) (I didn’t count authors with mental health issues as neurodiverse)

In total, 50 of the books I read were written by BIPOC, queer, and disabled authors — 29% of the unique books I read (up slightly from 25% in 2020).

Novels by Diversity of Characters

  • 6 books with Black main characters
  • 13 books with Asian main characters
  • 2 books with Latinx main characters
  • 27 books with LGBTQ+ main characters
  • 5 books with disabled main characters
  • 7 books with neurodiverse main characters (autistic, ADHD, or unspecified)

In total, 50 of the books I read had main characters that were queer, disabled, or BIPOC — 47% of the fiction books I read (up from 37% in 2020).

Favorite New Reads



Not Romance

Graphic Novels and Art Books


How I Read

I like to have one non-fiction book going that I’ll spread out over several weeks, but prefer to binge-read fiction in one or two sittings. Much of the fiction I read is for enjoyment, though I often try to pay attention to story structure and character development to figure out what works and doesn’t, especially for self-published books and books in the genre I write.

In December 2020, I created a list of books to read in 2021. I tried to include a diverse spectrum of books and authors to help me keep reading broadly. For the first few months I used that list to guide my reading, but came across a lot of duds. I shifted to reading what I felt like.

Once I was double-vaxxed in June, I started getting comics and art books from the library again, so I read a good number of comics over the summer.

In an attempt to help with my sleep issues, I spent several months in the late summer / fall getting off all screens at 10pm, including my Kindle, but gave up on that because I was sick of not being able to read what I wanted. I vastly prefer reading on Kindle except for comics and art books, which I basically refuse to read on screen.

In November, I ordered a Kindle Paperwhite as a compromise that theoretically is less screen-like than the Kindle Fire. It came with a 3-month Kindle Unlimited subscription, so in December I focused on reading self-pubbed books, trying to read more books in the sci-fi romance genre.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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