Hello! What is this?! I’m posting something ON TIME. How very unlike me eh? I’m late to everything, my organisational skills have been shocking with this blog… But I am here now. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my sporadic ramblings over the year. It’s been a pleasure to talk books with you all, as usual.
Now, lets settle down with a hot cuppa (I know I am as I write this at least. Will it be hot/drunk by the end, I have no idea – I do have a penchant for neglecting my teas…), and reflect a bit on 2022, the year that I think finally broke me haha… honestly, gallows type humour has got me through.
I’ll start with the books, as this is after all a bookish blog. I have been enjoying doing a more general wrap up each month though (not that there has been one in a while).
My total, as of the last time I checked (I’m drafting this just before Christmas – did I come back? [yes, I did]), is 77 books.
This is lower than previous years, the second half of my year did not see a lot of reading at all – even though the book count didn’t really drop much save for the middle of the year, the size of them did drastically. I’m hoping 2023 will give me a fresh boost of enthusiasm towards reading again.
I did actually keep up with my spreadsheet tracker this year, so I have some stats to share (which I freaking love – they make me happy).
On average it took me 18 days to finish a book, but I did finish 20 in a single day. I feel like this must be a record for bingeing books in a day, but also a record for just how long books have taken me… Those two disparities really do sum up how I feel about this year.
I DNF’d 9 books, which is pretty decent for me – I am loathe to stop reading, which is something I should just probably do more. My average rating was 4.2 stars, with a breakdown of:
1 [1 ★] // 0 [2 ★] // 12 [3 ★] // 33 [4 ★] // 31 [5 ★]
My most read genre was fantasy (of course) although there has been a shift when I look at the spread over the year to horror.
My biggest sub genre (I took the order of genre listing from Goodreads to determine this) was romance, which I think feels surprising. The close second was mystery.
I’m also pretty chuffed with how many non-fictions I got in this year. I read 9 non-fiction books, which is a huge leap from previous years. Mostly, they’ve been memoirs or history books.
Reading habits-wise, audiobooks dominated. They made up 40% of all the formats I read, paperbacks, hardbacks, and ebooks had roughly an even split of all the rest – so overall something tangible still was the most popular. But this is big news for me. They used to be such a small part of my reading, as I prefer to physically read a book – I retain more for longer – but my head just wasn’t in it most of the time, so audiobooks meant that I still read something, even at my funkiest. You can tell I was reaching for smaller books though as my average page count dropped down to 282 pages. The average length of the audiobooks I reached for was 10hrs 20.
My shortest book was The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde. My shortest audiobook was The War of the Poor by Eric Vuillard.
My longest book was The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne and the longest audiobook was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (which I listened to twice this year, its one of my favourites!).
I finished / caught up on a whopping 4 series… considering it was something I really wanted to tackle this year, its obviously gone well.. haha. This is definitely something I’d like to improve next year – as my completion rates of series is shocking. I need to get to finishing so many! There are also so many I want to start! Almost two thirds of the books I’ve read this year have been standalones.
Top 5 Books
Probably more interesting to most than the above, are what my top five reads this year were.
A quick summary of each is:
LEGENDS AND LATTES – TRAVIS BALDREE
A cosy slice of life, following Viv, an orc barbarian hanging up her sword and days of adventure to open up a coffee shop.
THE SHADOW OF THE GODS – JOHN GWYNNE
The first in an epic Norse inspired fantasy series. The Gods are dead, the Jarls are feuding, and something is stealing children.
A THOUSAND SHIPS – NATALIE HAYNES
The story of Troy retold from the women’s perspectives. A breath of fresh air and full of wit.
THE HAUNTING OF AVELINE JONES – PHIL HICKES
A spooky middle grade set in Cornwall, my new obsession. A mysterious notebook leads to some ghostly experiences.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING – J.R.R. TOLKIEN
Need I say anything here? Adventure-y goodness.
2022 General Reflection
As I say, 2022 has been rather rough for me. I’m not going to dwell on why, and instead just look at some highlights.
Although I haven’t had a “proper” holiday, where I’d normally get away to the coast for a week, I have done a few city breaks – and made it to a new country and finally visited Scotland. I absolutely adored this! I can’t believe it took me so long! I will definitely be back soon and hope to hit the highlands next time too!! Edinburgh was such a gorgeous city, and there is still so so much I want to revisit there as well. I also applied for a passport at long last, so I hope to go further afield soon too. This has been a to do item for literally years. I just have not been organised enough to get out there yet haha.
I also got out and about a bit more, and tried to really take the time to appreciate being in the moment while doing so. They’ve been some of my favourite days – including a spot for brunch is literally the best and helps me feel chill – and I really want to do some more excursions like this in 2023. I’m really lucky with some of the National Trust properties near me when I’m feeling something nice and quick (as I’ve been to them so so many times, so we just do our favourite bits), and also I’m right on the Welsh Border – and there are so many fantastic places to explore right on my doorstep here. I’ve always appreciated them, but actively and intentionally appreciating them is giving them a whole new feel. But seriously, brunch is freaking good for my mental health. I’m highly food motivated it turns out haha (I mean, I’ve always known this, but I am fully embracing it now).
I started the year strong in terms of looking after my health (both physically and mentally) but its all been rather rocky (or just plain neglected) since. I know so many make a resolution to get active etc. that fall by the wayside, but I find starting a new year it all feels fresh and motivated, so I am making it a resolution to try again and really focus on it next year. I had been really getting into doing some yoga on my lunch breaks, and would love to get back to it.
A major win lately, and like literally just this week, is that I walked some places on my own. I struggle so much with this, my anxiety goes through the roof. But I met some friends a couple of times in recent weeks, and walked there all by myself. You have no idea how happy this makes me, even if it was only like a ten minute walk. Of course food was involved, I told you I am highly food motivated haha. But its setting me up to start the new year in a really positive mind-space. I’m hoping it will spur me on to finally get on top of my health. I also finally went to the doctors about some health issues this year – I normally just try to plough on and not acknowledge it. It’s because I couldn’t do that any longer, which is bad, but its still a really positive step – it doesn’t feel quite so daunting reaching out for professional help next time I need it. If only I could keep the momentum for some mental health issues too…
Working on my mental health, and just some self improvement I’d been wanting to do too, I branched into YouTube this year – and have been a part of some wonderful bookish groups for various activities. I’d um-ed and ah-ed about doing some video content for years – I felt I’d be removed enough from the performance of it all – public speaking etc. is literally my worst nightmare – while still gaining skills and confidence from the experience. But I was also super reluctant to take the plunge. Big thanks to Lizzie @BombadilsBookishThings for asking me to be a part of MiddleEarthAThon, which got the ball finally rolling. And to all the others that have been supportive along the way – extra shoutouts to the other cohosts (who I’ve got some exciting things lined up in the new year with, along with Lizzie again as well – check out Total Bollix Bookclub), Abi @AbiOfPellinor, Celine @StuffCelineDoes, and Hannah @LadetteM.
And finally, as this is getting quite long (it must be my longest post) so lets wrap up. I am so glad I’ve reconnected with old friends this year. Some relationships re-flourished towards the end of last year, but they are still going strong. I’ve also recently managed to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen in about 10 years! All the meet-ups have been like nothing has changed and it’d just been the blink of an eye – its been so wonderful. And it hopefully means my hermit days (I became a major hermit in the pandemic) are now behind me – although I do also enjoy some hermit time. I am a true introvert, and need some time just in my own company. My social skills – that were not great to begin with – have definitely suffered though. I’ve also caught up with Morgan @MorganIsReadingAgain, and we watched half the Twilight films together – I got ill for most of the latter half of the year, so it’s been a while… but it was so lovely to catch up! I’m hopeful we can get together again in 2023!!
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