March Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

March has been a tough month in my personal life due to my medication changes. It’s hard to get across just how difficult it is to have a condition that requires medication to manage symptoms, and how the medication then causes problems in itself. I’ve been on very strong pain medication since before I was diagnosed and now I know my condition will never improve, and may even worsen over time, I want to make the best of what I’m left with. So I took the decision to try and reduce my pain medication, in spite of the severe pain I live with. This has been a long term reduction programme and it’s been going ok. It was in March that I got to a low enough dose that I’m struggling. I do have other things that I do to help me manage my pain but it’s taken all my reserves of mental strength to cope. It’s only going to get worse over the coming weeks and I just have to prepare myself as best I can. Once I’m off this medication my pain levels will be assessed again and it may be that I end up on a different medication but I just want to see what I can cope with.

Here are the 22 books I read this month:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

And the Sun Shine Now by Adrian Tempany

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison


March Blog Posts & Reviews

I wrote my regular Weekly Wrap-Ups, Stacking the Shelves, and WWW Wednesday posts. Then I also managed to review twelve books, which I’m pleased about. It was my aim from the start of March to post three reviews a week on average and I’ve managed that. Ideally, I’d post more reviews than this but three feels manageable along side the regular posts I do each week (health permitting of course)

Here are my reviews that I shared in March:

Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi But

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I also shared a great guest post in March:

Mark Stewart, author of The Absence of Wings, wrote a post for my blog all about speaking up for the voiceless in his short story collection


the-state-of-my-2

The state of my TBR:

I’ve had a few people ask my about my TBR recently so I just want to clarify that my TBR consists purely of books that I already own. I don’t count wish list books as TBR. This goes for anywhere that you see my TBR so if you look at my Goodreads the books listed as ‘to read’ are all books that I own. Hence the need to reduce it – if these books were just wish list books I wouldn’t be bothered how big the list was.

The State of my TBR is not great at the moment. I’ve demonstrated a lack of willpower throughout March and my TBR is creeping up, and is now higher than it was at the start of January!

I started this year with 1885 books on my TBR, and was doing well for the first couple of months as in February my TBR was down to 1861. However, in March a combination of a couple of giveaway wins, review copies arriving, a kindle book sale and spending my birthday book vouchers my TBR has now increased to 1913! I was a bit shocked when I realised how much my TBR has grown in the course of a month.

I don’t want to stop buying books but I do think I need to get better at not buying so many books each week. I’d at least like to try and not acquire more than I can read in a month so that my TBR would then remain steady, so that’s what I’m going to try and do in March. Wish me luck (or maybe that should read wish my willpower!!)

I also want to get in the habit of regularly going through my TBR and making sure that I’m only keeping the books that I still want to read. I’m thinking this should be something I do every month, or at least every quarter.


Quarterly Stats!

I’ve been tracking my reading using a spreadsheet since the start of 2017, which is the first time I’ve ever done this and I’m really enjoying seeing how various aspects of my reading are going. So I’ve decided that at the end of every quarter (March, June, September and December) I’m going to add an extra section to those monthly wrap-ups to share some of the things I’ve noticed in my reading patterns.

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I’ve read 71 books from January to March, and that amounts to 23,326 pages. I’m finding it really interesting to track pages read alongside books read as it shows that I’m not just reading short books to get my numbers up. The longest book I’ve read so far this year is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which has 849 pages. My average page count is 326, which is around the length of an average book so I’m pleased with that. 

I’m pleased to discover that in the first three months of this year that 65% of the books I’ve read have been by women. The diversity of my reading in other areas could be improved – I would like to read more work in translation, and also more books written in own voices but I’m otherwise pleased with the breadth of what I’ve been reading.

 

 

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I’ve read from a variety of genres and am happy that of 71 books read, 21 have been non-fiction/memoir so far. I wanted to try and make sure that around a third of what I read this year was non-fiction so I’m not far off being on track for that.

 

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I’ve also kept track of how I acquire my books so thought it would be interesting to show that here as well. Over half of the books I’ve got this year were ones I bought myself, and quite a few have been given to me as gifts. The percentage of review books are the smaller number.

 

 

 

 

All in all I’m pleased with how my reading, reviewing and blogging has been in March. I’m aware that I’m not sure how I’m going to be feeling during April so I’m not planning too much in the way of reading or blogging goals. I’ll read when I can and review when I can and see how it goes. I am going to be taking part in a couple of blog tours so am already reading those books so I can get the posts written and scheduled in advance. I’ll be using any good spells of health to read and review and write blog posts so I’m hoping to have regular content on here even if I’m not around quite as much in reality.

 

How was your March? I hope you all had a good month and that you read good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

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49 thoughts on “March Wrap-Up post!

  1. Great wrap-up. Love the breakdown and spreadsheets on your reading patterns! What a neat idea. Have a lovely week. I hope your pain management gets easier. 😊

  2. I’m a data girl so I’m loving your stats and charts Hayley – I’m not able to read anywhere near as many books as you do but have tried to stick to the same principle of no more books in than I read per month – it’s not working for me!!

    • Thank you. I wasn’t sure whether to include them or not but I do enjoy seeing reading stats when other people share so thought I’d add mine to my post.
      I’m glad the principle of not acquiring more books in a month than you can read it working for you, I’m really hoping it works for me. I’ve been quite restrained in my book acquiring this week so it’s a start! 🙂

  3. Hayley you are awe-inspiring! Your work ethic and dedication to books despite your very challenging health problems are amazing. Thanks for a very interesting blog post on your stats etc – and hope April goes as well for you as you can manage x

    • Thank you. I think I’m just very stubborn and refuse to give in to how I feel – my blog has been so good for me as it gives me a focus. I’m glad you enjoyed my stats in this post, I’m really enjoying tracking my reading in more detail this year. x

  4. Hayley, I salute you for your attitude towards your condition and your pain management. I just hope that things work out as well as they can for you.

    PS I wish I could get through 22 books a month! I was going to say it might make more of a dent in the pile but I suspect I would buy more if I was reading more.

    • Thank you 🙂 I’ve always been very stubborn and I think it’s what keeps me going through the bad days now my health isn’t great. My blog helps too – it gives me something positive to focus on.
      I have to lie down a lot after some of my medical treatments so it gives me lots of time to read/listen to books. And you’re right – in my case the more books I read the more books I acquire. I’m not sure I’ll ever get my TBR under control but it’s not a bad problem to have. x

  5. Love what you’ve done with your stats! I track all my book data through spreadsheets aswell although not a lot of that info which now has my cogs turning!

    I’m the same with classingnmy TBR as books I own, thankfully living in the world’s tiniest flat only having one small bookshelf and literally nowhere else I can keep books ensures I have to have some self control! 😂

    I hope the pain med situation starts to work itself out soon, as you know I get the med thing completely although mine are different type of meds the physical & mental hit of meds messing with your body as you adjust is awful! 😙

    Here’s to a brighter April! 🌞

    • Thank you. I’m really enjoying tracking my reading on a spreadsheet this year and find the stats really interesting. I found a spreadsheet on YouTube and then have been learning how to amend it to add more things that I want to track.
      I have to have more self control with print books these days because we don’t have a lot of room either. Plus my husband collects records so we’re battling for shelf space! Haha!
      Thanks – I’m struggling with all the med changes but I’ve just got to find a way through it now as I know I’m doing the right thing, I just didn’t expect the bad days to be quite so awful. How are you at the moment?
      Definitely hope April is brighter for both of us 🙂 x

      • Oh that definitely sounds like an amazing collection going on in your house with books and records!!
        I’m not doing too badly, I’m settling into the new medication although, my GP left and whoever has taken over has ignored all the instructions from her and the mental health team and completely overhauled the meds again without telling everyone which is a bit of a nightmare so I have had to complain to the surgery about that and hopefully it will be sorted before i need refills! 🤔

  6. You’ve had a great month bookwise and I love the stats and graphs. Hoping you can find the right balance between your pain and meds to make life a little easier for you. Take care Hayley. x

  7. I am sorry to hear about your struggles with the pain but I do hope that April will be better and that you will find some kind of balance that is manageable. Sending you good thoughts and hugs. All be best Hayley.

  8. I am sorry to hear that you had such a difficult month, Hayley. I hope you’ll be able to find a way to manage your pain and find that balance. And as far as the TBR goes? I don’t think anyone has the time to read everything out there. I’m impressed with the reading you get done, and here’s to a good April

  9. Your stats and organization are amazing! I hope April brings you management with your meds and you reach a better balance. In terms of my favorite book of March that would have to be Sharon Bolton’s Dead Woman Walking followed by The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley.

    • Thank you, I’m pleased you enjoyed seeing the stats. I’m really enjoying tracking my reading this year – I wish I’d started sooner now.
      I’ve pre-ordered Dead Woman Walking and can’t wait to read it. I’ve heard good things about The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley so will add that to my list.
      Hope April is a good reading month 🙂

  10. I love your data, and am constantly amazed at how many books you have on your TBR and how many you manage to read each month! I hope you have a better month in April… and I too am trying to be a bit more ruthless about chucking out books I don’t plan on rereading.

    • I’m pleased you enjoyed reading it. I’m finding it really interesting to track my reading this year so I’ll definitely be carrying on with it.
      Thank you – my new treatment starts this week so I’m hoping it helps.
      I think it’s good to go through your books from time to time – I like to make sure I only keep books that I still want to read/re-read.

  11. I had a ruthless book cull this week. I used to review a lot of YA as well as adults and had a cupboard full of books I’d either bought meaning to read or had sent to me (mainly unsolicited) going years back. I was never going to read them, so they’ve gone. TBH it was a relief! (Have since had an Amazon accident and already bought 5 more books though ☺️)

    Hope you manage to get to a good point pain wise soon Hayley. You sound very brave xxx

    • I think it’s good to have a book cull from time to time because our tastes do change. It can be such a relief to get rid of the books that you know you won’t ever read.
      I laughed when I read about your Amazon accident!! 😉 I keep having those too… haha!
      Thank you so much, I’m just very stubborn and that keeps me going. xx

    • Thank you so much, I really appreciate that 🙂 It’s so tough trying to reduce these meds, I’m struggling with it but I know it’s for the best in the long run so just have to get through it. I’m always here if you ever want to talk too. xx

  12. So sorry that you have had such a struggle during March – your impressive reading stats in the face of such chronic pain are a testament to your courage, Hayley. Loved your roundup and the wealth of data you provided. I know I do need to have a proper sort-out, but right I don’t feel like doing it. Maybe later in the year! Take care – and I hope the new treatment will help your pain management.

  13. I love your stats and graphs! 😀 Looks like you had a great month bookish wise and I hope the medication situation will become better for you this month. ❤

  14. I have a friend who went through something similar with her pain medication (for fibro and a few other things). It was hard watching her come down off them and in pain, and now she is sustaining without medication. I hope that you are able to reach that point or find another medication low-grade that manages your pain sufficiently. My March was crazy and I can’t believe it’s already over. I finished four books and started a new audiobook (and I’ve already finished that! whoot!) and a NetGalley pick.

    https://girlof1000wonders.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/chit-chat-march-2017/

    • Your friend has done so well, I know how much strength it takes. I’m struggling but I need to just find a way through as I know it’ll be better to be off these meds. My pain consultant thinks I’ll still need some pain meds but I want to try and see how much I can cope with before I start something else. I’ve still got a way to go with my reduction program before I’m off these meds yet so just got to take it a day at a time.
      I’m so behind with replying to comments and reading blogs so apologies for being so slow this week. I will go read your March post now though x

  15. I admire you and your positiveness so much. It is never easy to hear your condition will continue or worsen and finding the right treatment is a real maze. Sending you lots of love. You know I’m here if you need 🙂 I have lots of cute dogs pics to share!
    I am impressed by the amount of reading you managed to do this month!! I’m aiming for 12 books in April, I’m counting on the fact I won’t publish much xD It’s funny how March made me realize blogging can put reading on the back burner, despite the fact you’re a BOOK BLOGGER!!! Haha!
    Wishing you a sunny April and all the love xxx

    • Thank you so much, I really appreciate your support. I’m always happy to see cute dog pics if you want to share 🙂
      I had a lot of times when I had to rest so I got lots of books read or listened to then.
      It’s so hard to get a balance between reading and blogging – I’m the same as you in that I tend to be doing more of one than the other and it would be so nice to have more balance.
      Wishing you a great April too xx

  16. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up (9 April) | RatherTooFondofBooks

  17. I swear I’ve had this post of yours open on my phone since the day you posted it! 😀 that’s because I’m DELIGHTED at stats like that, oh my gosh. You can’t have enough stats! I think I should do some more stats myself, right now I just track the challenges I’m doing. Tracking pages and genres sounds like a totally cool idea. I should start doing that too.
    I’ve realized that uve only counted my books on the TBR because of you as well! I remember I saw it on *someone’s* blog, now I know it was yours 🙂
    Anyway, really cool post. I hope you’ve been feeling okay with your meds project and you’ve been reading just as before. Meanwhile I’m behind on my reading because I have so much work, the blog has been suffering. But I joined weekly Sunday posts, so at least there’s going to be that each week. Although of course Sunday posts are not as good as what I’d like to have. I’d like to have more actual content on my blog, but I guess it will have to wait till I either have more time or learn to be Super Woman. Lol.

    Oh, and yeah, my sum up post is here if you’d like to visit 🙂
    http://avalinahsbooks.space/book-haul-3-and-march-reading-stats/

    • Haha! I do that with posts too 🙂 I’m so pleased that you enjoyed my post so much and that you loved the stats I included. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be bothered about seeing them so it’s lovely to know you did. I only started tracking my reading on a spreadsheet this year but I love it, I find it fascinating to see what my reading habits are. Yeah I started tracking my TBR this year too in the hope of reducing it but it’s still growing! Ooops!
      Thank you, I’m very up and down with my health at the moment cos of the meds but I’ll get there.
      I go through phases of having regular posts on my blog and then life will get in the way and I might disappear for a bit so I know what it’s like when you can’t manage to get as much content on as you’d like. I think joining in with the Sunday posts is a great idea as it’s something you can do regularly and it’s a way of sharing what your week has been like. I’ll go read your sum up post now 🙂
      Thanks for writing such a lovely comment on my post, it really did make my day to read it 🙂

      • Awww, I’m glad! 🙂 yeah, I’m a total stats nerd 😀 stats are great! Maybe next month I can figure out my page count as well, Goodreads keeps tabs of that, so maybe I can somehow make do 🙂

        Yeah, and I think both you and me are actually quite hopeless at NOT getting more books WHILE we are reducing the TBR 😀 but it just… feels so good xD

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