Woohoo!! Well, mid-April may be the latest I’ve ever written a year’s wrap-up post, but we finally made it! 2022 was actually a great year around here, although it was also a big year because my husband and I both had milestone birthdays that kind of made us go Have we really been doing this/living here/working that job THIS LONG??? Like things are definitely quite good, but sometimes it’s just weird how fast time goes!!
So, I’m going to do a little 2022 challenge wrap up, some thoughts on each month’s reading, and then the final TBR stats (I actually did note down where I was on the TBR at the beginning of January so I could get an accurate reading on this one!!). And so – here we go!
NB: Throughout this post all links lead to other posts on my own blog.
I did a post early in the year about my reading goals for 2022. These included reading more longer books, focusing on checking off some classics, and then several random challenges on Litsy. Overall, I did okay.
- Chunksters (800+pgs): 3
- Almost-a-Chunkster (450-799pgs): 19
- Classics: 18
I’m mostly pleased with my classics progress!! This was due in large part to several buddy reads on Litsy – I’ve been so surprised at how it helps to have a group that is discussing/griping about a difficult book as we read it! I also drew one book off my personal classics TBR every month and read a chapter a day of it until I finished it, and that also checked off several!
For my #ReadtheUSA goal, I did manage to visit 42 states for an 82% completion rate, so better than 2021 but I still haven’t hit all 50 in one year yet!!
I unofficially participated in the #MtTBR challenge again and summited Mt. Everest, with over 100 books off my TBR!! I was pretty excited to hit this goal and event to start clawing my way up the almost-unattainable Mt. Olympus. I hit 107 books this year. I only count books that were on my TBR before the year began, and any book that is a series only counts when the series finishes (so an entire series is still just one block for me). So I felt like that was pretty solid progress.
Finally, I did complete the 1982-2022 challenge of reading at least one book published in each of those 40 years. It was super fun to read a book for every year I’ve been alive – and a little sobering that it took so many books to get there! LOL
I had a weird start to the reading year with a month that contained a lot of “whatever” reads. Not bad, exactly, just not books I LOVED. My favorite read of the month was Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts, a solid romantic thriller, but even that one didn’t blow me away – I just happened to enjoy it more than most of the others haha
On the flip side, I also didn’t have any big busts this month, either. The Magic of Ordinary Days was my most disappointing read of the month – it’s hard to enjoy historical fiction if you really hate the main character!
February was a little stronger. I reread two old favorites and loved them both – David Copperfield and An Old-Fashioned Girl. My favorite new read of the month was Family for Beginners. I’ve really enjoyed reading Morgan’s Christmas books, but she also writes a lot of summer books as well. Morgan just writes family SO well, with believable and likable characters, and I love how she explores not just romantic relationships, but various family connections as well, especially between mothers and daughters, and between sisters.
My official most-disappointing read this month was Star Sand, another historical fiction that started strongly and then fizzled out – I was honestly SO annoyed by how this book just… faded away, as though the author got bored halfway through. I also plowed my way through From Blood and Ash, which so many people love and I just… didn’t. I found the main character to be SO annoying and self-absorbed, and the world-building was weak and uneven. Plus, the “twist” at the end made me feel like I had just read a 600pg+ introduction instead of a fulfilling novel so. This is one of those books that “everyone” seems to love, but I just felt like was overrated.
Several fabulous books in March – I absolutely LOVED Scythe, which took the top slot for the month. So creative, incredibly compelling characters, fantastic storytelling – I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series! But there was some stiff competition for top book of March – Of Mice and Men was my classic for the month and I hated it and also was completely gut-punched by it. I just can’t understand how Steinbeck can put SO much emotion and storytelling into just a handful of pages. I also read an extremely engaging nonfiction, Into the Forest, about Jews in Poland who escaped into the forest – absolutely compelling reading.
While I had some great reads in March, I also had several busts. I waded through The Priory of the Orange Tree, but, like From Blood and Ash, I found this fantasy chunkster to be incredibly overrated. I didn’t like any of the characters, the world-building was surprisingly poor considering the length of the book, and in the end, even though it’s billed as brilliant feminist writing, the message I took away was definitely more anti-motherhood than it was pro-woman; I absolutely hated the way it was emphasized over and over that the quickest way to ruin your life was to have a baby. I honestly found it so degrading. But, once again, this book is almost universally feted, so there’s that.
My favorite book of the month was a little bittersweet – I finally read Great Northern?, the conclusion to the absolutely delightful Swallows & Amazons series. I loved these books so much that I’ve decided to reread them already! I also finished the Arc of the Scythe trilogy, which I thoroughly enjoyed, even though the story didn’t end exactly the way I wanted it to haha
I forced myself through North and South, a classic I’ll definitely never read again. Such unrelenting depression! Such a passive, whiny main character! And it felt like every time Gaskell wasn’t sure what should happen next, she just chose some other character to kill off for no reason. This book didn’t seem remotely romantic to me, although I do suppose that Margaret and Thornton will probably get along just fine since they are two of the most BORING characters I have EVER read about. So many people seem to love this story, and I just did NOT get it.
May was fabulous reading month! Out of 17 books read, 12 of them rated 4* or higher. This was partially due to reading the entire Lunar Chronicles series, including the four main books, the side book about the villain, and the two follow-up graphic novels, plus a collection of short stories. I really loved this series a lot; an unexpected win since I had kind of low expectations. But the characters were just so delightful, the romance done well, the retelling aspects great fun, the world-building intriguing, and the story compelling. I blazed through these books and enjoyed every page. I also reread one of my very favorite books, Jane of Lantern Hill, and read Cary Elwes’s As You Wish, which was utterly charming.
Not many, really. For my most disappointing book I chose a Nora Roberts romance – The Heart’s Victory. It was just very… 80s haha
Another solid reading month. I didn’t have any books that really grabbed me, but I had a huge pile of 4* reads. I gave Book Lovers the edge as my favorite read of the month – I loved the way various romance tropes got turned upside-down, and I really enjoyed the banter between the two main characters. I also FINALLY finished Gone With the Wind – I started this one in April and read a chapter a day until I finished! I wanted to hate this book (and I DID hate Scarlett!) but in the end… I just couldn’t. It’s actually an amazing story and a weirdly engaging look at a specific time and specific people. What I really took away from this one was – never trust the government. Ever. About anything.
No total busts this month, but a handful of 3* books – By Your Side took the official “most disappointing” spot, mainly because I have enjoyed so many of West’s other books, so I was expecting more from this one. The premise sounds so fun! But honestly, I should have DNFd at the beginning when the main character was afraid she was going to be bored when she got locked in the library. ?!?!?! National Velvet was also weirdly disappointing, mostly because I’m a lover of horse books. This one is billed as one of THE horse books, but… it wasn’t very horsey??? It was an odd little book. I wanted more horses.
Nightwork was my favorite new book of the month – Nora Roberts does the multi-year-romance-family-drama thing very well, and I really liked these characters. My favorite read overall, though, was my reread of Wodehouse’s The Girl on the Boat, which is just too funny for words. I also really enjoyed my reread of A Tangled Web, which was never my favorite Montgomery, but has grown on me over the years as I have gotten older and relate more to more of the characters. The ending still kind of annoys me, though.
I had several meh reads, but I feel like Summer Days and Summer Nights got on my nerves the most – a collection of YA short stories, and literally they all were terrible. Very disappointing.
Life started to get busy in August, so my reading slowed down a bit. I really enjoyed reading the latest installment of the Kate Burkholder series, The Hidden One. While it wasn’t my favorite in the series, it was still a solid installment. I really like Kate a lot and am always excited to see what she gets into next. My overall favorite read was another Wodehouse reread – The Small Bachelor. Why is he so consistently funny?? I also really enjoyed revisiting The Railway Children – Nesbit is always a win – and the dramatic but great fun The Hidden Hand. I also had a surprise win in the YA fantasy realm with Jade Fire Gold. However, it’s definitely a book that feels like it is supposed to have a sequel… and there is no sign of that sequel yet. :-(
I had never read Montgomery’s Pat of Silver Bush because Mom always told me it was really depressing. Well, add this to the neverending list of things Mom was right about – this book was just… ugh. I also had another romcom disappointing – The Worst Best Man just hit every note wrong for me. The female MC was obnoxious and the male MC felt like the male version of a manic-pixie-dreamgirl, one where little perfect feminist bylines come out every time you pull the string. So boring and overall too polemic for me, as the whole thing just felt like a man-bashing session.
As usual, September was the month I read the least. That’s always my busiest month at the orchard, and it was times ten this year as we had a terrible time finding employees for the season, so I was doing a lot of fill-in-the-gaps shifts. Still, I’ve never had a time in my life where I wasn’t reading AT ALL, so I still managed to get through 13 books! Thankfully, most of my reads were solidly 4*. My favorite was Nora Roberts again – The Reef – I love her ability to find the most random careers to be the background for her stories! I also reread several old favorites: The Flatshare, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Venetia were all total wins. I was also rather delighted with The Stand-In, which had its weaknesses but was overall a very cute romcom.
The biggest one was a Kindle book I’ve owned forever – Everywhere It’s You. Not only was the story riddled with typos and things that didn’t really make sense, it literally just stopped in the middle of the book and informed me that I had to now buy book 2 to find out what happens! Not a cliffhanger – literally just stopping the middle! I was so mad. And no, I didn’t buy book 2!
YA fantasy does not always work for me, so I was honestly somewhat surprised at how much I enjoyed Only a Monster. The sequel comes out this year, and I am genuinely intrigued to find out where the story goes next! I also really enjoyed rereading Meet Mr. Mulliner and A Fine and Pleasant Misery – you know, it occurs to me, not for the first time, that I really like my books to be funny!
Dangerous Beauty was one of those books that had the potential but went no where. I was really disappointed by this one.
Just Another Love Song was a surprise win – such a fun and happy romcom, and so nice to see some positive Ohio rep for once!! I also reread two old favorites – Borgel is still just so perfect even though it seems like it should be too weird. And I love Blandings Castle, so Full Moon was also a delight. I had 13 other books that were all 4* reads, so all in all November was a great reading month.
It’s always sad when a sequel doesn’t live up to the first book, and that’s how I felt about The Rules for Breaking. I thought that The Rules for Disappearing was really intriguing and well done, but Breaking was just… choppy and overly complicated.
December was mostly Christmas fluff, which was quite hit or miss. I really enjoyed reading A Christmas Carol, as well as two of Sarah Morgan’s Christmas stories, Snowed In for Christmas and A Wedding in December. Of course my reread of The Hundred and One Dalmatians was a win, as was a reread of Little House in the Big Woods.
I had a traveling book club book that I genuinely couldn’t stand, Raising the Horseman – just no. The next Chesapeake Shores book, The Summer Garden, was also a bust. The worst Christmas book I read all month was A Cross-Country Christmas. I’m so sorry, Will – you really deserve so much better!!
Okay, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, including myself! Did my net TBR go up or down in 2022?? Unlike my usual TBR updates, these numbers are as of January 1, not today.
- Standalones: 470 – BIG WIN! Down 24!!!
- Nonfiction: 130 – LOSS! Up 2!!!
- Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…): 602 – BIG WIN! Down 37!!!
- Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 249 – WIN! Down 1!!!
- Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 110 – NEITHER! Holding steady!!!
- New Arrivals (I just started tracking this in December, so this doesn’t have a comparison for last year – it’s so I can compare it when I wrap up 2021…): 169 – BIG LOSS!!! Up 21!!!
HOWEVER! That still gives me a net -39 on overall TBR action this year, so I’ll take that as a win! It’s hard to believe that that’s my result from reading 247 books in a year, but here we are! LOL
Thanks so much for journeying with me through my reading adventures. It’s fun to share this with all of you. Next up – a post on 2023 goals, which should be interesting since we’re already 1/3 through the year! :-D