Sunday, January 1, 2023

2022 Reading in Review


This year, for the second year in a row, I tracked only novels and children's chapter books (and some short stories and novellas for adults), no picture books or board books. I set my Goodreads goal arbitrarily at 52 knowing I would surpass it, but having no inkling that I would complete it more than six times over. In a lot of ways, this was an odd year, because I spent a lot of time walking the twins in the stroller to keep them from destroying the house. I was also able to increase my listening speed for most books to 3x, so there were weeks where I was completing more than one book a day. I don't expect to keep this pace in 2023. 

I averaged 27 books per month. My slowest reading month was June, in which I read 17 books. I read the most books (44) in December. 

I read 235 books for adults, 18 for teens and 72 written for children.

The adult books included: 18 literary fiction, 83 romance, 32 nonfiction, 43 mystery, 21 classics, 5 poetry collections, 5 plays, 5 fantasy, 7 historical fiction, 2 comics and graphic novels, 9 women's fiction and 5 general fiction. 

Among these 325 books, there were: 
  • at least 188 audiobooks, including 16 Audible originals
  • 5 short story collections 
  • 27 read-alouds with my kids 
  • 37 from my physical TBR
  • 13 from my digital TBR
  • 56 from Hoopla
  • 42 from Scribd 
  • 19 from Kindle Unlimited 
  • 27 review copies from publishers 
The breakdown of star ratings was as follows: 
  • 5 stars: 121 books
  • 4 stars: 108 books 
  • 3 stars: 83 books
  • 2 stars: 13 books
  • 1 star: 0 books 
 I marked 24 books as DNF. 

Goals Review 

Goal #1: Re-read 40 books before I turn 40. 
This was really fun and fairly easy to complete. I made it last right up until the week leading up to my birthday and got them all read. It was really interesting to see how my opinions of each book changed or didn't.  

Goal #2: Read 22 classics.
I did this relatively easily for the second year in a row, but after reading along with a lot of older Close Reads episodes (and some newer ones about classic books) I burned out a bit on classics, so for 2023, I'm not going to devote a specific goal to them. 

Goal #3: Read 6 historical fiction books.
This was really touch and go all year, but with the help of one middle grade title, I made it! I actually found a bunch of historical fiction I'm interested in through The Book Bumble podcast, and I have a feeling it will become one of my regular genres in 2023.

Goal #4: Try 12 new-to-me authors.
This wasn't a challenge, so I'm not sure why I bothered making it a goal. I think what I might do next year is what Krista from Books and Jams on YouTube does and choose a few authors to focus on in 2023 instead of leaving the goal so open-ended.

Goal #5: Finish 2 series.
I set this goal with some longer series in mind,  (Armand Gamache, Scarpetta, Mitford) but while I made progress on those, I ended up completing (or catching up to the most recently published title of) some shorter ones: 

  • Vanderbeekers series by Karina Yan Glaser
  • Maple Falls series by Kathleen Fuller
  • Bird Face series by Cynthia T. Toney
  • Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris
  • Library Lover's Mystery series by Jenn McKinlay

I also made huge progress on the Country Club Murders series, and the only one I have left just came out on audio this week, so I will probably read it to kick off the new year. 

Goal #6: Write something 4 days per week.
I mostly did this, but I don't think this goal will serve me well going forward. I'm working on figuring out what will motivate me to write in 2023 without becoming overwhelming. 


I wound up participating fully in three challenges hosted elsewhere, and I created two challenges of my own for a total of five. 

I enjoyed the Goldberry Books Reading Challenge, but I didn't love some of the very snobby posts I read from other participants, and it made me feel like I had to choose books that were "good enough" for the Close Reads audience instead of what I wanted to read. I ended up reading: 

  • Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
  • The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
  • The Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
  • Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
  • The Clock Winder byAnne Tyler
  • The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
  • The Hero of this Book by by Elizabeth McCracken.
I haven't heard whether this challenge is happening in 2023, but if so, I think it's unlikely that I will participate.

I think the Buzzword Reading Challenge was my favorite because the prompts were so fun and open-ended so I could always find somethig to suit my mood. For this challenge I read:
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Biloxi Blues by Neil Simon
  • The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
  • Up Island by Anne Rivers Siddons
  • All in Good Time by Carolyn Astfalk
  • How to Write a Mystery by Lee Child
  • Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • Under the Lights by Abbi Glines
  • Sleeping Tiger by Rosamunde Pilcher
  • The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe by Tricia Springstubb
  • Eight Winter Nights by Liz Maverick
I am planning to join this one again in 2023. 

For the Read Your Bookshelf Challenge, I didn't always own a book that matched the prompt, so I did supplement with audiobooks and ebooks from the library. Here's what I read: 

  • The Other Side of Silence by Margaret Mahy
  • Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson
  • In Bloom by Fern Michaels
  • Thankful for Love by Kristen Ethridge
  • The Treehouse on Dog River Road by Catherine Drake 
  • Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson
  • The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe 
  • My Big Heart-Shaped Fail by Cindy Callaghan
  • Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories by Colin Dexter
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James
  • Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
This challenge is doing something different in 2023, and I'm planning to join in again!

My big personal challenge was to re-read 40 books before I turned 40 in mid-November. These are the titles I chose: 

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  3. The Rainmaker by John Grisham
  4. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton 
  5. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  6. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
  7. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
  8. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead 
  9. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  10. T-backs, Tee shirts, COAT, and Suit by E.L. Konigsburg
  11. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
  12. Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
  13. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  14. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  15. Nothing But the Truth by Avi
  16. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  17. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  18. That Summer by Sarah Dessen
  19. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  20. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
  21. Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson  
  22. On Writing by Stephen King 
  23. The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer 
  24. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger 
  25. The Library Book by Susan Orlean 
  26. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  27. The Professor's House by Willa Cather 
  28. One More Thing by B.J. Novak
  29. Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey
  30. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  31. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 
  32. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
  33. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  34. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
  35. There's a Girl in my Hammerlock by Jerry Spinelli
  36. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving 
  37. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury 
  38. Book Girl by Sally Clarkson
  39. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 
  40. The Rose Round by Meriol Trevor
My other personal challenge was a collection of different categories of books I wanted to read from. I read: 
  • 3 Book of the Month books
    1. Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott
    2. Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez 
    3. The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd 
  • 3 books about reading and/or writing
    1. Three Simple Lines: A Writer's Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku by Natalie Goldberg
    2. Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink 
    3. Word by Word by Anne Lamott 
  • 3 Catholic books
    1. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
    2. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
    3. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
  • 3 books in the same series
    1. The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell
    2. Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell
    3. Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell
  • 3 Newbery medal winners
    1. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
    2. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
    3. Amos Fortune Free Man by Elizabeth Yates 
  • 3 books under 200 pages.
    1. I Can't Complain by Elinor Lipman
    2. Alexa, What is There to Know About Love? by Brian Bilston
    3. The Seven Last Words by Fulton Sheen
  • 3 books published in 2022
    1. Made in Manhattan by Lauren Layne
    2. Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson
    3. Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson 
  • 1 book over 500 pages
    1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 
I'm still working on my plans for 2023, but I expect to have them up in a day or two! 

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