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Farewell 2014! My Reading Wrap-Up

20142014 was a good year for reading and blogging.  It was also a good year for seeing family, for traveling, for getting the hang of being a student again (halfway through!) and for NOT working too hard.  You’ll see below it was a good year for reading new authors and getting outside my usual genres.  Here are my stats:

  • Books read: 78 (last year 64)
  • Books reviewed: 61 (last year 50)
  • New-to-me authors: 47 (last year 29)
  • Debut novel: 13 (last year 6)
  • From the library: 13 (last year 0)
  • Review requests/ARCs: 21 (last year 14)
  • Books in series: 27 read, 14 reviewed

Genres:

  • Fantasy or science fiction: 30
  • Historical fiction/mystery: 21
  • Classic: 7
  • Nonfiction: 5
  • Short stories: 5

What I’m proud of this year: I was surprised by how many new authors I read this year. Also I read more nonfiction and short stories than I normally do.

What I didn’t do as well: I tried to cut back on series reading, but I ended up actually picking up more new series this year (Wool, Parasite, Steelheart to name a few).

What I want to improve next year: I’d like to read more classics and read more diverse authors. I also want to be a better Twitter-user and maybe go to BEA next year.

Something new I learned this year: I discovered Edelweiss, Bloglovin, and Overdrive (the library e-lending program). I’m most excited about Overdrive, which is easy to use and will save me a lot. Plus I’m supporting my local library.

How I did on challenges: So-so. I did well on the Around the World challenge, reading books set in at least 13 different countries. But I skipped Central and South America altogether, and a lot of my 13 countries are English-speaking – Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, and England. So I can definitely be more diverse in my reading! On the TBR Pile Challenge, I read 10 of 12 books, and only reviewed nine. But I can say that the books on my TBR list were also some of my favorite books of the year, so I’m glad the TBR Challenge pushed me to read them.

Favorite book this year: Hard to pick a favorite, but I’ll say East of Eden by John Steinbeck, because I’ve read very little Steinbeck, and there was so much to think about in this book. Burial Rites and Tell the Wolves I’m Home were two other books that blew me away.

Book I almost didn’t finish: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. But I’m so, so glad I did. What a haunting book.

Book that didn’t live up to the hype: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I know how many people loved this book. But it was a little too cute for my tastes.

Author I want to read more of: Octavia Butler, who wrote Kindred. You can see my Top Ten new-to-me authors here. Hannah Kent, Carol Rifka Brunt, and Helene Wecker top my list, but sadly they don’t have other books I can run out and read.

Favorite guilty pleasure: I don’t read a lot of romances, but I was happy to discover Courtney Milan this year. The Duchess War was awesomely fluffy.

Favorite review request: I read a lot of great books this year as review requests. I read two books of short stories by Rebecca Burns, who is a fantastic writer. Also The Bees by Laline Paull was definitely a standout and one I was excited to receive in advance.

Best vacation read: I always remember my vacation reads, because I can picture where I was when I read it, whether it’s a train, a plane, a hotel room or a beach.  This year’s notable vacation read was The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne, I think because it’s one of the most interesting “journey stories” I’ve read.  Not a perfect read, nor an easy one, but one I still remember vividly.

Favorite book to movie adaptation in 2014: Outlander! For movies, I didn’t see most of the adaptations this year, although I want to see Wild and Gone Girl.  Most of this year’s movie adaptations didn’t look so good.  An awesome book-to-movie was The Imitation Game, about Alan Turing; I haven’t read the book though.

Favorite blogs discovered in 2014: Three shout-outs here: Rinn Reads is a fantastic science fiction and fantasy blog with a reading group on Goodreads. River City Reading is great for literary fiction and nonfiction. The Emerald City Book Review has that too, plus my favorite blog name.

New followers this year: I went from 332 to 609 in 2014!  Very exciting. Now I need to do a better job of finding out where these followers are coming from.

Favorite post this year: My review of Mark Lamprell’s The Full Ridiculous. This post was very personal to me and I was disappointed that few people read it.

Hardest review to write: Unbroken, because I know how many people love this book, and I just didn’t. But I felt like a terrible person saying so!  Also The Unquiet Dead, because it was really hard to write about things like genocide and ethnic cleansing, even though I’m glad I read the book.

Most read post on my blog: Why, oh why, is my review of The Kitchen House always the most read post? I didn’t care for the book and I wrote this review years ago. What is the deal with this book?

14 thoughts on “Farewell 2014! My Reading Wrap-Up

  1. Thanks for the nod to ECBR. : ) I don’t know Rinn Reads, but will have to check it out. Looking forward to more of your recommendations in 2015!

  2. This is such a great wrap-up, love it. I’d love to read more Butler too, Kindred was wonderful. Ohhh The Sparrow, haunting indeed.

    This wasn’t my best reading (or blogging!) year. I finally really hit a groove in December, lol. I’m hoping to keep that momentum going.

    Have a wonderful 2015 😀

    • Kindred and The Sparrow are two books I’ve heard about again and again from other bloggers – and they totally lived up to expectations. And I wouldn’t have read Hill House or East of Eden without your readalongs, so thanks!

  3. Eeek, thank you for the shoutout! Apparently I wasn’t following, but I am now 🙂

    Sounds like it’s been a wonderful year – also I’ll be looking out for your review of Station Eleven, as I probably won’t get around to it for the book group this month unless it’s miraculously £0.99 for Kindle or something…

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