Tag Archives: year-end review

Closing out 2021 and looking forward to 2022

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.

2021 year in reviewThough 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?

books 2021

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.storygraph 2021 genres

Apparently, I also like books that are dark, adventurous, mysterious, and fewer than 300 pages.

reading preferences

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.”

Wrapping up 2021’s Christmas Reading Challenge

“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.”

2021 Clearing Off the Short Story Shelf

“I have several books titled Awakening; let’s read them all…Oh, I actually have 15 of them.”

Wrapping up the Awakening Challenge

“Oh, 3 books titled Wolf Marked were featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight? Gotta read them all, obviously.”

Wrapping up the Wolf Marked reading challenge

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.

The 13 Best Fantasy Romance Books of All Time Challenge


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.

Photo by Luba Ertel on Unsplash



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Good-bye 2020, Hello 2021

I’m going to be honest. This is the time of year that I usually take a while to sit and ponder the previous year of books, pick out favorites and make a “best of” list, maybe discuss a publishing trend I loved or hated, etc. Then, I usually look forward to the coming year and set goals and intentions.

But after the way 2020 has beaten us all down, plus some of the personal distractions I have in my life at the moment, I just don’t have the energy for it. I’ve written an end-of-year/beginning-of -year post every year for the seven years I’ve kept this blog. But this year, I think all I can manage is a place holder and some simple, representative graphics. Maybe I’ll feel up to coming back to it at some future point.

Here’s what I can pull together. Goodreadsmy main reading challenge of the year—tells me I read 214 books this year. I’d set my goal at 200. I’ll admit a lot of these were on the shorter side, but they were books and I read them. So, this is a success. (Lord, I need a success.)

I used to really love keeping tabs on the number of pages I’ve read. It’s just the sort of collective thing I enjoy. But this year I’ve listened to more audiobooks than ever and Goodreads doesn’t count audiobook pages, so the page count isn’t accurate. (Insert sad face here.)

I’ve found that the more stressed I become (between Covid, money, house projects we started before everything went into free-fall and we’re trying to finish, etc) the harder it is to sit and read a book. I think the amount of time I’ve spent on Audible sums it up in a clear, visual representation.

Looking forward into the coming year, I’ve set my Goodread’s challenge at 200 again. That is well below my highest year, which was a goal of 300 and 364 books actually read in 2016, but still a respectable number.

I’ll be honest though. Unless 2021 truly does ameliorate some of 2020’s drama, I’ll only hit 200 books read if 150 of those books are in audio. Seriously! Not to disparage audiobooks. I consider listening to them reading, just as truly as a paper book. But I don’t really want all my books to be on audio. That’s not where my love is.

You can obviously expect things to run as always here on the blog. I’ll read books and post reviews, some thoughtful and academic, but most emotional responses to my time spent in an imaginary world. They run the gamut, depending on how I’m feeling when I finish a book.

I have joined a few book tours, which is relatively new. I’ve always excepted book review request, but tours are a new thing for me. I’m still deciding how I feel about them. I like the access to books, the chance to help authors gather reviews and a little online visibility, and the graphics. I’m not loving being given a specific date to post that review. I rather like finishing a book and immediately writing and posting a review. We’ll see how it goes.

“We’ll see how it goes” should probably just be my slogan for 2021, maybe even a mantra.

We’ll see how it goes.
We’ll see how it goes.
We’ll see how it goes.
We’ll see how it goes.

Anyhow, as I said, hopefully I’ll feel up to addressing 2020 and developing and diving into some goals for 2021 at a future time. As it is, I’m impressed I got as much as I did down ‘on paper.’ If nothing else I am soooo happy to see the back-end of 2020.


While I might be feeling stressed, such that my concentration is too shot to condense a year of reading 214 books into one more detailed post, I do feel hopeful for the future and wish everyone the best of the coming year and lots and lots and lots of good books.

May the cover always be accurate, the title descriptive, the genre true, and the ending satisfying.

Closing out 2019 and looking into 2020

Technically, the blog is still on hiatus, since I’m currently in England (and will be going to China at the end of the week). But I didn’t want to miss the chance to recap the insanity that was 2019 and look forward to 2020. Though the post will likely be on the brief side this year.

I’ll start with the basics. I read 208 books in 2019. This is down from past years, but still a satisfying number. 208 books means that I completed my Goodreads challenge, in which I set a goal of 200 books. No complaints on that front.

And this is just Audible!

I do have to be honest though. I wouldn’t have made that goal if it weren’t for audiobooks. Last year, I really started listening to book in bulk for the first time and I continued into this year.

What I like to do is listen to an audio book while working on diamond paintings. (This is my newest obsession.) I find it really relaxing and I have been flying through both audiobooks and diamond paintings.

I didn’t set a lot of other challenges for 2019. As always, I did an alphabet challenge. This means I wanted to read a book by an author who’s last name starts with every letter of the alphabet. This challenge almost manages itself, except for I, Q, X and Z. These I usually have to make a special effort to find and read. In fact, my X book was the absolute last book I read this year. I did complete it again this year. So, success.

The last two challenges are ones I actually set in 2018 and have been working on…largely failing at…in 2019. First, I set aside a stack of smallish books to read. However, I keep adding to the stack. So, it never actually seems to diminish. In my head, this one eventually just changed to ‘try and read more physical books.’

For too long my book shelves were double lined and still overflowing. However, this year we rearranged the house. My office became a child’s room and the finished basement (which the children had been sharing as a bedroom) became my office. This means I got a lot more shelf space. So, while I wasn’t all that successful in reading them down, I was successful in finally making my bookshelves manageable.

Lastly, in 2018 it came to my attention (as well as most everyone in my corner of twitter) how rarely characters of color are seen on book covers, even when the character themselves is a person of color in the book. So, while I couldn’t afford to buy all the books I can find with non-white characters on the cover, I did go through those that I own and set a goal to read and review them, supporting the authors in this manner. I wrote myself a blog post with all the titles, planning to chip away at the list throughout the year.

I later somewhat regretted doing this, because I decided it was performative. But I also felt like deleting the post would be giving up and maybe hiding a misstep. I still have really mixed feelings about it, especially since I have largely failed…and failed in multiple layers. First, I simply failed to check my list and choose books from it, instead of what was currently on my kindle. And when I did I often didn’t find anything of interest. (I picked up so many freebie YA books and I’m so burned on YA books. Though that’s not the only reason, of course.)

I was a bit better about choose books with characters of color on the cover while at the library and I briefly added them to the list. But that was too much like, “look what I’ve done.” So, I quickly stopped adding and decided (again) to try and whittle down the initial list. But that too simply fell by the wayside as time went by.

At this point, I have no option but to admit that, despite my best intention, I have failed at this challenge. I’ll carry it over into 2020 and hope to do better.

Now, for the hardest part of this post (even harder than admitting failure), choosing my best of 2019. I almost decided to skip it this year, using the I’m on vacation excuse. But I’m going to suffer through the decision making. Of the 208 books I read this year, I most enjoyed (in no order) The Last Sun, The Ballad of Black Tom, The Bones Beneath My Skin, Girl Waits With Gun, Anatomy of a Miracle, and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. Yes, 6 is an odd number to choose. But I couldn’t make myself decide which one to drop to make ‘top five’ and I didn’t have enough notable winners to make a ‘top ten.’

The interesting thing about this list is that it is made up exclusively of books I expected to love or expected not to and was surprised that I did; no middle ground. Anything published by Tor (The ballad of Black Tom and The Haunting of Tram Car 015) or written by TJ Klune (The Bones Beneath My Skin) I know I’ll love. But The Last Sun I read after several DNF books and a couple two-star reads. So, it was a welcome relief to hit a winner. I didn’t expect much from it initially though, since I’d never read anything by K.D. Edwards before. And both Girl Waits With Gun and Anatomy of a Miracle were books I won and picked up in my attempt to read more of my physical books. I didn’t really expect to like them too much, but ended up loving them.

I also find it interesting that 5 our of 6 are written by men, considering I read far more female authors and tend to like their writing more. It just goes to show you never can guess on January 1st what the year might bring.

Looking forward to 2020, I think I’ll continue the theme of fewer challenges than in the past. In fact, I think I’ll do the same as 2019. I always enjoy the alphabet challenge, the Goodreads Challenge is how I keep track of what I read in general (and I think I’ll stick with 200 books), and I still want to read more of the physical books that I already own and I still want to cross off the books I initially listed in my Characters of Color challenge.

That just leaves one last thing to say.