Instead of a December wrap-up, this is a look at the year as a whole. I was fortunate to have some time off from work this week, so it’s been a perfect time to reflect and to think about my goals for 2023. More on that to come in January!
2022 in my personal life:
2022 was a challenging year. In addition to the challenges from COVID, my father had a lot of health issues that required my assistance. I’m used to being very independent, and chose not to have kids, so having a family member dependent on me has been stressful, especially while I have a demanding job and live an hour away. But it also puts life and priorities in perspective, and as the year changes I feel like I’m turning a corner in accepting these new responsibilities and the limits of what I’m able to do. At least, that’s what I’m working on.
At the same time, my husband and I faced our own health challenges this year. In 2022 I decided to pay more attention to my physical health, with the help of Amy from Be Healthy Enough, and I’m working on regular strength training and flexibility, and that will be a priority for me in 2023.
There were some high points in 2022 as well. Last December we adopted two kittens and they have definitely kept us on our toes, as they’ve (er – we’ve) adapted to their new home. In March, we became second-property owners and landlords — a property we don’t get to enjoy ourselves but will hopefully be a good investment. I volunteered for my local library’s annual book sale. In August we traveled to Sonoma, Napa and Carmel, a trip that was wonderful despite our both getting COVID. In October I traveled to Phoenix to see my mother and three sisters, and I feel much more connected to my family than I did a year ago. And I continue to love my work and also love working from home.
2022 in my reading life:
With all of the above, reading was a little more challenging this year, and I definitely leaned more towards lighter reading.
I read 108 books in 2022, about 8-9 each month. About half were audiobooks and half e-books with a handful of print books. I read 79% fiction and 21% nonfiction (22 books). Most of my books were medium length; four 4 were over 500 pages and a few were novellas.
The top genres I read this year were contemporary fiction, romance, literary fiction, and historical fiction. My other most common genres/categories were fantasy, LGBTQ, memoir, and mystery. The StoryGraph characterizes my reading as primarily “emotional” and “reflective.” I read 100 different authors; 53 of those were authors I’d never read before. Nine books were debut novels. I read 37 books that were released in 2022, and of those, 19 were advance review copies (ARCs). I only read 3 books I would label as classics; the oldest book I read this year was The Warden by Anthony Trollope, published in 1855.
I read 29 books that were part of a series. Twelve of those books were first books in new series. You can read more about some of my favorite series I’ve started recently here.
I try to read a lot of books by diverse authors, but that’s a difficult figure to calculate and I always want to read more diversely. This year I read very few books set outside the U.S. or U.K., so that will be a goal of mine in 2023.
I continued to use both Goodreads and The StoryGraph to track my reading, with both having elements I find useful. I used Twitter to share posts, but as with many people I’m considering whether I should continue to use it.
2022 was not a good year for book clubs, as I quit one book club and only barely participated in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s online forum. I also tried a book of the month club and didn’t read any of the books I received. I’m interested in joining Jenny Lawson’s book club (Fantastic Strangelings) but I don’t think this is the right time.
2022 on the blog:
This year was definitely about maintenance on the blog. I had 74 posts (about 1.5 a week) and about 1,600 followers, which feels pretty good to me. I counted 36 review posts, which also feels good to me – I wanted to review more books in 2022 and I think I did, though I definitely reviewed more in the earlier part of the year.
My new effort this year was to offer personalized book recommendations. I received 10 requests for recommendations, and I enjoyed trying to come up with meaningful and varied recommendations for each request. I hope to continue that in 2023, time permitting.
This year I came close to completing the TBR Pile (11 of 12 books read) and Nonfiction Reader challenges. I completed challenges related to nature reading and historical fiction. I also participated in Nonfiction November, 20 Books of Summer, Top Ten Tuesday (occasionally), and one new event, Wyrd and Wonder.
I want to sincerely thank some of my frequent commenters and favorite bloggers: Lory from Entering the Enchanted Castle, Karen from BookerTalk, Jane from Reading, Writing, Working, Playing, Aj from Read All the Things!, Davida from The Chocolate Lady’s Book Blog, and Liz from Adventures in Reading, Running, and Working from Home. If you aren’t familiar with their blogs I encourage you to check them out!
My goals in 2023:
I don’t want to impose a lot on myself in a year I expect will be even more difficult than this one, but I do want to continue reading diversely and about other countries. I also want to continue to post detailed book reviews. I know that book reviews don’t generate as much attention as other types of posts, but they are generally what I value most in the blogs I read, and I think I’m a better reader when I’m thinking about how to analyze and share what I read.
Thinking about challenges in 2023, I gravitate towards challenges that will push my reading in the direction I want to go, but will not be overly stressful. For 2023 I’m thinking about these challenges (sharing for those who might be interested):
- The TBR Pile Challenge and The Backlist Reader Challenge: to read more of the books that have been on my TBR for a while rather than the newest and most hyped books.
- The Read Around the World Challenge by The Reader’s Room or a similar challenge by Literary Voyage: to read more books about other countries.
- The Gaia Nature Reading Challenge: I started this last year and want to continue reading about nature and the environment.
- The Nonfiction Reader Challenge by Book’d Out: always a good way to learn about nonfiction books on a variety of topics.
- A new one I’m considering is the 52 Book Club, which is basically 52 unique book prompts. This is a just-for-fun challenge, I don’t think it will influence my reading but seems like a fun way to categorize the books I read. Many of the prompts will be very easy to meet (like “has an epilogue”) but some will be harder (“a Caribbean author” or “published posthumously”).
That’s a lot of challenges, but I look at challenges as a good way to connect with other bloggers and discover new books, rather than a source of stress if I don’t meet them.
That’s my look at 2022 and thoughts on what’s ahead. In January I’ll be posting my favorite books from 2022 and finalizing my plans for challenges. I’ll also post about some of my favorite new-to-me-authors in 2022.
Wishing you all a very happy 2023, and thank you so much for reading.