The year was 2022 and things were pretty much back to normal. I say pretty much because there were still plenty of people in my local area wearing masks and I still hadn’t completely gone back to normal. For one thing, I’ve still been avoiding the cinema because it feels like a lot. However, I was socialising more and seeing people again. This meant there was a slight decline in the number of books I read but that’s understandable. Plus, it’s probably a good thing in its own way. On the negative side, there were been a few personal things to deal with but we’ve been luckier than a lot of people. Considering the state of the UK and the world in general, we can’t really complain too much. Let’s hope 2023 sees further improvements all around. Although, now I’ve said that some awful global event is bound to crop up again.
So, 2021 didn’t exactly see life go back to normal but I am, at least, out of the house again. It feels good to not be shielding as much but, with cases rising, I suspect I’m going to have to start being careful again. Ah well, it just gives me more time to read. Last year I was so close to reading 100 books that I was secretly hoping to pass that this year. However, I didn’t want to put the pressure on and only set a target of 60. I knew that would be possible but would motivate me to keep reading. Did I manage to smash my target or did everything fall apart?
2020 really hasn’t been the year that any of us suspected it would be. Do you remember back in January when we all had hope for the future? Little did we know that the future would entail being shut inside. Of course, as awful as the last 12 months have been, there were some upsides to the constant lockdowns and shielding. In 2019, I set myself a fairly modest reading target of 50. I assumed that I would beat it but not by much. In 2019, I beat my target of 50 by 9. I had no reason to believe that I would do much better but I was secretly aiming to get through 2 books a week. Still, I decided to give myself a realistic target and not feel like I was pushing myself too far. So, the question was, did I manage to keep the momentum going this year and smash my goal?
As it’s the first day of a new year and a new decade, it seems like the perfect time for some self-reflection. Yesterday, I posted my lists of top films, books, and audiobooks for 2019. I normally manage to get through a lot of films each year so 2019 was nothing new. In terms of reading, I’ve really outdone myself. 2018 was the year that I set my first reading challenge. I put it at a fairly meagre 30 books but it was something that I only just managed to pass before December 31st. This year, to be on the safe side, I put it at 30 again. As you’ll know if you’ve read any of my recent bookish posts, I surpassed the 30 mark with a quarter of the year still to go. So, I upped it to 50 and managed to finish 58 books in total. I know compared to many people in the bookish community that this isn’t a great achievement. It is for me. Last year I struggled so much with reading slumps and not wanting to open up the book I was reading. In the last few years, I’ve spent months trying to get through single books. This year, I was normally reading about one a week. It begged the question: what had changed? Well, I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I think I know.
What were your favourite audiobooks in 2019?
I’ve never been a huge fan of audiobooks if I’m being honest. I’m too easily distracted by what’s around me. Like a baby or a puppy. If anything were to happen near me or if I spotted anything, I was doomed. And don’t get me started on listening to them in bed. Anyone who can stay awake when they listen to Audible needs to tell me their secret. If I tried to listen to an audiobook, I’d just be forever skipping back to the start of the chapter. But towards the end of this year, I started listening to one audiobook every weekend. Not only was it a really lovely way to relax when I had nothing planned but it got my reading numbers up even further. By the end of 2019, I’d got through 10 audiobooks. So, without them, I’d not have got to my reading total. When it came to listing them, I wanted to do a top 5 but, in the end, couldn’t decide between a few. So, I went with a top 6. I know what you’re thinking, why not just put all 10 in order? Laziness. I’ve already written two top 10 lists already tonight. I didn’t fancy another. So, here we go.
What were your favourite reads in 2019?
2019 has been my best year for reading so far. I had originally set my target as 30 but managed to smash that a while ago. I then upped it to 50. I hadn’t thought that I’d done very well in December but, upon looking back, it turns out I got through 6 books. Much better than I’d expected and something that means that I finished the year with 58/50. I know compared to many people this isn’t a lot but, for me, this is a massive achievement. Something that I want to discuss later. I know that the number of books isn’t a very good metric to use to measure success though. I’ve never been a fan for competitive reading and sometimes it feels as though Bookstagram is basically a way for some people to brag about it. Though, as in all walks of life, it’s all about the quality rather than the quantity. In 2018 I had four 5* books and four 4.5* ones. This year, I’ve not had as many of those top books but I’ve had far fewer lower scores. This year there has been an abundance of 4 and 3.5* reviews. This means it was really difficult deciding which books would make my top 10. In the end, I went for enjoyment over the writing style. Although, most of the times these two went hand-in-hand. So, without further ado, here are my top 10 books of 2019.
What were your favourite films in 2019?
Looking back on my favourite films of 2018 has been tough. I definitely think I was a little generous with some of them. I mean, what was I doing putting Solo in my top 10? When I remember that now, I only remember bad things about it. I might have to rewatch it to make a final judgment. But I certainly think my ratings have been harsher this year. Last year I gave out 5* reviews as if it was an end of season sale. This year, I still don’t think I’ve quite cracked it but I think I’m getting there. Though I did end up with an awful lot of 4* films. 9 in total. I should have written a separate list of those films. And they were all films that I did really enjoy but, I guess, it wasn’t quite as much as these 10. But that’s the joy of criticism. It’s a personal preference that you offer to the world. I’m never one to suggest that my analysis of a film is the only way to look at it. I just like writing it down. Maybe some of you will get something from that but probably not. It won’t stop me doing it. Anyway, I’m starting to babble, so I’d better get on with it. Here are my top 10 films of 2019.
What were your favourite reads in 2018?
You may have noticed that I didn’t post a Sunday Rundown yesterday. That was mostly because, after a bad night’s sleep, I fell asleep before writing it. But it was also a tactical choice. After all, it’s that time of year when I need to start posting my Top 10 lists of the year. So, instead of wasting your time with a rundown of the week, I’m going to waste your time with a rundown of the year. Yep, what a 12 months it’s been. I’ve turned 30… not sure I mentioned it. I’ve also managed to read 34 books. It’s not the greatest number, I know, but it’s quite good for me. It’s been a mixed bag of books but there have been some absolutely fantastic novels that I’m so happy I read. So take a look at my list below and please comment with your favourite books too.
What were your favourite films in 2018?
You may have noticed that I didn’t post a Sunday Rundown yesterday. That was mostly because, after a bad night’s sleep, I fell asleep before writing it. But it was also a tactical choice. After all, it’s that time of year when I need to start posting my Top 10 lists of the year. So, instead of wasting your time with a rundown of the week, I’m going to waste your time with a rundown of the year. Yep, what a 12 months it’s been. I’ve turned 30… not sure I mentioned it. I’ve also managed to review 54 films. It’s not the greatest number, I know, but it at least goes some way towards explaining why I didn’t make it through more books. I’ve always loved films and it was film criticism that made me start blogging. So, I guess that’s always been my focus. And it’s something I way more passionate about than most of my friends. I tend to be a little hyperbolic about films whilst most of them are just happy to watch anything. It makes me seem kind of psychotic. So, here are the 10 films that changed my life this year. Feel free to comment with your own.