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2013 Readings Stats!

January 2, 2014 1 comment

Every year, I wrap up the old year and start the new one here on the blog with a look back at my reading stats.  You can see my stats for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 by clicking on the years.

Total books read: 54
Average books read per month: 4.5
Month most read: May with 7 (No idea what gave me so much momentum in May)
Month least read: November with 2 (A long cold and the holidays)
Longest book read: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey with 538 pages
Fiction: 45 (83%)
Nonfiction: 9 (17%)
Series: 28 (52%) (This went up by 11%. You can tell I found a couple of series I really like.)
Standalone: 26 (48%)
Formats: 
–traditional print: 13 (24%)
–ebook: 27 (50%)
–graphic novel: 0 (0%) (I’m in shock that I somehow didn’t read a single graphic novel this year!)
–audiobook: 14  (26%)
Genres:
–scifi: 20 (Winner the fifth year in a row. It’s clear what my favorite genre is.)
–fantasy: 11
–horror: 9
–indie: 7
–YA: 7 (I dislike most YA, but when I find a well-done one, I read everything by the author I can find.)
–GLBTQ: 6
–historic fiction: 6
–romance: 6
–urban fantasy: 6
–dystopian: 4
–humorous: 4
–post-apocalyptic: 4
–short story collection: 4
–classics: 3
–Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge: 3 (I really should at least get to the lowest level of the challenge that I run! Wish I’d completed one more book for this.)
–mystery: 3
–nonfiction history: 3 (As someone with a History BA, it surprises me not at all that this is my most read nonfiction.)
–contemporary: 2
–cozy: 2
–nonfiction cookbook: 2
–nonfiction lifestyle: 2
–paranormal romance: 2
–thriller: 2
–time-travel: 2
–transhumanism: 2
–African lit: 1
–bizarro: 1
–Chinese lit: 1
–Cthulhu mythos: 1
–nonfiction environmentalism: 1
–nonfiction fitness: 1
–nonfiction memoir: 1
–nonfiction relationships: 1
–nonfiction social justice: 1
Aliens vs. Demons vs. Vampires vs. Zombies
–demons: 7 (Demons just barely beat aliens, who definitely got the extra attention I said I thought they deserved last year).
–aliens: 6
–vampires: 6
–zombies: 1
Number of stars:
–5 star reads: 9 (17%)
–4 star reads: 26 (48%)
–3 star reads: 16 (30%)
–2 star reads: 3 (5%)
–1 star reads: 0 (0%)

Glancing at my stats, I can see that I definitely achieved my main goal for 2013.  I read more books I like and stopped forcing myself to read books I don’t enjoy.  My percent of 5 star reads went up by 3%, and my number of 1 or 2 star reads went down by a whopping 11%.  I’m really glad to have refocused myself on the joy of reading, instead of treating it as a responsibility.

Overall, my stats make me happy.  There is still a variety for the well-roundedness I wanted to hold onto, but there is also a clear focus on the types of books I enjoy.  The one thing that took me aback was my complete lack graphic novels.  I can’t stop reading the new format I discovered just a few years ago! I also would like to see a bit more nonfiction and at least a couple more reads that count toward the Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge.  I do run it after all.

Beyond those two minor goals, I mostly just want to continue seeking out books that truly appeal to me, reading at a comfortable rate as one of many hobbies, and continue to expand my horizons a bit with a healthy sprinkling of variety.

Happy 2014, everyone! Any suggestions for my 2014 reading goals?

Secret Santa 2011 #2

December 24, 2011 3 comments

My second secret santa present arrived!!  This one is part of the Book Blogger Holiday Swap.  The lovely lady who sent it to me said in her card that she’d just started following me on twitter when she was assigned to me, but girl! I couldn’t make out your twitter handle!  So please do let me know who you are!  🙂  She individually wrapped everything in gorgeous paper that I, yet again, do not have a picture of because I ripped the package open as soon as I got it, haha. It contained:

3 books and a card

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly–I remember adding this to my wishlist around the time when I read The Birth House.  Basically, a historic 1906 setting with a young, independent woman and a murder mystery.  This is going to be an ideal winter read!

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston–I find it utterly fascinating that both of my completely unconnected santas got me the same book from off my wishlist!  I take that as a huge sign from the universe to get at this asap and also maybe to host a giveaway of it!

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon–Wow! This is not only from 2011, but also is a complete audiobook and certainly looks brand new. Thank you so much!  The book covers inter-racial relationships and the world of mental hospitals and mental illness, so basically it’s a cross-section of two topics I read a lot about.  I’m very excited to have this to read while working around my apartment, knitting, or running at the gym.

A beautiful card!  Currently hanging on my fridge.

Thanks for making my swap a wonderful experience, and please do out yourself thoughtful twitter follower!

Secret Santa 2011 #1

December 15, 2011 4 comments

My first secret santa swap package arrived, courtesy of Melissa of Gerbera Daisy Diaries! Yayyyyy!!  I’m not sure if it was via Book Blogger Holiday Swap or Broke and Bookish Secret Santa, since the package didn’t say, so that will remain a mystery for a bit!  Inside the envelope was a package wrapped in pretty blue wrapping paper and a red ribbon that I do not have a picture of because, well, patience is not a virtue I possess.  Here’s what was inside!

Books and postcards

From my wishlist The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston.  This made it to my wishlist thanks to a review by Amy for the Year of Feminist Classics project, and I’m super-excited to read it!  Melissa clearly paid attention to my tastes, because the other book, Red Scarf Girl, is a memoir by a woman who grew up during the Chinese Communist Cultural Revolution.  Nonfiction, women, China, Communism…..it’s perfect!  Melissa also included three bookmarks from the Arkansas public library system, as well as three postcards depicting art held by the Arkansas public library system.  Very cool!  The postcards will go up in my cubicle at the library where I work.

I enjoyed getting a package from a state I’ve never been to with representative art.  I’m more curious to pay a visit to Arkansas now!  Also, my Chinese culture collection on my TBR pile is much more fleshed-out now.  Thanks, Melissa!

BBAW: Future Treasures

September 17, 2010 7 comments

Treasure chest opening.Although it’s officially the end of BBAW, my participation is definitely going to extend by at least a few days.  Since I was sick and generally having a crappy week, I didn’t get to go visit other blogs to the extent that I wanted to, and that’s at least half the fun of BBAW!  So I plan on doing that over the next few days.  Expect to have belated visits from me on your blogs, folks.

Today’s theme is to share what we enjoyed about BBAW and future goals for our blog.  I have to say, what I’ve enjoyed the most is just how nice everyone has been!  Everywhere I’ve gone for BBAW–my own blog and others–everyone is just so supportive and nice and excited.  It made me so pleased to be part of this mish-mash, loosely tied community.  Whether or not you all like reading the same books I like or the books I can’t stand, it is abundantly evident that we all love reading, and we love books.  We love reading fiction and nonfiction.  About vampires and about spirituality.  We love reading paperbacks, hardbacks, and electronic copies.  But what ties it all together is that we love reading, and we love talking about the stories we’ve read and the things we’ve learned.  It’s so nice to find a social place online to share one of my favorite hobbies with other people, and although I was viscerally aware of the community of book bloggers, participating in BBAW really revealed it to me for the first time.

As for my future goals for my blog, I want to keep the posts flowing at a nice, consistent rate.  I hope to eventually find another weekly feature in addition to Friday Fun that works for me.  So far, nothing else I’ve tried has garnered enough thoughts from me to warrant a weekly posting or it’s been too much work to do every week.  Additionally, I know it may be hard to believe, but I haven’t been able to afford to do a giveaway yet.  Hey, I’m a broke student.  So, I hope to do my first giveaway in the next year.  I’m planning on doing one through the Book Depository so it can be open to my international readers as well!  That’s pretty much it.  Stay consistent and personable.  Find a good second weekly theme.  Do a giveaway.

I hope you all had as much fun as I did participating in BBAW!

BBAW: Forgotten Treasure

September 16, 2010 13 comments

Partially open treasure chest.Sorry to have missed yesterday’s topic!  I’ve been ill this week, which unfortunately meant only the pre-scheduled posts made it through…until today that is!  Today’s BBAW theme is to highlight a book that we wish would get more attention/would be more well-known.

It was honestly kind of difficult for me to pick just one book.  I’d say around 1/3 to 1/4 of my reading is random obscure scifi/dystopian novels that I wish would get more attention.  Actually, I wish dystopias would get more attention in general.  I think they’re such an excellent way to explore issues and philosophically think about possible outcomes to modern decisions.  In fact, I think the world would be a better place in general if everyone would just stop and seriously think before making decisions….but that’s another topic for another blog post.

Artistic depiction of a person laying in a pool.In any case, there’s a book that I read this year that I’ve certainly never heard mentioned before anywhere–Robert Silverberg’s The World Inside (review).  I knew I loved it, so it made it to the Wolfy Recommends page, but I had no idea how much it would stick with me.  I can’t tell you how many times since I read it that I’ve gone back in my head to that world to ponder all the implications.

The World Inside is relatively short.  In fact, you could almost call it a novella, and it is easily read in one sitting.  That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain a full story, however.  The World Inside examines the issues of pro-life versus pro-choice and overpopulation by looking at a future in which most of the world is vehemently pro-life, and the impact that the massive population has had on the world, society, culture, and individuals.  Silverberg imagines a future in which the world can handle a massive population via “urbmons”–incredibly high-rise buildings that contain the equivalent of entire nations.  Stacking people up on top of each other like this makes it possible to devote most of the rest of the world to food production.  Silverberg therefore is able to fully develop both the culture within the urbmons and the culture that produces the food.

Whether Silverberg is for ever-increasing population or not is deliciously unclear.  His future is a world where all privacy is absent.  Where diversion from the norm is unacceptable.  Offenders get only one chance then they are “sent down the chute” aka given capital punishment.  It is a world where all life is welcomed, yes, but at what cost?  The solutions to overpopulation he presents are ones that make sense, but he also clearly shows the costs on the individual.  Life as a whole is valued so much that the individual is discounted.  On the other hand, he uses the farming culture to show how always choosing the individual over the whole could also be perceived as unfair or barbaric.

This book is an intriguing, eye-opening read.  It is nearly impossible to put down once you pick it up, and I believe it would do wonders to opening true dialogue between the opposing viewpoints on world population/overpopulation.  No matter what your viewpoint is on the issue, it will do wonders to expand your mind and make you think.  That’s why I love dystopian literature, and that’s why The World Inside is an excellent taste of the genre.  Plus, its length makes it easily accessible to those who might be nervous about trying dystopian lit for the first time.  I highly recommend it, and I hope to start seeing buzzing about it in the book blogging community.

Buy It

Friday Fun! (My Dad, Amazon Associate)

June 18, 2010 6 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  The invasive species removal on the Charles last Sunday was lots of fun!  It was overcast, so we weren’t sitting in the direct sun for hours, and the river was so peaceful and beautiful.  Removing the water chestnuts wasn’t so hard, but it did give me some splinters and blackened my fingernails, so I wound up with manicured fingernails for once this week to cover it up, haha.

The rest of the week was a bit rough for me.  My dad had a triple bypass last year, and when he went in for his annual cardiac check-up they decided to check him in as an in-patient.  He had a bit of an angina and other symptoms they were worried about.  They put a camera in his leg up through to his heart (a procedure he’s had many times) and checked out his heart.  Apparently some of the arteries that used to be completely blocked up now are losing blockage due to the bypass, so they put in stints.  After that, they adjusted his meds and warned him he needs to quit his job as it is bad for his heart.  He’s now home on short-term disability and trying to figure out if he can get long-term disability or change to a type of job that wouldn’t be bad for his heart.  He’s spent his whole life doing machine tooling/carpentry/construction all of which is too stressful for his heart, so it’s unlikely he can find a job that won’t be bad for him.  Although it all turned out well, the original phone call from my brother certainly sent me into a panic as we only knew that he’d been checked in, and the last time that happened he wound up getting the triple bypass.  Given my mental issues, it takes me a bit to calm down and return to normal functioning after being that level of worried.  I’m still a bit off today, but I expect the weekend will smooth the last bit of anxiety over.

In other news, I have a brief blog announcement.  After a lot of consideration, I’ve decided to become an Amazon Associate.  I waffled on this for a while until I saw that several book bloggers I highly respect are Amazon Associates.  Additionally, if a reader decides they want to buy whatever it is I have reviewed, it will be easier for them to do so with one click than by opening another tab and going off to wherever they buy from.  My reviewing style will not change beyond adding a link to buy the item.  My reviews will stay the honest, cheeky style they’ve always been, and I promise to keep any Amazon links as unobtrusive as possible.  I hope you all understand my decision and will still respect me as a blogger.

Happy weekends all!