Well, 2021 has been a year. It kind of felt like a decade, but whatever. The end is approaching. So, it’s time to wrap it up, here on the blog, and start 2022 fresh tomorrow. The problem is that I barely even remember most of 2021. All the staying home means it has all largely blurred together. I’m honestly not really feeling particularly put together and on top of things. But, if you’ll excuse a little rambling, lack of focus and New Year cheer, I can probably pull a few stats together from the websites that are kind enough to track them for me.
Goodreads, for example, tells me that I read 355 books this year! That’s pretty awesome.
Though a good 75 (at least) of those are actually short stories. I made a concerted effort at the end of the year to clear some of the short stories from my shelves. And I feel like that inflated my numbers a little bit. At the end of 2020, I set my 2021 reading goal at 200 and then, when I started reading all the short stories, I upped it to 300. So, I’m happy with the number. Wanna see what 355 ‘books’ looks like?
I don’t usually use ratings here on the blog. I feel like people pay too much attention to the number and not enough to what reviewers actually say. But I do star things when I cross-post. As you can see, I’m a real middle-of-the-road rater. I think that feels right. How many books do I love enough to give five stars to or hate enough to give one stars to? Most books I finish with a whimper, not a shout. A limp, “It was OK,” is definitely my most common response.
Something I’m apparently not apathetic about, though, is genre. I have very clear preferences. Storygraph tells me that I’ll take fantasy, romance, and science fiction every day, please.
Apparently, I also like books that are dark, adventurous, mysterious, and fewer than 300 pages.
Yep, that sounds like me. (Though I do plan to focus on some of the epics on my physical book shelf in the coming year. I need the shelf space!)
Outside of the general statistics, I also did a few personal reading challenges that were a lot of fun. But they were all a little plagued by my constant inability to limit myself.
My husband has an aunt, who we love dearly. But you have to be very careful telling M. that you like something. Because if you do, she’ll flood you with them. Mention that you like treacle toffee, which I do, and 5 bags of them will show up in the mail. It’s love in the most obvious and visceral manner, but she struggles mightily with limits.
I feel very much like M. every-time I set myself a reading challenge. I get an idea that seems reasonable. But by the time I’m finished, I’ve completely overdone it.
“Here, I’ll read all my Christmas books…Oh, I have 65 of them.”
“Hey, I think I’ll clear off the short story shelf and write a short story review post…Oh, I read 48. That’s maybe a little excessive.”
“I have several books titled Awakening; let’s read them all…Oh, I actually have 15 of them.”
It seems I struggle as much with limiting myself as M. does. But I always feel super accomplished when I do these personal challenges. I get a lot of satisfaction from them. Plus, I just think the title ones are hilarious. So, I don’t imagine I’ll stop.
Looking forward, into 2022, is difficult. I’m uncertain what to expect. It will go one of two imagined ways. I really put myself out there and applied for a PhD program. The deadline is just now passing. And then there will be interviews, etc. So, I won’t hear for a while yet if I’ve gotten in or not.
If I do get accepted then things on the blog will look very different for a little while. I’ll read a lot fewer fiction books, for example. If I don’t get accepted, I’ll probably read even more books than this year in an attempt to bury my disappointment in stories.
I’m going to hold off on setting a reading goal until I know if I should aim for 50 non-fiction books on X topic, or 300 paranormal romances. Either way See Sadie Read will continue. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
I plan on a couple reading challenges thought. I recently wrote on that I intended to be ongoing. I plan to read all 13 of the books listed on a particular Best of Fantasy Romance list. I have 8 left and plan to fit them in here and there during the year.
I also think I’ll do another short story clear-out soon. This year I read all the super short ones. But I still have quite a few <100 page ‘books’ on my virtual shelf that I’d like to see read. Conversely, I plan to try and read all of the extra long books on my physical book shelf. There aren’t a lot (by my standards, which we have already established are questionable), but enough that getting them read would clear up a significant amount of space.
I also just plain need to read more physical books. I too often pick up my Kindle because it’s quick and I don’t have to leave the couch. But I’m starting to look a little like a hoarder with the stacks of books everywhere.
I have no doubt I’ll find reason to build myself other challenges. The randomness of them is part of what I like most. But until then, let’s all just hope 2022 turns out to be better than 2021 and 2020. Here’s to a new year and a new start.