Reflecting on 2018: Reading

I was hoping my reading in 2018 would surpass what I did in 2017, but, unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Once again, I set a manageable reading goal, this time at 40 books, which is five books less than last year’s 45, but I ended up reading 10 books less than I did in 2017 and ended 2018 with 64 books read. I was hoping for more.

I was secretly striving for that 100 books goal, and I thought I would have hit if the year hadn’t turned sour toward the end of summer and stress and a bout of bad luck (because I believe in such things sometimes) threw me into a reading and blogging slump that persisted for a few weeks. By the time I crawled out the funk and slump of that difficult period, life became too busy to read as much as I wanted. The last quarters of 2018 were just a murky, twisty time for me. I learned a lot from it in my personal life, but my blogging and reading suffered.

But there is a bright side — I managed to read 64 books in 2018: I surpassed my Goodreads goal! 😀 I’m plenty proud of myself, especially since I managed to start and complete a series — the Fairwick Chronicles — in the year (something I never do) and continue with a series — the Night Angel trilogy — that I’m interested in (also something I never do, unless it’s a Robin Hobb series). I think I’ll continue this trend in 2019: set a reading goal in the 40s but secretly strive for the 100s, and complete a series I began.

Like the previous year, 2018 was not spectacular reading-wise. I rated 13 books 5 stars, but four of them were rereads and about half of the nine books I rated 4.5 stars were rereads too. Most of the books I read were average, but the ones that stood out and grabbed the 5 stars were great. I HIGHLY recommend them all and suggest you check out my Favorite Reads of 2018 post to see what they are. I’ll include the top five below.

Speaking of which, the remainder of this post will be structured like my quarterly wrap-ups to show my reading stats for the year, but instead I’ll select up to five items for each category. So this will be another long wrap-up but fairly quick to read, I think. Putting this together helps me to decide my reading goals for 2019, but I hope you’ll see something interesting here to check out.


Favorites of the bunch

BOOKS

The Shape of Water
Kintu
The Golden Fool
Garden Spells
Dread Nation

COMICS

Here
Nightlights
Audubon: On the Wings of the World
Amulet, Vol. 4: The Last Council

ARTICLES

Language Is a ‘War Zone’: A Conversation With Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (thenation.com)

“…wherever you look at modern colonialism, the acquisition of the language of the colonizer was based on the death of the languages of the colonized…African languages were weaponized against Africans. Language was a weapon of war whether we are talking about the Spanish and Portuguese in Latin America or French in Africa and Vietnam. Language was a very important element in both the conquest and maintenance of colonial rule, because it was likely to bind the minds of the middle class.”

The Morality Wars: In 2018, Culture Is Being Evaluated for Its Moral Correctness More Than for Its Quality (nytimes.com)

“Art might not have the privilege of being art for art’s sake anymore. It has to be art for justice’s sake. Suddenly, but for very different reasons, the kinds of people who used to be subject to censorship are now the purveyors of a not-dissimilar silencing. Something generational has shifted, even among the cool kids and artsy-fartsies. Members of the old anti-censorship brigades now feel they have to censor themselves.”

Poetic Justice: Camille T. Dungy on Racism, Writing, and Radical Empathy (thesunmagazine.org)

“The American imagination is too often limited in its ability to picture who black people can be.”

Please Stop Talking About the “Rise” of African Science Fiction (lithub.com)

“Africans have been writing science fiction since at least the 1920s, and have produced bodies of work in literature and sequential art to the present day, work which has won critical acclaim and literary awards. Because of all the above, it would be difficult to justify the idea of an ’emerging’ African interest in science fiction in 2018.”

2017, the Year in Horror (lareviewofbooks.org)

“Sometimes, when we’re moving around in the real world, it’s hard to comprehend how something abstract like a social structure is terrorizing everyday life. A horror movie invites us to slow down and grasp it.”

PODCASTS

Serial (serialpodcast.org)
This American Life (thisamericanlife.org)
For All Nerds Show (Fanbros Show) (soundcloud.com/fanbros)
The Legendarium Podcast (thelegendariumpodcast.com)
Snark Squad Pod (snarksquad.com)

TV SHOWS/MOVIES

This Is Us
Into the Badlands
Grimm
Shannara

Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
A Quiet Place
Jumanji
I, Tonya


Least liked

BOOKS

School for Psychics
Dragonflight
The Oddling Prince
The Enchanted Wood
The Wedding Date

COMICS

Geis: A Matter of Life and Death

Best stories

BOOKS

The Shape of Water
Kintu
The Golden Fool
Providence
The Diviners

COMICS

Amulet, Vol. 4: The Last Council
Audubon
The Dam Keeper

Best writing

Shape of Water
Kintu
Born to Run
The Book of Hidden Things
Garden Spells

Best narration (for audio books)

Born to Run
Girl with All the Gifts
The Other Boleyn Girl

Best illustrations

COMICS

Nightlights
Amulet series
The Dam Keeper

ILLUSTRATED BOOKS

Pandora
Spot, the Cat
Sky High

Most fitting book titles

Here
Horrörstor
Kintu
Providence

Most unique writing/story/other form

Here
Horrörstor

Awesome covers

The Black Tides of Heaven
The Hazel Wood
Horrörstor
The Book of Hidden Things
Mother of the Sea


Reading challenge hits ‘n’ misses

**2018 reading challenges announcement**

Goodreads

Goal: 45
Read: 64
Success or Fail

Books I told myself to read in 2018

Goal: 8
Read: 2
Success or Fail

2018 TBR Pile Challenge

Goal: 12
Read: 3
Success or Fail

2018 Library Love Challenge

Goal: 24
Read: 37
Success or Fail

Horror Reads

Goal: 5
Read: 4
Success or Fail

Classics Club Reading Challenge

Goal: 3
Read: 1
Success or Fail

2018 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

Goal: 12/24
Read: 12/24
Success or Fail


Reading stats

Read = 64
Reread = 12
DNF = 8

**“Read” includes rereads. “DNF” does not include those I paused reading.**

FORMAT

Physical = 29
E-book = 15
Audio = 10
Comics = 10

GENRE

Fantasy = 34
Romance = 6
Historical = 4
Mystery = 4
Nonfiction = 4
Contemporary = 3
Horror = 3
Magical Realism = 2
Supernatural = 2
Literary = 1
Sci-Fi = 1

OWNERSHIP

Library = 38
New (bought in/after 2017) = 13
ARC = 7
Mine (bought before 2017) = 6

AUTHOR GENDER BY BOOK

Female = 33
Male = 28
Non-binary = 2
Unknown = 1


Other stats

My stats show that I completed the most books in September, but that’s because I knocked out some quick, short reads then. March comes in second as the month I read the most, which is largely due to a combination of audiobooks and graphic novels/picture books. My average is about 5 books per month (one less than last year), and October and December were my worst months for reading; I struggled to complete only 1 book in each.

The majority of books I read were average in length: 28% of them fell in the 300-399 range and only 5% were 800 pages or more. Almost all the books I read were published in the 2000s: 44% were published in years 2010-2017 and 22% were published in 2018. Only 2%, i.e. 1 book, were published before the 1920s.

Of course, being a huge fantasy reader, I read more series than standalones. I think my stats may be lying to me because it’s telling me that I started 17 series ( wah?! 😮 ), have 14 ongoing ( really?! 😮 ), and only completed 2 (yeahie me! 😀 ). Then again, that may be true because I am a starter but hardly ever a finisher.

As for book lengths, I read 44 novels, 10 graphic novel/comics (not as much as I wanted, unfortunately), 4 novellas and picture books each (still trying to decide if I like the novella form…it’s so short), 1 novelette (definitely do not like this form), and managed to sneak in 1 short story collection.

The graph above may make it seem that I read a lot of great books in 2018, but the majority were average in quality. (I’m just generous with those star ratings.) About 20% of the books received 5 stars, but some of them were rereads; and the majority of books, about 22%, received 3 stars. No books received 1 star (see, I’m nice 🙂 ), but one book received 1.5 stars. Here’s the break down:

5 stars = 13
4.5 stars = 9
4.0 stars = 6
3.5 stars = 9
3.0 stars = 14
2.5 stars = 9
2.0 stars = 3
1.5 stars = 1
1.0 stars = 0

Author countries

I seriously need to read more widely and diversely. As in other years, the majority of books were written by American authors, however I stepped outside this comfort zone a few times to read books by authors from these countries:

Singapore
India
Colombia
France
Uganda
Jamaica
Mexico
Scotland
Switzerland
Canada
Italy
United Kingdom

Another positive thing about 2018 is that I bought less books!! 😀 Well, it was still more books than I needed to buy, but it was less than last year’s batch. I visited the library more, so I ended up spending less overall. (I’m so proud of me **patting my back**.) I acquired the most books in March (birthday month so that’s expected), May, and September with May bringing in the most books.

As shown above, about half the books acquired were purchased and more than a quarter were from the library. I read roughly 29% percent of the books I acquired.

My love of fantasy shows in these figures as well because 51% of the books acquired are fantasy. Surprisingly, 12% are nonfiction, which is the second highest (I don’t read a lot of nonfic), and 8% of them are sci-fi.

Well, I think I’ll stop here. That’s enough stats and if you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking with me and HI-FIVE because that’s a lot you read! 😀


Reading plans for the new year:

Spend less

Read more of my own books

Complete some series


The books of 2018:

 

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12 thoughts on “Reflecting on 2018: Reading

    • Thanks! 😀
      That’s a good goal. I was considering to do something similar too but I already got my eye on 2 books I gotta get this year though I’d prefer to hold out for the paperback.

      Like

  1. Fantastic post! I also need to work on reading more diversely. I don’t think I read many non-US authors as a whole, mostly either US or British, some Canadian and then maybe a few outliers (one Italian, one French). I don’t really track that but maybe I should this year.

    It looks you still had a pretty solid year and had some good things come out of it despite any other circumstances so that’s definitely something to be proud of!

    Like

  2. Good job! I think all of those “failures” show that your focus was different from what you expected. I found that 10 of the 57 books I thought I wanted to read were ones I ended up dropping off my TBR list and I didn’t even start them I just realized I didn’t feel any urge to read them now or ever. All these stats though are so impressive! I decided for 2019 not to do monthly recaps but your idea of quarterly ones may be an idea I pick up. I love examining my reading patterns too! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fabulous wrap up. Good luck with reaching both your targets (goodreads and the secret ambition!) I’ve got to 91 the last two years – just can’t make the golden 100 either. I really like Grimm – currently watching season 5 and ShannRa differs wildly from the books – another series of books I really need to get back into. Bring on the reading!

    Like

    • 91 is really good. I’d love to reach that high. The highest I’ve ever gotten was 88.

      Yea, I realized that the Shannara book is different. I attempted the first book and hated it so much that I DNF’d it.

      Liked by 1 person

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