I meant to get this post up before the new year started, but it’s been a very busy week for me so I hope you all will still enjoy reading this a few days late. Today, I’m bringing you all the charts, graphs, and mathy analysis fun about everything that I read in 2018! I apologize if some of the graphics are wonky, I used Excel and that program is hard lol.
But before I dive into that, I have an update if you read my most recent post about my end of the year TBR. And I have excellent news… *drumroll please*
I DID IT!!! I actually met my goal of 45 books! Granted, I did deviate from my TBR just a tiny bit, but I still read almost all the books I set out to read in that span of time. I believe I only swapped two out in favor of an audiobook and a graphic novel (which, I have discovered, are the most magical of books designed to make you feel like the fastest reader on the planet).
Anyways, onto the stats!
Considering I spent the entire first half of the year applying to colleges and graduating from high school, then spent the second half completing my first semester away from home, I’d say 15,500 pages isn’t too shabby.
Looking at the fact that 78% of all the books I read were either 4 or 5 stars, this was an exceptional year for finding and reading books that I loved! I really wish I had last year’s wrap-up post to compare 2018’s stats to 2017’s, but alas that post was banished from all existence, along with the rest of my posts, when my account was hacked. *sigh* But I definitely think I’m becoming pickier with the books I read and not just reading a book because it’s hyped, so my overall enjoyment is increasing.
Aaaaand absolutely no one is surprised. Fantasy is my main b*tch what can I say? This year I had to include a “Classics” section because I had so much assigned reading over two different literature courses (most of them were meh in my opinion, but such is the life of an English major). I would say the most surprising thing is the lack of sci-fi that I read. Sci-fi is probably my second favorite genre, so that number definitely needs to change in 2019!
Again, no one is surprised. I may be a legal adult now but my tastes certainly haven’t changed, because YA is the best! The fact that Adult is even such a big percentage is due to all the books I read for school. A goal for 2019 though is to read more crossover books! I read Empire of Sand (one of the books making up that 4%) and absolutely loved it, so I know The Poppy War, City of Brass, The Bear and the Nightingale, and Spinning Silver are all NA/crossover fantasy novels that I want to read very soon!
I think everyone in the book community will be forever plagued by the urge to read new releases over backlisted books, and I am obviously no exception. All the classics I read for school are the only reason the “Pre-2015” category is so large (can you tell that school took over my life?). I’m still proud that I managed to read as many books as I did from 2017, 2016, and 2015 though!
Backlisted Books v.s. ARCs
This is basically just another way of looking at the same info in the previous chart, but damn. I’m so sorry backlist. I truly neglected you, didn’t I? Somehow I think I did even worse than last year. Obviously ARCs took precedence, as they always seem to do in a book blogger’s life. The “Required” category is books I read for school (gross), and the “Not on TBR” section represents books that I simply picked up on a whim (that I didn’t own already or have listed on Goodreads, oops). “New Releases” are books that were on my TBR but came out in 2018, and “Backlist” is any book that I’ve owned and had on my TBR for over a year. Next year, I reeeeally hope to do something about that pesky TBR pile (but I say that every year, don’t I?)
I thought this category was pretty interesting to look at, because when I go to read a book, I often don’t think much about what format it’s in. But when you include physical ARCs as paperbacks, that format clearly reigned my year. Towards the end of the year though, I made great use of the library app and read several audiobooks! Let me tell you, they help make reading life a lot easier (especially when you have to get through a 400+ page book filled with dullness and boredom for school). In 2019, I’d like to read a lot more e-books, because I tend to read more quickly with them and I want to make good use of my Nook!
Okay, we’ve almost reached the end I promise! *sweats from all these numbers* Here’s a look at where I got all the books that I read this year! It would’ve been more complete to look at every book that I hauled this year (as opposed to just read), but that would have taken a LOT of math so no thanks lol. In a way, I’m glad that I’m reading books that I spent my money on (rather than just leaving them to collect dust on my shelf), but a definite goal for 2019 is to utilize the library more often. Jordyn @ Jordz the Bibliophile has been yelling at me for years to stop spending my money (especially when it’s a book I’m not sure about), and when I finally started going to the library to get books to read for my end of the year TBR, I saw how easy it is to just, not spend money.
*glances at chart* *glances back at you guys* *slowly sinks to the floor and melts into a puddle of utter shame*
I can’t lie, I was pretty devastated to see the results of this category. I truly thought I did a lot better this year. Granted, representing diversity mathematically is not the easiest or most straightforward process (after all, not everybody has the same definition of what counts as diverse representation). So I suppose I can blame a little bit of it on the way the numbers worked out. The reason the Mental Health/Disability, Poverty, and LGBTQ+ categories are so slim is because I read a lot of books with those representations combined with other forms of rep, so they’re “hidden”, if you will, in the Combination category. I counted a book as having diverse rep if any major character (the main character or the number one supporting side character/love interest) belonged to any of the marginalizations listed above. I didn’t tend to count side characters. I could also blame it on the fact that I had to read so much for school, and the lack of any kind of diversity in classical literature or required reading is a discussion for a whole other day. But in the end, I know I should have done better. So add “reading diversely” to the growing list of goals for 2019.
Month by Month
Finally, a look at how many books I read each month! I literally laughed out loud when I saw this because you can definitely tell I put out all the effort right at the end of the year. As usual, the summer was a busy reading time for me because #noschool! Hopefully in 2019, I can manage to balance reading with school a little bit better.
Now for the wrap-up portion of this post (yes, it’s very long, I apologize).
Best Reads of 2018
And there’s every book that I gave a solid 5 stars in 2018!
When I saw the synopsis for Heretics Anonymous, I just knew it was the book for me. Luckily, I was right! Not only is it funny and sarcastic, but it explores religion in a way that I have never read in a YA book before. This book needs way more hype in the community!
Most anything that Sabaa touches is gold, but even though I expected great things from A Reaper at the Gates, it still managed to completely blow me away! The Ember series just gets better with each installment.
After sitting on my shelf for three years, I finally picked up The Wrath and the Dawn duology and HOLY SHIT IT BLEW MY MIND. Everything about Khalid and Shazi and the whole cast (along with Renee’s insane descriptions of food) had me yelling the entire time I was reading this series. The Rose and the Dagger didn’t make my list (I gave it 4.5 stars) just because I thought it wasn’t *quite* as good as Wrath. But Despina and Jalal’s novella? GIVE ME MORE PLEASE I NEED AN ENTIRE SERIES ABOUT THEM.
The biggest surprise of the year was definitely Nimona, which I picked up from the library on a whim about a week ago so I would have one more quick read to count towards my goal. Next thing I know, I’m sitting in bed after devouring the entire thing in an hour, awe-struck and feeling giddy because it was so freaking cute! This starts out like a quirky episode of Phineas and Ferb, but quickly gets dark and murdery and filled with questions about Nimona’s mysterious power. I would highly recommend for any fantasy readers!
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ve probably heard me yelling about The Light Between Worlds and Sky in the Deep constantly. Those two reads absolutely stole my heart, and they helped get me through the roughest year of my life, so they’re stories that I will treasure forever. <3
Finally, the book I was most impressed with this year, Obsidio. It’s no secret that I love the Illuminae Files series, I think they’re probably the most creative and inventive books I’ve ever read in my life. But after not loving Gemina as much as I loved Illuminae, my excitement for Obsidio was minimal. I decided to pick it up over the summer anyways, and I proceeded to cry, laugh, scream, hold my breath, and basically undergo a complete emotional catharsis all the way until the final page. Obsidio was easily my favorite book of the series, and I just don’t think the authors could’ve ended the series more perfectly. I can’t wait to find out what they have in store for us with Aurora Rising!
Goals for 2019
Given how stressful and disappointing 2018 was, there’s approximately 100 million different goals I could set for myself in 2019. But I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment like I experienced last year, so I’m going to take a healthier approach and just focus on the things that I really want to accomplish.
1. Read 50 books.
Every year for the past three years I’ve increased by goal by 5 books. Every year for the past three years, I’ve been able to reach my goal (knock on wood). So why mess with a good system? I’m excited to keeping challenging myself while keeping my goal within reason.
2. Utilize my library more often and buy less books.
I already mentioned this earlier, but in 2019 I want to reserve my money for books that I’m truly excited for and willing to pre-order. Otherwise, I’ll get it from the library for not $17.99, not $1.99, that’s right, $FREE.99!! I’m a poor college student so this must be a priority.
3. Request less ARCs.
I went a little crazy with ARC requesting last year, and while it was a privilege, it added a lot of stress to my daily life that I really didn’t need. Even this January, I’m going to have to read like a madman just to review the ARCs I received on time. After I finish with those, I want to read more books that I pull from my book jar or let my mood be my guide! On top of that, less ARCs usually means reading a lot more books off of my backlist.
4. Post on my blog and bookstagram more regularly.
I’ve written a post before on how I’ve realized that I will never be able to stick to a strict blogging schedule. I tried it once, and it pretty much put me in a slump. I do much better if I just write what I want, when I want. So I’m not exactly sure yet how I’m going to go about pursuing this goal, but for right now I’d really like to post on here about once a week. Honestly, if I can just post semi-regularly and not take weeks- or months-long breaks (especially from Instagram), I’ll consider it a huge success.
5. Start writing my WIP.
Just typing the words “my WIP” gave me chills because, well, I don’t exactly have a work-in-progress yet, just a work-I’ve-been-mulling-around-in-my-head-for-literally-years. I’ve had an idea for a story for a while, and one of my 2018 goals was to finally start making tangible progress on it (whether that means outlining, brainstorming, or drafting). But 2018 really wasn’t a conducive year to start something like that, so in 2019 I’m really serious about beginning work on that story. After all, I’m telling you guys about it and I mentioned it on Instagram, which I was much too shy to do last year, so I’d say this is a huge step in the right direction.