2022: A Retrospective in Books

The basic measurements

some observations

In 2021 I had a lot of fantasy and paranormal books on my list, thanks in part to #ReadingValdemar and getting hooked on S.M. Reine novels. This year, I see I sought out more information through books, whether it was a subject, like Buddhism or hiking, or about a person’s life. I read almost no books about the way men traverse this world, but more about women’s experiences than I had thought.

I’m not surprised most books I read were published after 2010 because it seemed like I was constantly making such notes in my spreadsheet. However, why so many books are newer is not clear to me. Did I seek out new releases from the library? Are most books I own ones I bought new within the last twenty years? That’s actually likely.

Few books were in audio format because I kept listening to a horror movie podcast on my commute instead of books. I was stunned that most books I read were either paperback or hardcover, because I don’t seek those formats out from the library, until I remembered that I really pushed to lower my TBR pile of books I own. So many were from used book stores, or author readings, or the library book sale. In the future, I expect those physical copy numbers to drop dramatically.

Speaking of owned vs. the library, here I was split almost 50/50! That did not seem possible; yet, I occasionally read a book you all recommended, such as Tracks or Women Talking. I’m already thinking about next year and how to bump that “owned” number up even more.

And lastly, books by women are never the run away category I think it’s going to be, given the motto of Grab the Lapels is to read books by women, and, more recently, non-binary authors. And, tracking non-binary authors proved to be challenging, as many authors do not list their pronouns on their website or social media, so stats were hard to keep. I’ll just continue doing my best and moving forward.

lasting impressions

These are the books that stuck with me that I read in 2022. They may not have been a favorite, or a book I loved, but ones that I keep thinking about (which is in comparison to some books whose titles leave me thinking, “Which one was that??”).

Looking at all twelve covers together, I see obvious patterns: strong women (fat, Deaf, trailblazers, etc.) and horror (smart, commentary on society), two musician books, a look at presidents (the odd book out, I admit), and a book set in Indiana.

plans for 2023

I barely followed my plans for 2022 because I kept being led by what other bloggers were suggesting or where a new interest took me. Plus, I switched to one book review per week, meaning I had more time to read books by men, or textbooks about ASL and Deaf culture. Already, I have posts scheduled into the first week of March because I’m sticking to one book post a week. That way, I’m not fretting during the semester about getting behind on reviews or ignoring Grab the Lapels.

Tentatively, I plan to read one of each per month: my oldest ebooks and physical books, books starring fat women and Deaf people, to get back into the Descentverse series by S.M. Reine, and to allow myself a library book.

See you in 2023!

34 comments

  1. Wow, love all your charts and graphs! You had a great reading year! You are so good about reading your own books too. I’m am currently working on that. It turns out not having a car makes me not want to bike or walk to my neighborhood library in the cold on icy streets and sidewalks so I am reading my own books at least for a couple of months. It’s exciting! 😀 We’ll see how long that lasts when the weather warms up.

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year! The charts are surprisingly easy to do. My husband showed me how to do them one year, and I just kept the template. Takes maybe a couple of minutes to make them.

      Now I’m wondering what kinds of books you are apt to buy, because I know you don’t buy a lot in general.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I think if you have the data set up correctly in Excel you just push a button, but they still look spiffy! 🙂

        As to what books I am apt to buy, poetry I will want to read again and again (like Joy Harjo), big fat chunksters that will take me longer to read than the library will let me have them (like The Books of Jacob), books by authors I want to own their entire oeuvre (currently on an Ursula K Le Guin binge), and nonfiction books that I have to write in, like Silent Spring, for instance.

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        • I have Silent Spring on my TBR to read with my mom! It’s one of those books I’ve wanted to read for a while, but I think reading it with someone will make it even better.

          Lately, I pretty much only buy books if I care about directly supporting a bookstore (Charis, the oldest feminist bookstore in the South) and an author.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Rachel Carson writes so beautifully, and Silent Spring, I just read it this last year, is even more relevant today, just change out DDT for glyphosate or other pesticide. The more things change…

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Melanie. I’m preparing mine now to post hopefully on Saturday … I’ll have some stats but no charts.

    My gender aim is about 2/3 women which you’ve pretty much achieved here. It is hard though to identify all this now as you say because labelling is problematic. Completely understandable – who wants to be labelled – and yet useful when you are trying to right some balances!

    I look forward to sharing more reading with you next year! Have so enjoyed this year’s conversations!

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    • Mostly I want to make sure I’m not calling someone “she” if they don’t want to be called that. Some of the people I read are truly androgynous, and I try not to make assumptions. I’m still figuring it all out.

      I look forward to seeing what sorts of research and books you get into in 2023. AS I mentioned in a recent post of yours, I have links to contemporary Aussie writers if you’d like them, and I’d be interested in picking up new releases, too.

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  3. Asphyxia surely wins the competition for best cover. I think I’d better read Future Girl (The Words in My Hands) very soon, especially as you give me the credit for recommending it – though if you don’t mind, I’ll repost your review during Australian Women Writers Gen 5 (1990-2022) Week-SFF, 15-22 Jan. 2023 (do you like how I got that plug in?).

    We look forward to your 2023 reviews (including Tracks?) and to stories of studying at a Bible school. Remember, no cussing!

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    • I just commented on a post Sue wrote about the Australian Women blog to see when you guys catch up to new books. I have several posts I’d love to share, and I’d be happy to read some books, too. The only older book I’ve read was Lantana Lane, so if you haven’t shared that link yet, please do.

      Tracks review is written and scheduled. I have reviews scheduled into early March because I’m sticking to one book post per week, which helps me focus on school, too.

      Not cussing, I admit, is going to be hard.

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  4. I don’t keep track of my own reading stats, but I do enjoy seeing these posts. Next year I am going to focus on reading more books that I already own and from the library – I have a very good (and cheap) charity shop near me that has an amazing range of books, so it’s hard to resist! But I am hoping to bump up the amount of books I read that are already on my shelves.

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    • I’m really, really trying to get books from the library, and then if I cannot live without them, hunt for them in used book stores. When it comes to social media, I do not understand FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), but I comprehend the equivalent in books (that if I don’t buy the book, I’ll never find it so I can posses it).

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    • I think part of the reason I am able to keep up with reviewing for Grab the Lapels is I don’t worry about formulating thoughts for a review when I’m reading books by men. However, if there is one I mentioned that you want to know more about, please let me know. I’m able to give general thoughts on books I haven’t reviewed. 🙂

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  5. Hooray for Dave Grohl!

    Looks like a great reading year, Melanie. I hope your plans come to fruition in 2023. Of all my blogger friends, you probably have the widest range of styles of books. I never know what you’re going to write about next, and that’s fun!

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    • Look at what I would like to do with books in 2023, I see that I’m highly disorganized for me! Yes, I have categories, but typically I have everything all laid out. Is this how you feel all the time with your reading?! Just goin’ on a whim? 😀

      I hadn’t thought about the range of books I read, so thank you for pointing it out to me. What a lovely observation/compliment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ha ha! Well, I have loose reading plans and goals to structure my reading just enough. And at any given time I’ve got 5-6 books checked out from the library , some from my TBR list and some perhaps not. I may read them, or maybe they just sit there for a few weeks and get turned back in. I like that freedom, as you know. It works for me! 😁

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  7. My main aim with my reading last year (and usually) is to be more diverse than the UK is itself, and I got my White authors down to being in the 60-70% range (81% in England and Wales) so was pleased with that. I am reading off the TBR this coming year. I finished Dave Grohl’s book over Christmas, with my husband reading the audiobook (narrated by Dave: I found his narration in the extra story to be quite mannered and was glad I’d read the book!) and I did enjoy it but found it got a big smug and name-dropping towards the end. Glad I read it, though. Happy reading for 2023!

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    • I really enjoyed the way Grohl read his memoir because it sounds like he’s really sitting there telling stories, but he’s also a good reader. I’ve listened to fiction books that the author reads, and some authors are just not good readers.

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  8. Nice! I’m assuming these are the graphs that Nick helped you with? Super cool.

    I’m not sure I’ll have time to do my regular books in review blog this year, but I tried to read more BIPOC authors than white, and that’s always a goal of mine, and will continue to be. Likely close to 95% of the books I read are sent to me by publishers, but I’m allowing myself a few book purchases a year, or library holds. I found a David Sedaris book from a little free library too, which was an exciting find for me 😉

    Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to another year of reading along with you Melanie xo

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    • Yes, Nick showed me how to make charts and graphs several years ago and I keep doing them. I’ve noticed a trend of you reading a lot of Canadian authors lately, and I even picked up a few on your recommendation! Definitely Dawn Dumont, and was it you who recommended Casey Plett? Or maybe I heard of her somewhere else. I’ve got Kate Beaton’s new book, Ducks, from the library.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You really stuffed your brain with info in 2022! I think I read more non-fiction that I normally do too. I’ll have to look back and see. Above that, I think there were a few autobiographies and I usually only read one of those per year.
    I’m currently struggling to pick out which book to start the new year with.

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  10. I love these kinds of posts that really dissect and break everything down with cool graphs and whatnot. ❤
    I still really want to read The Storyteller by Dave Grohl, and some of the others on your standout books list might just be getting added to my TBR Mountain too! 😉

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