2017 and January 2018 Recap

2018.01.14 Far from Boston.JPGIt has been a long time since my last recap and so much has happened.

I’m honestly surprised I’ve managed to keep this little blog going this year. I’m also incredibly proud I keep puttering along at my pace.

I’ve broken this post down into three parts, the first is my stats from 2017, the second is my January recap (seriously abbreviated) and the third is just some personal stuff to share why I haven’t blogged as frequently over the past few months and why there may be delays over the next few months.

2017 Stats
I took a page out of Doing Dewey’s book and created graphs and charts for last year’s breakdown! [Don’t compare though, her’s are WAY better and way more informative!] You even get some historical data as I already had it available on the spreadsheet I track things 😀 I keep the explanations to a minimum so feel free to ask questions if you have any!

2018.01.31 2017 Book Stats

Fairly simple first chart, I read 60 books this year and continued the downward trend. I’m glad to see galleys are retreating, but library books are up. Unfortunately my TBR isn’t getting any smaller.

2018.01.31 2017 Pages Read

I read fewer pages this year, continuing the downward trend. A lot of this comes from time available to read. We’ll see how this years go, I kept my book goal static at 60.

2018.01.31 2017 Author Breakdown.png

My author breakdown has stayed relatively steady over the past few years. More men some years, more women others. I don’t make an effort to read either way, but considering the percentage of male authors published vs. female authors published I think I’m doing pretty decent.

2018.01.31 2017 Genre.png

Another one I track but don’t make any effort to change is fiction versus nonfiction. My general goal is to read one nonfiction book a month to learn something new. That’s held true since I started back in 2014.

2018.01.31 2017 Galley-ARCs.png

I began tracking review requests in late 2015 so I only have accurate data for 2016 and 2017. As you can see I very rarely accept unsolicited requests (13% of the time). Most I accept from a few faithful publishers/publicists that have selected great works over the past few years. The caveat to this is that it only includes SOME of the books that I request from publishers, so the accepted number of unsolicited is probably even smaller.

January 2017 Recap
I haven’t set out any goals for this year other than to keep this blog going and to try to read 60 books. 60 is a nice round number and doesn’t put too much pressure on me. It allows me to goof off for a few months and still catch up if I chose too. Other than that I’m just sort of going with the flow.

In case you missed it I wrote an open letter to book bloggers and authors which boils down to community etiquette and professionalism: Dear Authors and Book Bloggers. It is definitely my opinion and not everyone’s views, but what happened irked me! I’ve even had a few non blogging friends reach out about it because they’ve seen other things (i.e. get paid to review advertisements).

On the reading front it was a pretty good month. I read four books (the last four on the list below), but I want to make sure to include all the reviews since I last posted a recap way back in August:

  1. The Luster of Lost Things – Sophie Chen Keller
  2. Hot Head – Damon Suede
  3. Lickety Split – Damon Suede
  4. The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet – Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley
  5. Origin (Robert Langdon #5) – Dan Brown
  6. The Season – Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer
  7. Tell No One – Harlan Coben
  8. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  9. My Own Mr. Darcy – Karey White
  10. Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match (Perfect #1) – Marilyn Brant
  11. Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet (Perfect #2) – Marilyn Brant
  12. Epic Fail – Claire LaZebnik
  13. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  14. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King
  15. Nudge – Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

I did pick up a few books including a few galleys and ARCs that I was approached about last year. My backlog is starting to get a little out of hand so I’m working on those over the next few weeks. The most important one I got, and I talk about this below, is probably Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving by Julia Samuel. The request came at a tumultuous time for me.

As you can see above, and from my previous mention, we spent some time in Florida in January for Tim’s work. It was the perfect timing and I’m so glad we had it previously scheduled. We went down to Key West which was a lot different from expected. We of course had to see Hemmingway’s house even though I’ve never read him (underwhelming) and I found a bookstore, Key West Island Books (Facebook link), highly recommended. I spent most of my time down there reading and it was the escape I needed.

I also wanted to throw in a picture of the Jane-a-Day journal my best friend got me. It’s a five-year journal with little quotes at the top of every page and then spaces to respond to the quotes on the same day for five years. I’m quite enjoying it so far and it will definitely be interesting to see what it looks like in five years time.

Personal Life
It has been a very long last few months. I’ll start with the sad and then move on to the exciting.

I posted about it on social media, so many of you may have seen it already, but just before my birthday and Christmas my mom passed away. It was sudden in its timing, but not completely unexpected as she has faced numerous mental health and substance abuse issues over the past few years, many of which I’ve written about through book reviews because of their direct effect on me and my sister.

That’s her on the right from when she was younger and my sister and I must’ve been really young with the high chair in the back. I like the photos from when she’s younger because she was happier and this one in particular because she’s reading. All of my family, both sides are big readers and they instilled in me (if not my sister) a love and passion for reading.

Thankfully my sister and I were able to get down to NC before she passed and she still recognized our voices at least. My mom hadn’t been happy for a long time and her greatest fear was a world with out her father in it. She’ll never have to face that fear and I know that she’s at peace now. I’m still waiting for it to really hit me that she’s gone, and it will one day when I least expect it.

We spent the last month split between NC and MA clearing out her apartment in a mad rush before December 31 and then cleaning up her estate (or lack thereof) and everything that could entail. We had a nice memorial service after Christmas and even under the circumstances, it was good to see so many family members and old friends of the family. I think once all of the logistical things are finished I’ll actually have time to process things. I’m looking forward to that grief book as I’m hoping it will draw some of it out of me and lessen the impact when it does hit me.

As if my brain wasn’t exhausted enough from dealing with all of the above, we’ve actually decided to move! We’re not moving far, only three blocks, but it’s to a place that has parking AND outdoor space. We’ve spent most of January ironing out the terms of the new house, cleaning, decluttering and listing our current house (which has just gone under agreement) and now we’re waiting for the final few things to drop into place and we’ll move in late-February/early March!

I’m not going to lie I’m a little panicked about where my books and desk are going to go, but those are things I’ll figure out at some other point. Maybe after we’ve had a nice dinner on our new deck with a grill!

Blogging may be a bit slower than usual because of the move AND because my laptop decided to die about 45 days outside of warranty. UGH I’m still mad about it. Thankfully I have multiple computers so there’s minimal file loss, but it still stings as that is how I did 95% of my blogging.

I hope everyone had a wonderful 2017 and that 2018 is shaping up to be an even better year!


9 thoughts on “2017 and January 2018 Recap”

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Hanging out and reading in Key West does sound like a good escape. My reading numbers have been going down lately too. I’ve decided to do something radical and not use the internet after dinner. So far it’s worked pretty well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks and no internet after dinner sounds like a smart idea. I need to do that for blogging. Most of the blogging I’ve done in the past few months has been when I’m on a plane without great internet access.


  2. Oh yay! I’m glad to have inspired some graphs, since they’re one of my favorite things 🙂 I really love your color scheme – way classier than the default from excel – and I love that you track your review requests. That’s not something it’s ever occurred to me to do. It makes me want to add at least one more column to my spreadsheet to track why I pick books up, because I suspect I take few unsolicited review copies too. My backlog is a bit out of hand too!

    Liked by 1 person

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