Image of the most memorable book that comes to mind in the year 2020 in review.

This is for the record. You may not be the least bit interested, but I am. So, read on or not. In this post I’ll sum up what I’ve learned about the performance of this site in the past calendar year. And I must say I found a few surprises as I pondered the year 2020 in review.

Just to put this all in perspective, I purchased my first Kindle book—Alan Furst’s Spies of Warsaw—on June 17, 2008. Since then—I’m writing this on February 13, 2021—I have bought another 2,790 books for the device. Of those 2,791 books, I’ve reviewed a total of 1,522 individual titles on this site (plus 124 “grouped reviews” or book lists). In other words, even though I have an absurdly long list of books to be read and reviewed, I’ve also dipped into a very large number of titles that I never read to the end. Now you know, even if you had not the slightest interest in knowing.

What visitors read on this site

In the course of 2020, I posted a total of 198 individual book reviews, representing the following categories:

  • 52 nonfiction books (including history, biography, politics, science)
  • 61 mysteries and thrillers (notably detective novels, spy thrillers, police procedurals, courtroom dramas)
  • 52 science fiction books (particularly hard, science-based fiction)
  • 33 trade fiction (especially historical fiction and humor)

Far and away the most popular posts on this site in 2020 (and for years before that) were what I term “grouped reviews” rather than reviews of individual titles. You might prefer to call them “lists.” The five most popular in 2020 were:

  1. The 10 best novels about World War II
  2. The 10 top espionage novels reviewed on this site
  3. 5 top nonfiction books about World War II
  4. 30 outstanding detective series from around the world
  5. 20 top nonfiction books about history

If by some chance you visited one or another of these posts awhile ago, you might check it out again. I regularly update all these (and many other posts) as I continue to read books in the same categories.

Who were those readers?

In 2020, this site was visited by 269,000 readers from 221 countries. Now, you may not have known there are that many countries in the whole world. In fact, that many may not even exist. After all, the United Nations has admitted only 193 member states, and there are just two other countries that are UN observers. If you hunt and peck on Google, you’ll find claims that the total number is 196, 197, 201, or as many as 215. So, I don’t know where or how Google turned up 221 countries in its Analytics report. But there it is. Those extra countries probably represented wishful thinking.

Of those 221 countries, not all of which may be real, the five that brought the most visitors to this site were as follows:

  1. USA
  2. UK
  3. Canada
  4. India
  5. Australia

No surprise there. I’m American, and I speak and write English (at least far better than the other languages I’ve studied over the years).

Drilling down a little further, I learned that the top three referrals to this site were Medium, Facebook, and Berkeleyside. The last of these is no surprise, either, since I live in Berkeley. And when my reviews involve someone living in Berkeley, they’re reposted on that site.

According to Google Analytics once again, 55 percent of my readers in 2020 were male. An equal percentage were between the ages of 25 and 34. And I must admit that surprises me: I left those ages behind about a half-century ago. But it’s nice to know. I’ve long humored myself thinking I have a few things to teach young people.

So, that’s the year 2020 in review. Remember, you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, plus a guide to this whole site, on the Home Page.