Hi everyone! I know this post might be a little late because I’ve seen so many people post their end-of-year-posts already, but I haven’t been doing great mentally for the past few weeks so I haven’t really been feeling like writing anything. But I’m doing a little better today so I thought I’d write something now!
Anyway, looking back 2019 has been a strange reading year. Despite me surpassing my reading goal (according Goodreads I’ve read a whopping 158 books last year) and reading quite a few books I like, I’d overall describe my reading this year as meh. Just, meh. It’s just that, despite the fact that there haven’t been a lot of books I actively disliked this year besides Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate (okay, I usually like Riley Redgate but this was just Bad), Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston (I don’t think robot-human romances are for me and I felt very bored), Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan (NO NO NO NO) and All the Feels by Danika Stone (Bad. Just, Bad.) there also haven’t really been a lot books that I absolutely fell head over heels in love with.
Looking back at my previous years I can quite easily pinpoint what my favorite books were those years. I mean, in 2018 I read This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow, Front Desk by Kelly Yang and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. In 2017 I read Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman, Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and I first discovered the Reader trilogy by Traci Chee. 2016 had Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine, How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake and Iron Cast by Destiny Soria, and 2015 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and More Than This by Patrick Ness.
Ever since I’ve been doing the Goodreads reading challenge I’ve found new favorites every single year, so many that while scrolling through my previous challenges I had trouble picking out which exactly were my favorites of those years. But while scrolling through this years list while trying to make a favorites list I once again had trouble picking out which one’s to go with, but only because this year lacked favorites. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of books I liked. Books I really, really liked. But none that really stand out for me, and that I want to recommend to everyone and shout my love for them from the rooftops (or, from the internet), much unlike the previous years.
I’m honestly not quite sure why this happened, if I’m honest. I know that one of the big changes in my reading this year has been that I’ve come to rely more and more on audiobooks, because of my increasing need to feel productive. With audiobooks I can do multiple things at the time and prepare dinner or clean the house or work out while reading a book, and I can speed them up so that I can finish books super quickly and be even more productive in that way. Maybe that’s where the problem lies.
This was my graduation year, so the first few months of the year I spend studying a ton and I tried to squeeze in books wherever I could, which usually meant audiobooks. I just didn’t have the time to physically sit down with a book, or when I did have time I couldn’t because I always felt like I had to be doing something else. And then I graduated and didn’t have school anymore and I needed a way to feel productive, so I started to rely on books for that. Churning out as many books as possible made me feel like I was at least accomplishing something, but it did very much take the joy out of reading. I wasn’t even really able to take in the books I read anymore, because I flew through them at a pace that wasn’t comfortable or enjoyable for me, just so I could push myself and feel good about my reading.
I want to start reading physical books again and read books at my own pace. I want to reread lines over and over again because they just sound incredible, or go back to a certain passage because it made me feel so much, even if it makes me finish books a lot slower. And luckily I’ve already made it one of my goals to read more physical book and ebooks and actually set time aside for that, and track this using the Bookly app so that I can hold myself accountable, because setting aside time for myself has been hard this past year, and maybe accountability will help.
Kinda sad that I have to force myself to do something I enjoy but that’s the way it is right now, and hopefully that’ll change soon.
I also want to make it clear that I’m not bashing on audiobooks in any way because I love them a whole lot and I’m still going to be reading a ton of them. I just don’t want it to basically be the only way I consume books anymore, and when I listen to one I don’t want it to be because that’s the quickest way to read a book anymore, or push myself to listen to it at a super fast speed while I know I’m unable to take in the book properly that way, just so that I can (once again) finish the book as quickly as possible. I want to listen to them, but at a pace that feels right to me.
Okay, now let’s talk books. I’ve rambled quite a lot already so I guess I’m still posting a favorite books list instead of including my favorites here because this would get way too long otherwise (let’s be real, it already is. Props to you if you’re still reading.) But let’s discuss what books shaped this year for me!
2019 was surprisingly the year of Agatha Christie for me. My friend Laura told me about her books and how much she loved them and I figured I’d give one a go and… I read 12 of her books this year. TWELVE. There was just something about having a mystery to solve, about the old-timey setting, about Poirot and Ms. Marple… I know these books are about murder so this sounds weird, but there was something so incredibly calming about listening to these as an audiobook, and every time I was feeling particularly anxious I’d reach for one.
This was also a year of finishing series. I don’t tend to read a ton of series, and I certainly don’t finish a lot of them, but 6 last books in series this year. The Storyteller by Traci Chee (ending my favorite SFF series felt so bittersweet, but luckily I’m currently rereading it!), Ruse by Cindy Pon, Cross Fire by Fonda Lee, The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser and A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole and Rogue Heart by Axie Oh (which completely blew me away).
This year I also discovered quite a few new to me authors that I’m certainly going to be reading more from, like Talia Hibbert, Remy Lai, Martha Wells, Tillie Walden, Katie O’Neill, Brittney Morris and Joy McCullough. I also started series like Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson and We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia that I’m incredibly excited to continue in this new year.
It was also a year of reading books by authors I loved before, and having that love be re-affirmed, like with Hena Khan and her More to the Story, Renée Watson and her Some Places More Than Others, S.K. Ali and her Love From A to Z, Randy Ribai and his Patron Saints of Nothing, Lisa Jenn Bigelow and her Hazel’s Theory of Evolution and Elizabeth Acevedo and her With the Fire on High.
So overall, 2019 definitely wasn’t a bad reading year and I read a lot of books I liked, but there’s quite a few things I want to change in 2020. Maybe I should write a blogpost about 2020 reading goals as well… we’ll see.
Anyway, how did your reading in 2019 go? Compared to 2018, would you say 2019 was better or worse? And if you read this whole post I just want to say that I really admire you and value you a lot. Thank you.