2021 has come to a close and, although it didn’t end up being much different than 2020 in Covid terms, we have all learned more about how to live through a pandemic. For me the year also brought about a bit of change in my family, namely moving across the Atlantic back to Canada. With this move, I am sure 2022 will continue to be exciting as we decide where we are going to live and try to find a house in this crazy housing market that seems to have taken over a lot of the world.
Despite all the chaos in my life with the move I did manage to meet and exceed all the reading goals that I set out at the beginning of 2021. For the Good Reads 2021 Reading Challenge I had set a goal of 30 books and managed to hit a record 42 books. Frankly, I am pretty sure Instagram was responsible for that (more on that to follow). As well I set out my own little reading challenge of books, I wanted to make sure I read in 2021 and I succeeded.
The 4 books rated 4* or higher.
Though my choice of books ended up being a bit disappointing as only 4 on the list were a 4 star or higher read for me. The other disappointment is I only crossed off three countries on my Read the World Challenge (Northern Ireleand, Estonia, and Ghana). Though I did read books from other countries those countries have already been completed. With that in mind I am putting that as a higher priority for 2022.
2021 brought about a huge learning curve for me about the larger world of reading. There are whole communities of people who just talk about books and I had no idea. As well as opportunities to win free books, zoom with authors, and much more. Below are some of the things I learned about and if you are an avid reader, they may interest you too.
Instagram, all I can say is if you are looking for a place to discuss books with like minded people, this is the place. It is a large part of why I managed to read an extra 12 books in 2021. There are many highlights that came from the bookstagram community for me. One being I have won 6 books, or gift cards for books on Instagram as well as a $10 USD Starbucks card. Another highlight is that I have met several amazing ‘bookstagrammers’ that I now do buddy reads with and one in particular @cindywindy_blogs who has managed to get me to read several books from my tbr closet.
Storygraph is a book site I learned about this year thanks to @theillustratedshelf and @bookasaurusbex. It is a bit like goodreads.com but there are few very useful differences. One is it provided statistics on your reading, such as genres read. Another is the reading challenges. You can make your own or join others and keep track of them on Story Graph
Examples of statistics and challenges on Story Graph
One of the other big surprises for me was learning about the vast amount of reading challenges out there. Until 2021 I only knew about the good reads annual challenge and the idea of the read the world challenge. There are so many challenges out there that I won’t even begin to name them. However, if you are looking for a reading challenge, I am certain you can find one to suit your goals.
From this blog came the opportunity to participate in a book club discussion on Words with Wodcke’s podcast. It has been quite an experience and something I never imagined I would do. One of the highlights from it was Sophia and I talking with Jacqui Castle the author of The Seclusion. Sophia and I are hoping to meet up with her again in 2022 to discuss The Chasm, the sequel to her first book.
My book club this year was fortunate enough to have a couple of unique experiences for some of our meetings in 2021 and I am really going to miss this group and these opportunities:
Jennifer S. Alderson met with us in The Palace Garden in The Hague to discuss her book Death by Windmill. We had lots of fun and Jennifer fit right in with our group.
We also had the opportunity to have Lacie Waldon join us via zoom after we read The Layover. Perhaps when her new book From the Jump comes out in the summer, we will be able to meet up with her again.
In the fall we also had the chance to see a talk at The Crossing Borders Festival with Douglas Stuart and his book Shuggie Bain. It was one of the best author talks I have attended and I highly recommend going to see Stuart if you ever get a chance. He has had a fascinating life. His new book Young Mungo will be released in April, 2022
Before I get to my 2022 reading goals, I am going to share with you my top recommendations from my 2021 reading. There were a few other 5 star reads but I am only picking my two favourites.
My top book of 2021 was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I might even go so far as to say it is one of my top 10 reads ever! It is the reason Malibu Rising is on this year’s list.
A close second is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It is just so beautifully written, but so incredibly sad. It has lots of trigger warnings and I would not recommend it to someone who has been a victim of any sort of severe abuse without a warning. Her upcoming book To Paradise has been added to my never-ending tbr list.
Now to my 2022 reading goals and if any of you are interested in joining me, please do.
This year I have joined the 2022 Good Reads Challenge again and have set my goal at 30 books. There are some thick books on my tbr list that I would like to get through. If I manage to read more great, if not, c’est la vie.
In addition, here is my list of books I want to make sure I get to in 2022. On Story Graph I have made up a challenge if anyone is interested in reading one or all of them with me.
From top left
From the Jump by Lacie Waldon
The Chasm by Jacqui CastleMalibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Anxious People by Fredrick Backman
The House on the Cerulean Sea – by T.J. Klune
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
Lucky by Marissa Stapley
Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Husseini
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
If you would like to share any of your 2022 reading goals or challenges with me, I would love to hear about them as well as the success or failure of your 2021 reading goals. There are so many unique challenges out there to learn about and it sometimes makes it hard to narrow them down and be realistic about what one can accomplish.
Wishing everyone a 2022 full of lots of opportunities to read.
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