Year of reading 2020 Part 2: Statistics

After the list of my 2020 favorites, here are my statistics.
Then tomorrow you can see the fun I had with the titles I read in 2020.

Year of reading 2020
Part 2: Statistics

As I wrote yesterday, if I personally didn’t experience a reading block this past year due to Covid-19, as unfortunately several other book bloggers went through, still, these statistics reveal some major new trends in my recent reading habits.

Ok, let’s go into numbers:

My total numbers of books read/listened to is actually the highest ever since I have started tracking it seriously through Goodreads and Google sheets:
76 books reads (90 in 2019), and 47 listened to (28 in 2019) = 123, which is an average of 10.25/month (118 books in 2019, with a monthly average of 9.8).

Books read in 2020:
. That’s an average of 7.5/month
Total of 20,317 pages (23,033 in 2019), which is an average of 55 pages/day (63 in 2019).
That’s an average of 267 pages/book (255 in 2019).

So I read far less books and pages (3 thousand less!), but the books I read were slightly bigger than in 2019 – probably because I read less mangas!

Books listened to in 2020:
[28 in 2019]. This is an average of 3.9/month (2.3 in 2019)
Total of 16,937 mn (14,323 min in 2019) with an average of 46 mn/day (39 in 2019)
That’s an average of about 6 hours/audiobook. (8 hours/audiobook in 2019).

As you can see, the major difference is an explosion in audiobooks: 67% more than in 2019!
The content is mostly my two audiobooks projects: I meant to reread the whole Bible, and decided to do it as audiobooks. And I’m in the process of listening to the whole Hercule Poirot canon, as I did for Sherlock Holmes.
But more audiobook time means also more cleaning around the house and exercise!

In graphs, this is what it looks like:

2020 average pages_day

So quite erratic!

2020 average minutes_day

It definitely increases with Covid!!
And becomes nice and steady, whereas last year it was very inconsistent.

2020 genre

Nice diversity, with each group more represented.
More mystery, but also 7% more nonfiction than last year.
And historical fiction still decreasing.

2020 format

Less graphic novel than last year.
But 13% more audiobooks!

2020 authors

4% more female authors than last year.
Though male/female doesn’t matter for me,
as long as they know how t write well!

2020 nationality

5 less nationalities than last year,
probably due to the fact that this year, I wasn’t on
the Man Booker International Prize Shadow Panel

2020 languages

5 less nationalities than last year,
due to the same reason as above.

Still, I’m glad that 50% was not originally written in English

In translation: 48 [51 in 2019]:

  • 17 from the Japanese
  • 15 from the Hebrew
  • 5 from the French
  • 4 from the Greek
  • 3 from the Russian
  • 2 from the Chinese
  • 1 from the Spanish
  • 1 from the German

29 in original language: in French (16 in 2019)

Out of a Total of 79 authors (90 in 2020)
34 were new to me (43%. It was 58% in 2018)
It reflects my desire to read more of he authors I love.

Books by the same author: 50 [32 in 2018]
(which goes along with the above number):
11 by Agatha Christie
9 by Georges Simenon
4 by Haruki Murakami
4 by Franck Thilliez
3 by Natsume Soseki
3 by Michel Bussi
and 2 by Hirimu Arakawa, Mary Oliver, Nnedi Okorafor, Katherine Applegate, Antoine Laurain, Sylvain Tesson, Nicolas Beuglet, and Maxiums the Confessor.

17 (mostly Bible books).
And I also read twice a book by Michel Bussi (one as audio, and then again in print with one of my students),
and twice a book by Maximus the Confessor, in two different translations.

Oldest: The Book of Judges (8th BC)
Newest: And the Earth Will Sit on the Moon – rescheduled publication for April 6, 2021.

2020 publication year

Wow, only 50% of very recent books. Thanks to my Classics project
If I count Biblical books, I actually read 47 classics,
that is 38% of all my 2020 books

2020 source

Most books bought are part of my EStories audio subscription.
4% less books received for review than last year,
preferring to go with books on my shelf or on my TBR – 
thanks to my public library!
Among the free books are a lot of audio through youtube

33 countries these books led me to (21 last year):
France (34),
Japan (18), Israel (15), England (15), US (12)
Russia (6), Egypt (3)
2 were set in Namibia, Iran, Poland, Italy, Iles Marquises
1 was set in Wales, Peru, Iceland, Spain, Argentina, Turkey, Iraq, Switzerland, Brazil, Antarctica, Ireland, Australia, The Netherlands, Tibet, Germany, Belgium, Lebanon, China, Hong-Kong, and Norway.
Plus Space (2), the digital virtual world, old Mesopotamia, and mythology.

I also visited 7 US States:
Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia

Shortest book: Civil Disobedience, by Thoreau –  33 pages

Longest book: The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel 757 pages

Shortest audiobook: The Book of Esther – 28 minutes

Longest audiobook: Atomka, by Franck Thilliez – 17H10

Funniest: Complètement cramé, by Gilles Legardinier

Most Unique Book: Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor – a mix of Himba culture and science-fiction!

Most tearjerker: Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate

Most disappointing: Foundation, by Asimov

Creepy: Atomka, by Franck Thilliez

Eye-opener: L’Humanité en péril, by Fred Vargas – very detailed info on catastrophic results on how we have been treating our planet

Best reading companion: Lessons from Walden, by Bob Pepperman Taylor, on books by Thoreau

Beautiful illustrations: Goddess Power, by Yung In Chae

Biggest discovery: Nnedi Okorafor, Serge Joncour, Jo Walton

Favorite characters of the year:
Alex (Eagle Strike), Maime (Au Soleil redouté), Kate (Three Hours in Paris), François (If You Cross the River), De Marco (No Woods So Dark as These). Andrew (Complètement cramé), Bob (The One and Only Bob), Armand Gamache (All the Devils are Here), and Zyzo (La Chute du soleil de fer).

Classics I finally got to read:
If I count Biblical books, I actually read 47 classics, that is 38% of all my 2019 books
The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura
The trilogy Sanshiro / And Then / The Gate, by Natsume Soseki
Selected Poems, by Masaoka Shiki
The Haunted Bookshop, by Christopher Morley
Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau
Foundation, by Isaac Asimov
The Letter Killers Club, by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
A Child’s Christmas in Wales
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
The first 9 books by Simenon
The first 11 books with Hercule Poirot

Books present for a while on my TBR that I finally got to read (other than the classics just mentioned):
The Ten Loves of Nishino, by Hiromi Kawakami
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World; A Wild Sheep Chase; The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
If You Cross the River, by Geneviève Damas
The Vexations, by Caitlin Horrocks
La grande escapade, by Jean-Philippe Blondel
A Very Russian Christmas – a collection of Russian Christmas stories
La Femme au carnet rouge, by Antoine Laurain
L’Énigme de la chambre 622, by Joël Dicker

Which authors new to me in 2020 that I now want to keep reading?
Chan Ho-Kei, Joncour, Andrea, Myamoto, McConaghy. Jo Walton, Geneviève Damas, Stephen Baxter, and Nnedi Okorafor

New Series I want to pursue:
Flood, by Stephen Baxter
N.E.O. by Michel Bussi

Best title:
Killer Come Back to me
Écouter le noir

Longest book title:
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami

Shortest book title:
Luca, by Franck Thilliez









Year of reading 2020: Part 1 – My top 18

Year of reading 2020
Part 1
 My top 18

To follow my tradition, here is part 1 of my yearly recap.
There is a total of 3 parts:

  1. my favorites, with my usual categories, see here below
  2. my stats
  3. my fun list with titles

2020 was a difficult year for many book bloggers, due to problems to focus on anything beside Covid-19. It actually ended up being my best year of reading ever, since I started keeping  track. With a total of 123 books.
BUT I did experience something very different this year in my reading trends. I’ll talk more about this tomorrow when I present my year stats.

The final choice here below is based on the quality of the book, on how it resonated with me and my own experience, and on how it stayed with me. Some of these books may actually have got only 4 out 5 Eiffel Towers at the time I read them.


click on the covers to access either my review,
or the Goodreads page for the titles I have not reviewed yet


Fiction Historical Fiction NonFiction Mystery
The Readers' Room The Girl Behind the Wall Upstream All the Devils Are Here


Fiction Historical Fiction NonFiction Mystery
If You Cross the River L'humanité en péril Killer Come Back to Me


Fiction              Historical Fiction NonFiction Mystery
                                          Three Hours in Paris La Panthère des neiges Pandemia



  Migrations Flood


A Thousand Mornings


The One and Only Bob



Silver Spoon 2


Theological Territories



Out of the 18, my favorite of all might be The Girl Behind the Wall.
I also notice that 7 are either in French (3), translated from the French (2), or set in France (2). That’s 38%.









Sunday Post #33 – 12/13/2020

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news.
A post to recap the past week on your blog,
showcase books and things we have received.
Share news about what is coming up
on your blog
for the week ahead.
See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


This post also counts for

Sunday Salon    Stacking the Shelves  Mailbox Monday2

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2  IMWAYR  WWW Wednesdays 2

#SundayPost #SundaySalon
#StackingTheShelves #MailboxMonday
#itsmonday #IMWAYR
#WWWWednesday #WWWWednesdays

Click on the logos to join the memes,
and on the book covers to access synopsis or review

The weather has been crazy here in Chicagoland so far this season, with most days in the 40s, warmer than formal. I even had lunch outside one day, when the real feel was 63. And now, twenty for hours of rain. Though I’ll take it, instead of snow. I’ll be talking more about the weather here below.


The Vexations  La grande escapade

Silver Spoon 2

📚 The Vexations, by Caitlin Horrocks
Published in 2019
Lent by a friend

I was disappointed by this historical novel, which actually focuses more on Erik Satie‘s sister than on himself.
Besides, I had problems with the structure of the book. Each chapter is written from of the main character’s perspective, but with no apparent logic structure. For instance, you can have one chapter about Erik, and then about Louise decades later in Brazil or earlier. There’s no regular back and forth between Satie’s time and his sister’s latest years.
I don’t mind a collection of vignettes, but they seemed randomly distributed.
Also, the author focuses on Satie’s poverty and hard time at having his music recognized, and then suddenly he is selling his works, with no clear sign of an evolution, how that happened.
Bu there ARE some neat passages on Satie’s music and the ambiance of the time, like in these 3 examples:

The Vexations p22

Page 22

The Vexations p74

Page 74

The Vexations p150

Page 150

The book also made me rediscover Debussy’s orchestrations of the Gymnopédies. I had totally forgotten them, and was recently just listening to the work for piano solo. The orchestration is so ample, like you are viewing a vast horizon. Beautiful. For instance here.

📚 La grande escapade, by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Published in 2019, book received through

I have very much enjoyed other books by this author, especially The 6:41 to Paris, but alas I was also disappointed by this one.
I have to admit it is a good portrait of France in the 1970s, especially in a rather small place, and there are some really hilarious passages. But the context of teachers, students and parents in grade school didn’t really interest me that much.

📚 Silver Spoon #2, by Hiromu Arakawa
Published in 2018

I love manga, but I am very picky. I really enjoy this one, quite original in his content:
“A young boy named Yugo Hachiken aspires to live apart from his family. He enrolls in an agriculture school, one which requires its students to live in dormitories. He thinks that with his talent for studying, no problems will arise no matter what kind of school he goes to. But he is soon forced to discover the inconvenient truth about agricultural life. Enjoy the story of Hachiken as he tries to keep up with his friends, farmers’ heirs who are already accustomed to a hardworking farm life.”
In this 2nd volume, the students have discovered a very old pizza oven. They work together to fix it, and Yugo Hachiken organizes a team to prepare and sell pizzas. He is getting more realistic and self-confident. Then he decides to work as a farm hand during his vacation.
I enjoy how his inner growth is portrayed.


 The Letter Killers Club

Flood red notebook

📚The Letter Killers Club (1926), by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Published in 1926
This is the book I got for Classics Spin #25.
I presented it in my December titles post.

I haven’t read too much of it yet, besides the excellent introduction in this edition.
This author sounds to have written in a post-modernist style way ahead of his time. No wonder he had a hard time making a living.
Sounds like a collection of really weird stories. The first story focuses on an author who gets rids of his books to be able to write better.

📚 Flood, by Stephen Baxter
Published in 2008

One of my French students loves science fiction and sent me this book by his favorite author in the genre. Waters are rising, flooding London, Sydney, and many more places. What’s really going on? It seems it’s much worse than “just” global warming. I’m curious to discover what’s coming! Have you read it?

📚 The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain
Published in 2014
Reading in French with my French Book Club on Discord

I really enjoy this author, and highly recommend his latest book The Readers’ Room, but I had actually never read this one. Very enjoyable so far.

“Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There’s nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there’s all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?”


A Very Russian Christmas

📚 A Very Russian Christmas: The Greatest Russian Holiday Stories of All Time
Published in 2016 by New Vessel Press

‘Tis the season!
New Vessel Press, which exclusively publishes great books in translation, has published already five books in this series. I have read and really enjoyed the one on French Christmas stories, so I decided to read the Russian one this year.


Project Hail Mary Penguin Book of Christmas Stories

📚 Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
Expected publication: May 4th 2021 by Ballantine Books

I gave 5 stars to The Martian, so I’m ready for this one!
“Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.”

📚 The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories: From Hans Christian Andersen to Angela Carter
Published in 2019
I only found out about this one, so that will probably be for my 2021 Christmas!

“This is a collection of the most magical, moving, chilling and surprising Christmas stories from around the world, taking us from frozen Nordic woods to glittering Paris, a New York speakeasy to an English country house, bustling Lagos to midnight mass in Rio, and even outer space.
Here are classic tales from writers including Truman Capote, Shirley Jackson, Dylan Thomas, Saki and Chekhov, as well as little-known treasures such as Italo Calvino’s wry sideways look at Christmas consumerism, Wolfdietrich Schnurre’s story of festive ingenuity in Berlin, Selma Lagerlof’s enchanted forest in Sweden, and Irène Nemerovsky’s dark family portrait. Featuring santas, ghosts, trolls, unexpected guests, curmudgeons and miracles, here is Christmas as imagined by some of the greatest short story writers of all time.”


Ready Player Two

📚 Ready Player Two, by Eernest Cline
Audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton

Published on November 24, 2020

Seven years after listening to Ready Player One, I can still say this is the best audiobook I have EVER listened to, thanks to the stunning performance of narrator Wil Wheaton.
I’m thrilled that there was just an Audible free trial!

“An unexpected quest. Two worlds at stake. Are you ready?
Days after Oasis founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vault, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the Oasis a thousand times more wondrous, and addictive, than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle and a new quest. A last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade’s life and the future of the Oasis are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.”


📚 12/6 Spiritual reading: Psalm 118: A Commentary by Saint Theophan the Recluse.
I read about verses 53-58
I finally finished The Vexations, by Caitlin Horrocks. Some nice passages on Satie’s music, but overall disappointing. See my review.
I almost finished La grande escapade, by Blondel. I didn’t remember so much humor in the previous books I read by him. It’s not my favorite element in novels, but I have to say, some passages made me laugh out loud, like the connection between the music group Bonney M, and Bonnet C, which in French is a bra cup measurement!!

sorry for not writing more here


  • New book tour available: historical novel set in Paris, on Modigliani!
  • 2021 Book Fête: new feature offered on France Book Tours, to allow a more flexible offer of book reviews
  • And di you know Words And Peace and France Book Tours are now on Patreon? Hint hint, lol

📚 Book of the month giveaway


  • Late reviews?
  • More Orthodox book notes?
  • One new tour should be soon available