2019 Reading Stats:
That says it all. 2018 was a terrible reading year for me. I’d read two books for the year before my Literary Christmas challenge and it was only thanks to some picture books and other Christmas reads that I was boosted to 11 books for the year. Very pitiful. I must say, I started a number of other books, I just never finished them. So because my year was so awful in this respect, I’m going to compile a very different Year In Review for 2018 than I have for previous years. If anyone wants to read my previous year reviews, here they are:
|Fresh Air (1878)
2017 Reading Stats:
Best in Books
Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t: The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope. Perhaps it wasn’t much of a surprise. However, while I’m used to this series being light, Trollope also manages to weaves some depth into these books. With this one, it was all about love affairs and a very silly woman. It was somewhat annoying.
Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read in 2017: In a good way, The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. It was recommended to me. Fromm is very counter-cultural, but his assessment of people’s ability to love, or more the lack of it, made so much sense! Our society does NOT practice any disciplines that will help us love better, and in fact, practices disciplines that hurt our ability to love. We need to be aware this in order to be present in our relationships with not only those closest to use but humanity in general. This is definitely a book that everyone should read!
Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2017: I haven’t even finished it myself yet, but it was Plato’s Republic. I really think this is a beneficial book to read and we should push ourselves, not only to get through it, but open our minds to it! It can also be taken too seriously, but experienced in balance, I believe it may change us in ways that we can’t even imagine.
Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender: Hmmm …… I didn’t intend to read the WHOLE series, but I, of course, thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson It’s probably one of my favourite books of all time!
Favorite new author you discovered in 2017: M.M. Kaye is technically not new, but it’s been sooo long since I read anything by her, I’m going to call her new (and for lack of anyone else to choose from). I love her writing, and how she is able to craft a story that draws you right in!
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/ out of your comfort zone: High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby. It was on my Guardian’s 1000 books list and in the library so I thought, why not. Meh! It was another one of those irresponsible coming-of-age books that are so annoying, where the writer can’t understand why his life is so unfulfilling even though, by his behaviour, it should be patently obvious.
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year: I really don’t have a candidate for this category, so I’ll say The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. But it perhaps wasn’t action-packed and unputdownable in the conventional way, lol!
Book you read in 2017 that you are most likley to reread next year: None, but if I had to pick one, probably The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton, only because I listened to it as an audiobook and I’d like to eventually read it.
Most memorable characters of 2017: Mr. Pickwick (The Pickwick Papers) and Horne Fisher (The Man Who Knew Too Much)
Most-thought provoking/ life-changing book of 2017: The Art of Loving. According to Erich Fromm, there are few people who know how to love well. But in order to love well, like anything else worthwhile, it takes dedication and consistent hard work. Again, definitely a must-read!
Book that shocked you the most: High Fidelity probably because it’s puzzling how someone can be so self-destructive and so blind to one’s own behaviour at the same time. Also rather depressing because I think we can all be blind in this way. Some to a larger extent than others.
Favorite non-romantic relationship: Pickwick and Sam Weller from The Pickwick Papers.
Favorite book you read in 2017 from an author you’ve read previously: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. And I finally did enough research to “get” what Chesterton was trying to communicate. Yippeee!
Best book you read in 2017 that you read based solely on a recommendation from someone else: The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm, recommended by my aunt.
Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year: Shadow of the Moon. But Herodotus did a good job with his narrative and Dickens is always a good romp!
Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. His writing is fabulous and I laughed so hard much of the book!
Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2017: None this year.
Hidden gem of the year: The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm.
Most unique book you read in 2017: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton has the most unique style of writing that I’ve experienced. His books take work, but boy, they’re worth it!
Book that made you the most mad: High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby. Again, don’t act stupidly, with little regard for others and expect your life to turn out well. Don’t be surprised when you’re alone and isolated. Don’t be delusional ……
Your Blogging/Bookish Life
Best event that you participated in: The Shadow of the Moon Read-Along hosted by Cirtnecce at Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices …… and the finish of the very long read-along of The Pickwick Papers hosted by O at On Bookes. I really would love to be part of more read-alongs.
Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017: I must say, I was very pleased that I posted by book/chapter of both The Histories and The History of the Peloponnesian War. It was an arduous job but very satisfying. It’s made me more consoled at my terrible book total for the year.
Post you wished got a little more love: None.
Best bookish discovery: I will sound like a broken record but, The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm
Book you are most anticipating for 2018 (non-debut): A hard one because I don’t want to commit to anything but possibly The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake.
Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2018: The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope. This answer is the same as last year. How depressing …. 😉
One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2018: I’ve started a food blog called Journey to the Garden, which is taking up much of my time. The start-up and promotion takes a big chunk, so I envision, as we get more well-known, that I will have more time to get back to reading. When this will happen is not known but hopefully sometime in 2018. And if I’m honest, with better time-management, I should have more time for reading. Wish me luck.
|The Distraction (1888)
Jehan Georges Vibert
2016 Reading Stats:
Best in Books
Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t: Villette by Charlotte Brontë. I could not believe that this was the same author who had written Jane Eyre. The caustic, critical demeanor of the main character was surprising, but perhaps echoed Brontë’s outlook on life at the time. Jane Eyre had an innocence to it, yet in Villette, that innocence was stripped away. It was rather unsettling.
Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read in 2015: In a good way, The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore. I read it for Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices read-along and was so impressed with Tagore’s writing and his insight into human nature. The story was incredibly thought-provoking and effective. I will definitely read more of his works. Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful author, Cirtnecce!
Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2016: The book I hope I pushed some people to read was The Death of Ivan Ilyich. The message behind it is so powerful and redeeming. In spite of the theme, truly an inspiring work!
Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender: I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy with Cirtnecce (did she ever finish?) and thoroughly enjoyed it. If I had another 8 reading hours in the day, I’d read it every year but since I don’t, once every 5 years or so will have to do. My favourite book of the three would probably be The Two Towers, followed by The Return of the King. While I enjoy The Fellowship of the Ring, it tries my patience with the seemingly endless wandering through the forest.
Favorite new author you discovered in 2016: I can’t believe that I’m going to say this ……. Ovid Some of the content and perceived embellishment in his poetry and stories annoyed me, yet on the other hand, they were very enjoyable and quite fascinating. I still don’t think that I’d like him as a person, but as a poet, I must admit that he draws you in!
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/ out of your comfort zone: The Well at the World’s End. At the time of its printing, I don’t believe it fit into any genre, being called a precursor of the fantasy novel. It was indeed a curious story but quite uniquely compelling. I need to read more by Morris.
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year: The Moonstone. Perhaps it was because I read it on vacation and had the time to just sink into it. I’d read The Woman in White before, and enjoyed it but The Moonstone passed my highest expectations for Collins. If I ever come across another book like this one, I’ll be a happy reader. One of the best for 2016!
Book you read in 2016 that you are most likley to reread next year: If I could, I would read To Kill a Mockingbird every year.
Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016: Oh well, my covers were rather boring this year. Let me see …… The Well at the World’s End has kind of a funky retro book cover.
Most memorable characters of 2016: Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre), Jesus (The Man Born to Be King), Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain), Aslan (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) Ivan Ilyich (The Death of Ivan Ilyich), Scout (To Kill A Mockingbird)
Most beautifully written book read in 2016: Yikes, I can’t say that I truly read a beautifully written book this year. I was fascinated with the depth of To Kill A Mockingbird; I was enthralled by the unusual style of The Well at the World’s End, and I was impressed with the depth of research and the insightful plot development of The Man Born To Be King. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got!
Most-thought provoking/ life-changing book of 2016: The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. A masterful novella that gives a big picture of life and then distils it down to the meaningful aspects of it. It makes the reader look at the obvious, the obvious that none of us sees or acknowledges, and prods us to make a change before it’s too late. Strangely, it reminded me of A Christmas Carol. The Brothers Karamazov would have fallen into this category, if I had understood even half of it. Perhaps it will happen with my 10th reading! 🙂
Book that shocked you the most: The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It is astounding and more than a little unsettling that he grew to rule a nation. His delusional hatred of Jews and non-Arians was not cloaked at all. It made me realize that if it could happen once, it could happened again.
Favorite non-romantic relationship: Scout and Atticus from To Kill A Mockingbird.
Favorite book you read in 2016 from an author you’ve read previously: The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky
Best book you read in 2016 that you read based solely on a recommendation from someone else: The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality by Kyriacos Markides. Full of wonderful life lessons for a deeper faith.
Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year: Hmmm ….. I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but the winner is Far from the Madding Crowd. As much as I disliked his characters, his descriptions of Wessex made you a part of it. Wonderful!
Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read: Metamorphoses by Ovid. His tales were shocking at times but very engaging. I wouldn’t say it put a smile on my face, but it was fun!
Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2016: The Man Born To Be King by Dorothy Sayers, but also was uplifting. A spiritual paradox and she conveyed it beautifully.
Hidden gem of the year: The Home and the World by Radbindranath Tagore. A million thanks to Cirtnecce for hosting this read-along. She’s exposed me, not only to a wonderful writer of whose works I’ll read more, but also gave me an extensive lesson on Indian history. Thanks dearest friend!
Most unique book you read in 2016: The Well at the World’s End by William Morris. It was sort of an odd read, really, kind of like reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a Howard Pyle book, and Le Morte d’Arthur rolled into one. It’s rather unexplainable, so it’s best to just read it!
Book that made you the most mad: Victory Over Verbal Abuse by Patricia Evans. One of those random books that I sometimes read to discover what new philosophies abound. I was rather shocked by this one. Of course, I know verbal abuse exists and the damage it does to relationships and there should be some sort of therapy to deal with it and support for the victim. But if someone doesn’t answer your questions, you’re abused? If someone doesn’t talk to you, you’re abused? There was even an example in the book where I couldn’t even tell which person was the abuser as which the abused. It made me angry because I felt by including such minor treatment under the umbrella of abuse, it decreased the impact of the problem of true verbal abuse.
Your Blogging/Bookish Life
Favorite review that you wrote in 2016: Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche because I became very satirical and somewhat silly when I wrote it.
Best event that you participated in: Both The Home and the World Read-Along and the Jane Eyre Read-Along. I will even give an honourable mention to The Faerie Queene Read-Along which I believe O is the only one finished, as the rest of us keep going and going and going and going ……
Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016: Finishing my The Well-Educated Mind biographies and completing my reading of Aeschylus’ dramas (except for Prometheus Bound which is suspected to be the work of his grandson) And again, having lots of reading fun with my blogging buddies!
Most popular post this year on your blog: My Hamlet, the Prince or the Poem? an essay by C.S. Lewis has gone crazy with hits, being the leader with 565 views. Second is Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche with 548 views.
Post you wished got a little more love: None really.
Best bookish discovery: Sadly, I didn’t buy nearly as many books as I normally purchase during the year. I found two editions of The Man Born to Be King, both hardcovers, one dated 1946 and the other dated 1969.
Book you are most anticipating for 2017 (non-debut): The Histories by Herodotus, and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2017: The Last Chronicles of Barset by Anthony Trollope. No, you’re not seeing triple from last year or the year before. Will I ever finish this series? Stay tuned. I also have The Gormenghast trilogy on the slate for 2017 — that is if I don’t get distracted. It’s been known to happen …. 😉
One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2017: To attempt to read fewer books at a time and therefore have more systematic reviews. No one else, I’m sure, notices my madness, but I do. A post at a time would be much more sane!
Wishing everyone happy reading days and lots of them in 2017!!
|A River Meander (1899)
Thomas J. Yarwood
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