Weekend Reads #121: I Love to Reread

Weekend Reads is a post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I’m currently reading. (I haven’t done it in a while but… anyway.)

For this week, I’m participating in the Let’s Talk Bookish meme hosted by Eternity Books and the Literary Lion. A discussion topic is given each week for participants to post about. This week’s topic is…

Rereading Books

How many times is enough? Why re-read at all? Is re-reading just a comforting pastime? Or is there excitement to be relived? What kind of books do you re-read? Do you ever re-read books you don’t like in hopes that it will be better the second time? Were there any books you didn’t like as a child but liked as an adult, or vice versa?

I think anyone who knows me as a reader is aware that I love to reread books. Actually, I tend to reread so often that for a while in college, I spent my time mostly rereading books rather than discovering new authors and stories. There are many reasons why I reread, but the top ones are:

To see if I have changed

I love revisiting things I’ve consumed before to see if my opinion about them have changed. I think this is an interesting way to assess how much you have grown or in what ways your opinions and perspective of the world have developed over time. Of course, this works best if you can recall something of your reading experience and thoughts about the work when you first experienced it so you can compare the experiences after you reread.

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Characters of the Year Book Tag | 2021

I’ve taken to doing this book tag every year to highlight the characters that left an impression on me.

I believe this tag was created by Amanda, A Brighter Shade of Hope, because that’s what I’ve said in my previous posts of this tag.


FAVORITE MALE CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Sand dan Glokta from The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

I was immediately drawn to Glokta from the first time he appeared in the book, which is probably from the first page (if I recall correctly). I think he’s the first POV character we read from.

Glokta is a war-hero and was once a champion swordsman, but he was captured and tortured by the Gurkish, who left him crippled and in constant pain. In turn, Glokta has become a bitter man who now works for the Inquisition, investigating crimes and torturing others into confessing. So far, Glokta is one of the most interesting characters in the book.

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Reflecting on 2021: Reading

Although 2020 was a great reading year for me, I was hoping 2021 would be an even better one. But it wasn’t. Sure, I managed to pass my Goodreads reading goal of 50 books, but I only did so by reading 16 books over my goal. I was secretly hoping for much more than that.

It’s not that I was pressuring myself to read much more than 50 books. I try not to pressure myself about reading because otherwise the hobby won’t be fun anymore. It’s just that I was expecting (hoping) for a reading year that was similar to 2020, when I read 90+ things. But while I used reading to cope with 2020’s reality, I guess the stress and worries of 2021 were too much (especially when added to those carried over from 2020); so instead of reading helping me to cope, I slowly began to lose interest in the activity as a reading slump took over. The more stressful things became for me, the less I read until I wasn’t reading much at all in December. I’m just now turning back to books.

So 2021 wasn’t at all the reading year I was hoping for, but I’m still curious to see what my reading stats were for it. If you are interested in such stuff too, read on.

ALSO SEE

ZeZee’s Favorite Reads of 2021
ZeZee’s Most Memorable Reads of 2021
ZeZee’s Most Disappointing Reads of 2021

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2021 End of Year Book Survey

I always enjoy doing this year-end survey that Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner, created. It’s a fun way to reflect on things I read in the past year. It’s also very long, so this time I’ll only do the first part, which focuses on books read.


2021 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 66

Physical: 41
Audio: 14
E-books: 11

Number of books reread: 10

Number of books I Did Not Finish: 7

Genre I read the most: Fantasy


BEST BOOK I READ IN 2021

In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce

It’s probably my favorite book of the year. And it’s one I couldn’t stop talking about. I recommended it to everybody, although it’s not one that will appeal to everyone. It’s a historical thriller about a female serial killer and is based on a real person. I think Bruce did a fantastic job with it. It’s my first time trying one of her books and I look forward to reading more.

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ZeZee’s Disappointing Reads of 2021

With my favorites and most memorable books of 2021 out of the way, it’s now time to focus on the disappointing ones, because they need some attention too.

I know many people shy away from making lists of books that disappoint them, but I don’t. This is a blog about what I read and what I like and dislike. It’s a blog for readers. Plus, I often get recommendations from lists like these. After all, just because someone disliked a book doesn’t mean I will too.

My ratings for these books are middling and aren’t exactly low. I mostly rate based on my enjoyment of what I read, because I read to be entertained, but I also consider how well-crafted the book, comic, or picture book is. 

These are listed in the order that I read them.


The Conductors by Nicole Glover ★★☆☆☆ ½

Aww man, I really thought this would be one I’d like. It’s a debut historical fantasy that mostly takes place in Philadelphia shortly after the Civil War. The story focuses on Hetty and Benjy, a married couple who used to work as conductors on the Underground Railroad but now help Black people in their community to resolve dire situations — like finding someone who’s gone missing. I think the story has a lot of potential, but it fell flat for me. I think the world building, magic system, and characters needed more development and the plot needed to be ironed out a bit more to make it flow more smoothly. However, there’s enough potential here to make me curious about the second book, so I might give it a try.

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Zezee’s Most Memorable Reads of 2021

I get a kick out of doing these end-of-year lists, so of course I found an excuse to do another one after posting my favorites list a few days ago.

The following are the most memorable books I read last year that didn’t make my favorites list. These are stories that lingered with me long after I completed them either because of their great storytelling, strong characters, impressive worldbuilding, beautiful prose, or a combination of those qualities. These are stories I couldn’t help thinking about at odd times or considered returning to in the new year.

They are listed in the order I read them.


The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw ★★★★☆

This one was a surprise because I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. (Actually, the same is true for many of the books on this list.) Philyaw’s Secret Lives of Church Ladies is a book of nine short stories exploring the lives of Black women. I enjoyed several of the stories for how they are written, the snarky tone used in a few, and the variety of topics covered, such as grief, sexuality, and mother-daughter relationships. If I should reread it, I intend to do so by audiobook. I initially began the book on audio but loved the prose so much that I had to read the physical book. The narrator’s (Janina Edwards) voice is so soothing and mellow that I’d like to listen to it again, so I have to find something else she narrates, whether it’s this or another book, to listen to.

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ZeZee’s Favorite Reads of 2021

It’s January, the beginning of a new year, and one of my favorite times of a year because of the “best of” lists everyone posts. I’ve very behind on visiting blogs and things, but I fully intend to catch up this weekend because I’d love to see what’s on everyone’s Best Books of 2021 or Favorite Books of 2021 lists. I get many book recommendations from such lists and have already added a few to my Goodreads TBR.

Below is my list of favorite books read in 2021, which I’ve managed to quickly cobble together. These were all outstanding, highly entertaining books that left me wanting more when I was done. They aren’t listed in any particular order.


Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey ★★★★★

Carey’s series is shaping up to be one of my favorites. Kushiel’s Chosen is the second novel in the Phèdre trilogy, a fantasy story that focuses on a courtesan who’s also a spy. The story begins in a land where the people are said to be descendants of angels. I enjoyed the first book, Kushiel’s Dart, but I loved this one more. Kushiel’s Chosen was more exciting to me than the first book, and I loved that the actions of the gods were a bit more apparent in this one. It was more obvious that they were effecting events to help Phèdre. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Reflecting on 2021: Life

2021 was quite a year, and it ended on such a surprising and busy note that I’m still reeling from it and feel unprepared for 2022.

The end of 2021 was a busy time, so much so that I haven’t done a monthly roundup post on here since October and am very unprepared for the roundup and “best of” lists that we all tend to post this time of year. It’s now the second week in January, and that’s when I’ve finally gotten around to putting up this reflection on life in 2021.

2021 wasn’t quite the recovery from 2020 that we all hoped for. It certainly wasn’t in my personal life. The fall months were especially hard for me. Things became stressful and my anxiety grew, but, with help and lots of motivation from friends and family, I was able to stick to my goals and managed to make some amazing moves by the end of the year.

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