Happy New Year! Also, My Shift in Reading

Happy New Year (let’s hope) intrepid readers!

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Once again, I want to emphasize that I am not back back, however I do feel like I have gotten over my blogging burnout, and might try to post more in the upcoming year (don’t count on it though). The last 2 years have been really challenging, and not because anything really terrible happened to me personally. But with the pandemic there were so many changes that, well, it was a lot. Along with that (and possibly because of that) my reading has changed significantly since the pandemic started. So blogging burnout + major shift in reading = me having trouble talking about books. I feel like I might be ready to start…well, not diving in, but dipping my toes back into the book blogging waters. Maybe. We’ll see.

Anywho, I want to talk first about Goodreads. I joined the website in 2018 in order to be able to keep track of the books I was interested in reading, but along the way I also started using it to track the books I was reading. Which honestly, is probably not the best thing for me since it puts artificial pressure on an activity that for me is vital to my mental health. (This is another reason I have eschewed all reading challenges and readathons except for r/Fantasy’s yearly Book Bingo, the pressure was ruining my enjoyment of reading.)

In 2018, I tracked myself reading 229 books, and 188 in 2019, most of which were m/m romance ebooks. And then 2020 happened. With the pandemic came an inability to read the books I previously enjoyed and would re-read at least once every year. Also, my most read romance genre was just not doing it for me. So, I decided to dive in and try reading web novels, which was honestly quite daunting at first since I had no idea what authors/genres/etc. I would like. So, I actually started with web comics, and for the ones I particularly enjoyed, I would then try and find the web novel (if it existed and was translated). I quickly discovered that I really enjoyed stories about necromancers (Solo Leveling), revenge plots (Kill the Hero), and litRPG (Reincarnation of the Strongest Sword God, World’s Apocalypse Online, The Duke’s Eldest Son Escaped to the Military, and (not sure if it counts here but) Leveling with the Gods). I also tend to like the Korean authors more than Chinese or Japanese authors, though my GOAT is by (I think) a Chinese author (Reincarnation of the Strongest Sword God). These web novels though, are difficult, if not impossible, to track in Goodreads, so even though I committed myself to read 100 books in 2020 for the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I only ended up reading 51….except I probably ended up reading more in 2020 (and 2021) than any other year previously. For instance, I finished Reincarnation of the Strongest Sword God (back before it was rebooted…which yes, I am currently reading that right now) which ended up being 2,918 CHAPTERS (estimated about 10,000 pages)….and that’s only ONE of the multiple web novels I picked up in 2020. So, even though I technically failed my Goodreads Reading Challenge….I only really failed because web novels don’t really have volumes (in some cases they do now) and so only count as 1 (if you can count them at all on Goodreads…many aren’t even on the site).

2021 ended up being more of the same, but I ended up 1. Lowering the number of books I committed to in the Reading Challenge to 30 and 2. Figured out how to track at least some of the web novels on Goodreads as volumes. So yeah, started off with 30 books but ended up bumping it up to 50 once I figured out point 2. Even so, a lot of web novels still can’t be tracked properly in Goodreads so, my Year in Review is not really indicative of everything I actually read. Even so, I will include it here for your viewing pleasure:

I rated a lot of things pretty highly this year, though I did have a couple of DNFs and most of my high ratings were 4s. My biggest 5 star surprise was Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. I absolutely love that book. It made me realize how much I love labyrinths in stories, and it weirdly gave me the same vibes as Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, which is one of my GOATs (don’t ask me how since the stories are not even remotely similar).

A bit of a non sequitur, but I also watched the Dune movie this year and really enjoyed it. The first Dune book is also one of my GOATs, but I never felt the need to continue with the series. However, after watching the movie, for some unexplainable reason, I really want to read the other books in the series. Maybe that will be a 2022 goal.

I also started a book club with my step mom this year, which is why I started reading more books outside my usual genres towards the end of the year including (shock!) a non-fiction. I dunno what to tell ya, I guess I just feel like reading more widely? I think booktube is also partially to blame since some of my favorite booktubers (*cough* With Cindy and Books and Lala *cough*) only have some crossover with the genres I typically read (SFF) and they have 100% gotten me to read books that I would not have picked up in the past. So, influencers are effective, I guess?

Sorry this post was so rambly, I am very out of practice and really just wanted to give everyone an update as to why my reading is so wonky these past 2 years. I might do a r/Fantasy Book Bingo update post soon as well, or I might just wait until the reading challenge finishes at the end of March and do a wrap-up post. Who knows? Everything is so up in the air anymore, I might as well be too.

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