Looking Back at 2019

This being my first year writing a blog, I got to learn what I wanted my voice to sound like and find my own groove. Sure, there were times where I got a little ahead of myself – like trying to post something every day – or times where I faltered – like when I didn’t post anything basically all of June and July. But I think I finally managed to figure out how often I could post things based on my own hectic life and the speed at which I read… more or less. I also discovered that I didn’t have to force myself to read anything if I wasn’t in the mood for it – the blog could wait for me and didn’t demand a post every 2 seconds. Sometimes readings slumps got in the way and I just wasn’t motivated to pick anything up. It took me a while to realize this, but eventually I stopped stressing myself out and decided to think of reading like I always had – for myself and my love of a good story.

My point of making this post was mostly to look back at the year and see how well I kept true to my plans. Heck, I put myself on a book buying ban and then never said anything about it. How did that go? It’s quite obvious that I wasn’t very good at staying true to my monthly TBRs, but how well did I actually do? How many books did I read in 2019? Did I find any new favourites? Did I reread any books and change my mind on them for better or worse? Let’s find out:

 


Looking at my statistics for 2019, you can easily tell that some months I was busier than others or just not in the mood to read. The first thing I’m interested in looking at is how many books I read each month. Why were some months better for reading than others?

Total books read in 2019: 124

Total pages: 40,662 (328 avg. pages per book)

January: 12 books; 4,516 pages

February: 20 books; 5,990 pages

March: 18 books; 4,142 pages

April: 4 books; 1,076 pages

May (including the Asian Readathon): 14 books; 4,967 pages

June: 7 books; 3,236 pages

July: 6 books; 1,945 pages

August: 3 books; 1,085 pages

September: 3 books; 941 pages

October: 13 books, 4591 pages

November: 12 books, 4410 pages

December: 12 books, 3763 pages

Looking at the numbers laid out like this, it’s crazy to see the difference between months. My best month was definitely February with 20 books read, but I had a couple months (March and May) that came close. Of course, the reason that February and March were so high up there was because I found the time to sit down and read a couple of manga which are typically easier to get through than books consisting purely of text. I didn’t read much in either August or September (3 books each month) which I attribute mostly to the acquisition of a young puppy that needed all of my spare time and attention. As life is full of give and take, I can honestly say that these months of little reading were worth the time I got to spend teaching Yzma the ways of the world. Besides, not every month is going to be a great reading month – life just gets in the way sometimes.

 


 

Since we’ve just looked at how many books I managed to read this year, I think it’d be interesting to look at how many books on my TBRs I didn’t manage to read. Below I’ve written down which books I haven’t yet read and the month(s) in which I planned to read them.

  1. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (January, February, December)
  2. On The Come Up by Angie Thomas (March, June, December)
  3. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto (March, June, December)
  4. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (April, December)
  5. Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton (April, December)
  6. The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon (May, December)
  7. Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (May, December)
  8. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (May, December)
  9. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (June, December)
  10. Omens by Kelley Armstrong (June, December)
  11. Part of Your World by Liz Braswell (September, October, December)
  12. Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett (November, December)
  13. Small Bones by Vicki Grant (December)
  14. A Big Dose of Lucky by Marthe Jocelyn (December)
  15. Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer (December)
  16. My Life Before Me by Norah McClintock (December)
  17. Shattered Glass by Teresa Toten (December)
  18. Innocent by Eric Walters (December)
  19. War of the Networks by Katie Cross (December)

Comparing this list to the amount of books I actually read this year doesn’t make it look too bad. However, I know that there was a reason I wanted to read these books. While I might not get things read when I first plan on it, it’s my goal to finish all of these books in the near future. Sure I have books that have been on my TBR shelf longer than some of these titles, but there’s a reason I planned on reading these stories. Eventually I’ll read everything on my shelves (says every book owner ever), but I don’t have to force myself to read things in the order I get them. Thankfully, they’ll be there when I’m ready for them.

 


 

I mentioned earlier that I put myself on a Book Buying Ban, and that I never followed up about it. Just before putting myself on this ban, I found myself having bought 36 books in the last 2 months – which is a little excessive considering I can’t read that many books in such a short amount of time. The real question is, how did I do with my self imposed ban?

It should come as no shock to anyone that I still picked up some books this year. However, this ban seriously got me to limit the amount that I bought. From the day I posted my “Book Ban”, I lasted until June 9th which isn’t very good. While I had a reason that sounded so good at the time – it was one of my favourite books from high school and it was on sale! – I know that this was just an excuse. I didn’t purchase another book until the first week of August when, on vacation, I found a signed copy of one of my favourite books at the price of a regular, non-signed book. I let my sister talk me into getting it (though she didn’t have to try too hard) and happily went home with a new addition to my collection. As well, I picked up a book that she suggested I try because she’s usually pretty good at knowing what I’d like to read.

From there, I managed to make it until mid September before I bought any other books. As my goal for my “ban” was to make it until mid August without buying books, slipping up twice is pretty good for me. After all, I went from getting 36 books in May and April to only buying 3 over a period of 3 1/2 months. I know my bank account was happy with this difference!

Since then, I’ve picked up a couple other books but not at the rate I was acquiring books beforehand. This “ban” certainly helped me rediscover the joys of library books and appreciating the books I already have – and haven’t yet gotten to. Check here for my last book haul of the year, and here to see my most recent (decently sized) library book haul.

Overall I’d say that this experience was a success. My book buying decreased significantly throughout the second half of the year, and I hope to keep it to a reasonable amount for the foreseeable future. After all, there’s no point in owning books if you’re not going to show them the love and attention they deserve.

 


 

I did, in fact, find some new favourite reads this year. While I reread some of my favourites such as the Women of the Otherworld series (starting with Bitten) by Kelley Armstrong and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, I managed to find a couple new reads that I not only enjoyed but also plan on rereading in the future. After all, to me a favourite book is one that you’re willing to read time and time again, ignoring the new books on your shelves in order to spend some time with an old friend.

The first of these books would have to be The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I’ve always been a fan of faerie stories and Black managed to take these twisted beings to a whole new level. Jude is a character that I can’t decide if I love or hate – and I love it. Being a human in the fae world can’t be easy but Jude makes the best of it… usually. The entire trilogy (and side story) pulled me in and kept me prisoner. I loved every second of this series.

Believe it or not, I’m Afraid of Men has been in the back of my mind since I read it in May. While I don’t plan on changing the rating I gave the book (3 stars), I do consider this to be one of my favourite reads of the year. Shraya talks about hard hitting topics such as being transgender and learning to accept yourself for who you are. While it may not be a favourite book of all time for me, the longer I go having read this story, the more impacted by it I feel. This book has definitely opened my eyes – a white, cisgendered female that has implicit advantages in my everyday life – to the inequalities I was ignorant of beforehand. If you have not yet read this book, I highly recommend you pick it up. It might be hard to read, as most uncomfortable topics are, but you’ll have bettered yourself by listening to Shraya’s story.

If you’re looking for something quick and easy to read, might I suggest Book Love by Debbie Tung? This collection of comics all revolve around what it’s like to be a book lover. While reading it I might have felt “attacked” (okay YES I might turned down hanging out with people to read alone at home), Tung’s comics were able to make me laugh out loud and put a huge smile on my face. After all, no one understands book lovers like other book lovers.

I also discovered my love for Katie Cross’ novels. In August I read Miss Mabel’s School for Girls and was instantly hooked. Not only do I love Cross’ writing style, I love the world and how real she’s able to make everything appear. Of course I continued on in the story (though it took me a few months) and happily devoured most of the rest of the Network series. I also went on to read more of Cross’ works, so I know that it wasn’t just this one story that took my breath away – it’s Cross’ way with words in general. If you’ve read Cross’ works and enjoyed them, I’d suggest also checking out The Ronan Scrolls if you haven’t already.

Finally, it should come as no surprise that I found a new favourite series in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series (beginning with Keeper of the Lost Cities) by Shannon Messenger. While I took a couple months away from this series, I did so only because my heart couldn’t handle what was going on in the world. Messenger has a way with words and this might just be one of my favourite worlds of all time. I love the magic and mystery that surrounds Sophie. If you’re a fan of Percy Jackson, then you should try this series. Don’t be thrown off by the fact that they’re Middle Grade novels – I truly believe there’s something in this world for everyone.

 


 

One of the things I do every year is buy a wide selection of books to add to my ever growing collection. However, I don’t always pick them right away no matter how much I want to read something when I first grab it. While I think that I did a decent job at that this year, I hope to continue to improve on this throughout 2020 and onward.

How did you find your reading year? Did you find yourself having better reading months than others – and if so, could you find a correlation between your reading and reading slumps? I hope you had a fantastic reading year and got done as much – if not more – reading done as you’d hoped going into the year.

 

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