The first quarter of this year began on a shaky start. The end of 2021 was a rough one for me and that permeated the first months of 2022. My reading and blogging were poor as I tried to juggle many things at once and overcome the worst reading slump I’ve ever experienced.
As my blogging slowly picked up, so did my reading. And since I completed only one book in January and none in February, I’m surprised I managed to read as much as I did in the first quarter of 2022. The prep for the Magical Readathon certainly helped.
Typically, I’d post this as soon as the new year starts, but I haven’t been in the mood to read or blog, so I delayed it until I was.
Considering how low my interest in reading and blogging was in December and the beginning of this year, I’d like to take things super easy this year regarding my reading. Most of my goals will be the same as previous years, but I intend to scale back on the amount I intend to read. I’ll also pass on continuing with certain goals, like the list of 8 books I really want to read but never get to every year. (Maybe I’ll get to them this year when I don’t have them listed as a goal.)
OVERALL READING GOALS
spend less read more of my own books take it easy
I’d like to try harder to spend less on books, so fingers crossed that I manage to do so this year (although I’ve already bought a couple books since the year started. Whoops!). Of course, I’d also like to read more of my own stuff in an attempt to weed out books I hate from my shelves. And, as I mentioned above, I’d like to take it easy this year with the goals.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The last quarter of 2021 was a rough one, so I didn’t get as much done as I’d like. It’s not even done yet, but I already know that I won’t complete another book before the end of the year. There’s just too much going on, so my reading speed has been much slower than usual. Below are the few things I managed to complete this quarter.
October was quite a month. Overall it was a good one, but it was filled with some high ups and some low downs, which has exhausted me. I haven’t been in the mood to do much, which is why this monthly wrap up post is so late.
Let’s Rewind is a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever else happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.
Y’all, I love fall. I don’t like the cold weather, but I do love dressing for fall months, and I love the colors associate with it. I love the leaves turning and hearing the fallen ones crunch under my boots. I love the scents of fall — apples, cinnamon, pumpkin — and the outdoor activities that it brings — hay rides, corn mazes, haunted houses and fields, apple picking, — although I’ve only been to a few of these things. But it seems that I’ll always be stressed in the fall. I can’t remember a time when I rode out the entire season unstressed.