2022 Reading Stats & Reflection

What a reading year I’ve had! 417 books is my best year yet, quantitywise. I’m not sure about quality because I was reading so much and, you know, raising and teaching a kid and carving out time for a husband, and volunteering 🙂 I rolled over my book a day challenge from 2021 and made it until April 15 and also was a first round judge for the Cybils Awards and both of those things made this total high.

For the first time since I started blogging, I’m not choosing a top 10 for books or movies. I just don’t have it in me. I’m burned out. I did post my 5 star reads and that will have to suffice. I did do some statting (honestly, I’m making everything a verb these days, so why not?) and here’s what I found…

Books read 417

Publication year most read 2022 with 168 titles

Oldest Book Anatole & the Cat by Eve Titus (1957)

Non-fiction 286, Fiction 131

Top visited countries France (17), Canada (12), Australia (10)

Fave Covers

Continued series 9

New series 10

Trilogy read 1 (Darkness Rising by Kelley Armstrong)

Longest book Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught (708 pages)

Most read author Lemony Snicket with 9. Gage and I ready to start book 10 of the Series of Unfortunate Events books next week.

Favorite Books (Elementary Picture Books) (Middle School-YA) (Adult)

Okay, tell me your FAVORITE book of the year in the comments and I’ll add it to my 2023 reading list!

March Favorites

It’s always been my intent to have every book I read on here on the blog. When I started this way back in 2008 it was for the fun of the bookish community, but mainly I wanted to use it as an online book journal. As I read more and more, I haven’t been able to keep up here or on Instagram and I’m going to try and make that happen while acknowledging that living life is more important 🙂

With that said I read 38 books this month (117 for the year) and have continued by book a day goal. Here are my 5 adult favorites…

Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

The Match by Harlan Coben

with an honorable mention to the quirky novella Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson

My 5 favorite kids books…all non-fiction

She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone and Marjorie Priceman

Just Like Beverly by Vicki Conrad and David Hohn

Planting Stories by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor by Patricia Valdez and Felicita Sala

Jason and I have never told Gage he was diagnosed with PDD-nos when he was 2. We’ve discussed the different challenges he faces, but never the label as a whole. He’s 11 and it was time. Being me, I requested every book our library system had and Jason and I spent a few hours going through them, both of us shocked at how bad some of them were. I’m still a little miffed that some parent will read some of them to their typical kid and think that that’s what autism is. A post for another day. The ones pictured are the ones that pass the sniff test for Gage to read. We didn’t introduce all of these, but I have them on hand for when questions come. So far he’s only read one. He took the news better than we’d hoped and hasn’t seem to care too much. I hate labels because I find them a much too simple way to judge an individual and so far the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree 🙂

How was your reading month? Anything I need to read?

Top Ten – Adjectives in Title

I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump lately. I’m still reading a book a day, 107 total for the year so far, but haven’t had the time (or energy) to take pics for IG or post here. So, I thought participating in Top Ten Tuesday was a perfect way to spend some time 🙂

Top Ten Books with Adjectives in the Title is the prompt and here are the ten I chose, all women for Women’s History Month. Do you see a favorite in the stack? My favorite so far has been The Starless Sea, but there are still several I need to read.

📕American Wife by Curtis Settenfeld

📒The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – liked it

📗American Duchess by Karen Harper

📘An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – really liked it

📙The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag

📒The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

📗The Rooftop Party by Ellen Meister

📕The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – loved it

📘Shallow Waters by Anita Kopacz – really liked it

📙The Starless Sea by Erin Morganstern – loved it

Do you see a favorite here?

February Favorites

I wish I had time to log in all of my February books, but this will have to do. You can see on the right the stack of picture books Gage and I read for Black History Month (plus 2 Van Gogh books). The back row were standouts for me.

❤️ The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and EB White
❤️Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills by Renee Watson and Christian Robinson
❤️A Children’s Introduction to African American History by Jabari Asim and Lynn Gaines 👉🏻 we used this 96 pager as our textbook for the month

You can see my list of adult reads on the left is considerably smaller. Still managed to have ones I loved just a little bit more.
❤️Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez 🖋 graphic novel
❤️Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
❤️The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova

I’ve read 90 books this year and I’m in my 15th month of reading a book a day.

January favorites and February intentions

I’ve managed to keep my book a day streak alive! 31 books!

13 picture books
3 fiction
3 young adult
3 chapter books
2 non-fiction
2 contemporary romance
1 historical romance
1 thriller
1 historical fiction
1 kids graphic novel

Technically, I’ve read 13 more for Cybils Award judging, but since I can’t talk about them until judging is done and winners are announced, I’ll count them next month 🙂

My favorites

The Comfort Book
The Comfort Book by Mark Haig. I talked about it here.
The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London, #1)
The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews. I talked about it here.
Kelley Armstong’s Darkness Rising trilogy. I talked about it here.
Just Haven't Met You Yet
Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens. I haven’t even done any kind of review and to preserve my sanity this will have to serve as a recommendation. It’s a quirky, modern British romcom. I listened to this one and thought the meet cute aspect of it really worked. It delved into serious parent issues without ever feeling weighed down or losing its spark.
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama. Since I read so many picture books I should share my favorite one! I talked about it here.

Last February I read a book by an African American author every day for Black History Month. I found new authors I fell in love with, Jesmyn Ward, August Wilson, Beverly Jenkins, Octavia Butler…the list goes on.

So, I chose books from last year discoveries, plus a Toni Morrison, that I’m going to try and get to this month. In January I read 6 of the 8 I selected at the beginning of the month so we’ll see how I do with this 9.

I started by reading Jesmyn Ward’s Tulane graduation speech turned into the book Navigate Your Stars. It’s an inspirational story of her growing up believing that college meant success. What she found was that hard work and persistence led to success and that a college degree was no golden ticket. There was also personal reflection on how we often judge people and the circumstances they find themselves in and how this view can change over time if we make the effort to continue to grow. The illustrations were gorgeous. A great gift for graduates at any level.

Top Ten Tuesday – 2021 books on my shelves

So, today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is 2021 books that you still need to read and I NEED YOUR HELP!

The two books on top were both given to me last year and I started and then abandoned them fairly early on.

📕Are either Honey Girl or Once There Were Wolves must reads? 📕. Should I try again or give them away?

Other books that were published last year waiting to be read…

📒The Ex Hex (picked up from the local Buy Nothing group)
📗Everything We Didn’t Say (given to me by my mom)
📒The Actual Star (won in a Goodreads giveaway)
📗Fox and I (library cast off that I brought home)
📒The Mystery of Mrs. Christie (impulse buy when I was doing holiday shopping at Barnes & Noble)
📗The Presidents Daughter (picked up at the library sale)
📒The Duchess Countess (sent by publisher)
📗Sharing Ann’s Story (purchased because the Ann in the title is one of Jason’s extended family)

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Be sure to check out her weekly post to find other participants.

2021 Favorite Movies and Stats

I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t the best movie year for us. We didn’t get to the movie theater (although we did get to the drive-in for a double feature) and our choices were more of ‘what’s on Netflix that we can agree on in 5 minutes?’ than intentional viewing. We did binge lots of shows, but I wasn’t great about keeping track of those. Maybe next year.

49 movies (same as last year)

2021 was our most watched year with 12 movies, followed by 2020 with 8.

Gigi (1958) was the oldest movie we watched.

We watched the most movies in the month of May with 8.

I wrote 4 Book vs Movie posts (The Sun is Also a Star, Good Morning Midnight/The Midnight Sun, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Perfume)

The actress I saw the most was Awkwafina in 3 movies (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Jumanji: The Next Level, Crazy Rich Asians)

The two actors I saw the most of at 3 movies a piece were Mathias Schoenarts (A Little Chaos, Red Sparrow, Our Souls at Night) and Jack Black (Goosebumps, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Jumanji: The Next Level)

My Favorite Movies

BlackkKlansman, 2018
Mudbound (film).png
Mudbound, 2017
ALC poster.jpg
A Little Chaos, 2014
A couple hugs each other against a colorful Chinese fan background
Crazy Rich Asians, 2018

What was your favorite movie of the year?

2021 Top Ten Book Favorites and Stats

My book a day challenge officially ends tomorrow since I started last year on the 31st. I’ll be including the two books I’m reading today and tomorrow in these stats 🙂 I honestly cannot believe I completed this challenge. It seemed crazy at the beginning of the year, but thanks to my new love of non-fiction kids picture books I was able to get through the more challenging days! On to the numbers…

I read 415 books.

73 books published in 2021 and 40 published in 2020.

The oldest book I read was Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie published in 1934.

249 were fiction and 166 were non-fiction. (this non-fiction is highly unusual for me and due, in part, to the 99 kids non-fiction books I read this year)

280 were written by authors new to me.

Favorite Cover

I visited France 25 times and the UK 17 times through my reading. I also read books set in 16 other countries.

I continued with 11 series ( Jack Reacher, Lady Sherlock, Kinsey Milhone, Dublin Murder Squad, Mrs. Pollifax, Inspector Rebus, Hathaways, Lucas Davenport, Amos Decker, In Death, Ravenels),

started 6 others (Fiona Figg, Runaway Train, Brigertons, Hugo Marston, Jeremy Logan, Seven Sisters)

and read 1 series from beginning to end (Lucy Valentine series by Heather Webber books 1-5).

The longest book I read was The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton at 528 pages.

Most read authors – adults – Lee Child with 8, kids – Virginia Hamilton with 5, and illustrator Jerry Pinkney with 8.

I already posted the longlist of my favorite kids books here and my favorite adult books here, but…

Top Ten Books I Read in 2021

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z
Dictionary For a Better World: Poems, Quotes, Anecdotes From A to Z by Irene Latham, Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.

I love this book so much! Gage and I read one letter every day, some letters have a few words, some only one. There’s a poem, an explanation of what type of poem it is, a quote, a paragraph about the word written by Charles or Irene, and then an action.

This was the beautiful way we’ve started our learning everyday. We read, we discussed, and used the poems as cursive practice. The book and pages are gorgeous and I’ve already ordered our own copy, since this was a library book. We finished up with Zest and pages of further reading recommendations which I plan on using! This the second collaboration between these authors and I definitely need to get their first book.

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Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey From World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan

Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this book! It’s a wonderful first hand account of his time in the war with a little of his life before and after. Scroll through the pics. Each the drawings were sketches he made during his days in the military. He would send the hundreds of sketches home when he could and just brought them out for public consumption a few years ago. In addition to the sketches, photos, and commentary, he’s included some of the letters he sent home.

He was there on Omaha Beach working as a stevedore to get cargo from ship to Allied forces. His home was a foxhole he dug himself on the beach.

It’s a story of war, hope, prejudice, and perseverance. If your child needs a firsthand account of someone in WWII or of racial inequality in the war this is a must read. It’s laid out so beautifully it’s sure to hold their attention. And, as an adult, I fell in love with it myself.

The Push
The Push by Ashley Audrain

The Push was our book club choice for April and it generated some very strong feelings. Personally, disturbing as it was, this was a great book. It’s a complicated story about motherhood, all of the ugly parts no one talks about and the absolute highs when you are exactly the mother you thought you’d be.

Blythe comes from generations of bad mothers. The stories of her mother and grandmother are interspersed throughout the novel. Blythe falls in love, gets married and is nervous to start a family of her own. Motherhood comes and I’ll tell you no more.

This debut novel is well written, perfectly paced, and hard to put down. But it’s not an easy read. It’s difficult at times to take in what’s happening and I think a lot of women could be upset by much of what happens. It’s a love or hate book for most and I’m standing on the love side.

The Midnight Library
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

What if every choice you made led to a different life, a different you and it was happening simultaneously to your life right now. What if you were able to visit The Midnight Library and try on each of these lives to see if you preferred them to the one you’re currently living. So goes the story of Nora Seed.

Loved this book. Not only did I love the endless possibilities, I loved the attention to great philosophers, especially Thoreau, who is a favorite of mine. Highly recommend this one for discussion and contemplation. 

Razorblade Tears
Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

This book was definitely elevated by the excellent narration by Adam Lazarre-White. His rich voice made the story of two fathers, one white, one black, coming to terms with the deaths of their gay sons come alive. There was more violence and also more soul searching than I anticipated going in. Give this one a listen.

The Last Thing He Told Me
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

This lived up to ALL of the hype! It’s so different from her other two books. It’s a thriller. One day a child knocks on Hannah’s door with a note, it’s from her husband and all it says is PROTECT HER. Bailey, the daughter, comes home from school with a duffel bag full of cash that her dad had stuffed in her locker. Owen himself was missing.

That’s all you get. If you like thrillers this is a must read! 

Salvage the Bones
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

This is an unflinching story of poverty, family, and life. Esch is 14 and has just found out she’s pregnant. She’s had sex with lots of her brothers friends because it easier to say yes than to upset them, but she knows who the father is, her oldest brother’s best friend. Another brother, Skeetah, has bred his prized pit bull China so that he could sell the puppies. The youngest brother’s birth cost her mother’s life and left the four of them with a drunk and rough father.

This book takes place in the 12 days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. There is such a richness to the unapologetic language and story. I still feel like a little bit of me is stuck on the coast. There is a brutal dog fighting scene. I had to close the book and sit with my visceral reaction to it. This book takes its time, but at some point it will completely draw you into the Baptiste family and their world.

It’s a National Book Award Winner published in 2011.

The Sun Is Also a Star
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

“Everything happens for a reason. This is a thing people say. My mom says it a lot. “Things happen for a reason, Tasha.” Usually people say it when something goes wrong, but not too wrong. A non fatal car accident. A sprained ankle instead of a broken one.

Tellingly, my mom has not said it in reference to our deportation. What reason could there be for this awful thing happening? My dad, whose fault this whole thing is, says, “You can’t always see God’s plan.” I want to tell him that maybe he shouldn’t leave everything up to God and that hoping against hope is not a life strategy, but that would mean I would have to talk to him, and I don’t want to talk to him.”

What a great way to start the month. I loved the romantic and scientific back and forth on the meaning of life and love. Almost the entire book takes place during one day, the day of deportation and the day Natasha and Daniel meet and fall in love. Jamaica and Korean cultures fill up the pages of this teen American Dream romance.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis, #1)
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

A graphic memoir by the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors. She tells the story of her childhood during the Islamic Revolution and Iran’s war with Iraq. And then later as she is sent away to live on her own in Vienna at the age of 14.

The black and white illustrations are full of horror, history, and heartwarming and heartbreaking stories. I’m late to the game, but this is a must read. 

The Complete Maus
Maus by Art Spiegelman

Two outstanding graphic books by Art Spieglman (the first winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1992).

It’s the story of the Holocaust based on Spiegelman’s interviews with his survivor father and also of his life with his father as he got older. He, his father, and the other Jewish people are depicted as mice and the Nazis as cats.

So moving, both as a Holocaust history, but also a relationship story between father and son. One I’m not going to forget anytime soon.

You are welcome to check out my end of the year list of books on Goodreads here. You will have to go to the bottom and click on See More Books a few times to see them all.

All Star Books – My 2021 Favorites

Yesterday I posted 35 kid book recommendations from my reading this year here.

Today, I’ll post my favorite recommendations from the rest of my reading.

233 non-kid books so far with 41 that I’d recommend the most. That’s counting the five of one series as one 🙂

Mystery/Thriller – 47

Lucy Valentine series by Heather Webber, 5 books in all

Truly, Madly (Lucy Valentine, #1)
Deeply, Desperately (Lucy Valentine, #2)
Absolutely, Positively (Lucy Valentine, #3)
Perfectly Matched (Lucy Valentine, #4)
Undeniably Yours  (Lucy Valentine, #5)
Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #3)
Faithful Place by Tana French
Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III, #1)
Win by Harlan Coben
The Last Flight
The Last Flight by Julie Clark
The Last Thing He Told Me
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
Ocean Prey (Lucas Davenport #31)
Ocean Prey by John Sandford
Girls Like Us
Girls Like Us by Christina Alger
Long Bright River
Long Bright River by Liz Moore
Razorblade Tears
Razorblade Tears by S.A Cosby

Fiction- 39

The Midnight Library
Midnight Library by Matt Haig.
The Push
The Push by Ashley Audrain
The Little French Bistro
The Little French Bistro by Nina George
Our Souls at Night
Our Souls at Night by Ken Haruf
A Girl Returned
A Girl Returned by Donatella DiPietrantonio

Historical Fiction – 12

The Only Woman in the Room
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
Leaving Coy's Hill
Leaving Coy’s Hill by Katherine Sherbrooke

Romance – 20

The Falconer
The Falconer by Elaine Clark McCarthy
Seduce Me at Sunrise (The Hathaways, #2)
Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
Just Last Night
Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror – 12

Good Morning, Midnight
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Kindred by Octavia Butler

Non-Fiction – 33

Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society
Good Citizens by Thich Nhat Hanh
On Juneteenth
On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed
Notre Dame: The Soul of France
Notre Dame-The Soul of France by Agnes Poirier
What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism
What Unites Us: Reflections of Patriotism by Dan Rather & Elliot Kirschner
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations
The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey

Memoir – 12

A New Kind of Country
A New Kind of Country by Dorothy Gilman
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
My Life in France
My Life in France by Julia Child

Graphic Novels – 20

The Handmaid's Tale: The Graphic Novel
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood adapted by Renee Nault
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
Klaus by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora

Graphic Bio/Memoir -17

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis, #1)
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
The Complete Maus
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos
Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley
Monet: Itinerant of Light
Monet: Itinerant of Light by Salva Rubio

Poetry/Plays – 9

Fences (The Century Cycle #6)
Fences by August Wilson
A Raisin in the Sun
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Young Adult – 12

Salvage the Bones
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
The Sun Is Also a Star
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi