Hello friends! As we get closer and closer to the end of this wretched year, we decided to share five end of the year posts with you. We’ve been working on these for a few weeks, so we’re excited to see your reaction to them. 🤎 Today, we brought you a sort of general recap of 2020 where we talk briefly about our reading year, discuss our thoughts on blogging this year, and also share a couple of things that happened in our personal lives. Hope you’ll enjoy!
Let’s not sugarcoat it: we all know this year has been a total disaster for a lot of people, some more than others, and that it looks to be continuing that way for some too. I don’t want to dwell on this too much, but know that I am hoping and praying for the best as I’m sure you all are too.
I am glad I can say that at least, there has been a lot of good amongst the bad. My favourite thing that happened this year is that my sister returned to Australia after studying and playing basketball for almost eight months in Nebraska in the United States. It was a massive relief to have her here with the family this year and it has been great to have her company again. I’m really proud of what she accomplished overseas and what she is continuing to accomplish here in Australia – she just got her grades back for this semester of university and they were so good!
I have also enjoyed speaking to my friends online more frequently and having virtual cooking sessions with some of them. I think we have truly realised how precious the time we manage to spend together is. It has also been a joy to get to know Vera better over this year and participate in more activities together – like buddy reads, watching movies and Chloe Ting challenges – than simply blogging.
The final thing to mention is that I am happy about three butterflies that decided this was the year they were going to hatch. You can read the whole story in our November Wrap Up. It was definitely a highlight of the year.
Before I get started – I wanted to give a small warning that the third and fourth paragraphs discuss working out and losing weight, in case that is triggering for some of you. 💛
2020 has been a horrible year, I don’t even know how to sugarcoat that. I’m extremely lucky in that I’ve been studying from home since mid-March, even if online school is… not great. Most of our professors have little to no empathy, many of them actually wanting more from us than they would in a “normal” semester. I’m so very tired of university at this point, and I have a thesis to write and another semester to get through. Even worse is that I just don’t know what’s going to happen when I finish uni – the job market is not doing particularly well right now, so uh, I’m stressed.
A good aspect of online school is that two of my friends from university and I have been buddy-watching nearly everything we have to watch for university. (Sometimes this is four movies a week, and no, I’m not on a film degree, lmao.) We watch the film with headphones and have our phones on speaker so we can talk to each other while watching the films. It’s way more fun to watch the films this way than on our own or in class where we had to keep quiet, so this is something I really appreciate.
In terms of friendships, quarantine has been weird. I think I became closer to two of my friends, even though we were only able to meet a couple of times during 2020. They were already close friends of mine, don’t get me wrong, but quarantine made us closer, which is surprising to me. With one of them, I have frequent skype calls and we buddy watch quite a lot of movies (weekly, or bi-weekly), and we chat / check on each other every day. Unfortunately, the friends who are not great at texting and don’t like talking on the phone or via video calls have been harder to stay in contact with, but I’m glad to say that we still managed.
During quarantine, I saw many people start working out with the help of Chloe Ting’s workouts, so I decided to give it a try with one of my friends. Even when we turned to different workout programs, we were still able to cheer each other on and to celebrate our accomplishments. After talking about the workouts with Sabrina, we also started one together, and similarly to my other friend, we have been encouraging each other even as we were doing different programs. I’ve also been walking 10.000 steps a day and a few months ago I hit the 100th consecutive day where I walked 10,000 steps.
I don’t think I ever had an unhealthy relationship with my weight or my body, but I’ve wanted to shed some kilos since high school when I put on a bit of weight. Long story short, I was excused from PE during high school, which means that I haven’t been working out since I was 15… and I’m, uh, 24 now. 😳 I didn’t know if it was possible to lose weight just by working out, but I wanted to try, and I was successful. I’ve also been recording what I eat just to know my calorie intake – and to be able to talk myself out of that extra bit of chocolate – but I have not (and will not) starve myself or lower my calorie intake below the normal level. There’s more but I’m not going to go on and on because I firmly believe that our bodies don’t define us, but I’m proud of myself, and can’t wait to continue my fitness journey, if it can be called that. 🙈 Mayhap 2021 will bring me some muscles? One can but hope.
One massive change in my life this year has been blogging at Wordy and Whimsical. I am so grateful I was invited by Vera to join the blog – it has made a huge positive impact on my life, giving me purpose and joy. It had been so long since I’d been a part of this community that I had forgotten how much fun it was. And, I could not ask for a better co-blogger than Vera! She is so organised, supportive and entertaining!
Of course, there have also been some unexpected challenges, like trying to keep up with comments. I could probably write a whole essay about why this is difficult for me (honestly it all just boils down to anxiety), but I am hoping to become better at this in 2021 and I have some plans in place to help me with that.
I’m happy to say that I think I have improved over the year with a few blogging things – such as the way I decide to lay out my posts and creating images for post headers. I remember being very unhappy with some of the headers I created at the beginning of the year, so it is a relief that I don’t feel that disappointment too often anymore. I’m also happy with the majority of the posts I’ve published over the year and I am so glad to realise that as long as I keep reading books, I won’t run out of ideas. “A Bunch of Bookish Coincidences” was a fun and satisfying one to put together after tracking the coincidences I came across for a bit over a month. “Recommending Books Based on Folklore by Taylor Swift” was also so much fun to work on with Vera and I got the excuse to listen to some wonderful songs on repeat for a while – it was nice to see that everyone else seemed to like it too! The final post I want to mention my first solo post, “10 Reasons Why I Love My Favourite Books”, because I loved talking about my favourites and explaining what draws me in to a story.
Two massive changes happened to Wordy and Whimsical during 2020; one good and one bad one. First, the bad to get it out of the way – after an extended hiatus, Ruzi decided to leave blogging behind. We don’t know what the future might bring, but as of right now, it didn’t make sense for her to wait for her love of reading and blogging to come back. Secondly, but no less importantly – I got a fantastic co-blogger in Sabrina towards the beginning of the year. I love working with Sabrina on W&W; she is so creative and she makes incredible posts. I’m really thankful she felt like joining me on Wordy and Whimsical. 🥰
As for stats – here’s the thing, I know we don’t have the fastest growth but I’m really proud of the growth we do have and how our starts have been rather consistent in the past few months. Unfortunately, we still have posts that don’t do very well – ones that I think should have done much better, to be honest – but I’m satisfied with where we are at the moment, and I’m looking forward to everything 2021 will bring for our blog. I have a lot of exciting posts planned, and I’m hoping we can keep growing W&W.
Not sure if this is an arrogant thing to say, but I’m very satisfied with the content I’ve been putting out this year – and actually, since we moved here to W&W in 2019. I just love our little blog so much and I want to create posts I’m proud of, and I think I’ve been able to do that. 🥺 I’m probably the proudest of my “Ranking Emma Mills’ Novels” post, not only because a lot of work went into it, but also because you all seemed to love it. For our sixth blogiversary, Sabrina and I had a great time creating “The Flower Book Tag,” even if only about three bloggers decided to do it, haha. Another post I’m really happy with was “My Audiobook Journey” where I discussed how I’d gotten into audiobooks and gave you all some tips.
I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this has been a good reading year for me. My average star rating this year has been about 3.6, which I am not too unhappy about. I know I have become very picky about which books I give 5 stars to too, which has probably contributed a lot to that. I’ve also read a lot more pages than, uh, any other year of my life, so that is something I am happy with too.
Going by my own tracking (using this amazing Google Spreadsheet from Word Wonders), the primary genre I have read the most of is fantasy. Overall though, I would have thought the genre I read most was contemporary, but The Storygraph tells me it was fantasy too. The biggest change I’ve noticed between this year and last year though is that I have read a lot more romance-focused books – ones where romance is the main genre, not just a byproduct of other genres. I also think I’ve read more literary fiction and classics, but those numbers are still quite low, lol.
Some other statistics that I think are interesting:
– Approximately 70% of the books I read were from authors I’d not read from before
– About 73% of books I read were by female authors
– Over a quarter of the books I read were published in 2019
– Over 50% of my reads fit in the adult age range
My reading year was pretty good – as of December 10, I’ve read 154 books, which is already a bit more than I read last year. That being said, my reading fluctuated all through 2020, and I blame two things for this (1) the pandemic, and (2) university. As I said, this semester was difficult, and I think most of you will be able to relate to being scared and anxious over the pandemic, which obviously affected my reading. During my best reading month, I read 22 books, while during my worst months, I read only 8. Anyhow, I’m just glad I read at all, and obviously I’m chuffed about reading more than I read last year.
This was the first time I used a google document – namely Kal‘s wonderfully comprehensive one that she makes freely available every year – to keep track of my reading, and it definitely won’t be the last. It was incredibly easy to use it and I was surprised by some of the stats. Firstly, I read more than twice as many adult novels as young adult, with only one new adult and three middle grade novels thrown into the mix. I knew that I’ve been reading more adult books in the last couple of years, but I really didn’t expect there to be such a big difference between the number of YA and Adult books I read.
The genres were less surprising for me: my most read genre was Romance, followed by Contemporary and Fantasy. As some of you might know, I love rereading and I usually reread quite a few books every year… not 2020, though. Okay, so I did reread 13 books and that’s not bad, but that was mostly during the first few months of the year, so had I read the same amount later in the year, I’d have at least double this number. I use rereads mostly as comfort reads, so it may be surprising that I stopped rereading during the pandemic. The reason for that is that I discovered the wonderful world of fanfiction – I actually never read fanfiction when I was younger – and fanfiction has been such a comfort for me. It’s the best combination of something I already know (i.e. the characters) and something new, because the stories or scenes fanfiction writers tell are all different. Anyhow, if you are looking for Magnus Archives fanfiction? I’m ready to flood you with recommendations.
How have your 2020 been? Have you been reading more or less during the pandemic than you would normally? Have you been able to keep in contact with your loved ones? What’s a post you loved working on this year? Share it with us so we can check it out!