Hi blog friends! Right now like the perfect time to switch off and just talk about books, so I’m going to do just that. Turn off the news, grab a cuppa, and let’s have a little chat.
How have you all been? I’ve been mostly good. Found myself unable to write for several months and I’m still kind of there, but sometimes you just need to ride an urge into the sunset while you have it, you know? So here I am. I wanted to say hi and talk about what I’ve been reading, because thankfully I have been!
The last time I blogged about books was early October. I was trying out CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and it really wasn’t working for me. My mind was getting scattered and I could barely write. It was like pulling teeth. My reading, as a result, was all over the place. I tried to read so many different books that just weren’t clicking at the time and so instead of forcing things, I let myself fall back, play some video games, and pick a book that stood out to me with no pressure to take notes or review it, just enjoy the act of reading. And that’s how I stopped myself from falling back into reading burnout, which I will come back to.
What I’ve Been Reading
At the end of 2021, while I wasn’t actively blogging, I read two books to completion, started two others, and left three more on hold (I do hope to come back to them).
Early 2022, I was exhausted after the holidays. We don’t do much for them as Dan works so much, but I always find my depression kicks off around that time anyway and come January, reading became my comfort. When I had no energy, no drive to do anything, I’d read. And frankly, this is the first time reading has been this important to me. Yes, I have always been a book lover but it was always for the enjoyment of a good story. Now it keeps my brain occupied when very little else does. It’s a minimal energy hobby, and I can finally do it when I’m exhausted and that’s such a relief to me. I couldn’t for years of my life.
So I finished off two of the books I had started in late 2021, Blood of Elves and ‘Salem’s Lot, and then started on a newly obtained book, Lord of Light. After this I decided to read Mexican Gothic following some chat on the Blaugust Discord and fell in love with it so much I immediately went to see what else the author had written, and a couple of days later, started reading Gods of Jade and Shadow. I still have plans to pick up her other speculative fiction books when I’m able to.
I currently have three books on the go. I’ve read through The Island of Doctor Moreau ready for Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s next release, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, there are just three more short stories in that collection to read. I also started reading Sioned Davies’ translation of The Mabinogion, the main source for Welsh mythology, which is fascinating and batshit crazy. And I have picked up Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree, the “slice of life” high fantasy novel that went a little viral on my Twitter feed because it’s a book about a retired Orc adventurer who opens a coffee shop and my feed is full of fantasy lovers, gamers, and D&D nerds. So far, it’s about as delightful as it sounds.
Now, I did pick up several books in this period too and each time I’m between books I find myself overwhelmed by choice, but I always land on something and that brings me so much joy. Perhaps I’ll post my thoughts on the things I’ve read over this period, though without any notes to speak of, expect any “reviews” to be a lot more off the cuff, probably shorter. My memory is absolutely awful so without notetaking I find myself struggling but I still have some thoughts I would love to share if I’m up to it!
Goodreads Reading Stats
Following all of this, I’ve found it fascinating to look at my reading statistics over the years. At present, I am “3 books ahead” of my Goodreads goal – which I set at 15 to be on the safe side. I have no idea if I’ll keep up with my current flow of reading so I didn’t want to overshoot, however, I am sitting at 5/15 books read right now and I’m really chuffed with myself about that. I ended 2021 with 9/10 books read, though considering two of the books I finished this year were started last year, I think I did just fine.
So here’s the thing. I have talked before about my years-long reading slump and seeing my progress in 2022 and how proud I have been about it brought me to look at my statistics on Goodreads a little more. In the graphic above, you can see how much I’ve been reading since 2011, with 2016 excluded, I had basically given up that year and didn’t bother setting a Goodreads challenge, though I did read two graphic novels that year – Outcast volumes 1 and 2.
What interests me though is how you can see how much I got through in those first three years. 2011, 2012, and 2013 were the years I was most actively book blogging back at Once Upon a Time and it’s interesting to see how I read more and more, because prior to 2011 I was really not reading a lot, and then you see the swift drop-off. I tried to hold on… and then I burned out, hard. For years. Each year’s reading challenge represents a new year where I told myself I was definitely going to read more that year but it never worked out. In fact, even last year the same happened until I hit summer and my mental health started to improve and that’s when I picked reading back up as a hobby and brought back the blog. And the moment I started trying to read things “because I need to” for some reason or another, I started dropping off again.
I have certainly learned a lot about how I read, what reading is to me, and what kinds of behaviours I really need to avoid when I pick up a book. I just hope I can keep putting them into practice and keep reading a firm part of my life from now on.
Now, I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading, too! Has anything you’ve read since I was last around stood out to you? I’d love to hear about your favourite reads over the past 6 months!