January 1st–that singular day of the year for goals, resolutions, and bookish people pretending to be statisticians. I can’t pretend I don’t like all these stats, even though I honestly think the breakdowns won’t have much of an effect on my reading habits for the coming year. I mean, reading’s hard work, right? Way harder than bingeing a Netflix show, at least. So I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment pulling together all this data and making lists of my bests, worsts, and everything in between.
Let’s start with how many books I read in 2018. On Goodreads this year I set my goal at fifty books. I ended up officially reading thirty-seven, but I would adjust this up a bit, based on the fact that I completed two beta reads and read my own forthcoming book, Specter, about four or five times all the way through. Yet even if you don’t count these last two points as being part of the final tally, I’m still happy with thirty-seven, to be honest. Listen, I have a full-time job, a husband, a dog, a demanding hobby, a social life… So working reading into the day is hard sometimes, even though it’s super fun, too. I’m satisfied with thirty-seven–think it’s really good, even. That’s not just me trying to pat myself on the back, I promise.
Now on to the graphs and statistics. Here was the audience breakdown for the books I read. (Based on my own personal judgment.)
Clearly YA is a dominating force in my reading habits–is that really a surprise to anyone? I try to stay decently up-to-date on what’s happening in the field, especially in any works that seem somewhat related to things I like to write about. I also just like YA books–they’re the comfiest read for me, no matter what that says about me as a woman in her late twenties. I imagine this will stay pretty consistent in 2019.
Adult books predictably come in second place. I also read two middle-grade books this year (The House with a Clock in Its Walls, Red Scarf Girl), as well as two short story anthologies. As for the “indeterminate” category? I honestly couldn’t pick where Something Wicked This Way Comes should fall, so I decided it should just be required reading for everybody, no matter how old you are.
First of all, sorry that the numbers floating around the chart up top are a little off-center from their categories. Not sure how to fix that.
All right, so looking at the chart itself, I’m really happy with this breakdown. I definitely read widely this year in terms of genre. Mystery dominates, but it’s such a catch-all category that I feel that was almost inevitable. The amount of fantasy I read was way down this year, but that was a purposeful decision on my part, since for the better portion of a year I was gearing up for the querying process and searching for Specter comps. There was no sci-fi this year (!) but I lumped Scythe into speculative, so make of that whatever you’d like. As for “N/A,” that’s where I stuck the short story anthologies. I’d be quite happy to see this kind of a spread in next year’s statistics.
Next up is star rating. What strikes me right off the bat is the low amount of one- and two-star books; when you do the math, my average star rating is 3.7. I don’t think this is because of inflation on my part, but really just picking good books. Yes, I read with a very critical eye, but honestly, most of what I read this year was decent to excellent. (Though those occasionally terrible reads really stick in your head, let me tell ya.) For this category, I don’t see much point in wanting there to be a spread; here’s hoping the whole chart is five star books next year.
That’s the end of the charts. Looking at my reading as a whole, a couple things that jump out at me is the amount of short stories I read this year (only two anthologies, but that’s up from zero last year) and all the vampire books–four, more than 10% of my official book count. I do think both of these trends will continue next year, since 1) I think there’s a lot of value in reading short stories in terms of quick craft study, and 2) I have to finish the Twilight series and Charlaine Harris is a fucking amazing author.
Now on to the awards section of the show.
Favorite New Author: Maureen Johnson
Reading Truly Devious this year was like slipping into a warm bubble bath. Maureen’s writing has just the right amount of quirky and details and boarding schools. How much more effusive do I need to get? I read three books by Johnson in short order, and look forward to making my way through her entire back catalog in the years to come.
And The Vanishing Stair is coming out in twenty-two days. Be still my heart.
Favorite Re-Read: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Like I said above, this book should be required reading for everybody. What the hell is this book, anyway? Surreal, horror-tinged literary fiction that’s equal fun for all ages. Whatever it is, it’s good reads, and you should pick it up come October.
Biggest Surprise: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
I really thought I might hate this book. A whole book about Chaol? Seriously, SJM?
But this book was a thoroughly enjoyable read that came across as something Maas had had marinating in the back of her mind for quite a while. The editing was tighter than books past (even though it weighed in at a whopping 672 pages, my longest book of the year). It’s not my favorite in the series, and it’s not a five-star book, but give it a chance. I think it will surprise you.
Biggest Disappointment: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
I’ve already done my griping about this book, so I’m going to move on quickly. Just let it be known that I don’t recommend this book to anybody, for any reason.
Oh, can I have a runner-up to this category? I’d like to nominate the movie adaptation of Interview with the Vampire. (I can do that since I make the rules around here.) That book was pure gold, but the film was absolute trash. I was so. goddamn. disappointed. Sorry, Tom Cruise, but you’re an awful vampire.
Top Three of 2018
3. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
I already waxed rhapsodic about this book in My Top Ten TBR Picks for 2019. I loved it. It was awesome. Two Can Keep a Secret comes out in LITTLE MORE THAN A WEEK.
2. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
You guys probably get it by now. Maureen Johnson is amazing. Moving on.
1. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Not even kidding that as I write this post and listen to my Spotify 2018 wrap-up that Vampire Again by Marlon Williams started playing. Yes, even Spotify knows that 2018 really was The Year of the Vampire, and everything fang-related I read was four- or five-stars.
I remember reading this book, then texting my sister. Our conversation went something like this.
Me: Have you read any of the Sookie Stackhouse books? Like goddamn, the first one is fucking amazing!!!!!!!
Her: Yes, Katie, I’ve read them. -_- I’m actually waiting on reading the last one because I don’t want the series to end. You are late to the party. Like, really fucking late.
So I’ll be reading more of these soon. It was really that good. I was reading my favorite bits aloud to my husband. Ugh, just the best.
This is the downer portion of the KJG Incorporated awards show. Bring forth the disclaimer: it’s not that I don’t like these books. The timing just wasn’t right; any book lover will understand. My goal is truly to finish these books, in part because the blog post title “F’ing the DNFs” is just too good to pass up. It’s coming, I promise. But as of right now, these books got abandoned halfway through.
- Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung. Abandoned because I switched from researching my next book to putting finishing edits on Specter.
- The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Abandoned for the same reason as above.
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Abandoned because it’s hella long! And reading classic works like this requires a bit more effort.
- Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. Abandoned because I’m just not that into it. This is the one out of the bunch that might get truly DNF’d.
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson. Abandoned because I just wasn’t in the right head space to read this.
- Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. Abandoned for similar reasons to #3. Hard sci-fi is difficult to read!
2019 Bookish Goals
Last but not least, let’s set some New Year’s resolutions. I truly love goal-setting; even if I don’t strictly stick to the goals, the very act of thinking about my future goals is motivating to me. I’m going to make these goals both reading- and writing-related.
- Read forty-five books. I’ll keep this goal a bit lower this year, given my end of year totals for 2018.
- Read more middle-grade and non-fiction, in the pursuit of stretching myself.
- Continue to read short stories. I received an anthology of “weird” short stories for Christmas that is calling my name… even though it’s more than a thousand pages.
- Write some sort of Specter teaser short story thing.
- Finish drafting my third book by the end of July. This will be a difficult one; I have the sense that this upcoming book is going to be a lot of work.
- Finish editing my third book by the end of November.
And that’s it for the wrap-up! If you’re still reading at the end of this post, then I love you, thank you, etc. Seriously. I appreciate anyone who finds my little corner of the Internet a pleasant place to hang out.
Happy New Year, everybody. ❤