monthly wrap up

May Reading Wrap up

May wasn’t a great mental health month, the ADHD flared up and I started so many books but I did still manage to finish 8 of them:

Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: Pigs Might Fly
4 stars
I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first couple of Diddly Squat books – I think it’s because I watched the show first and read the book after with the others. Reading the book first, it fell a little flat because I didn’t feel as connected to the anecdotes Jeremy was sharing and barely a month later I can’t honestly remember much about it, bar a story about going to a slaughterhouse. And Clarksons Farm S3 is still on my list of things to watch because I’m super behind on everything. I don’t think I’m going to want to pick the book back up again afterwards, but who knows?

Austin Kleon – Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
4 stars
This was actually one of Li’s library books but she read out so many excerpts from the book that I wanted to read it myself. We’ve both ended up wanting to own a copy because it was such a good book. I read it in one sitting, and even though the type of art I create is fiction rather than visual media, I still found the advice and ideas really helpful. Some of them validated what I already do, and some of them made me want to try something more. I felt very seen and very supported and I loved that.

Alix E. Harrow – Starling House
5 stars
Absolutely fucking mindblowing! Another gorgeous, eerie, gothic, creepy, southern gothic, dark fantasy, horror story with the same beautiful writing I was hoping for after Once and Future Witches. A fantastic haunted house, which we know I love more than anything, a tangled web of mystery both inside the house and wrapped around it and the characters. I read most of it in one sitting and I still want more, weeks later!

Freya Sampson – The Girl on the 88 Bus
3.5 stars
A random book I picked up on Libby because the title and the cover intrigued me. What I got was an inspiring, uplifting, sweet story about love and loss and family and friendship, and the power of hope. I thought I knew where it was going and it didn’t go there, which I always love when that happens. It wasn’t the ending I wanted, or I wanted for the characters, but it did really work with the story. Basically, a book filled with all the warm fuzzies.

Cathy Glass – Nobody’s Son
4.5 stars
I have been completely obsessed with reading Cathy Glass’ fostering memoirs this year. I have absolutely no clue why but I’ve read 5 of them this year, and have a bunch more reserved at the library or on Libby/Borrowbox. They’re not the best-written books, but they pack a powerful punch, right in the feels. They’ve all been pretty heartbreaking and this was no different, but there was something about this poor boy’s story that reduced me to tears.

Guy Shrubsole – The Lost Rainforests of Britain
3.5 stars
This is a book I’d been wanting to read for a while and it didn’t disappoint. A really interesting investigation into the pockets of temperate rainforest left in Britain, how they’ve survived and what can be done to help protect them, to make them thrive and grow. As a Devonian, I was thrilled at how many of those are down here, across Dartmoor and so many of the pictures reminded me of places from when I was younger. The last bit of the book got a little political and a little lectury but other than that, I enjoyed reading it a lot.

Lex Croucher – Infamous
3.5 stars
I’m still not sure what I think of this book, and it’s not really the book’s fault but it does make it difficult to rate and review. It was sold to me as ‘Bridgerton, but lesbians’ so that’s what I was expecting… only it wasn’t really that. So then I stopped and read the blurb, but it also wasn’t quite what I was expecting based on that either. I enjoyed the story that I did get, although I found it very slow to start with but the ending was utterly fantastic and gave me tears of happiness

Jennette McCurdy – I’m Glad My Mom Died
5 stars
Wow. Just… Wow. I’m glad her mom fucking died, lets be clear. That poor kid. So I’ve never seen iCarly, I was well out of the target audience for the show and had no idea who McCurdy was before the Nickelodeon scandal hitting the news the other year, and I remember the book world exploding when this came out. But even not knowing who she was, I was horrified by what happened to her, I felt so bad but ultimately so proud of her as she went through therapy and started taking control of her life.

Looking more at the stats side of things:
9 books, 2,562 pages – 75% between 300 & 499 pages long, 25% <300 pages
The main moods were emotional, reflective & informative
50% medium paced, 50% face paced
63% non-fiction, 38% fiction
My most read genres were memoir, nature & romance
My average rating was 4.03

monthly wrap up · reading challenges

2023 Reading Wrap-up

I ended up having such a good reading year in 2023 and I’m still completely and utterly gleeful about it. I read 86 books, which is over 25 more than in 2022 – I set it at 50 and adjusted it many times because I kept hitting and exceeding it which honestly felt AWESOME.

I’m also pretty happy with how I kept up with this blog – well, right up until The Great Hip Injury of Summer 2023 but the less said about that the better, but I have a good idea of how I want to continue using this site going into 2024.

I’m not going too much into goals now because I know that’s an upcoming Top Ten Tuesday prompt so I don’t want to end up repeating myself too much. But I’ve been playing around with Canva and have ideas for Instagram which are exciting me!

So, looking back at my 2023 stats on storygraph combined with some of the survey that Jana posted gives us:

2023 Reading Stats
Number of books you read: 86 – this is a 43% increase on 2022 which is fucking MINDBLOWING!
Number of re-reads: 4
Number of books you DNFed: 5
Number of pages you read: 27,820
Most read genre: Fantasy (26 of them!)
Number of new-to-you authors you discovered: 51

Firsts and Lasts
First book you read: Jenny Kane – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange
Last book you read: Stel Pavlou – Decipher
First 2023 release you read: Christina Baker Kline – The Scenic Route

The average length of book I read was 312 pages, and it took me an average of 57 days to read a book – this was somewhat warped by Natalie J Case – Thanatou which took me 387 days to read.
I definitely want to work on improving this quite a bit in 2024 – however I’ve been reading MT Clanchy – From Memory to Written Record since April 2023, so I’m not holding my breath LMAO!

My most read authors were Andrea Penrose, Nancy Warren and Meik Wiking.
My average rating was 3.7
I had nine 5* reads which were:

  • Jenny Kane – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange
  • Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: A Year On The Farm
  • Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: Til The Cows Come Home
  • Taylor Jenkins Reid – Daisy Jones & The Six
  • Christie Barlow – Love Heart Lane
  • Alix E Harrow – The Once and Future Witches
  • Nancy Warren – Stitches & Witches
  • Nancy Warren – Crochet & Cauldrons
  • Matthew Reilly – Temple

I did pretty well on my reading challenges:

  • 101% of my 2023 reading goal
  • 92% of 50 women, 70% of Around The World
  • 94% of On The Cover, 100% of Reading Rainbow
  • 100% of the 2023 Genre Challenge
  • 77% of the Alphabet Challenge
  • 67% of The StoryGraph’s Onboarding Reading Challenge 2023
  • 90% of The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge 2023

And I’ve signed up for like 12 challenges again this year!

The main ‘moods’ of my reading were reflective, adventurous, informative, mysterious and emotional.
60% of the books I read were medium-paced, 27% fast-paced and 13% slow-paced, which is not a surprise.

My favourite book of the year was Temple by Matthew Reilly – It was terrible and entertaining, completely OTT and ridiculous, with serious abuse of exclamation points and reminded me how much I love Hollywood blockbuster movies with shit blowing up, and I’m now on my third book of his with 2 more on my TBR.