2019 READING YEAR IN REVIEW

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hi everyone!! i know this is very overdue, but i still wanted to do a post about my 2019 reading stats because i LOVE stats. i obsessively track all my reading stats so i thought it would be cool to look at them more closely in this post. hope u enjoy and here’s to more reading stats in 2020!! c:

***(all these stats come from the amazing spreadsheets that Brock from Let’s Read makes every year)** 

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so i made this lil graphic so you could see my reading year in a snapshot. i tried to include some of the most important stats in there. as you can see, i read 120 books, which is the highest number books ive read in a while, and it’s been so great reading more this year and seeing my reading tastes change. once i figured out that a certain genre of book wasn’t working for me this year, my ratings vastly changed and i started finding favourite books much more easily. c:

i read 45 audiobooks — audiobooks have helped me SO much last year, especially since i have to commute to work, so i get about 90 minutes of reading done every day, no matter what. ive read some amazing audiobooks last year, so im definitely going to try to keep that going this year.

2019 is also the year i just started DNFing books with wild abandon. i can tell pretty quickly now if im not going to like a book, so ive learned to just trust my instincts instead of wasting my time reading something that i know im not going to enjoy. its made reading so much more stress-free for me and im definitely planning to DNF plenty of stuff this year too.

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Here are some more specific and interesting reading stats!!

2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (5)

as you can see, most of my ratings fall within the 3-3.5 star range, which doesnt surprise me. generally speaking if i rate a book 4 stars or more, i add it to my favourites shelf. so for a book to get a 4 star rating or higher, it needs to be really good. which means that sometimes even though ive enjoyed a book, it doesnt get more than 3.5 stars because it felt like it didnt quite get there in terms of how good i wanted it to be or how much i enjoyed it.



2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (1)

i cant say that i actively tried to read books from diverse countries last year, which is definitely something i should work on this year. not surprisingly, most of the books (55%) i read were set in the US, followed by England (21%) and then a variety of other countries, including Ireland at 9%. ive been going through a bit of a phase with irish fiction, which ive discovered that i aboslutely love, so i expect that ireland percentage to be even higher this year.



2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (9)

as i mentioned earlier, my reading tastes did a complete 180 this year. i used to read mostly YA, and now i read like a couple of YA books a year at most. which means that a lot of the genres im reading have now been a lot broader. the bulk of what i read now is literary fiction (24%) and non fiction (25%), which im loving and im finding a range of really exciting and interesting books. i also barely read non fiction before last year so im happy that im finding so many that are favourites now.



2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (6)

its interesting looking at these stats because when im reading stuff throughout the year, im never conscious that so many of the books i read are such recent releases. i definitely didnt know that my reading was so skewed towards releases from 2018 and 2019. i guess now that im thinking about it i do prioritize a lot of new releases, especially now that im keeping track of them more closely, so im expecting that 2020 bar to be much higher this year.



2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (4)

looking at a graph like this makes me realize just how much my reading depends on where i am in my life in a specific month. january to april i was in school so less reading, and then december i was off work so i did the most of my reading then. also as you can tell i was goin through a bit of a reading slump in may lol. i always have at least one month a year where i just feel zero motivation to read anything, but at least i bounced back pretty strongly in june. 🙂

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et voila! those are all the interesting 2019 reading stats that i thought id share with you guys today!! thanks so much for reading and im hopefully gonna be posting more regularly on here soon. i already have a lot of ideas!!

let me know if youve done similar stats-related posts (link them in the comments!!) and/or if you have any similar experiences with reading yourself.

2020 has already been a great reading year, and i can assure that stats are well under way for this year already lol.


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BOOK REVIEW: TENDER by BELINDA McKEON

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Image result for tender belinda mckeon coverMckeon’s Tender is a novel that progresses much like a bruise would: the writing, when it initially hits the page, is sharp and vibrant in its impact, filled with all the excitement of a new, all-engrossing friendship. But as the plot unfolds, the bruise of that initial impact becomes more and more apparent, blooming into increasingly worrying shades of purple and blue, the colours of something gone wrong, something that is so clearly not right happening.

“She laughed. There was a pleasure in hearing him use her name; it was so direct. It was somehow a higher level of attention than she usually got from people; almost cheekily personal. Intimate, that was what it was. And yet pulled clear of intimacy, at the last second, by the reins of irony which seemed to control everything he said, by his constant closeness to mockery. She found herself wanting more of it, and she found, too, that it held a chellenge: to edge him away from that mockery towards something warmer. To make him see that he was wrong in whatever decision he had made about her, about her silliness, about her childishness, about whatever it was he had, by now, set down for her in his mind.”

All of this is to say, McKeon is so good at depicting the gradual collapse of her protagonist, Catherine; the narrowing, over time, of Catherine’s psychological vision. The writing is honest and fluid, almost overflowing in its attempts to catch up with Catherine’s frantic thoughts. Form and content work in parallel, here, the writing becoming more fragmented and divided just as Catherine’s ever-increasing focus on her singular subject becomes more desperate.

(Trying to be vague here so as not to spoil the intrigue. 👀)

More than anything, though, what Tender does that I haven’t seen from a lot of novels is not just depict, but substantially delve into deeply uncomfortable and unpleasant emotions: jealousy, self-pity, possessiveness, clinginess, self-loathing. All of it done, too, in the context of a friendship and a toxic, unrequited love. But McKeon builds her novel’s central dynamic, the fraught friendship between Catherine and James, with such nuance and layers that come what may, I was ready to follow these characters into whatever circumstances they happened to find themselves in. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

4.5-


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BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR (2019)

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HI EVERYONE!!! it’s been a while since i did a post that wasn’t a book review, but here i am, back with a slightly (very) belated list of my favourite books of last year!! i read so many amazing books last year and this probably goes without saying, but i HIGHLY recommend you read all of these books. they are all amazing in my humble opinion

i will be linking any reviews ive written of these books down below so that you can read my thoughts on them more specifically c:

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FICTION

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Normal People by Sally Rooney is my official best book of the year. This novel just had everything I wanted from a book. It made me think, it made me cry. I think about specific lines from it all the time. I loved it so much I read it twice. I also met Sally Rooney this year which !!!!!!! I still can’t believe that happened ???

my review of normal people


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► Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata: a very strange, slightly absurd kind of novel, but so enjoyable still. It’s strange, yes, but it’s never off-putting. Kiko’s wonderfully refreshing voice is not one you forget about, and it’s certainly not one I forgot about. —my book review

► Tender by Belinda McKeon: reading this novel felt like holding a person’s emotional state in my hands. The emotion is raw, searing, unbearably and sometimes oppressively present. –my book review

► Salt Slow by Julia Armfield: probably the best short-story collection I’ve ever read. Armfield’s writing is mesmerizing, her stories impossible to forget. A book filled with a bunch of stories about women being complicated and interesting + surrealist/magical realist elements? No wonder I liked this. –my book review

► This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone: how do I even begin to explain this book. The most innovative, beautifully written love story about two star-crossed lovers working on opposite sides of a time war. I haven’t read anything like this book before. It’s an absolute marvel. –my book review

► The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager: by far my biggest surprise of 2019. I’ve never read a book that so masterfully wove stories, big and small in scope. It’s a tapestry of a book; singling out one of its threads would only belittle how intricately it’s constructed. This book is so underrated; PLEASE READ IT IT’S AMAZING TRUST ME. –my book review

► Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney: lol is anyone surprised. I’m not exaggerating when I say that literally every single thing Sally Rooney has written has landed in my 2019 favourites list. I don’t know what else to say. –my book review

► Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel: I don’t think this novel is talked a lot about either, which is a shame because it’s such a tenderly drawn story about two people finding each other. Also it’s about water and family and Florida and living away from your home country.

► Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell: I adore Simon and Baz with my whole heart. I’ve read Carry On 5 times, with more on the way, so the fact that this is on my favourites list is not a surprise lol. This wasn’t a 5-star read for me but I love Simon and Baz so much that their mere existence automatically means this book is one of my favs of the year.

► Color and Light by Sally Rooney: this is a 20-page short story Rooney wrote for The New Yorker. I have said this before and I will say it again: I love anything that Sally Rooney writes. –my book review

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NON-FICTION

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Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson is by far my favourite non-fiction book of the year. I listened to the audiobook of this (narrated by Gleeson herself) and was absolutely transfixed by it. I just transcended my physical existence on the bus on my way to work and fully entered into Gleeson’s world. This book has some of the most beautiful, moving writing I’ve read this year.

my book review of constellations


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► The Lonely City by Olivia Laing: this book just came to me at the right time. It’s a beautiful meditation on loneliness, told through the work of various artists. It’s sympathetic, and doesn’t shy away from the unpleasant, uncomfortable aspects of loneliness. I will read anything that Olivia Laing writes from now on.

► Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow: omg if you have not read this you need to go listen to it on audiobook now. This is absolutely a story everyone needs to know about. Farrow is a brilliant writer, and the work he’s done is so important. It’s also a story we wouldn’t have without some of the incredibly brave sexual assault survivors who get a chance to tell their stories in this book. –my book review

► Little Weirds by Jenny Slate: the weirdest, most humane book you’ll read this year. I didn’t know Jenny Slate was such a talented writer??? Also highly recommend the audiobook, beautifully narrated by Slate herself.  –my book review

► In the Dream House by Carmen Mario Machado: I literally finished this on December 31, but wanted to include it anyway because I thought it was so powerfully written. Machado is a brilliant writer, and I’m glad this book exists for the people who need it.

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and that’s all folks!!! i hope 2019 was a good reading year for you!! here’s to more amazing books in 2020.

let me knows in the comments what you thought of any of these books, and what your favourite book(s) of the year was

happy 2020 yall!!


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