Mid-year reading report

Because I’m obsessed with this sort of stuff.

Six months of this (years long) year are done, and it’s time to take stock of where I’ve been with my reading.

The stats:

(according to my meticulously maintained reading log)

From January 1 through June 30, I completed 109 books. My Goodreads goal for this year is 200, so I’m a bit ahead of schedule. Hooray!

Allow me to break that down a little:

  • 85 were audiobooks – I’ve listened to 44 days, 20 hrs, and 9 minutes of lit, but since I usually listen at 1.75 speed, a bit less in actuality
  • 25 were digital or print books – that’s 6761 pages read
  • 97 of these books were fiction
  • 12 were nonfiction, which is actually a lot for me
  • 81 books by female or non-binary authors
  • 15 books by Black authors
  • 13 books by non-Black POC authors
  • 32 #OwnVoices books
  • 14 books by LGBTQIA+ authors
  • 10 books in translation

I’m not really surprised at any of these numbers, but I do need to make a more conscious effort to read more POC. Goal for the rest of the year set!

I am participating in a ridiculous number of reading challenges this year. Of the 109 books read so far, 43 were for various challenge prompts. I’ve also read 11 books from the #1001Books to read before you die list, which I’ve been slowly working my way through for the last few years. I participate in a few different book clubs, and read 15 different books during the first half of the year for book clubs.

I’ve read 53 books that I already owned this year. 49 of those work for my #MountTBR challenge, meaning I owned them before 1/1/2020. Bad news: more than half of my books read so far did not come from the books that I already own. Good news: a whole lot of the new-to-me books that I’ve read came from the library: I’ve saved a whopping $814.27 so far in 2020 by using my library cards.

Unfortunately, I’ve also added even MORE books to my endless TBR owned books.. I’ve spent $504.55 on books and audiobooks this year, but that does include my year subscription to Audible and my monthly Libro.fm charges. I started the year with 715 books and audiobooks owned and unread (please don’t judge me too harshly), and as of the end of June, I had 745.

One might say I have a book problem. To that, I would say… and?

The best so far

Of my 109 books completed, 20 were actually 5-star books for me. That’s a very nice ratio, and shows just how great my reading year has been. Also fortunate for me: less than 20 were rated 3 stars or less, and I didn’t have single 1 star read.

With so many great books read, it’s hard to select my top 6 so far, but I’ve narrowed it down. Just don’t ask me to order them because I CAN’T DO IT. So, in no particular order, my Top 6 Reads of the year this far:

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I loved everything about this book, starting and ending with Marianne and Connell. Rooney has an uncanny ability to write characters that incredibly relatable in their humanness, and I absolutely adore her writing style. This book took me through so many feelings. The audiobook is fantastic, and the Netflix adaptation is one of the rare book-to-series (for me) that does not disappoint. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Jubilee by Margaret Walker

This classic is beautiful, powerful, and detailed. Walker’s semi-autobiographical saga of the life of Vyry, child of a plantation owner and one of his slaves, from slavery through the Civil War and into Reconstruction. Sort of like Gone With the Wind, but without the cringeyness and racism, and about 500% better. I highly recommend the audio read by Robin Miles.

The Institute by Stephen King

I suppose it’s possible that there will be a Stephen King book at some point that I don’t like. I’m just saying it’s certainly not this one. Another excellent, original story with King’s spectacular writing and characters I love. Nobody does this like King does.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

So, funny story: this was my June 2017 Book of the Month selection. Then it blew up and became wildly popular everywhere, so the hype made me skip it over for a long time. Well, the hype and the way I like to just let my BOTM books sit and age for a while. I really should have read it sooner, because it’s awesome. I loved the style, the stories, and all of the characters. Monique and Harry and Celia, but omg – I loved Evelyn so much.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

A non-fiction book made my top 6! I’m not going to say anything about this book that hasn’t been said before. This audiobook is absolute perfection. Michelle Obama is an incredible woman, and her story made me laugh, smile, and cry. I enjoyed every minute of it, even if it did make me miss the Obamas and gut-punch me all over again about what should have been. Inspiring and beautiful, especially read by the author.

The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

I read this book because I needed a book set in Russia for a challenge, but when I started I had no idea it was about THAT period in Russian history and the last of the Romanovs. I saw where it was going early, but that didn’t stop me loving every second of it. Boyne’s usual lovely writing, epic historical fiction filled with romance and tragedy, and a fantastic character in Georgy, whose long life we get to experience in alternating timelines. This book is just perfect.

What are your favorite reads so far this year? Heaven knows I need more books on my tbr.

Until next time,

June reading wrap-up

It was a busy four-day work week, and that’s my excuse for not getting my June-in-review post up until July 3rd. I’m on staycation for 3 days now, so let the blogging begin!

The numbers:

Yes, I mainly track for the satisfaction of making these charts.

June was a big month for me as far as devouring books is concerned. Here are the numbers I find interesting:

Total books finished: 24

That’s a lot for me, but when I break it down, almost all were audiobooks, so I didn’t have as much time to sit and read as I would have liked. 20/24 were audiobooks, and only 4 were read with my eyeballs. 👀

I read 7 books for my various reading challenges, and 9 books from my Mount TBR of existing owned books, but I only managed 3 galleys this month, and only 1 book from the #1001books list. I am pleased that I read 6 nonfiction books this month, since I primarily read fiction.

I finished 3 series in June, and that’s always a good feeling—I like closure. I loved the way Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air series ended in The Queen of Nothing. I truly appreciate that Renée Ahdieh was able to finish her fantastic The Wrath & the Dawn series in only two books, and The Rose & the Dagger was an excellent conclusion. I also finished Jane Harper’s Aaron Falk series backwards. I read the second and last book before it came out, and only just now read the first book, The Dry. I loved them both.

A whole lot of Austen

I love Jane Austen. I will read or watch almost anything Austen-related. Two months ago, I started a JA book club on Litsy (which has also spread out to a Goodreads group, a Slack channel, and a Facebook group). As a group, we are slowly reading all of Jane’s novels in the order written, then reading other related books and watching adaptations.

June was a big Austen month for me: we finished Sense & Sensibility after reading it one chapter per day starting in May. I also listened to the fantastic The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner and reviewed it on the blog here. I listened to the equally wonderful Miss Austen by Gill Hornby and reviewed it on Litsy. I listened to a modern retelling of S&S, Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge and reviewed it on Litsy. AND we had our first Zoom watch party for the club, watching the 2008 BBC version of Sense & Sensibility. So much fun.

I am enjoying this group and all of the Austen talk so much!

My favorite books from June

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: loved the book, loved the movie. I blogged about it.

Once More Unto the Breach by Meghan Holloway. I blogged about this one, too!

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman, which I gushed about on Litsy.

And finally, The Jane Austen Society, which I already mentioned above, but look at this cover! Also, did I mention that the audio is read by Richard Armitage? 😍

Here’s hoping for another great month of reading in July!