Hi friends! Hope you had lovely holidays over Christmas and New Year? I was fortunate to be able to spend time with my out-laws and I managed to speak to my Estonian family over video call. I know that many of you were unable to spend this magical time with your families and loved ones because of this whole C-word situation currently unfolding before us. I do hope that you’ll be able to reschedule the celebrations once it’s safe for all of you!
2021 was one of the hardest years for me, personally, and you’ll be able to see this reflecting in my reading statistics below. We lost a few of our nearest and dearest, and overall it’s just been a rubbish year. I really do hope that 2022 brings us new hope, joy and freedom!
At the beginning of 2021 I set myself a target to read 52 books, one book per week. At the time it seemed like a reachable, and reasonable, target considering I flew through 93 books the previous year!
However, instead I ended up 16 books too short of my target and managed to finish 36 books, across 13090 pages.
Although I failed to meet my goal, it seems that the books I did read were pretty decent. The lowest rating I gave to a book was 3 stars, and that was for 7 of them. Additionally I dished out a whopping sixteen 5 star ratings! That’s only a fraction below half of the books I read.
According to Goodreads my average rating has gone up from 3.9/5 to 4.2/5 and it shows 🙂
It’s also no surprise that paperbacks continue to be my favourite type of books. Paperbacks and eBooks are still leading the race for those I most often choose to read.
I have a whole year free Audible through my phone provider and my boyfriend gifted me a sleeping mask with built in headphones, so I definitely plan to listen to more audio books before bed in 2022. Perhaps this will show in the next year’s summary. We’ll see, only time will tell!
My most popular genres were thrillers (truly shocking, haha!) and non-fiction books. I really, really enjoyed the true stories, and want to pick up some more in the new year.
The number of Young Adult books has also dropped quite low. That’s surprising because I do love a YA novel. Hopefully I’ll be able to get around to a few more on my shelves in 2022.
My reading truly peaked in March when I read 8 books in a month. From then it was a steady decline until the end of the year! Being in a reading slump has been the whole theme for 2021. I started plenty of books, but after a couple of pages the majority of them ended back on the TBR shelf, waiting for next time.
Officially though, I did not “not finish” any books. Guess my justification for that is that I will want to read them in the future, just the time wasn’t quite right when I picked them.
Despite there being only a few books to choose from, I managed to pick a monthly favourite from each month I actually read a book:
The top 3 favourites from 2021 are Half a World Away, Midnight in Chernobyl and Guantanamo Diary.
I am still struggling to put into words how I feel about this book. Although I was warned by many of you guys when I started this book, that I will need a box of tissues to cope with the heartache, I was not prepared. There aren’t enough tissues in the world to help me come to terms with what read.
I must admit Gayle is a new author for me, and I really enjoyed his writing. It’s captivating; it wraps you in this little bubble and it’s hard to notice the surroundings as it just sweeps you away. Definitely picking up his other work.
I’m not sure why I’m struggling so much with putting it into words how I feel about Half a World Away.. maybe it’s because I am so glad it touched me so much that it made me sob for a few hours on a Saturday morning.
What I particularly liked was how Gayle didn’t choose to make the narrative fluffy. There were so many opportunities for him to make it a story with a happy ending, but he chose to keep it real and I appreciate it so much.
Midnight in Chernobyl
35 years ago, reactor number four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded when a test went wrong and it triggered the worst nuclear disaster in history.
No matter how many documentaries I watch, or books I read about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster it still has a major impact on me. So many lives lost. A whole city “temporarily” evacuated within hours, yet the people of Pripyat could never return to their homes. The area is still dangerously radioactive.
Wow, this book was hard to stomach.
Imagine being held without charge by the US Government for well over a decade, spending the first few years getting relentlessly tortured and abused in an attempt to get you to “confess” to the crimes you didn’t commit.
“One of the hardest things to do is to tell an untruthful story and maintain it, and that is exactly where I was stuck.”
Incredibly infuriating, heartbreaking and almost unbelievable memoir/diary by a man who is one of the few individuals held in Guantanamo Bay detention camp whom US officials acknowledged had been tortured.
Highly recommend both the book and the movie (The Mauritanian).
I will make a separate post about my overall goals for 2022 later on in January. Think one of the problems I have is that I set goals without really thinking about them. without setting out steps how to achieve them, and then as the year comes to an end I am in the same position as every year – failing miserably.
In the beginning of 2021 I set myself two goals:
- Mood read throughout the year ✓
- Write a review for every book I read ✕
I’d like to carry across goal no.2 to the new year; and make a little structural tweak to goal no.1. But as I said, more about those in the “2022 Goals” post later on in January.
And with that I’m wrapping up this incredibly odd year that was 2021. Can’t say I am sad to see the back of it!
Here’s to a happier and prosperous 2022! Bring it on!