The State of the Reißwolf 2021

Welcome to my wrap-up of 2021. I’ll talk about the year in SF&F, a few personal remarks, and some plans for next year.

Reading Statistics

After a really great reading year 2020 (which was at the same time absolutely awful concerning my psychic health; if you really want to read about that and last year’s statistics, you can find it here), this year was very good and productive. 75% pages read and 66% books read in comparison to 2020. Average size is 373 pages per book, with a rather large variance because of some doorstoppers and short stories.

I’ve read most books in March, and had reading slumps in December and May:

Ratings

Again, that’s only for books, not for single stories. 5 star books were:

  • Four Profound Weaves by Lemberg
  • Illyria by Elizabeth Hand
  • Burning Chrome by Gibson
  • Hild by Griffith
  • Ammonite by Griffith
  • Spear by Griffith
  • The Hemingway Hoax by Haldeman
  • Kindred: Neanderthal Live, Love, Death and Art by Sykes
  • The Shadow Rising by Jordan
  • The Forgotten Besats of Eld by McKillip
  • Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control by Russell
  • Project Hail Mary by Weir
  • The Incal by Jodorowsky
  • Black Sun by Roanhorse

The three 1 star books were: Song of Achilles by Miller, Unfinished Land by Greg Bear, and The Priory of the Orange Tree by Shannon.

What did I read?

The genres according to TheStoryGraph:

That’s only counting the novels from GoodReads and disregarding nearly all the short stories that I’ve read. Alas, I’ve no easily available statistics about those!
That’s 36 SF, 32 Fantasy, and 21 Science books. Wait, that “Science” category is bonkers, it has mostly SF collections and novels, and only a few real science books. Craps!

Most Read Authors

Again, StoryGraphs comes in handy, but doesn’t count single short stories:

Those Jordan books were buddy-rereads with my daughter. The KSR books were the Science in the Capital Trilogy counting as four books (as I read it as the Green Earth novel). Giffith was new to me, and I loved everything from her.

Blogging Statistics

My 2020 pledge “A story a day with a review” lasted until around end of April 2021, then slowly faded away. I found that keeping up that high frequency got tedious.
I also had to reduce the amount of mandatory reviews from NetGalley request because they became more a burden than fun. I did very well in that regard. Starting in January, I requested ever less and it took half a year to get to the target of having only one outstanding NetGalley ARC at any time. It doesn’t mean that I don’t request anything but I do it now in a more controlled way.
My ultimate target was to read more books from my physical shelves. It doesn’t make sense to buy and buy more but never come back to those darlings, right?
July and August came with only a handful posts each. September until December had more posts but never the old frequency. Look at that annual WP statistics:

2020 was already strong regarding visitors, comments, likes etc. And then 2021 came along and nearly doubled all the figures. That all has to do mostly with community interaction – without these, numbers in every regard would go down again.
I seem to have gotten even more wordy than before (419 words per post on average up from 346). Total comments doubled (1828 up from 942), posts got more likes (double on average), only the numbers of posts came down (237 down from 344).

What started as a simple reminder mainly for me, myself, and I grew this year into a community interaction.

This shows also in the numbers of 24k visitors and nearly 40k page impressions:

Some 90% of those numbers came through search engines. That’s not you, dear followers, but anonymous people all over the world looking mostly for reviews of short stories. Most followers read the newest posts, but people from search engines go for older posts also, turning this blog from a newspaper to an archive.

Number of followers went up from 100 exactly at the end of last year to 163 right now.

Which stories were requested most often? By far the favorite of everyone is Ken Liu, as you can see in this list sorted by views. But there’s also been some movement in the top positions: Jemisin’s “The Ones Who Stay and Fight” came in strong. Meg Elison’s Award winning novelette “The Pill” made it to the third place.

2020
2021

Where did people come from? Only a few white spots on the globus are to be filled:

2021 got more diverse in comparison to 2020, because less than 50% visitors come from the U.S., 5% from each of Canada, and the U.K., and less than last year from Germany, and the U.K., followed by a huge list of countries.

Level ups

This is a fun tag that I’ve continued exploring the world of blogging. The newest entry is for 100k views, but there were others:

Did you miss the 1000 posts Level up? No, you didn’t, because I’m not there, yet.

Novels I’ve read in 2021

I’d like to call 2021 the year of Nicola Griffith, because I’ve kind of discovered her work and followed up reading a couple of her novels: There’s Ammonite, Hild, and now her newest novella Spear (to appear in April 2022). I also plan to read her Slow River soon enough.
It’s also the year of Buddy Reads, something that I haven’t done before (if you’re willing to discount reading books to my children at bedside). All of those were with my daughter, mostly for the Wheel of Times series. We’re currently in the middle of book 5 and take it slow.

Plans for 2022

  • Do the squats: I really want to level up further and pass through the milestone of 1000 blog posts, and I’m nearly there.
  • Slow down, bro: there are only two NetGalley obligations for 2022, Claire North’s “Notes from the Burning Age” will be published 10.02. and Nicola Griffith’s “Spear” at 19.04. I’ve already read and scheduled reviews for them. Taking it the slow way and requesting only very few seems to be the right move for me!
  • Read the shelf: I want to read more books from my physical shelf, especially some SF Masterworks.
  • Fill the gap: And I’d really like to fill in some best-of gaps. Most of all the Locus ranked short fiction.

I think, that’s enough New Year resolutions!

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22 Responses to The State of the Reißwolf 2021

  1. bormgans says:

    Congratulations, you´ve had a great year! Reminds me to read some Griffith. Would Spear be a good place to start?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      Thank you!
      As for Griffith, it all depends on your reading preferences. She’s got a very diverse setup of books!
      Spear will be published in April. It’s rather atypical for her, as it’s fully embracing magic.
      Hild is historical fiction, very rich in details and highly immersive.
      Her older books are SF. I‘d recommend Ammonite, a planetary romance, as your first book. That one won me over!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bormgans says:

    Will look into it, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A good year, indeed, confirmed by all those oh-so-nice statistics that it’s interesting to peruse at the end of the cycle. And here’s to an even better 2022! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alex Good says:

    Fascinating stats. It’s always interesting to see what titles are bringing people in. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A great year for you! You have so many posts. I could never compete with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cathepsut says:

    Locus ranked short fiction—I didn‘t know that this existed. Will have a closer look…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wakizashi33 says:

    A great year on the blog for you, congratulations! Half of those views from Japan are me! 😉Maybe. Best wishes for 2022!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      Thank you, Wakizashi! You’re worth half of Japan and it might very well be, as you‘ve liked every single fucking post of me this year 🤣😍
      May the YouTube algorithm be with you! (Or rather not?)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wakizashi33 says:

        Really? Well, what can I say. I like what I like. 😉 I always enjoy your reviews because you are great at summing up your thoughts. Also, our tastes are quite similar–except for horror😂–so I know if you rate something highly then I will very likely enjoy it. And I appreciate the links you put in.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. piotrek says:

    Congratulations, these are some nice stats! And you managed to go beyond the WordPress community with your posts about short stories, great! It seams only around 25% of our readers come from seach engines, so that’s quite a significant difference.

    Solid reading, as well, some great names, and covers, on your list 🙂

    Good luck with your 2022 plans!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That is a respectable number of five star reads! I hope I can find that many in 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, I love your stat keeping! I wish I was that organized with keeping track, lol. But most of everything I’m seeing is trending up, so that’s awesome! Congratulations on a wonderful year of reading and happy new year to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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