Wednesday, February 10, 2021

More Teeny Reviews (May & June 2019)

Those mini-reviews went pretty well yesterday, right? I thought so. And hey, here I am again typing out some more.

One reason I'm more apt to write these seems silly but. I got a new computer. And it makes a difference in the sense that my last computer was getting on in age and it got slooooooooow. I know that is my fault and Tom has pointed out his desktop was even older and it's working fine and he's not wrong. But that didn't make using my old computer less frustrating. This new computer is snazzy and light and it's rose gold, which I have recently learned is a lame millennial color but I think you're just jealous of my pink computer.

Anyway, I digress. Let's see what I remember of books I read almost 2 years ago.

Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women & the Way Forward by Gemma Hartley
Read May 2019
That sounds good, right? Something I would be way into and would have lots of good insights. And I bet it did. Except I do not remember it at all. I believe she had an article about Emotional Labor which was probably where I first heard the term and I bet this was good and possible I even talk about points from it without remembering where I heard them. But I don't remember this.

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson
Read May 2019
It's Shakespeare by way of Bill Bryson. What's not to love?? Assuming, you love those two things already. If you don't already love them, well then I have no idea. It's great and also not that long cos we don't really know that much about Shakespeare and Bryson isn't about to do a ton of conjecture. Get that from Stephen Greenblatt. (Maybe I should reread Will in the World...)

Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff
Read June 2019
Are you a fan of My Favorite Murder? If so, then you already know about this book and don't need me to talk about it. If you haven't listened to MFM, give that a listen and decide if you want to read this. Already listened and decided you don't like it. Why are you thinking you'd read this? What do you think you're going to get out of it? 

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Read June 2019
More British murder mysteries. Those are fun just don't take them too seriously. Also I don't know that Ware knows exactly what time period she set this book in because while I only remember bits and pieces I remember for a while thinking this book was from the early half of the 1900s only for there to be a flashback to like 1993 and no ma'am, I'm sorry. Ignore that and it's entertaining.

Things That Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett
Read June 2019
I was thinking about this book recently because I just finished Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo and her sports section talks about him a fair amount and I was reminded that I enjoyed his book. I mean, there's a lot of football in it, him being a football player and all and I only know so much about the sport (and only care so much about it to...sorry) but since the sport isn't the focus but instead systemic racism, it was a good read.

You Do You: Proud to be Fabulous ed by Tan France & Nikki Levy
Read June 2019
I remember this was a free Audible original (which I think...Audible stopped doing?) and I believe it was some short stories/essays but that's all I've got. I don't remember anything about it other than it was short.

Alright 6 more reviews done and I even almost remembered things about them. Good job, me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Even Minier Mini Reviews

I am so behind on reviews. So behind. It's ridiculous. It's embarrassing. But also it is what it is. I have a busy job. I have a toddler. There's also a pandemic but considering how far behind I am in reviews, I don't think I can blame that. I mean, I'm going to. Because this pandemic suuuuuucks.

anyway, to get through this backlog, I had been doing mini reviews. But here's the thing, I'm so far behind I don't think mini reviews are going to cut it. It will take too long. So let's go with even minier reviews. A couple lines and then BOOM move on. Plus, I can't say I remember a lot about some of these books so I can't write more than a few lines without a bunch of research or rereading which would take even more time.

So let's do this!
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Read April 2019
It's a murder mystery within a murder mystery and that format is less fun than it may seem. But it's still a murder mystery, something I'm a fan of, so not terrible. 

Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Read April 2019
A few short stories, which can be really hit or miss but his are mostly hit so that's nice. There's one about a camera that made me cry but was v good and I think Wil Wheaton narrated it (audiobook). There's one about glass raining from the sky killing people. There's one about a magic cloud. And then there's another but you're lucky I was able to remember the other three. I kinda want to go back and read it again so that's a good sign.

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
Read April 2019
Short story in a world where most of the time if you are murdered you just come back to life so there are people who's job is to "dispatch" people who are about to die otherwise and hopefully they'll be fine. I don't remember the plot but that's a pretty good set up.

Dark Water Bride by Marty Ross
Read May 2019
Murder and death and secrets and horror and the audiobook was done with a full cast which adds something fun. Pretty sure I didn't guess the ending but it still held together so good stuff.

My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places by Mary Roach
Read May 2019
I like Mary Roach. I do not remember any of this. At all. Which is odd cos I like and typically remember the other stuff. Not this one. Maybe it's good. Who knows? Not me.

The Evil Eye by Madhuri Shekar
Read May 2019
Short story about a mom who is just looking out for her daughter and maybe it seems like she's overreacting but IS SHE? This one was very good and I definitely remember it and will probably listen to it again since I can probably finish it in an afternoon.

Pretty good for a first attempt. Let's see if I can keep up with this and WHO KNOWS, maybe I'll be able to get through all my 2019 books before the end of 2021.

Monday, February 1, 2021

January Reading Wrap Up

What a year January has been, right? Insurrection, inauguration, messing with the stock market. Also we've decided that the middle of this is a good time to transition the monster to a big boy bed (or rather it's his crib but with one side removed and a small railing installed). Because if there's one thing the past year has taught us, it's that there is never a good, non-stressful time to do things so whatever, just do it. We'll see how this goes.

...If you're wondering how it goes, I've had to interrupt writing this in order to go up and help get him back in bed. So it's going about how I'd expect it to go.
This picture features about half the stuffies that made it into the bed by bedtime

Reading-wise I've started the year, OK. I didn't quite finish everything I was hoping to but I also didn't do terribly. I suppose that means I'm continuing the trend from last year. At least I'm consistent. 

Books Read
The Body: An Occupant's Guide by Bill Bryson. Which was also a Jan 2020 read but I needed something like this to start the year
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
The Boys' Club by Erica Katz

Total Pages Read
1,424 - I've found if I managed at least 1,000 pages a month, I'm pretty happy

BIPOC author

Female author

US author


Book club book

Book format
audiobook - 100%

Where'd I get the book
Kindle/Audible - 67%
Library - 33%
I had been playing the equivalent of phone tag with my library hold for Children of Blood and Bone since roughly November. The book would come in when I was in the middle of something long and I figured I'd never get to it before it had to be returned. So then I'd go back on the waitlist, start something else, repeat. But finally, the stars lined up and I got to read this. Thank you, library.

Decade published
2010s - 67%
2020s - 33%

Resolution Reads
33% - Children of Blood and Bone is by a Black author

Monday, January 11, 2021

2020 Reading Wrap Up

I'm getting this full year wrap up out a bit later than I was initially hoping, but my regularly scheduled activities have been interrupted by doomscrolling given the whole racist/fascist insurrection incited by the sitting president thing. If you're in the US, I hope you have reached out to your electeds many times to call for impeachment and removal of those sitting congresspeople who have encouraged these actions. 

Anyway, reading. Why not focus there? So I did some of that last year. Which is surprising given everything going on. General having of a toddler, then having a toddler at home while also trying to work, stress about the world. It's a lot. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that because global pandemic means we're all dealing with this in some way or another and I've been extremely fortunate that I've still been able to work. But read I did, when I could, which was almost entirely while cooking or cleaning, maybe a few minutes grabbed while showering. Seriously, audiobooks have been the best and I would have managed only a handful of books if it weren't for them.

As I said last year, I'm not doing an infographic because if I did I would have to pay for it and perhaps in the future I will pay for them but for now, we'll have to go with a more simplified list. And I figure I'll compare my reading in 2020 with my average reading stats for the years I've been tracking this stuff (2013-2019) to give it a little extra something. You know, for your troubles, since I'm getting this out later.

Total books read
52 - I managed my goal of averaging one a week. So that's nice
Historic Average: 52.7 books

Total pages read
Historic Average: 17,631
Ok so, in terms of volume, turns out my reading this year has been very average, despite how I felt about it. This is why I like looking at the actual numbers vs. going with my gut feeling because my gut is wrong a lot.

Month with the most/least books read
March (7) / July, August, October, December (3)
Historic Average: Nothing really interesting here since the months average between 3-5 books

Month with the most/least pages read
March (19,555) / July (726)
Historic Averages: October (1,805) / December (1,112)

Historic Average: 60% though it's been trending closer to 50/50 in recent years

BIPOC authors
17% - which is down from last year, which was already not a great amount so that...could def be better
Historic Average: 17% so again, guess I've been basically on par with my normal reading

Female authors
Historic Average: 55%

Author's nationality
US: 58% (Historic Average: 70% - still in the lead but not by such a high margin)
UK: 27% (Historic Average: 19%)
Canada: 4% (Historic Average: 2%)
Australia: 2% (Historic Average: 2%)
Japan: 2% (Historic Average: 2%)
Nigeria: 2% (Historic Average: 1%)
Poland: 2% (Historic Average: 0% - new country unlocked)
Singapore: 2% (Historic Average: 1%)
Spain: 2% (Historic Average: 0.2%)

Historic Average: 3%

29% - look, it was a rough year and I needed comfort. The only year with higher rereads was the year the lil monster was born so again, a time of stress when I needed comfort reads
Historic Average: 19%
Me, thinking about how I should read something new, then picking up an old fav

Book format
Audiobook: 81% (Historic Average: 18% but I really got into audiobooks last year so makes sense)
Ebook: 2% (Historic Average: 42% so big change there)
Hardback:10% (Historic Average: 5%)
Paperback: 8% (Historic Average: 35%)

Where'd I get the book 
Chain bookstore: 6% (Historic Average: 4%)
Indie bookstore: 10% (Historic Average: 22%)
Kindle/Audible: 33% (Historic Average: 43%)
Library: 52% (Historic Average: 5% - big change here. Because I do mostly audiobooks now, and I can get audiobooks on my phone, this has been a great option)

Decade published
1920s: 4% (Historic Average: 0% - new decade unlocked. Turns out all my 1920s reading I had done prior to 2013.)
1930s: 8% (Historic Average: 1% - this, and the '20s, is all Agatha Christie)
1950s: 2% (Historic Average: 0.5%)
1960s: 4% (Historic Average: 1%)
1990s: 2% (Historic Average: 8%)
2000s: 23% (Historic Average: 17%)
2010s: 38% (Historic Average: 66%)
2020s: 19% (Historic Average: 0% cos it hadn't happened yet...)

Top Genres
Mystery: 23% (Historic Average: 5% - a lot of Christie this year)
Humor: 12% (Historic Average: 7%)
Fantasy: 8% (Historic Average: 4%)
Parenting: 8% (Historic Average: 2%)
Science: 8% (Historic Average: 3%)

Resolution books
Historic Average: 46%
Making some progress here, if not necessarily in the areas that need the most work

What will this year look like? Well if this first week (can you believe it's only been a week instead of 6 months?) is any indication, probably going to be a lot of rereads. I mean, [spoiler alert] I've already started the year with a reread. But hopefully I can do better this year. Gotta have hope.

Friday, January 1, 2021

December Reading Wrap Up

Not going to lie, I did some reading cramming this morning. I have been reading/listening to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell for what feels like the majority of the month and the thought of having very low stats for the month because I didn't finish it made me sad. Even though no one cares. Except me, apparently. Having the week between Xmas and New Years off has definitely helped get me some reading time. Or rather, it gave me time to actually get some cleaning done and during cleaning I could listen to the book. And BTW, the audiobook of Strange & Norrell is excellent*. 

Otherwise Christmas was low-key this year though it was a lot of fun to watch the little monster open gifts. He's not quite at the point where he knows what's going on and if something is wrapped, it seems to be invisible to him. But once opened he is VERY excited and wants to play with everything RIGHT THEN. He got lots of books, trucks, dinos, blocks/building things, a mini trampoline (he can't go to gym class until things get better and we have no yard for him to run around in so having something for him to burn energy on is nice) because he is the only grandkid and has many grandparents and good friends to spoil him. And I now have a box of old toys to donate and some toys that will be hidden away for future gift-giving holidays. Oh and I made a GREAT dinner that I'm pretty proud of (filet mignon in a red wine sauce, lobster tail in a beurre blanc sauce, roasted potatoes, sautéed green beans & onions. And butter. Because butter featured heavily so I feel like it should prob be listed as its own side.) so that was fun.

Anyway, let's see those stats, shall we?

Number of books read
Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Number of pages read
1,630 (more than half of which is due to Strange & Norrell)


BIPOC author
Female author

US author

100% - it was that kind of month. Year.

Book format
audiobook - 100%

Where'd I get the book?
Kindle/Audible - 67%
Library - 33%

Decade published
2000s - 67%
2010s - 33%

Resolution books
Gretchen McCulloch of Because Internet is Canadian and Susanna Clarke of Strange & Norrell is British. So I got the resolution but barely.

*Also reading reviews on Audible for people who accidentally got the German language version instead of the English language one are pretty funny. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

My Favorite Reads of 2020

Man, what a year, right? And I mean, I want to be optimistic but like...I think we have more 2020 coming to us next year. I can't say I want to do too much recapping of this year. That sounds like it would be a bit of a sad exercise. But there were rays of light in this year and since this is a book blog, why not focus on those books that I liked this year? 

Top books - new (to me) reads

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson 
Go to Sleep, I Miss You by Lucy Knisley
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection by Alexander C. Kane
Andrea Vernon and the Superhero Industrial Complex by Alexander C. Kane

Top books - the rereads

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
The Martian by Andy Weir
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

Unsurprisingly, there were more top rereads than new books. Which I mean, makes sense. Why would I reread a book if I wasn't a fan? And this year especially has required comfort reads. I ALMOST included Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell because it is excellent and also I have been listening to it for about 100 years and I'm very close to finishing but no promises it'll happen in time to be counted in 2020. Does this mean I should wait on this post until after tomorrow to see if I finish the book in time? Perhaps but I didn't think of that till now and you know what, I'm not changing it now.

I'm going to attempt a future post with a round up of the year's stats and top authors and whatnot but for now, staying positive and look at these books I enjoyed so much.