Books that are better memories than reads

There are certain books I read that in the moment I struggle with. They could be slow, they could be confusing. Sometimes boring or sometimes painful. Other times the book is just a really good idea but the execution is not what I expected or wanted. Often I needed to push myself to finish and thought, never again, but days, weeks or months later would think back and go “there was something there” or “it couldn’t have been that bad, could it?“.

These books feel better in retrospect but I generally dislike the reading experience at the time. Typically, they land on my Goodreads shelf for “great concept but the book feel flat. Here’s a list of books that were better memories that reads.

What book have you read recently that was a better memory than read?

Purple books I want to read soon

I recently ordered a random collection of books. At the time I didn’t realized that several of them were purple and noted the oddity when they arrived. Perhaps a Purple Readathon is in the future?

Despite appearances, only two of these books are Sci-Fi. Binti follows a young Himba girl who takes a risk that no one in her small, close-knit village would ever consider: goes to university in space. In Meet Me in Outer Space a girl with an auditory processing disorder tries to navigate college life. Chilling Effect has the tag line “Kidnappers. Alien emperors. Psychic cats. And she’s out of coffee” so obviously I had to buy it.

Is there a colour that unexpected adorns your shelves?

Pale blue is killing it right now

In the past few months I’m read (or am currently reading) a few books with pale blue covers that are really hitting the mark for me.

A book detailing the underbelly of the fashion industry by following a fictional model as she navigates being scouted and her new career at age 16. The cover drew me in and the words didn’t let me go and I was thinking about this book for weeks afterwards.

All I knew going is was Mariana Zapata was the Queen of Slow Burn romances and that her other book, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, I quote,”walked so that From Lukov with Love could run”. So when the audiobook was on sale I snagged it. This book is now my favourite romance, ever, and I have been thinking of doing a re-read already. Like right after I read it. High praise considering I was really struggling with the genre but kept going back because I knew there had to be a romance for me out there. I guess it’s all downhill from here.

Currently still reading this one, however the Young Adults that are actually Young Adults (aka late teens and early 20s) training for a super secret space mission is going well for me. I’m excited to see where is goes and hop it follows the footsteps of it’s colour siblings and becomes a new favourite.

Is there a colour in your life that has made an impact on you recently?

I read 100 books in 2020, here’s why it’ll never happen again

Spoilers: it had and doesn’t have anything to do with the pandemic.

A few stats to start, because I love them and I expect a lot of bookish people love them too. I started really reading again and tracking what I read in 2015 when I was finishing up my graduate degree.

2015 – 37 books read out of a goal of 25

2016 – 50 books read out of a goal of 50

2017 – 78 books read out of a goal of 75

2018 – 83 books read out of a goal of 60

2019 – 85 books read out of a goal of 65

2020 – 103 books read out of a goal of 75

Those books amounted to over 38k pages and includes 7 DNF’s. Yes, I include DNFs in my stats, but even if you take those out I still read much, much more than I had previously (previous years also include DNFs but fewer than the 2020 numbers). More books were read in 2020 than my upward trend would predict.

Here’s the thing, I would love to read 100 books a year every year. However, there were several factors that allowed this anomaly to happen and the pandemic was not any of those reasons. Honestly, the pandemic likely didn’t factor into the equation much at all beyond delaying when books on hold came in. I was extremely lucky and fortunate in that with my work, my lifestyle and education** (more on why this is relevant below, if curious) life in the pandemic is and was almost normal for me, with a few small changes that didn’t result in more reading time.

So, what were the reasons I read so much more and why won’t they factor into me reading this amount again?

In 2020 I started a looooong series that was easy to read and kept my attention. This meant after completing a book there was always something else to pick up right after if there wasn’t strong feelings on the next read. This series accounts for 15 books, with 2 more partially read and 2 more in the queue.

Another several books of the 100 where taken up by a new favourite series I read in 2020 and then proceeded to immediately re-read because they were so good. This has only ever happened once before, in 2019. I never re-read immediately after initially reading. This series accounted for 11 reads (if you math, yes one of them was not re-read, but 5 of them were).

Every year about 10-20 percent of my reading is re-reads from previous years. This year I re-read a solid series that has numerous books making for an easy gains to my total. In past years I typically re-read single books, not series.

Audiobooks continued to be my most common method to consume a book, allowing me to do other things while reading. So if I wanted to dick around on my phone I could do so while also reading. I puzzled and read A Lot in 2020 as well. Audiobooks meant I didn’t have to compromise as much on what activity I wanted to do and forfeit reading time. Obviously this will be continued into 2021 and beyond, however, this alone won’t allow me to hit 100 books in a year.

This year was the first full year since I started my job where I wasn’t working 12 hour night shifts, meaning I wasn’t spending long periods of time trying to recover lost sleep. Additionally, I got more vacation time this year and actually forced myself to take it instead of hoarding it for the future times which is a bad habit of mine.

I also, weirdly, didn’t have my usual summer slow-down with reading and was pretty steady throughout the year. Not sure how this happened.

Finally, I really leaned into reading romance books and browsed the currently available audiobooks from my library frequently. This provided a numbers boost, however I really learned that most romances don’t really hit the mark for me. I like that they are easy to get through but most of them have something or other that prevents me from really enjoying the book. In 2021 I want to move away from reading and pushing through romance books for the sake of reading. It’s not fair to me or the authors of those books when I almost inevitably give them 2 or 3 stars.

In 2021 I am aiming for 75, like I did in 2020. Currently I’m on track to hit the goal, but it’s early days and I typically have at least one or two months in the year where my reading tanks.

How did you do in 2020 and what is your outlook for 2021?

** I have a Master’s in Microbiology and Immunology as so knew what was happening and what the ramifications would be, especially the impact on life for society, long before most people and was resigned to a minimum 2 year change of everything from early in March.

Books I DNF’ed in 2020

Sometimes you just have to put a book down with the intention to never pick it back up. Here are the books that, unfortunately, ended up in that pile in 2020.

Let’s start with an easy one. My copy of this book had an issue and there was a whole section of the middle missing. By the time I hit that point I was skimming most of the book anyway. Yes, the beginning books are not the nest place to start, yet that’s kinda the way I like to do it. Maybe one day in the far, faaaaar distant future I will try again. For now, DNF.

The second and third books were DNF’ed for similar reasons: they were both way too repetitive. Both books are important in their own way, however I felt I understood the message of the book without needing to read it in its entirety.

These three books I knew exactly where they were going to go. In 2 of the books I didn’t care to see how they got there. In one of the books it was too immature for what they were trying to tell be happened and I couldn’t read the book.

This one was just plain boring. I feel bad saying it, but it’s true.

Do you mark your DNF’s as read and count them towards your reading goals?

Do you DNF books and what was your most recent DNF?

Favourites of 2020

As always my favourites don’t count re-reads, only newly read in 2020 books. My favourites this year prove I don’t dislike small books, I just haven’t been reading the right ones. You will see a trend in my favourites that it took me a while to catch onto and will be something I focus on in 2021.

The Murderbot Dairies by Martha Wells I read all of these books. Twice. And have been craving another re-read.

Meat Market by Juno Dawson This book first caught my eye in the airport in the summer of 2019 and I could not stop thinking about it. That along with Becca at Toastie Books mentioning that this was their favourite of all time had me keen to pick it up and it did not disappoint.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff This book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on in 2019 and then I promptly didn’t read it.  However, in the end it was a new favourite. 

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy This was brought to my attention by BookTuber Murphy Napier and I decided to splurge on it at the book store before things were a mess.  Worth It!

The Disasters B by MK England I just can’t really get enough of the ragtag group of people trying to fix a mess. 

Changing Faces by Cole McCade Another BookTuber Riley Marie brought this series to my attention and of the first few that I have read, this one is my favourite – a surprise likely for those that know of the series because it’s the next one that most love. 

What were your favourites of the year?

Do you hate the new post drafter as much as I do?

Book’s I’ve read because of Booktube #6

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green     2 Stars

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan     4 Stars

235597Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne     3 Stars

Soppy by Philippa Rice     3.5 Stars

Saga (Vol 1-7) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples     4 Stars

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi     5 Stars

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson     4.5 Stars

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente     2 Stars

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid     4 Stars

The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend     5 Stars



Reading Romance

This post is not trashing romance.  I love romance books and have been reading them for years.  In that time I have read dozens of romance books and while I typically have a great time reading this type of book and rate them highly after reading, there has always been something holding me back from being blown away.  As such, I have yet to find the perfect one for my tastes.  Of the dozens of romance books I have read, I could not tell you which is my favourite. 


In a recent reading update I made this comment on Goodreads which sums up how all romance books seem to go for me: Honestly, I was just thinking I always like the first half of Christina Lauren’s books but something gets thrown in the second half that reduces my enjoyment and I was hoping that this book would brake that pattern for me when something was thrown in that is ruining my enjoyment. Yay consistency?”  

I continue to read romance because I like them, but also because I’m still chasing that perfect romance read.  And since I haven’t found that perfect read yet, I can’t tell you what I’m looking for in order to conscript people into trying to help me find it.

I want to do a series on this blog, Ranking Romance, to try and determine which of the romance books I have read is my favourite, or at least narrow it down to a top 5.  Perhaps some trends will emerge to point me towards my perfect romance read.

Have you found your perfect romance read?

Most Recent 5 Star Read

45047384._sy475_-1 Goodreads review: “Perfection.”

You’d think with a little bit of distance from this book there would be more to say, however, after thinking of this new series for my blog and then staring at the cover to the left for several minutes attempting to start this post, I had nothing.  Thus looking to Goodreads to get inspiration (and not getting any but also getting enough to write this paragraph…).

This book hit just right.  There was a main character dealing with a lot of the same anxieties that I am dealing with.  It’s a contemporary setting with magic, making it easy to get into and become invested in the story.  There’s humour which landed perfectly for me, as much humour does not.  There are several good and timely messages to be found within the pages. All the characters that surround the main character are unique and ones I wanted to learn more about.  All the parts of this story just worked for me, and therefore it was no surprise that it was a 5 star read.

This book centers on Linus, a grunt worker for the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth.  He’s the perfect employee who follows all the rules as he inspects orphanages where magical youth are sent to live to ensure they are also following the rules.  Linus is comfortable in this mundane life.  Then Extremely Upper Management sends him on an assignment to a secret island to inspect a special project orphanage run by the mysterious Arthur and home to several unique children.  One of which is the Antichrist.

Was the story the most unique or most surprising?  No.

Will it be for everyone?  No.

Have I already forgotten bits an pieces?  Yes.

Will I be reading this again?  Absolutely!

Written by T.J. Klune

Publisher: Tor Books

Published: 2020

Pages: 398 (hardcover)

Goodreads rating as of Aug-2020: 4.55