Rearview Mirror // 2018

I was telling my husband yesterday that I feel like every year of my life is a little bit weirder than the year before.  But if the average weirdness level goes up by like, say, 5% per year, the 2017-2018 jump was way more. I think 2018 was at least 25% weirder than 2017.  Despite the extra doses of weirdness, though, 2018 was overall not a bad year.  I think it’s important to learn how to somewhat compartmentalize things, so that you can thoroughly enjoy the good bits without letting the bad parts bleed into everything.

When I was looking at my 2017 recap, to try and remember what the heck I write about during one of these posts, I was surprised to remember that last January 1 it was bitterly cold and there was snow on the ground!  Today is a more regular Ohio winter day: cold mud.  Still, it’s easy to get around in!

2018 Numbers:

At any rate, I read a LOT of books this year.  According to Goodreads, I ended up at 268 books read, which is about .7 books per day!  I did a pretty good job keeping track of books on Goodreads this year, but one of my (very few) reading goals for the upcoming year is to personally track books read on a spreadsheet so that I can come up with all kinds of fascinating stats, like how many books I read this year that were published in 1952 and how many of them were read on my Kindle and how many of them were over 200 pages and how many of them came from the library.  It’s possible that I can figure all that out from Goodreads, but who doesn’t love the power of a good spreadsheet??

The shortest book I read this year was Planting with Perennials by Richard Bird, a perfectly nice although rather bland beginner’s guide 64 pages long.  On the flip side, the longest book I read was Embers of War by Fredrik Logevall, a nonfiction tome that’s 864 pages long and took me a month to read.

One thing Goodreads does tell me that my spreadsheet won’t be able to is how popular books are on Goodreads with other readers, but according to GR, Ender’s Game (by Orson Scott Card) was the most popular book I read this year – a whopping 1,052,385 other people read the same book (which is funny to me only because I ended up feeling so ambivalent towards the story that I didn’t even bother reading the sequel), although part of that has to be because Ender’s Game became a movie this year as well.

The least popular book I read was on that wasn’t even ON Goodreads until I added it – Scotty: The Adventures of a Highland Fox by Frances Pitt.  That was a perfectly enjoyable little story about a wild fox raised in captivity, but wasn’t anything mind blowing.

2018 Highs & Lows:

My monthly Rearview Mirrors have continued to be some of my favorite posts to write.  I really like taking a moment each month to assess what’s been going on with the blog and my reading, plus it means that I have a list of my top 12 books at the end of the year!  According to those posts, here were my favorite reads this year:

On the flip side, here were my most disappointing reads this year, which, while not pleasurable to read, did lead to some cathartic rants, so that’s always good.

Other 4.5* or 5* reads:

Honestly, it was a weird year of reading.  There weren’t really any books that I felt over-the-moon excited about.  I had a lot of pleasurable reads, many (MANY) meh reads, and a few that were basically scarring experiences, but nothing that just filled me with ALL THE FEELS.  I’m staring at the list, trying to decide which was my favorite read of 2018, and I just can’t decide.  They were all so wildly different!  I was left with completely different feelings when I finished Kids of Appetite than when I finished Cotillion.  It’s hard to compare them!  I just didn’t have a book I felt like was a book I wanted everyone to read, although I think all of my favorites throughout the year are worthwhile.

The TBR:

Despite the fact that it is probably going to make me sad, I’m going to post the comparison numbers on the TBR from the end of December 2017 to now…

  • Standalones:  887 – despite my best efforts (*shifty eyes*) this slot has gained 67 books.  I blame all my fellow book bloggers for writing reviews I can’t resist.
  • Nonfiction:  83 – down two, so you can see that my adding-to-the-TBR addiction is actually FINE
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  675 – this one is up five, which is actually pretty good as I’ve definitely purchased way more than five books this year!  I’ve really been making an effort to read all of my own books and ditch the ones that don’t do anything for me.  With over a thousand physical books in this house, plus Kindle purchases, it’s an ongoing challenge!!!
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  238 – up 12, and this is honestly where I tend to bog down.  I get caught up in long series of books and it really slows down my efforts to reduce the TBR!!
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 108 – up three, which seems reasonable, right??

2019 Bookish Goals:

This blog is purely for my personal enjoyment, a way for me to keep track of what I’m reading and how I felt about it.  The fact that I have some other people along for the ride now is completely awesome, but also kind of a side effect haha  So per usual my goals have a lot more to do with my reading habits than they do with growing the blog.  I try to not get too carried away with goals, but here are a few:

  • Like I mentioned before, I want to track books both on Goodreads (because it’s fun) but also on a personal spreadsheet that will allow me to play with data, which is one of my nerd-brain’s favorite hobbies.
  • I want to continue working my way through my personal book collection.  Hard number goal?  Have the Personal tab of the TBR down to 600 by the end of the year.
  • Sometimes I keep reading books when I need to just stop.  I’ve gotten somewhat better about giving a book a DNF, but I need to step up my quitting game if I actually want to have time to get to books that I will enjoy.  Instead of feeling bad about giving the rest of a book a miss, I need to remind myself that I’m actually just wasting time I could be spending finding my next favorite book.
  • Unsubscribe from Kindle Unlimited!  Every time I get KU, I end up reading loads of pretty terrible chick lit books instead of something even moderately productive.  I realize that reading is a pleasurable thing and so reading a book I enjoy is never really a waste, but I have a lot of books on my list that are better than the mindless fluff I read whenever I have a KU subscription.  My immediate goal is to finish the book I’m currently reading there and then turn it off!!!

So I think that wraps it up for 2018.  I’m excited about sharing and discussing books with all of you throughout this upcoming year.  Happy 2019!!!