Friday, July 8, 2022

Mid-Year Book Celebration 2022

Hey'a, all! As a reminder, I will be on blogging hiatus for most of July . . . but! I can't have a July without a Mid-Year Book Celebration, even if that would make my life much easier. So, here we are! As per the usual, I'll post the short-and-sweet Best of 2022 (so far) over on Light and Shadows. But if you want all the different categories . . . read on!

Of course, we can't have a book celebration without statistics. I've read 63 books (or 64, depending if you count my copy of both Alice books in one volume as one book or two) and 16,267 pages so far in 2022, which means I'm well over halfway to my goal of 99 books. Interestingly, while this is almost 20 more books than I'd read at this time last year, but it's only about 700 more pages. My average rating is about the same as it was this time last year: 4.3 stars. While every book hasn't been a winner, most have been, plus I've been rereading a lot.

Now for some more specific reading goals . . .

  • I have successfully tracked my reads beyond just using Goodreads. I switched over to using a Google form based on the one Kendra E. Ardnek uses (literally; she let me copy hers, and then I modified some questions). It's much easier than the spreadsheet, though there are still some things I want to adjust. (For instance, my decision to track particular tropes was . . . frankly unnecessary. I'll finish it this year, but I don't think I'll do it again next year.)
  • Towards 12 books published before 1975, I have read seven books. Three of them are Narnia; two are Lewis Carroll. But the other two are Chesterton and medieval poetry, so it's not all rereads. Plus, I'm in the progress of reading Dracula via email subscription.
  • Of my goal of 15 non-speculative fiction books, I've read either seven or nine, depending on whether or not you count books of poetry. That puts me at either halfway through or a bit over halfway through, so I think that's pretty solid.
  • As far as catching up with the Wheel of Time reading series . . . I have managed maybe two chapters of The Great Hunt? It's a very frustrating book. I can probably still meet my goal if I really get with it, but honestly? I will be pretty pleased with myself if I just finish this one book by the end of the year.
  • And finally, we have my effort to read more poetry. This has had mixed results? I haven't quite managed once a week like I originally intended, but I've made up the weeks I've missed with some weeks in which I read a whole book of poetry. Most of what I've read has been out of a book of George Herbert's poems that I got for a class at Cedarville, but I've also read one of the Ticket to Write anthologies, Tolkien's translation of Gawain the Green Knight, and some miscellaneous poems by Poe, thanks to another email subscription.

All right! Overall, I think most of my numbers are looking shiny . . . but not as shiny as the books, so let's get on with it.

1. Best book you've read so far in 2022:


A lot of my reads this year have been rereads . . . but even if they weren't, the answer to this category would probably still be a tie between Cinderella Must Die (W.R. Gingell) and The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison). These books are vastly different; one is a Cinderella retelling featuring a villainous Cinderella, a very clever pair of stepsisters, an indomitable aunt, and some very clever magic. The other is one part epic, one part political intrigue, one part mystery, one part character drama, and, inexplicably, one part feel-good fantasy even though it should not, by all rights, be as heartening as it is. But they're both excellent, and I love them immensely.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2022:

We have another tie here, this time between My Soul to Take (Bryan Davis) and Crown and Cinder (Kendra E. Ardnek). Again, these are vastly different books, but both very good. My Soul to Take is a worldhopping post-apocalyptic fantasy that leans a bit dark, but also has some wonderful family themes and an uncrushable hope. And Crown and Cinder is what happens when Pride and Prejudice and Cinderella mutually derail each other, plus fire magic and Kendra E. Ardnek's signature humor and style — I would argue that it's one of her best books yet.

3. New release you haven't read yet but want to:

There are so many that could fit this category. I am doing terribly at keeping up with new releases. But the specific ones I'll call out are Of Fire and Ash by Gillian Bronte Adams (which I did buy in hardcover earlier this year, so there's that!), The Untold Story by Genevieve Cogman (which I've kept getting distracted from reading), and The Dream Runners by Shveta Thakrar (which just came out, so I think I have an excuse.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

I mean, I'm hoping to get Through a Shattered Glass out this year . . . and I hear Wyn Estelle Owens is working on another book . . .
But if we want a book with an actual cover? The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson. I'm super excited to return to Scadrial and the adventures of Wax and Wayne. Plus, it sounds like we're getting a lot more Cosmere connections with Marasi! So much to look forward to!

5. Biggest disappointment:

I don't know why I finished A Wild Winter Swan (Gregory Maguire). Probably because I was procrastinating on something. But it was deeply frustrating. Not as much so as some other books I can think of, but still . . . not great.

6. Biggest surprise:

I picked up Stolen Mayfly Bride (Sarah K. L. Wilson) with low, low expectations. The other book in the collection I'd read was, to be frank, a candidate for the last question I answered. But once I got into the book, I was entranced. Wilson knows how to write fae, she knows how to write romance, and the writing style was marvelous and poetic. This was a KU read, but honestly, I think I'm probably going to end up buying a copy.

7. Newest favorite character:

While I've met a lot of great characters so far this year, there's no question who my new top favorite is: Maia Drazhar (The Goblin Emperor). I love him so much, y'all. He starts out the book awkward and anxious, a cast-off, half-foreign emperor's son who's grown up far from the court and without many people to love him, who wants only to avoid offending or causing trouble for anyone and who's so genuinely and helplessly kind and caring. And he grows into an emperor who truly wants to serve his subjects, who learns to stand up for himself and others, who uses his position and power to help those he can (even those who would be overlooked). He's just wonderful.
And on the topic of The Goblin Emperor . . . while I don't love them quite as much as Maia, several other characters also make the favorites list, specifically Csevet, Cala, Beschelar, and Csethiro.

8. A book that made you cry:

I don't think there were any actual tears, but The Goblin Emperor did produce a lot of Emotions, so . . . there's that?

9. A book that made you happy:

Search for the Astral Dragon (Bryan Davis) didn't quite make my "favorite book" choice . . . but it felt a lot like Davis's Dragons in Our Midst series, which meant that, in a way, it also felt like coming home.

10. Favorite post you've done so far this year:

I am very pleased with my "Writing Tips and Tricks (That Shouldn't Work as Well as They Do)" post that I put up back in March. (I'm toying with the idea of doing more posts about writing craft . . . thoughts, anyone?)

11. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

All of them, haha. But specifically . . . several Wheel of Time novels, The Untold Story, The Lost Metal, and Bryan Davis's Song of the Ovulum series (as a reread). Will I get to any of them? Who knows. I certainly don't.
Well, that's my celebration! How about you? What were the highs and lows of your last six months, reading-wise? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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