Happy New Year! We actually have some real snow around here, which is super exciting. A white Christmas is always lovely, but there is something about a white New Year that makes me feel like we really are getting a fresh start.
Of course, it’s also unbelievably cold out there – only 3* this morning! My husband just told me that the average temperature in the US right now is only 11*!
2017 was a solid year on the blog for me. I basically never look at my stats, but I’m sure lots of people have looked at things, which is awesome. I really enjoy writing reviews for my own benefit, so I can look back on books that I’ve read and remember what was going on, but it is so amazing to me that there are a few hundred other people who also enjoy reading those reviews, at least from time to time. Thanks for being there!!
This year was the first year that I really, really focused on marking books on Goodreads. I’ve been kind of haphazard about it before, but this year I was determined to mark ALL the books, and for the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to update where I am with current reads as part of my morning routine – and actually am enjoying it! Especially since it means that I get really accurate stats at the end of the year…
Believe it or not, I totally blew through my goal of 160 books, completing 197 titles. Although I do feel that sheer number of books is a poor way to manage this challenge, since my longest book – Imperative (a P&P variation that I don’t think I even ended up reviewing here!), at 796 pages is worth just as much as my shortest book, Bronco Charlie, at 48! But I suppose it does all level out, as I read an average of 295 pages per book, for a grand total of 58,206 pages! (What am I even doing with my life?!)
The most popular book I read this year was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, also read by an astounding 2,123,251 people. In contrast, only two other people have bothered to rate Container Gardening, which is a shame, because it is actually a very nice little reference guide.
I am still really enjoying my monthly Rearview Mirrors as a way to sort of summarize what’s been happening. According to those post, these were my favorite books of the year:
- January: Shatter by Michael Robotham
- February: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
- March: The Wicked Marquis by Marnie Ellingson (reread)
- April: The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge
- May: The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith (nonfiction)
- June: Watching You by Michael Robotham
- July: Woman With a Gun by Phillip Margolin
- August: Uprooted by Naomi Novik
- September: Vertigo by Pierre Boileua and Thomas Narcejac
- October: A is for Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup (nonfiction)
- November: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- December: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I think 2017’s Book of the Year is going to be The Scent of Water. There is something about that book – I can’t explain how it is not only perfect, but it actually changed my life. While I loved Uprooted and The Night Circus, which are both magical and amazing reads, The Scent of Water is the one I feel like EVERYONE should read.
Other 5-Star Reads for 2017:
- Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
- The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart (reread)
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (reread)
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (it had the misfortune to be read the same month as The Scent of Water!)
- The Princess by Lori Wick (reread)
I feel like I finally have a grasp on my reading goals and am in a good pattern of reading four books at the same time, which is helping me work on multiple points of the TBR at once. I also realize that it’s basically physically impossible to read all the books that I want to read, but I’m okay with that. I’m just going to enjoy each book as it comes, and I’m not going to stop adding to the TBR, either. It’s more of a dream list than a tangible goal.
The huge number of books on the TBR is the main reason I don’t really read ARCs and am not interested in Netgalley or other such opportunities. I review usually 1-5 ARCs each year, and that’s about right. I don’t necessarily need free books, because I use the library like a crazy person. I don’t like the time pressure and (self-imposed) deadlines that arise from reviewing books from publishers. I like being able to just not finish a book because I don’t like the first page, and not have to feel guilty about that.
I wanted to compare my TBR numbers from December 2016 to now, but realized that I’ve done a LOT of editing on that list throughout the year, so comparing the numbers doesn’t really make sense. I cleaned up the Standalones tab, eliminating doubles and moving books to the Series/Mystery Series tabs as needed. I’ve also been working on making sure all the books that I own really are on my Personal list, so that list has gotten a LOT bigger. I’ve also been way more into getting free Kindle books this year, too, which hasn’t helped. :-D But I think that the numbers are straight now, so this time next year I should, theoretically, be able to legitimately tell if I’ve made any progress.
In the meantime, I fully intend to just keep reading, reviewing, and enjoying books. Books have been such an important part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always lived surrounded by them. I don’t really see that changing, especially since my mom sent me home with nine gardening books she was getting rid of today – so nine more books on the TBR and we’re not even 24 hours into 2018 yet. :-D
Thanks for riding along with me for 2017, and here’s to lots of great books and happy reviews for 2018!