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My 2021 Reading By The Numbers

Some stats about my reading in 2021 (that may be of interest only to me):

  • Total Books Read: 84
  • Hardcover: 42
  • Kindle: 32
  • Paperback: 6
  • Audio: 3
  • Nonfiction: 45
  • Fiction: 38
  • Longest book: 751 pages
  • Shortest book: 12 pages

In later posts I will outline my favorite book in fiction and non, but what jumped out at me is that I haven’t really landed on a a genre or style that I really enjoy. Despite reading close to 40 works of fiction, I didn’t read a lot of books that I would heartily recommend, books that I loved. Feels like I am in a bit of a funk; not finding a lot of “You have to read this!” Type books.

The other thing that I find interesting with using Goodreads, is that I have a tendency to overrate books; giving 4 stars when looking back I don’t feel like I “really” enjoyed it.  There is such a fine line between enjoying a book and really liking it.  At least it seems that way to me. My campaign to bring half stars to Goodreads continues.

2016: My Year In Books

Well, here we are in 2017.  Kicking the tires, perhaps quietly depending on how much champagne you had.  Getting our sea legs under us as they say. Nervously looking around at our favorite celebrities maybe.

But let’s take a quick look back at 2016 as it pertains to books.  My year in books as it were.  For this post I just want to take a high level look.  In a separate post I will get into favorite books of the year.

So the numbers from the above graphic: 82 books (the highest since I started tracking using Goodreads) and 20,620 pages.  Some not included:

More on my favorites from 2016 in another post.

What was your year in books?

The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home (Fairyland #5) by Catherynne M. Valente

One of results of this extended slump/funk I have been in is that I have not reviewed many of the books I have read (even at Goodreads I have left many books with only star ratings and no comments).

So it is that we come to the end of one of my favorite young adult fantasy series (Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series) without my having reviewed the two previous books. Awkward.

Anywhoo … So, The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home is the last book in this series.  And I not only bought a hardcover but also grabbed it on Audible so I could listen to it on the daily commute.

My take?

An absolute gem! I adore this series. And I honestly think I like listening to it better than reading it. Valente’s imagination combined with her voice and personality in the audio version can’t be beat. This final book in the series was as enjoyable as the first and brings the series to a satisfactory conclusion.

I particularly like the role that characters from the last book (the alas un-reviewed The Boy Who Lost Fairyland). It made having read that book, which was different in that September did not play a central role, seem worthwhile and rewarding.

But again in this volume, September shines and Valente shines through her as an author and a narrator. What a great character and Valente brings her to life. I think Blunderbuss was my second favorite character. Just a great personality and Valente also does a wonderful job giving her a voice that matches the personality.

I am going to stop gushing and just reiterate that this is a great conclusion to a great series. If you haven’t read or listened to it I highly recommend it.

The books narrated by Valente herself are a must listen for sure.

Review: Jack in the Green by Charles de Lint

Jack in the Green
Jack in the Green by Charles de Lint
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
View all my reviews


Quick Take:

I stumbled upon Jack in the Green at a local library. Given my penchant for short reworkings of mythology, fairy tales, etc. this seem like a good fit.

But while this retelling of Robin Hood has its moments, it came off very one dimensional. It is interesting to explore what justice, even if it is of the vigilante sort, might look like in the barrio where power is corrupt and the wealthy gate themselves off from everyone else. What does law and morality mean in a world where the economy and the law is stacked against the poor and less fortunate? This could be fertile g

But too much of this novella comes off flat and obvious. Everything feels like a caricature; even if the setting is the American Southwest instead of England. The only scene I found all that compelling was the interaction between the gang and the bottle witch.

Even the resolution was too simple. Maria comes back to life, Jack defeats the bad guys (in a rather dark and cruel scene that nonetheless came off equally flat), and they live happily ever after. This came off as a sketch of a story rather than a flushed out one. Even short stories pack more punch than this.

Perhaps my expectations were too high but I came away disappointed.

The Dark Hills Divide (The Land of Elyon #1) by Patrick Carman

Ok, I am trying to play catch up and post short reviews of books I have read.  One small problem: some of them I read sometime ago and if I didn’t put some thoughts down on Goodreads or have a strong reaction to the book it is hard to remember anything more than a basic liked it or didn’t. I apologize for the brevity and thinness of some of the reviews that are to follow.

I picked up The Land of Elyon series at a local library sale for my daughter and as she began vacuuming up books at an alarming rate I decided to read The Dark Hills Divide to see what the series might be like so I could recommend it to her.

My reaction? Eh.

This very much felt like a Middle Grade or chapter book that wasn’t a good fit for me. I gave it three stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed it I guess but didn’t love it.  Some Middle Grade/Chapter books just don’t have the depth, complexity or prose to hook me.  This is not to say something is wrong with them, they are not for my age group after all.

I read it because the lead character is a girl, which is something my daughter enjoys.  And for that, I think the book is likely to be enjoyed by elementary girls. If you aren’t looking for particular depth or powerful prose, and just want an interesting story you might enjoy this as well.

There is some interesting aspects of the plot and the world building but for me the story was too passive and lacked tension and suspense.  For some reason the story just didn’t take off.  It just sort of moved from one section to the next.

Usually, even with a series I don’t love I want to read the next book just to see what happens, but I after finishing this one I was not in any way motivated to start the next one.

I guess I should have my daughter read it and get her opinion.

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