Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 Statistics That Are Completely Unrelated To Covid!

Every year I track my reading on Goodreads, but also in a Google Form I made myself. I appreciate that it populates a spreadsheet and that it collects the data into charts and graphs with no effort on my part. I change it up from year to year as I try to narrow in on the type of information I'm really trying to find out, but honestly in 2021, I just didn't care as much. 

I mostly like the books I choose. Almost like I know my own taste. The coveted "All the stars" ratings went mostly to re-reads.

This chart makes even more sense when you look at the following chart:

Most of my reading is sponsored by the public library, and most of the rest of it comes from my own classroom. Slightly backlist books are the result. I still am sure that I read a lot more current releases than I did before I started blogging. 

What's interesting to me about this one is that about 1/4 of the books I read were for adults, but hardly any of my favorites from the year were. I had more favorite MG novels than adult novels! (See yesterday's post for titles.)

I still read majority white authors, but 2020 was the first time I dropped below 80% white authors. This year I wasn't making such a conscious effort, and I still kept it at a lower percentage. There are so many good books in all genres by a wide range of people. 

I got frustrated with all the genre overlap, so I kept it simple this year. And this is about what I would have predicted. I do like my spec fic! 

Also not surprising. I read mostly physical books. Sometimes I can only find a book online.  I keep my subscription to Scribd for a reason! 

As for my Goodreads tracking...the numbers never quite add up, since I don't always count picture books, or I might add books I skimmed for practical purposes (cookbooks, knitting books) in one area but not the other. And there's always some I just plain forget--like, I had the first 3 and book 5 of the Bosch books recorded, but not the 4th one, which I definitely read as well. It's an approximation, but a decent one. I definitely had an off year overall, as the following shows:

My oldest data is from 2014, pre-dating both blogging and my Google Forms. I'd been on GR for several years before then, but either hadn't set a goal or maybe they didn't do that yet? At any rate, I blew past my book-per-week goal, so the next year I upped it a bunch, and blew past that too. That's when I started blogging. In 2016 I became a reading teacher (I'd taught ELD and language arts before). So 234 books was the new normal! 
Another excited year of reading a ton in 2017, but then I started to ease up a bit. It wasn't necessary to read 200 books a year. It wasn't necessary to put pressure on myself either, so I dropped my goal to one I knew I'd blow by in the summer. Still, I wasn't reading much less. Then came the pandemic:

and while you might think I had more time than ever to read, the truth was I had less ability to focus and when school started up in person again in fall of 2020, absolutely no free time. It was insane, and my books read dropped to under 150. 

Then there's this year:

Barely a hundred books! How can it be? Well, actually, I have a list of reasons.
1. I spent five weeks traveling this summer, and read very little during what is normally my most productive reading time.
2. Everything that was true of 2020 in terms of higher anxiety and less ability to focus was still true. 
3.Ask me how many hours I spent playing on my phone in the last two years--THOSE numbers have certainly gone way up. 
4. My eyes, sadly, get more tired more easily, and partly as a result, I didn't participate in any read-a-thons.

But really, all of the other reasons were primarily variations of #2. I'm not beating myself up about it though, or worried. There's a pandemic going on, and we cope how we cope. I still read a lot compared to the average bear, and it still brings me joy. It's just interesting to see the ebb and flow.

And that's my 2021 reading in a nutshell, five pie charts, two bar graphs, some lists, and a partridge in a pear tree. 

Happy holidays, whatever you do or do not celebrate. Here's a few photos to make this a less formal and boring post. 

Christmas morning reflection

My sister and my coworker have decided I'm a hedgehog lady. When they give me things like this, I suspect they are correct.

I'm knitting my first full sweater in about 25 years. So far, so good.

My secret Santa at work gave me this fabulous puzzle. 

I made my own wreath with tree and yard clippings. That's a rose up there, believe it or not. 

I got way more into cookie baking this year than I have in several years. 

Friday, December 31, 2021

A Long December...Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than the Last

I have clearly not been much of a pandemic era blogger, but I can't resist the annual urge to pick my favorite reads of the year and look at my statistics overall.

Here are the books I gave five stars to this year, loosely organized by genre. 


  • Poe retellings
  • Really long titles
  • OBOB and CYBILS "required" reading always finds me some new favorites
  • Comfort re-reads of favorite fantasy novels
  • TV inspired reads (Bosch, Shadow & Bone)
  • Interconnected short stories
  • Dry spells with much less reading than usual


On Jan 1st, I'll post my annual collection of charts and graphs.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November in Review


My Reading

# of books read: 11
Bests In which I tell you all my favorite reads and make up categories so they each win something
  • Best November re-read: Scorpio Races
  • Best interconnected short stories: Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town
  • Best dystopian journey book I never would have picked up if it weren't nominated for OBOB*: The Boy and His Dog at the End of the World
  • Best classic I'd never read before: We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • Best book from my ALAN** box so far: His Hideous Heart
  • Best Audiobook set in the Pacific NW that managed to write hopefully about a foster kid without annoying the heck out of me: What I Carry
  • Best graphic novel that is an updated spin on a classic: Nancy Drew and the Palace of Wisdom

Bookish Events and Happenings

*OBOB = Oregon Battle of the Books, and in addition to running a club at my school, I also volunteer on the selection committee. Nominations are wide open to anyone, so we wade through the 85 or so titles for a few months before making our 12 choices (or 16 for 3-5th and 6-8th grades). Even though I teach and coach middle school, I like to read the high school choices, because, well, because I like YA better than MG. I'd read about 30 of the nominated books, and I rather foolishly signed up to read another 24 between now and February.  I only chose books that sounded good to me, many of which were already on my TBR and/or in my classroom library, so it's a win-win, really.

**ALAN = the Adolescent Library Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English (You can see why they went with an acronym.) NCTE is a huge and exciting conference that I've attended twice, but I didn't think it would be as valuable in virtual format. ALAN is tacked on to the end of NCTE, and I'd only been once. It is more passive, in that authors talk about their books and we just listen and fangirl/boy. This seemed like a better fit for Zoom, so I signed up. The big draw for ALAN is the book box--publishers give each attendee some 30 new books and ARCs, randomly selected from the most recent works of the authors who are there. So YES I got 30 new books for my classroom AND I got to hear Tiffany D. Jackson, G. Nehri, Leigh Bardugo, Mindy McGinnis, Yamile Saied Méndez, and dozens more talk about their craft, their inspiration, and the work of pushing back against censorship and white supremacy.

I also found out that I got a $500 grant I'd applied to for my classroom library. Very exciting, especially as First Book is created to make new books affordable for classrooms in need, and because Powell's agree to give me 20% off for this specific purchase. So I'm getting about 65 books for my 500 bucks. 

On the Blog

Apparently, I read instead of blogging. I posted ONE TTT post y nada más. 


Well, the world continues to be a dumpster fire for the most part, but I'm doing okay. Here's a few things going on. 
  1. I told my daughter I'd knit her a sweater, then it turns out I chose a pattern that has some stitches I didn't know (increases + short rows), so it's taken me three false starts. I'm hoping this one takes, and I'm not expecting to actually get it done by Dec. 25.
  2. We've been taking occasional dusk walks in hopes of seeing the owls along the nature trail by our house. This weekend we saw a nutria (invasive species, but still kinda cute) and a salamander instead. 
  3. I tried two new recipes at Thanksgiving--gluten free crumb crust for the dairy free pumpkin pie, and a gluten free apple crumble. Lots of food allergies and so forth in the extended family. I wasn't sold on either of them, but you can definitely make a delicious pumpkin pie using coconut milk in lieu of condensed milk.
  4. We started watching Wheel of Time. I never read the books. So far I'm enjoying the story and the world building but haven't gotten very invested in the characters themselves. 
  5. My daughter has her first "date" tonight. In quotes because they're going to walk up to the middle school and shoot some hoops after school, so that's pretty low key. We wouldn't even know it was a date if she hadn't told us. I'm trying to play it cool, but AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. As I mentioned last month, she's in a whole different social sphere than my husband and I were in high school, so I'm not super confident in how to navigate this stuff. 
I'm looking forward to December. I always and forever love summer best, but December and the festivities associated with it help a lot with winter blues. 

My monthly summaries are always linked to the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up on Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight, as are terrific blogs' monthly reflections.  Nicole and Shannon usually put together a fun scavenger hunt giveaway too, so go check it out!