2021 End of the Year Book Survey

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Number of Books You Read: 162
Number of Rereads: 19
Fiction: 125
Nonfiction: 37

1. Best Books You Read In 2021
Classics — Passing, Address Unknown, and Anna Karenina (reread)
Historical Fiction — Code Name 
Mystery — Double Indemnity, Rock Paper Scissors, and Eight Perfect Murders
Literary Fiction — The Madness of Crowds, Beartown
Nonfiction — The Anthropocene Reviewed, Taste, The Lazy Genius Way, Much Ado, These Precious Days
Fantasy — The Stormlight Archive
Play — The Book of Will, I Love to Eat, Outside Mullingar
Science Fiction 
 Before the Coffee Gets Cold
YA — Instructions for Dancing 
Children’s — The 13 Clocks and The Magician's Nephew (reread), Look Up!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Early Morning Riser, I just kept expecting the characters to do something to change their circumstances, but they never did. 

3. Most surprising (in a good way) book you read?
The American Royals series, just fun and with a bit more politics than just fluff, which I liked!

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
The Anthropocene Reviewed 

5. Best series you started in 2021?
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2021?
Emily Henry is just delightful! I read two of her books, Beach Read and People You Meet on Vacation. 

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
French Kids Eat Everything, such helpful tips in teaching your children to eat slowly and diversely. 

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Annapurna: A Woman's Place

9. Book You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
The Anthropocene Reviewed 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2021?
Good Company and Elevation

11. Most memorable character of 2021?
The cast of the Stormlight Archives, especially Kaladin and Shallan

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2021? 
The Snow Child 

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2021? 
Everybody Fights by Kim and Penn Holderness, great tips for the inevitable fights that happen in marriage. I also liked Our Souls at Night, a quiet, short book that made me think about how we live with our past mistakes and how family or societal expectations can often dictate our choices. 

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2021 to finally read?
Parable of the Sower, it felt like it was written for what we're going through right now! 

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2021?

“In my old age, I see that life itself is often more fantastic and terrible than the stories we believed as children, and that perhaps there is no harm in finding magic among the trees.” - The Snow Child

“Being a parent makes you feel like a blanket that’s always too small. No matter how hard you try to cover everyone, there’s always someone who’s freezing.” - Beartown

“The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger but open arms.” - Gentle and Lowly

"There’s something about the absence of light mixed with near exhaustion that loosens tongues and strengthens relationships." - Amelia Unabridged

"Mine is a level of fury that requires two coats of lipstick and a fully loaded revolver." Code Name Hélène

“Too much self-sufficiency was sort of mean to the people who loved you,” Kit thought. “You robbed them of how good it feels to give, of their sense of value.” - Malibu Rising

“Jasnah had once defined a fool as a person who ignored the information because it 
disagreed with desired results.” - Words of Radiance

“Food is one of the best things about being alive. Not just food. Good food. There is a chasm between sustenance and satisfaction, and while she spent the better part of three hundred years eating to stay off the pains of hunger, she has spent the last fifty delighting in the discovery of flavor. So much of life becomes routine, but food is like music, art, replete with the promise of something new.” - The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2021?
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - 32 pages
The Stormlight Archive - 4,574 pages 

17. Book That Shocked You The Most?
Passing by Nella Larsen and the true events in Across that Bridge by John Lewis 

18. Favorite Couple?
Vivian and Malcolm in Royal Holiday and X's grandparents in Instructions for Dancing

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of The Year?
Evelyn Couch and Ruth in The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop and Shallan and her two other personalities, Radiant and Veil, in the Stormlight Archives

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2021 From an Author You’ve Read Previously?
The Survivors by Jane Harper and Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (Rowling)

21. Best Book You Read In 2021 That You Read Based SOLELY On A
Recommendation From Somebody Else?
 The Murderbot Diaries, so entertaining! 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?
The husband from The Code Name Hélène

23. Best 2021 debut you read?
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Definitely the Stormlight Archives

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, I've never felt so connected to a community of readers! 

26. Book That Made You Cry in 2021?

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Amelia Unabridged and Much Ado (a behind the scenes look at my favorite theatre)

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
 The Snow Child, it just broke my heart! 

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2021?
Before the Coffee Gets Cold, between the time travel and the translation from Japanese, it's such a unique book. 

30. Book That Made You the Maddest?
Beartown and In Defense of Food (It's insane that our food industry has gotten to the point where we are undernourished and overfed.)

31. Best Audiobook?
Taste read by the author Stanley Tucci, what a delight! 

32. Best Book to Film Adaptation?
In the Heights, technically the book is about the making of the musical, but I loved seeing it become a film this year! 

Thanks to Perpetual Page Turner for originating this survey! It’s always so much fun to look at everything I read throughout the year and think about what I loved/hated. 

Photo by me.

My 20th Dewey 24-Hour Readathon!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

********  UPDATED HOUR 13********

I can't believe this my 20th readathon (see links below). My 20th!!! I'm doing things differently this year. I'll be at a lake house all weekend and I'm tackling some cleaning projects and chasing kids, so in the true spirit of the readathon I'll be attempting to fit in lots of reading, but I'll be spreading it out over 48 hours instead of 24. 

Here's a link for more info about the Dewey Readathon. Today you can find me posting on Litsy and Instagram as @avidreader25 as well as here. I love being able to participate, even in an unconventional way. 

Reading Stats

Pages Read: 367
Currently Reading: Address Unknown 
Books Finished: 3, Elevation, The Book of Will, Nathan

Introduction Quiz:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? A lake house in Southern Indiana

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Address Unknown 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Coconut cashews

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! We just got back from a trip to Texas. We've had a fun week enjoying fall break with lots of reading, a zoo trip, and building forts. 

5) If you participated in the last readathon, what’s one thing you’ll
do differently today? I'm spreading my reading out over the weekend since much of the day on Saturday I will be cleaning and spending time with family. 

April and October 2011 / April and October 2012 / April and October 2013 April 2014 / April and October 2015 /April and October 2016  /  April and October 2017 / April and October 2018April and October 2019April and October 2020. April 2021. 

The Green Mile Readalong Wrap Up

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

We may it down the long mile! Care and I had so much fun reading this together with you guys. Thanks to Care for her check-in posts for each section and fun part favors she sent out! 

Well, the ending certainly made me cry, even though I read it years ago and knew what was coming. I was struck this time by the guilt that Paul must have struggled with for the rest of his long life. I wonder if it's similar to people who must kill someone in a war. You are taking a life, regardless of whether it is sanctioned and justified. 

I also wondered about the "Magical Negro" trope in reference to this book. I think the story would have been just as powerful if Coffey was white. The only major thing I could think of that would be changed by that are the argument about an appeal being unlikely for Coffey, despite new evidence, because of his race. I didn't think about it the first time I read it, but I'll be honest that the past year has changed my lens for processing some things like that. 

One thing that really blew me away was the patience required to read just one section a month when it was first realized. The serialized novel used to be so common, but nowadays we throw a fit if we can't binge a show as soon as it's released. I loved reading this with a group and trying to stop at the end of each section. There are cliffhangers, so it wasn't easy! 

What did you guys think? Anything stand out to you about the plot that you weren't expecting or loved?

Here's my full review from the first time I read it:

There are books that put you into reading slumps and there are those that get you out of them. This is the latter. I couldn’t put it down, I didn’t want it to end and I was thinking about the characters long after I was done with it. There’s not much more you can ask from a book.

Our narrator Paul Edgecombe introduces us to the green mile and its 1932 residents. The “Green Mile” is a death row penitentiary, nicknamed for its long hallway paved with green linoleum. It’s full of the worst dredges of humanity and some of the kindest. Paul runs the mile with his fellow guards, keeping the prisoners in check and running an occasional execution via electric chair whenever someone’s time is up.

The convicts include William "Billy the Kid" Wharton, one of the most twisted individuals I’ve encountered in a novel. Then there’s Eduard Delacroix, who has made his mistakes, but now spends his time training his sweet pet mouse, Mr. Jingles, to do tricks. John Coffey is the other notable inmate. He’s a huge black man with a gentle spirit and an odd gift.

In addition to the criminals, there are a handful of guards, only one of which truly instills fear in the reader. Percy Wetmore is the nephew of a high-up politician and has wormed his way into this job. I don’t think I’ve ever despised a character more than I did with Percy. He is a cruel coward. Paul is reflecting on this eventful year decades later and he sees Percy’s malice mirrored in Brad Dolan, an employee of the nursing home where he now lives. It’s such a powerful reminder that those kinds of people are everywhere, in all works of life. They thrive on manipulation and intimidation.

One interesting aspect of this novel is the format in which it was written. King decided to try writing a serialized novel. This is how many books were written during the 19th century (Dickens, Thackeray, etc.) and so King split the book into six sections. Each one was published as a paperback with a different title. He published one each month for six months in 1996. The only drawback to this method is that some elements feel repetitive when read as one consecutive novel. King reiterates some plot points as reminders of what happened in the last installment, but it’s not too distracting when taking in context of the original format.

BOTTOM LINE: If The Stand made me second guess my preconceived notions about King’s talent as a writer, this novel solidified him as a brilliant storyteller in my mind. I was so invested in the story and it broke my heart over and over again. I loved reading this and I highly recommend the audiobook version read by Frank Mueller.

“What I didn’t realize was how many doors the act of writing unlocks, as if my Dad’s old fountain pen wasn’t really a pen at all, but some strange variety of skeleton key.”

"Although I know that no one under the age of, say, fifty would believe this, sometimes the embers are better than the campfire."

Dewey 24 Hour Readathon!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

********  UPDATED HOUR 17********

*Taking a break to go to Viking fest during House 7!*

This is my 19th readathon (see links below). Today you can find me posting on Litsy and as @avidreader25.

After the strangeness of the past year, it's a joy to return to something familiar. Dewey Readathons have been a staple in my house for a decade now! Now I always make sure I have a selection of shorter books, plays, and graphic novels to choose from each April and October. Here's to a day spent reading and snacking! 

Reading Stats:
Pages Read:
Currently Reading: 
A Pocketful of Hope for Mothers 
Books Finished: Our Souls at Night, The Bear, Shortcomings and I Love to Eat

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
Our Souls at Night

2. How many books have you read so far? 3

3. What book are you most looking forward to? The Book of Will

4. Have you had many interruptions? I took a break to attend a fun Viking Fest event for a few hours. Other than that (and my kids) it has been a good reading day! 

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? My book selection. So many good ones this time! 

Introduction Quiz:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? 


3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? 

Chips and guacamole! 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I've read all the works of Shakespeare. My pup Ollie has participated in every Dewey readathon with me. And we just had a Dragons Love Tacos party to celebrate my youngest kiddo's birthday!

5) If you participated in the last readathon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? I might read with my kids a little more this time. My kids are 2 and 5 and it will be fun to read to them and get them excited about the readathon too! We're also going to swing by a fun local Viking Fest later. It's always entertaining. 

April and October 2011 / April and October 2012 / April and October 2013 April 2014 / April and October 2015 /April and October 2016  /  April and October 2017 / April and October 2018April and October 2019. April and October 2020. 

The Green Mile Readalong Halfway Point

Friday, April 16, 2021


Welcome to the halfway point in our Green Mile readalong! Care and have been having a blast reading all your thoughts and theories on the book so far. King's tone can be cheesy at times, but it's his characters that pull me in. Even the side stories are powerful. Paul's time in the nursing home making him feel weak and helpless, the warden's raw grief over his wife's diagnosis, the reporter's cold reaction to the realities of the world after his dog turns on his children, each moment stays with you. 

I also loved this quote. It's from a moment when Paul is pouring out his memories in a journal in the nursing home and realizing how powerful the act of writing is. 
“What I didn’t realize was how many doors the act of writing unlocks, 
as if my Dad’s old fountain pen wasn’t really a pen at all, but some 
strange variety of skeleton key.”
What are your thoughts so far? Feel free to post here, on Care's blog or on Litsy or Twitter or Instagram, wherever you prefer! The hashtag is #GreenMileAlong and you can find both of us at the following spots:

Litsy: @BKClubCare and @Avidreader25
Instagram: @BKClubCare and @Avidreader25
Twitter: @BKClubCare and @MelissaAvidLife

The Green Mile Readalong

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

It's been years since I read The Green Mile. It was one of the first Stephen King books I ever read and it made me realize the depth of his stories. Care of Care's Books & Pie and I decided to host a little readalong of The Green Mile for anyone who is interested. Join us in April as we delve into this story. 

No need to create big posts or anything else. Just post on my blog or her blog. Or on Litsy or Twitter or Instagram, wherever you prefer! The hashtag is #GreenMileAlong and you can find both of us at the following spots:

Litsy: @BKClubCare and @Avidreader25
Instagram: @BKClubCare and @Avidreader25
Twitter: @BKClubCare and @MelissaAvidLife