My 2020 Half-Year Reading Stats!

I can’t believe we’re already halfway through 2020! I always like to look over my reading spreadsheets at the end of June to see what my reading has looked like so far. This year I’m finally (very slowly) learning how to amend the spreadsheet I got from someone else to make it track more of what I want to track. So seeing as I’ve been looking through my stats I thought it would be fun to share them.

I set my reading goal at 250 this year based on the fact that I had a phenomenal reading year in 2019. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that illness and then a pandemic were going to derail my reading for a few weeks. Thankfully my reading slump is over now and I’m slowly catching up to where I would like to be. As you can see above I’m 8 books behind my target but I started June 24 books behind so I’m getting there!

The longest book that I’ve read this year so far was Truth, Lies and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster by Allan J. McDonald (at 656 pages) and the shortest was Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee (at 68 pages). The average page length of the books I’ve read is 337, which I’m happy about.

I’m reasonably happy with the breakdown of the genres I’ve read this year so far. I’m pleased that there is a good variety and even some genres that I normally avoid (horror, sci fi and fantasy). I’m a bit disappointed at the ratio of fiction to non-fiction with only 22.9% of my reading being non-fiction. Having said that it has been such a strange year that I’ve needed more escapism and it’s not really a surprise that I’ve been picking up much more fiction. Hopefully the rest of the year will balance this out a bit.

As seems to be the norm for me I’ve read way more female authors than male and I’m okay with that. I don’t consciously chose a book based on gender but ever since I’ve been tracking my reading I’ve noticed that it’s a pattern for me to read more by women.

This is the picture of which format I read the most and it doesn’t surprise me that it looks like this at the moment. I’ve been reading more on my Kindle as I physically struggle to hold print books so I always read less of them, and my audio book listening has been reduced whilst my husband has been on furlough (although I have now bought some new wireless headphones so that I can listen when in the same room as him without forcing him to listen along with me!).

I’m really pleased with this breakdown. It shows that I’m dividing my reading time fairly evenly between catching on on review copies and reading books I’ve bought but it also shows that I’m making use of my library’s BorrowBox app. I think this is the most satisfied I’ve been with how my reading breakdown is.

To add balance to the previous chart this one shows where I’ve been acquiring books this year. I like to show this chart as it shows that even though I’m a blogger I do buy most of my books with just over a quarter of the books I’ve got this year have been for review.

I’ve completely lost control of my TBR again this year. My excuse for January is that it was my birthday and I got a lot of books. My excuse for February is that I had book tokens from my birthday to spend (and spend them I did!). I don’t have an excuse for the rest of the year, although in April I did get a lot of review books from NetGalley so that perhaps explains that spike. The end result is the following graph…

You can see the black line is the planned gentle reduction in my TBR for this year and the blue line is where I am! Ooops! I’ve even had an unhaul of my books but still there is a big gap between the plan and the reality. I do need to curb my book buying in the coming months so hopefully my TBR will be in a better state by the end of the year. Just for reference my TBR is all the print books, ebooks and audio books I own but haven’t read yet and it currently stands at 2811 (yep two thousand, eight hundred and eleven!)!!

This graph shows what my TBR was at the very start of the year and this part of my spreadsheet tracks how many of those pre-2020 books I’ve read, DNF or unhauled. I’m really pleased that 52 of the 115 books I’ve read so far this year were off my TBR from before this year but it shows how big my TBR is when the slice of pie is still so tiny. I like this chart as it makes me face up to just how many books I own and it makes me want to read more of them.

I’m still tracking the diversity in my reading as I’m so aware that I need to make a conscious effort to be better in this area. The above chart is a simplified version of my tracking which shows 36% of the books I’ve read this year so far were either diverse or own voices books, which is okay but I want to do better. At the moment I’m reading a lot of books by BIPOC authors as I want to educate myself as much as I possibly can. I also want to read more books by or about people with disabilities as I don’t often see myself reflected in books and realise I need to make more effort to seek these books out. Hopefully the diversity in my reading by the end of the year when I look at these stats again will be better.

This graph isn’t really about reading stats but I wanted to include it as this year I had space on my spreadsheet to track my reading speed. As people often ask me how I read so much this chart shows how many pages I read in an hour (averaged out per month). I don’t speed read but I am naturally a relatively fast reader.

So that’s my 2020 reading so far in statistics! I’m pleased with the books I’ve read and the variety in my reading. I know I need to work on my TBR but I suspect I’m never going to get control of that. I’m a bookaholic, what can I say?! 😉

How is your reading going this year? I hope you’re reading lots of lovely books. 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… June 2020!

June was one of those strange months that has sped by whilst also going really slowly. Does that even make sense?!

I’m still shielding and it looks like I will be until 1 August so nothing has really changed for me even though from what I see on the news a lot of the country is slowly returning to some kind of normality. I haven’t left the house yet, mainly because my asthma is really bad at the moment and it’s impossible to wear a mask when my breathing is already bad. My husband is still on furlough and we still don’t know when he’ll be returning to work, we’re waiting to hear.

Football is back so we’re enjoying watching that. It’s great having all of the matches televised although it does mean that some days we’re in danger of having square eyes! The waiting to see what’s happening with Newcastle United is getting endless now but what can you do?! At least it looks like we’re not going to be relegated!

My reading mojo is back in full swing and I read 30 books in June! It was helped by some sunny days in the garden where I only take a book out with me (no phone or laptop!) so I’m not distracted by anything. I also treated myself to some new wireless headphones so that I can listen to more of my audio books.

The Books I Read

The Posts I Blogged

Mini Book Reviews: The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper, The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel, His and Hers by Alice Feeney, and Funny Weather by Olivia Laing

Monthly Wrap-Up: That Was The Month That Was… May 2020

Mini Book Reviews: The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan, One Split Second by Caroline Bond, Living My Best Life by Claire Frost, and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Mini Book Reviews: You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell, When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill, Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa, and Born Lippy by Jo Brand

Review: Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee

Mini Book Reviews: The Old You by Louise Voss, Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan, While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins, and Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Review: Be Careful What You Swipe For by Jemma Forte

Mini Book Reviews: Heatstoke by Hazel Barkworth, Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie, All The Lonely People by David Owen, The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

Review: The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

How was June for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and that June has been okay. What was your favourite book from June? I’d love to know what you’ve been reading so please comment below. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (1 Jul 20)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

I have a month of Kindle Unlimited at the moment and this book was one that really caught my eye. I started reading it late last night and I’ve been engrossed in it. It follows Jack – a man on the run following the murder of another man in a nursing home. The novel goes back and forth in time through Jack’s memories as he travels the North Yorkshire Moors in an attempt to escape. It’s beautifully written and reminds me of home. I’m thoroughly enjoying this one.

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

My husband bought me this for my birthday earlier this year after we’d been engrossed in the TV drama Chernobyl and he knew I wanted to know more about what happened. I finally picked the book up this week (one of my 20 Books of Summer TBR) and have been gripped by it. It’s really well-written and very readable. I’ve already learnt things I didn’t know before and am keen to read more of this in the coming days.

Recent Reads

When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

I finished reading this yesterday and I can’t stop thinking about it. This is Patrisse’s memoir and she tells the story of her life, and of her father and her brother Monte and how they got trapped in the system. It’s heartbreaking and it will make you angry, it should make you angry. It was interesting to see how all the things in Patrisse’s life led to her, along with two other women, beginning the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a book that everyone should read and it’s certainly one that will stay with me.

One Step Behind by Lauren North

I read and loved Lauren North’s previous novel The Perfect Betrayal so was keen to get to this one. While it wasn’t quite as good it was still a very good read and it kept me guessing all the way to the reveal, which doesn’t happen very often so I was thrilled by that. It follows Jenna, and A&E doctor who has a stalker and one day the stalker is admitted to hospital after an accident. The story is narrated by Jenna, and Sophie, the sister of Jenna’s stalker and it’s really gripping.

The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle

I was a huge Mike Gayle fan back in the day but somehow haven’t read anything by him in quite a few years now. I spotted this book on my Audible account when I was looking for something to listen to and it was lovely to get back to a book by him. This follows a man trying to cope with life and his two young daughters after the sudden death of his wife. It also follows his late wife’s mum who moves in to help the family cope. It was an enjoyable listen.

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

I read this book a stave at a time on the Pigeonhole app and that was such a fun way to read this book, I quite enjoy being left on a cliffhanger and eagerly anticipating the next stave the following day. This novel follows Marie, whose best friend Nina has recently died. Marie wants to help Nina’s family and soon makes herself indispensable to them. It feels like Marie is far too obsessed but there is more to this novel than meets the eye and I really enjoyed the ride!

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

This is a memoir that explores what it is to struggle with your weight – both the physical weight of your own body but also the weight of being black in America and the weight of all the things that make you who you are. I listened to the audio of this and it was excellent. Kiese writes in such an open way about the things he has experienced and the affect it’s had on him and it’s impossible not to be moved by his story. I recommend this one.

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

This is a lovely novel about the love between two friends – Hannah and Mona, who work together at the 24-hour cafe. The novel is first narrated by Hannah and later by Mona so we get to see both of their perspectives and to understand how they got to where they are. We also get to meet some of the customers of the cafe and I loved the snapshots we get of other people’s lives. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here.

All The Lonely People by David Owen

This is a thought-provoking novel that explores loneliness in such a different way. Kat is lonely but finds her people online, until one day a ‘prank’ is played on her that is so vile she feels she has no choice but to delete everything. She then literally begins to fade away. Wesley is one of the boys involved in the prank but he is also lonely. I found this such an interesting novel and it’s one I keep thinking about. I reviewed it here if you’d like to know more. I recommend it.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I loved this book! Queenie is such a real character, I was fully invested in her story. She’s in a relationship with a man who is gaslighting her, she medicates herself using sex and she’s trying to make a success of her career. She’s so feisty and no-nonsense but you start to see her vulnerable side and you just root for her all the way through his book. I was so angry at the way men treat her at times and wanted her to kick them all into touch and be happy. I definitely recommend this one.

What I Might Read Next

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

I’ve had this on my NetGalley shelf since before it was published and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet as I loved the author’s previous novel, The Rumour. This book is about Astrid, an alcoholic who is going to meetings and is working on righting her wrongdoings. But now someone knows what Astrid is running away from and they’re going to make sure she knows just what she did. This sounds great and I’m looking forward to picking it up.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

I love Lisa Jewell’s novels so am delighted to have a copy of her new book from NetGalley. This is about Saffyre, a troubled woman who is dealing with the trauma of her past. One day she goes missing, and the last sighting of her is outside Owen’s house. He’s a loner who’s invisible in his own life, and now the finger of blame is pointing at him because he’s different. I can’t wait to read this one, it sounds so good!

Spring by Ali Smith

This week I got approved to read Ali Smith’s Summer on NetGalley so I really need to get on and read Spring asap. Spring is one of my 20 Books of Summer so I was planning to read it this summer anyway but now I have a push to read it sooner rather than later. I’ve really enjoyed the first two parts of this quartet so can’t wait to read more.

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

I was sent a copy of this book for review quite a while ago now and I love Ruth Hogan’s writing so I don’t know why I haven’t read it before now. I added it to my 20 Books of Summer TBR as it sounded like a summery read and I can’t wait to get to it. It’s a novel that explores grief and the way the chance encounters we make with other people can bring us back to life again.

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with my latest Book Haul (27 Jun 20)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

Purchased eBooks

Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney

With a death toll of between 50 and 100 million people and a global reach, the Spanish flu of 1918–1920 was the greatest human disaster, not only of the twentieth century, but possibly in all of recorded history. And yet, in our popular conception it exists largely as a footnote to World War I.

In Pale Rider, Laura Spinney recounts the story of an overlooked pandemic, tracing it from Alaska to Brazil, from Persia to Spain, and from South Africa to Odessa. She shows how the pandemic was shaped by the interaction of a virus and the humans it encountered; and how this devastating natural experiment put both the ingenuity and the vulnerability of humans to the test.

Laura Spinney demonstrates that the Spanish flu was as significant – if not more so – as two world wars in shaping the modern world; in disrupting, and often permanently altering, global politics, race relations, family structures, and thinking across medicine, religion and the arts.

I’d literally just been reading reviews of this book when I spotted that it was on a Kindle daily deal this week so I snapped it up. I go through phases of wanting to pretend this pandemic isn’t happening and then other phases of wanting to read about pandemics from the past and how people survived. I’m really keen to get to this one.

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

All it takes to unravel a life… is one home truth. 

Marin used to have it all. Married to the love of her life, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family – until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. With her sanity ebbing, Marin hires a private investigator to pick up where the police left off.

But instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a much younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband. Derek’s mistress is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. Permanently.

I read and enjoyed this author’s previous novel Jar of Hearts so have been wanting to get my hands on this new one. After reading some brilliant reviews of it I decided to treat myself and plan on reading this one very soon.

A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson

1960. The world is dancing on the edge of revolution, and nowhere more so than on the Greek island of Hydra, where a circle of poets, painters and musicians live tangled lives, ruled by the writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, troubled king and queen of bohemia. Forming within this circle is a triangle: its points the magnetic, destructive writer Axel Jensen, his dazzling wife Marianne Ihlen, and a young Canadian poet named Leonard Cohen. 

Into their midst arrives teenage Erica, with little more than a bundle of blank notebooks and her grief for her mother. Settling on the periphery of this circle, she watches, entranced and disquieted, as a paradise unravels. 

Burning with the heat and light of Greece, A Theatre for Dreamers is a spellbinding novel about utopian dreams and innocence lost – and the wars waged between men and women on the battlegrounds of genius.

I first heard about this when I was invited to take part in the blog tour but I had to skip that as I was right in the midst of the dreaded reading slump. I knew this was a book that I wanted to read though so I also treated myself to this one. It sounds like such an intense and stunning summer read!

Purchased AudioBooks

Saturday Requiem by Nicci French

Thirteen years ago eighteen year old Hannah Docherty was arrested for the brutal murder of her family. It was an open and shut case and Hannah’s been incarcerated in a secure hospital ever since.

When psychotherapist Frieda Klein is asked to meet Hannah and give her assessment of her she reluctantly agrees. What she finds horrifies her. Hannah has become a tragic figure, old before her time. And Frieda is haunted by the thought that Hannah might be as much of a victim as her family; that something wasn’t right all those years ago.

And as Hannah’s case takes hold of her, Frieda soon begins to realise that she’s up against someone who’ll go to any lengths to protect themselves . . .

I haven’t actually started reading this series yet but it’s one of those series that I’ve already decided that I’m going to love! I have the first three books so when I spotted this one in the Audible sale yesterday I grabbed it. I think I’m going to start this series soon, I’ve heard so many people saying how good it is.

Pigeonhole App

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down. Nina and Marie were best friends—until Nina was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before she died, Nina asked Marie to fulfill her final wishes. But her mistake was in thinking Marie was someone she could trust. What Nina didn’t know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She’ll do anything to get what she wants. Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend’s family on her own terms. But what she doesn’t know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own… 

I’m a little behind on reading this one on Pigeonhole as all the staves are now available but I’m still very much enjoying it. I’m completely gripped by these characters, none of whom are particularly likeable, but I can’t yet work out what is going on. I can’t wait to read more!

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂

Stacking the Shelves (4 Feb)

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(Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.)


 

It was my birthday last weekend and I received 21 new books as gifts! I wanted to do a book haul for those books separate to my Stacking the Shelves post but if you want to know what other books I got this week please check out my Birthday Book Haul post.

This week I’ve bought 2 new print books:

How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ

A friend recommended this to me many years ago when I was doing my English Lit degree but I never did get around to borrowing it from the library. I’ve had it on my wish list for ages but as it’s out of print it’s always really expensive for a second-hand copy. I got lucky this week when I spotted it being sold in very good condition for £3.00 plus postage. This is a book that won’t be on my TBR for very long as I’m really keen to read it!

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

This was another bargain I spotted this week. I got a second-hand hardback copy on Amazon  Marketplace for £2.81 including the postage. I’ve had this on my wish list ever since I first heard about it so hope to read it soon.

I also got 6 new ebooks:

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla (ed.)

I’ve been wanting to read this since I heard about it around the time it was published last year. I noticed it was available on ebook for £2.99 this week so I snapped it up. I’ve already started reading and it’s very good. I’ve just been reading one essay at a time and then putting it down for a while as it’s a book that makes you think and I want to take my time with it.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

I’ve had this book on my wish list since it came out but have kept putting off buying it for some unknown reason. Then this week I saw a brilliant review on a blog and I knew I had to get a copy. I plan on reading this in the next couple of weeks.

Flamingo Land: and Other Stories by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

I’ve seen this book being hauled on a few YouTube channels recently and I’ve been intrigued by it. When I saw that it was available as an ebook I decided to take a chance on it. It’s a short story collection, and I really want to read more short stories this year, so I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long!

Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson

I spotted that this was available as part of Kindle Unlimited at the moment so I immediately downloaded it. I’m not sure that I’ll get to it in the immediate future but I do want to read it fairly soon.

Reader, I Married him by Tracy Chevalier (ed.)

This is another book that I’ve been aware of since it was first published but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read it or not. Anyway, it’s currently in the kindle sale for £1.99 so I thought it was worth taking a chance on.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Follow Me, when it came out so have been eagerly awaiting the second book. I think this might be next up to be added to my currently reading pile!

And 3 new audio books:

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

I love Rose Tremain’s novels, I’ve found all the ones I’ve read before to be so beautiful so I’ve been wanting to get this latest one. It was an Audible deal of the day one day this week so I immediately bought it and can’t wait to listen to it!

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

I’ve actually owned this book on ebook for ages now and while it’s one I feel sure I’ll love it just never seems to get to the top of my TBR. I spotted the audible book in a recent sale and the idea of listen to it really appealed so I bought it.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

I’ve been aware of this book for ages but wasn’t sure if it was for me or not. I’ve heard so many good things about it though so decided to grab the audible book in the recent sale on their website. I think it’ll be a nice, easy listen and I’m looking forward to it.

 

Books I received for review:

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The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I love Paula Daly’s novels so was thrilled to be approved on NetGalley to read this new one by her. I’m really looking forward to it and am planning on reading it very soon.


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.:)

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.