Thursday, January 6, 2022

My Favorite Reads of 2021

This year was a lot. Last year was a lot. Hopefully we're moving into precedented times.

But rather than dwell on what will be (something unknowable anyway) why don't we talk about reading. There was a lot of rereads this year because, you know, everything. Which means there were a lot of 5 star reviews. It wasn't all rereads but there were some new favorites from this year which is always great.

Top New (to me) Books

Broken in the Best Possible Way by Jenny Lawson
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffian
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Top Rereads

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Patriots, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
World War Z by Max Brooks
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection by Alexander C. Kane
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

Monday, January 3, 2022

2021 Year End Stats

Alright, here we go. Another year out the door. In some ways easier than 2020 and in other ways harder. And of course Omicron hitting at the end of the year right when hopes were getting up were not fun. I have some hope for next year if only because if you don't have hope, what do you have? 

I don't have much in the way of resolutions for the new year except to continue to be kind and patient with myself and with others because man, we could use more of that just in general. Maybe as a resolution take up a new hobby? That sounds like a fun one. Something I can do while watching TV so I'm spending less time randomly scrolling social media. If people have suggestions, I'm all ears. 

As was the case last year, I don't have an infographic this year. This is mostly on the assumption that I would again have to pay for things which I don't want to do right now. I mean, right now I don't even feel like looking into it to see if I even would have to pay. That's where we're at right now. But I still have my list of stats, still have a comparison to my historic averages (2013-2020) so hey, that's better that visual and easily digestable infographics, right?

Total books read
53 - There was a little bit of rushing the end of the year to hit my goal of 52 books. I had thought I was in a better place when I realized some of my tallying was counting a couple DNF books. But I did it and then some and am pretty happy about that.
Historic average: 52.6

Total pages read
Historic average: 17,568
It's interesting to see how little variation is, at least in terms of volume. Or at least interesting to me

Month with the most / fewest books read
December (6) / January, March, May (3)
Historic average: July has averaged the fewest (3) but there's no interesting numbers for most since the other months are all either 4 or 5 books

Month with the most / fewest pages read
December (2,098) / May (984)
Historic average: October (1,720) / July (1,224)

Historic average: 60%

BIPOC authors
21% - up from last year and the average but still clearly work to do
Historic average: 17%
Female authors
Historic average: 56% - interesting that so far this stat has the most deviation from my normal trends. Not really sure why

Author's nationality
US: 68% (Historic average: 69%)
UK: 21% (Historic average: 20%)
Sweden: 4% (Historic average: 0.2%)
Australia: 4% (Historic average: 1.7%)
Singapore: 2% (Historic average: 1.2%)
New Zealand: 2% (Historic average: 0% - new country!)

Historic average: 3%

25% - Slightly down from last year but comfort rereads were still needed
Historic average: 20%

Audiobook: 94% (Historic average: 27%)
Paperback - 6% (Historic average: 31%)
I didn't pick up either ebooks or hardbacks this year. or at least I haven't finished them. That is crazy to me but honestly not too surprising given how much I've been listening to audiobooks
Where'd I get the book
Library: 74% (Historic average: 12%)
Kindle/Audible: 19% (Historic average: 42%)
Chain bookstore: 4% (Historic average: 4%)
Gift: 4% (Historic average: 10%)

Decade published
1810s: 2% (Historic average: 0.2%)
1920s: 6% (Historic average: 0.5%)
1930s: 2% (Historic average: 2%)
1940s: 6% (Historic average: 0.5%)
1960s: 2% (Historic average: 2%)
1970s: 4% (Historic average: 1.4%)
2000s: 9% (Historic average: 18%)
2010s: 38% (Historic average: 63%)
2020s: 32% (Historic average: 2%)

Top Genres
Mystery: 19% (Historic average: 5%)
Literary Fiction: 13% (Historic average: 11%)
Science: 9% (Historic average: 3%)
Humor: 8% (Historic average: 7%)
Fantasy: 8% (Historic average: 4%)

Resolution books
Historic average: 47%

Friday, December 31, 2021

December Reading Wrap Up

Looks like I didn't get much (any) blogging done during December. Which I suppose makes sense given how busy the month is generally and also the fact that I rarely manage to blog at all anymore. I'm still keeping at it but just, trends show this isn't going to get better anytime soon.

December was a good month. Cookies were baked. Trees were decorated. Gifts were exchanged. All in all I think things were a success and I'm sad to be taking the decorations down, though happy to be gaining the space back. 

I'll do a full year end wrap up but let's look at those sweet, sweet December stats.

Number of books read
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manasala
The Big Four by Agatha Christie
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

Number of pages read
The most pages in one month through the year. Instead of thinking up blog posts I was just listening to books.


Female authors

BIPOC authors

US authors

Book format
audiobook - 100%

Where'd I get the book
library - 100%


Decade published
1920s - 17%
1970s - 17%
2010s - 33%
2020s - 33%

Resolution Books
Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson and the 2 Agatha Christie books are by UK authors
When No One is Watching is by Alyssa Cole, a Black author
Arsenic and Adobo is by Mia P. Manasala, a Filipino author

Let's see what 2022 brings (reading wise anyway. I want to walk very carefully and quietly into the new year)

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

November Reading Wrap Up

November has come and gone and as with every month, it happened so fast. Holidays certainly make things seem like they go faster. So much planning for the moment. Hope those that celebrate had a happy Thanksgiving with minimal familial stress. Ours was good if busy and I would be fine with a vacation from the vacation.

Good food was eaten, Christmas decorations were put up and we even got to see some dinosaur bones. Last time we were at The Museum of Natural History was November 2019 so seemed like a nice opportunity to go again this year, even if toddlers can only pay attention for so long, even if it's something they want to see
But hey, let's check out some stats

Number of books read
The Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Number of pages read
Only 10 pages more than last month, when I also read 4 books. And apparently all books are about the same length
(Longest book between Oct & Nov was 375. Shortest 304. Average 337. Because I know you were on the edge of your seat wondering about that)


Female authors

BIPOC authors

US authors

Book format
audiobook - 100%

Where'd I get the book
library - 100%

Book club books

Decade published
1940s - 25%
1960s - 25%
2020s - 50%

Resolution books
A Deadly Inside Scoop is by a Black author, Abby Collette
Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie was published before 2000 AND is by a non-US author
The Left Hand of Darkness was also published before 2000

Not bad BUT could be better. As always. Let's see what December brings though fair warning, I will probably focus more on comfort and quick reads because December feels like it's going to be a very busy month. Also I would very much like to get to 52 books by the end of the year and I'm close! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

2020 Mini Reviews - January 2020

I am getting to some 2020 mini reviews and it's still 2021! I'm within a calendar year in these reviews. Are you impressed? I am. I mean, that's not going to last very long but it's something for now.

Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie 
Read January 2020
It's a Poirot mystery. That's basically all I remember. As a matter of fact, I was just looking it up and realized originally I had the title wrong. I had it written as Mrs. McGinty's Murder. So I didn't remember enough to get the title right. I was trying to read some summaries and none of these sound familiar either. I'm not going to worry too much and just say it's a Poirot mystery so it was probably pretty fun and you knew what you were getting and it not being super memorable isn't a huge fault. 

White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America by Margaret A. Hagerman
Read January 2020
Here's another one I don't really remember. I remember the cover and that it was a book I found when I was browsing through the library app available books. It's basically a book of how white children learn about race in a country where white people really don't talk about race much but race is obviously a big and important topic. And how when race isn't talked about explicitly there are lots of implicit lessons being learned and maybe we should pay more attention and take more control of that? 

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
Read January 2020
You know I love a Bryson book. And hey, here's a book I actually remember. It's Bryson writing about the body. It's funny, you learn something, and who doesn't want to learn more about this meat sack we're carrying around? Or that's carrying us around? Anyway, I loved it, I loved Bryson's enthusiasm for what the body does and how we learned what we learned and that enthusiasm is infectious. I kinda want to read it again even though I think I've already read it twice in less than 2 years. And he reads this one so that's fun too.

Tanica Jones by Matt Boren
Read January 2020
This one I have some vague memories of. It was an Audible Original, one of those free items they used to give away every month. A story about a woman (Tanica Jones) who finds her identity is stolen by some other lady. This isn't in a thriller-y way. Tanica is working to launch a lifestyle brand and is VERY proud of her name when she finds out some other lady is making herself famous off of this name. This will not stand. The book/short story was performed by Retta (from Parks & Rec) and consider her character from there if you want an idea of the tone of this story. Funny and short.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Mini reviews - finishing up 2019!

Lookit this. After this post I'll have finished up at least mini reviews through 2019. 2019, which was, by my calculation, 200 years ago. Let's wrap up these mini reviews and then I'll only be 1 year behind. Until you know, we wander into 2022 and I'm multiple years backlogged again.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling
Read December 2019. 
Nothing. I got nothing on this book. I mean, it's a Cormoran Strike novel. I remember liking those. But this rings no bells. 
OK so I looked up the summary and it's vaguely familiar. I remember it not being a favorite although I was happy it wasn't as gross as The Silkworm so that's something, right? 

Dear Girls by Ali Wong
Read December 2019
Ali Wong is hilarious and I have watched her 2 Netflix specials I don't know how many times. As a matter of fact, one of my Xmas gifts 2019 was to go see her perform. Of course, then things happened so you know, that hasn't yet occurred. Anyway, the book. Very funny letters Wong wrote to her 2 daughters with advice. It's funny, she's funny, and I remember sitting the parking lot of a Target laughing at some nonsense piece (I was listening to the audiobook).

Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie
Read December 2019
What a seasonally appropriate book I picked. Good job, me. I mean, I don't remember what the mystery was. I think plum pudding might have been involved. Forgettable sure, but it's Poirot so it was entertaining. I assume. They usually are.

So there you have it. Some sorta-kinda-barely-at-all reviews and now I'm at least caught up through 2019.