2018 Reading Reflections, Statistics and Plans for Tackling My TBR in 2019!

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So this week I’ve posted my favourite novels read in 2018 and my favourite non-fiction books. Yesterday it was Reading Bingo time so today that means it’s my chance to reflect on my reading through 2018 and to share some of my stats!

I always set a reading goal on Goodreads as I enjoy tracking my reading on there throughout the year. I set my 2018 goal at 200 and I’m gobsmacked that in the end I read 290 books! This is the most I’ve read in a year since I started keeping track of my reading so I’m delighted.

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The longest book I read in 2018 was Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – my copy had 1006 pages in it! It’s not my normal type of book but I very much enjoyed it and I flew through it. The shortest book was a Christmas short story called Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Mary Jane Forbes at just 13 pages. I read quite a lot of longish books in 2018 but a lot of the Christmas books I read were short which brought my average page count down a little. I still averaged 324 pages per book over the year though, which I’m really happy with as it means I’m not reading short books to get my numbers up (something I have done in the past!). I actually read 93,863 pages over the year (Goodreads has a couple of books that don’t seem to have a page count).

 

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The above picture shows all of my four and five star reads from 2018. It’s lovely to have read so many great books over a year. I have rated some books lower than that but I just wanted to show the books that I’ve really loved. 🙂

 

I’m still hooked on tracking my reading on a spreadsheet and actually use two as I found them both online and each one tracks different data (and I’m nowhere near savvy enough to know how to combine them so I shall continue to use them both!).

 

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Out of the 290 books I read last year 222 were by female authors and 60 were by male authors. The remaining 8 were co-authored. In 2017 I read 72% female authors and in 2018 this increase to 78% of my reading. This isn’t conscious and it was a surprise to me that the percentage was so high for female writers. I am wondering if I should try to balance this more this year or whether to carry on just reading as I am and seeing how it goes.

 

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I read fairly steadily throughout the year but my December reading has skewed things a bit. I did read a lot of books in the run up to Christmas but quite a few were really short books or poetry collections so it seems like I read more than I did. Having said that I did read a lot of pages in the month so it’s averaged out.

 

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I am pleased to see that I’ve read a reasonable spread of genres in 2018. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t read more non-fiction over the year – I did read 79 books but that only makes up 26.5% of my reading. I aim for around a third of my reading to be non-fiction so I want to focus more on this in 2019. I did feel like I’ve read a lot of thrillers last year and on this graph you can definitely see that this was my go-to genre over the year. I am pleased that I did get some other fiction, some poetry and even some science fiction in there though as I’m trying to keep trying different things with my reading. Overall I’m happy with the spread of what I read, and most importantly I enjoyed such a lot of what I read.

 

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I’ve been tracking the diversity of the books I’ve read in 2018 because the spreadsheet I used had it on there. It’s quite interesting to see how diverse (or not) my reading has been. I’m pleased that half of the books I read were diverse in some way but part of me wishes the percentage was greater. I don’t want to become too focused on these stats but I will make more effort to read more widely over the year ahead.

 

My TBR at the start of 2018 was 2757 books (this is print, ebooks and audio combined), which is all the books that I already own but haven’t read yet. I did want to try and be more mindful of my reading to book buying ratio over the year as I wanted to try and get to some of the books that have been on my shelves for a long time. I was hoping to reduce my TBR by around 200 books over the course of the year and so I’m really pleased to see that I ended 2018 with fewer books than I started with! I ended up with 2447 owned books, which is a reduction of 310 so I’m happy with that. This is from a combination of reading so many books over the year but also as part of my decluttering I accepted that there were books on my shelves that had been there for years that just don’t interest me anymore (so they went to the charity shop). In 2019 I think I’ll keep the same approach to my huge TBR – not to be too hard myself but to try and balance reading new books and review books with getting to books that have been languishing on my shelves for a long time.

 

So all-in-all 2018 was a great reading year and I’m really looking forward to reading my way through 2019 (and attempting to reduce my TBR even further)! How was your reading last year? Did you have any goals, and if so did you achieve them? What are your reading plans for 2019? If you’ve written a post about your reading reflections please feel free to leave a link in the comments and I’ll make sure that I read it.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Book Bingo Time! Will it be a full house for 2018? #BookBingo

I’ve really enjoyed doing book bingo over the last couple of years so couldn’t resist the chance to see whether I’d successfully filled in my bingo card for 2018. As ever, I don’t look at the bingo card during the year I just read what I want to read and then at the end of the year look through my reading to see if I’ve managed a full house.

So without further ado…

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A Book With More Than 500 Pages

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Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

A Forgotten Classic

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The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

A Book That Became a Movie

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

A Book Published This Year

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Lullaby by Leila Slimani

A Book With a Number in the Title

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Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

A Book Written By Someone Under 30

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Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

A Book With Non Human Characters

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One Christmas Wish by Katherine Rundell

A Funny Book

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This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

A Book By A Female Author

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The Winter’s Child by Cassandra Parkin

A Book With a Mystery

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Keeper by Johana Gustawsson

A Book With A One Word Title

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Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

A Book of Short Stories

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Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes

Free Square

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Snowday by B R Maycock

A Book Set on a Different Continent

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Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia

A Book of Non Fiction

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No Such Thing As Society by Andy McSmith

The First Book By A Favourite Author

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A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

A Book You Heard About Online

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Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner

A Best-Selling Book

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Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

A Book Based on a True Story 

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Isolation Junction by Jennifer Gilmour

A Book At The Bottom of Your TBR Pile

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Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

A Book Your Friend Loves

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The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

A Book that Scares You

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I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

A Book That Is More Than Ten Years Old

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The Constant Gardener by John le Carre

The Second Book In A Series

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The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

A Book With a Blue Cover

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Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny

 


 

Woo hoo! Full House! I wasn’t sure when I started writing this post that I was actually going to have a book read in 2018 for every square but I’ve done it! It’s always fun to play Book Bingo, it’s another way to reflect on the year’s reading.

Have you taken part in Book Bingo for 2018? If you have I’d love to see your posts so please leave links below. 🙂

My Top Non-Fiction Reads 2018!

My Favourite Books 0f 2018!-2

Today I’m sharing my non-fiction reads from 2018! I read 290 books last year and 79 of those were non-fiction so I’ve picked my top 12. Yesterday I shared my favourite fiction reads of the year and you can find that here if you’d like to read it.

Illusion of Justice by Jerome Buting

I was late getting to Making a Murderer but I finally watched season one earlier this year  and immediately looked to see if there were any books on the case. This is written by one of Steven Avery’s lawyers and was a really fascinating read. I watched season 2 as soon as it was on Netflix and see that there’s a possibility that these lawyers could have done more but at the time of reading it felt like a really good insight into the case and that they’d done all they could within the restraints they had.

My Life in Football by Kevin Keegan

I listened to this on audio and really enjoyed it. It was a hard listen at times being a Newcastle United fan and hearing in Keegan’s own words how badly he was treated at the club. It was interesting to learn more about Keegan’s life though and I found this book near impossible to stop listening to.

How Not to be a Boy by Robert Webb

I got this for Christmas in 2017 and it’d been calling to me from my TBR all year so I was glad to finally read it. It’s such an open and honest memoir and I found it such an interesting read.

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright

This is a really in-depth book about what led to 9/11. It’s obviously not always an easy subject to read about in terms of what happened but the way this book is written makes it one you don’t want to put down. It gave me a much better understanding of what happened in the years preceding 9/11. It’s such an important book and one I definitely recommend.

Knowing the Score by Judy Murray

I very much enjoyed this book having been a fan of Judy Murray for a while now. It gave such insight into her character and her strength and I was so inspired by just how much she’s done for female tennis players over the years. I have a full review of this book so if you’d like to know more click the title above.

Life to the Limit by Jenson Button

I listened to this as an audio book after buying it in an Audible sale a few weeks ago. I used to be such big F1 fan so was keen to know more behind the scenes of Button’s career. There is much of that but this is also a love letter to his late father, John and I found is so much more moving than I expected.

So Here It Is by Dave Hill

I initially wanted to read this because I grew up hearing Slade as my late mum was a huge fan. The book is so well-written and is so full of honesty and openness that I enjoyed it on its own merits. I have a full review of this so if you’d like to know more about what I thought click the title above.

Bookworm by Lucy Mangan

This book was sheer joy to read! I love books about books anyway but this one really grabbed me as I’m assuming Mangan is a similar age to me as we read many of the same books in childhood. It was a real nostalgic read and led to me buying copies of childhood books that I loved but had sadly long since lost. I recommend this to all bookworms!

The Light in the Dark by Horatio Clare

This is a beautiful, lyrical journal about the changing of the season into winter. It’s a mediation on all the changes that occur as winter hits. This book struck such a chord with me and gave me such comfort and solace at a time of year that I needed it most. This is a book I will return to again and again.

This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

This was another Christmas gift from 2017, which I read fairly early on in 2018 but it’s stayed with me ever since. It’s a funny book, and a sad book but mostly it’s just an honest diary of a junior doctor’s experience of working in the NHS.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I bought this as soon as it came out as I can’t resist well written true crime. This was a fascinating account of one woman’s growing obsession with the Golden State Killer and her feeling that she had his name almost within her grasp. The author sadly died before she finished this book so there is a real poignancy in the reading experience because of that. It’s a brilliant book though.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (and Spark Joy) by Marie Kondo

This had to be my number one non-fiction book of the year because it has changed my life. Spark Joy I read for the first time in 2018, whereas The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was a re-read (although the first time I read it, I didn’t grasp the good bits as I was too focused on what felt odd in her methods). I read these books at the start of the year and immediately wanted to follow her method properly as my house was over-run with stuff. It really worked for me this time and I’ve spent months going through every single item that I own and have finally got rid of all the clutter. I naturally want to hoard things but I’m now so much better at just getting rid of things that I don’t love. I’ve never had so much space in my own home before and it feels wonderful. I’ve definitely got the decluttering bug now as every time I’m dusting I immediately put in the charity box anything that doesn’t make me happy.

 


 

So that’s my favourite non-fiction that I read in 2018. Did you read any good non-fiction last year? I’d love to know what your favourite book (or books!) was. Don’t forget you can find my favourite novels in yesterday’s post here if you’d like to see my fiction book picks of the year.

My Favourite Novels of 2018!

My Favourite Books 0f 2018!

Firstly, happy new year to you all! I hope 2019 brings you good health, peace and happiness!

2018 has been an amazing reading year for me. I read 290 books, which is the most I’ve read in one year since I started keeping track of my reading! Of the 290, 211 were fiction so that has made it so hard to pick a top 10 or even a top 20 so in the end I made a list of the books that have stayed with me the most and 27 novels have made my list! (My non-fiction picks will be in a separate post tomorrow).

Some of these books have stayed with me because they were well-written, some were impossible to put down and others brought out such an emotional reaction in me that they simply had to be on this list.

So without further ado, here are my favourite books of 2018 (click the title if you’d like to read my full review on each of these books)…

 

In reverse order: 

27. Dead in Venice by Fiona Leitch

This is one of the best audio books I listened to this year and had to be on my list as it’s really stick with me.

26. The Lingering by SJI Holliday

This was an unsettling, creepy novel that I couldn’t put down!

25. You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

I love Lucy Clarke’s writing and this has joined The Sea Sisters as my favourite books by her!

24. The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

This was such a different read for me and I utterly adored it.

23. Perfect Bones by AJ Waines

This is a crime fiction novel that haunted me in the times when I wasn’t reading it, it definitely earned its place on my list.

22. The Date by Louise Jensen

I love Louise Jensen’s writing and this book was another brilliant read by her. It gave me an insight into a condition I knew nothing much about and the ending of the book gave me chills!

21. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

I read this book in one sitting on a boiling hot day but the writing was so good that I could feel the snowy cold and the oppressive atmosphere of those trapped in the hotel with a murderer on the loose!

20. Odette by Jessica Duchen

This is such a beautiful book and it really resonated with me so it had to be on this list!

19. Attend by West Camel

This is a recent read but I keep finding myself thinking about the characters and it’s staying in my mind so I had to have this in my top books.

18. Daisy Belle by Caitlin Davies

This is a wonderful story about a young girl who wants to make it as a champion swimmer in a time when it’s not the done thing for females. It’s inspiring and beautiful and I knew it would make my top books of the year as soon as I finished reading it.

17. The Afterlife of Walter Augustus by Hannah M. Lynn

This is a bit different from my usual reads but it’s so beautiful and very moving in places and I still think about it.

16. Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

This was such a brilliant novel, and is another book that really has stayed with me.

 

15. The Girl in His Eyes by Jennie Ensor

This was a very prescient and moving novel, and while it was hard to read at times for me personally the writing is so sensitive and honest that I couldn’t put it down.

14. Fukushima Dreams by Zelda Rhiando

I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did but it’s so stunningly written and the story is still swirling in my mind. It was an unforgettable read for me and deserves its place on my list.

13. Narcissism for Beginners by Martine McDonagh

This is another book that was a bit different to my usual read but I devoured it. It’s funny and emotional and I adored it.

12. Good Samaritans by Will Carver

This is such a brilliant read, one I’ve been recommending to people ever since I finished reading it.

11. Overkill by Vanda Symon

This is my new favourite crime thriller series and I’m desperate to get my hands on the second book as soon as it’s out!

10. Him by Clare Empson

I got this book on a whim from NetGalley and I’m so glad I did. This really got under my skin and I couldn’t put it down until I’d read all the way to the end.

9. Miss Marley by Vanessa LaFaye with Rebecca Mascull

This is the only book on this list that I haven’t managed to review but I highly recommend it. It’s gorgeous and moving and just brilliant. It honours A Christmas Carol so beautifully whilst also standing on its own as a novella. The final couple of chapters were incredibly moving. I know this will be a book that I read every Christmas from now on so it absolutely deserves to be on this list.

8. Roar by Cecelia Ahern

This short story collection is brilliant. I loved every story and enjoyed finding the ones that resonated with me. It’s fabulous!

7. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

This is such a magical and lyrical novel, it’s another book that is staying with me and I know I’ll want to read it again in the future.

6. The Long Forgotten by David Whitehouse 

I was looking forward to reading this novel but I wasn’t expecting it to get to me in the way it did. It’s very moving and so fascinating, and the writing is stunning.

5. Snap by Belinda Bauer

This was my favourite crime thriller of the year, I loved it. I don’t think I’ve read a crime novel before that has made me cry in the way this did. It’s such a brilliant novel.

4. Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

This novel really connected with me in so many ways and my review ended up being very personal as the story got so entwined with my emotions at the time I was reading. It’s a beautiful novel and I urge you to read it if you haven’t already.

 

 

Love and Fame Cover

3. Love and Fame by Susie Boyt

This book is why I love blog tours – I was offered a copy of Love and Fame, a book I hadn’t heard of before and decided to give it a go. It’s such a witty, funny and moving novel about grief and loss in various forms. I absolutely fell in love with this book and it’s one I consider to be a firm favourite. I’m so glad this book found me!

 

 

And the next two books are jointly my favourite books of the year because I just couldn’t pick between them…

 

 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

I adore Louise Beech’s writing anyway but The Lion Tamer Who Lost stole my heart in a way that no other book has done in 2018. I keep thinking of the characters and wondering how they are, I keep thinking of how cruel life can be but how a novel like this does ultimately remind you why you need to keep going. I cried buckets reading parts of this book but I fell in love with it and it absolutely deserves this number one spot!

 

Let Me Be Like Water by S. K. Perry

I hadn’t heard of this book before a copy got sent to me for review but it was serendipity that it came into my life at the perfect moment. This is such a beautiful, lyrical novel that had me sobbing one moment and feeling consoled the next. The characters are wonderful and the depiction of grief is so real, as is the way we find a way to start living with grief. A stunning book that I will treasure forever and ever!

 


Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my Top Non-Fiction books of the year so look out for that then. In the meantime what were your favourite books of 2018? If you have a blog post please feel free to leave the link below. Happy New Year! 🙂