Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday Salon: 2020 in review

Well......what a year 2020 was hey?

I thought I should put my review post for last year together today, otherwise it is going to be June and I won't have done it yet.

Reading wise, last year was a pleasant surprise for me. I set my Goodreads goal at 50 books, thinking that was going to be quite optimistic, but by the end of the year I had revised that up to 75 books, and I exceeded that goal as well. 10 years ago I would have been horrified at reading 75 books in a year but now I think that goal feels about right. My best reading year since I started recording my reads was 243, but the worst during my prolonged reading slump was only 13 so 75 seems like a happy medium.

First off, I never got around to doing my monthly posts for November and December so I'll do that first. Things got very hectic at work at the end of the year and I only finished 3 books from mid November and one of those was an audio that it took me a couple of months to get through, so it's not even as though I read the full book in that month.

My November reads were:

From a Paris Balcony by Ella Carey (3.5/5) - The third and final book in the Paris Balcony trilogy by Australian author Ella Carey. Read my review here.

The Lost Village by Danielle Sacerdoti (4.5/5) - I really enjoyed this novel set in a small Italian village. See my review here.

Wildflower Ridge by Maya Linnell (3.5/5) - This is the debut novel by Australian author Maya Linnell. I learnt of this author via her posts on Instagram. I need to read the follow up novel soon.

The Flip Side by James Bailey (4/5) - This was a fun premise. A man is turned down when he proposes to his long term girlfriend, and vows to make all of his life decisions based on the flip of a coin.

And in December

Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan  (4/5) - I have really enjoyed all of the books set on Mure and thsi was no exception. Unfortunately it took me a good couple of months to listen to this book because it was just too hard to listen to while I have been so busy at work!

Clean Slate by Zoe Foster Blake (2/5) - I thought I would try this book, which I guess is more of a novella, because it was a short listen. I enjoyed the narrator, Australian actor Stephen Curry, but oh, my goodness, the characters were awful. 

So let's have a look at the stats for 2020 shall we.

I gave four books the maximum rating possible of 5/5. They were 

 The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke  (review)

The Goldminer's Sister by Alison Stuart (review)

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman (review)

The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte (review)

The pleasing thing is that 3 out of these 4 books are by Australian authors. 

One of the ways that things did change for me a lot last year was that I read a lot more e-books than usual. I have had an e-book reader of some description for many years now, but I never really considered it my main format for reading. I was always more a paper reader, with a few e-books thrown in, but not anymore. Now, it seems, I have to make a concerted effort to pick up a paper book.

My ratio of male to female authors was at it's normal lopsided state with 8 books read by male authors. To be honest, when I was looking at my spreadsheet I had to look twice to check if that was right because it seemed kind of high! One of those was my sole non-fiction book for the year which was John Baxter's book, Saint-Germain-des-Pres: Paris's Rebel Quarter, which I read in anticipation of our trip to Paris which never actually happened!

Genre wise,  I stayed very much in my swim lane, with the vast majority of the books I read being either historical fiction, women's fiction or romance, with just occasional forays into other genres. I did have to do a double take when I was looking at my spreadsheet and saw a horror book there, but then realised it was Sun Down Motel by Simone St James, which I actually enjoyed a lot.

Of the 77 books I read, 40 were from new to me authors, which I have to say is surprising!

38 of the books I read were by Australian authors which I am pleased with. Of course, I should diversify as I know that there are a ton of great international authors, both female and male, that I am missing out on but I am also more than happy to support the local industry and authors as much as I possibly can.

Not surprisingly, most of my books were new releases, but there are a few older ones!

I have never been much of a re-reader. This year my re-reads were the first two books in the Poison Study series, Poison Study and Magic Study. I thoroughly enjoyed going back to the world of Ixia and I do intend to read more. I also read the third book, and have had the fourth book sitting on my shelf for at least 10 years so it might be time

This year, I have set my goal for 75 again. I am going to try and stay off Netgalley. I say that despite the fact that this morning I saw a post from Viola Shipman talking about his next book and someone commented that it is available on Netgalley and I was like okay, I need to log on NOW, so let's see how that goes shall we?

In blogging news, I was back with a vengeance this year after not blogging at all in 2019! And I am here to stay! I have to be now that I am hosting Weekend Cooking each week, and also hosting the Historical Fiction Reading challenge! I do have a couple of other ideas brewing, one of which is to do with music so hopefully that will come to fruition shortly.

And what have I learnt today? I need to do a crash course in doing graphs in the latest versions of Excel because I just could not work that out when I was doing this post! That will be my challenge for the coming week!


  1. Congratulations on getting your review post for 2020 in. I'm most interested in seeing the best of the best, and that's what these posts do. I've scribbled down From a Paris Balcony and John Baxter's Saint-Germain-des-Pres because, well, Paris.

    You tend to go toward the new books, and I like that, as I, in recent years, have pushed back against those and headed toward the old. I have, fortunately for me, never liked NetGalley, so I completely stay away from it.

    I do plan to do more Weekend Cooking posts this year. I started out the year with a pie baking book, and I ended up checking out two others, all published recently. I need to do a pie baking book post soon, I think.

    1. I prefectly understand the Paris thing Deb! I definitely need to stay away from Netgalley I think! But there is soething about the thrill of reading a new book before it comes out!

  2. Hi there Marg! I will have to come by again to have a nice look at all your great reads for 2020. Definitely a few I want to take a look at.

    I've seen you doing the Weekend Cooking and it seems as if you are enjoying it! That's great!

    Have a good week and a wonderful 2021!

  3. Jenny Colgan and Viola Shipman are on my must read list for the first half of this year!

  4. I have The Lost Village on my radar and hope to read it soon. Now you've got me so curious about The Heirloom Garden. I hope you have another great reading year!

    1. I hope you do read The Heirloom Garden Laura!

  5. It sounds like overall you had a good reading year, Marg. My male to female author ratio leans more towards the females significantly too. Especially since I began blogging. I've always found that fact interesting. I haven't read any of your favorites, but they all sound so good! I hope you have a great reading year in 2021.

    1. Overall not too bad! Looking forward to see what 2021 brings!