Since publishing my list of favorite books read in 2019, nearly everywhere I go, people make comments about three things: the amount of books I finished last year, the quality of my selections, and how much they want me to write more. “Amelia”, my friends say, “tell me what I should be reading.”
Well, friends, here I am… but I’m not going to tell you what to read. Instead, I’m going to tell you what I’m reading and you can do with it as you chose.
Here’s what I’m thinking: Once or twice a month, I’ll do a book-related post. I’ll list the books I’ve finished, mention what I’ve covered for book clubs that month, and share some casual reviews. I’ll end the reviews with a recommended audience–that way, you can see if it’s something you’d like. I’ll also include links to all the titles’ Goodreads pages so you can track things down on your own.
Sound like a plan?
Hello, long-neglected blog. I may not have been writing this year, but I’ve been reading and it’s time to look back and pick my favorites.
First, here are some big-picture statistics about my reading this year:
- Total books finished: 140
- Total number of rereads: 24
- First time reads: 116
- Total pages read: 42,329
- Average rating: 3.79 stars
- Most active month: June with 18 books and 5,291 pages
- Least active month: November with 7 books and 2,729 pages
For a complete list of titles, ratings, and formats, download my Excel spreadsheet by following this link. Or you can check out my 2019 shelf on Goodreads.
A few words about my reading habits… I’m an eccentric reader. Driven by mood, I pick up whatever book catches my fancy and usually read 6-10 at once. I have designated books for designated times or places, which helps me cover a wide variety of genres and titles without confusing them. There’s always a book for reading after breakfast before I finish my coffee. I always have an e-book on my Kindle that I’m only allowed to read at the gym. (Motivation for exercise that actually works!!). I usually have an audiobook I play while driving and washing dishes. Then, there’s book clubs. I lead two and am a member of two more. My friends poke fun at me for being over-committed in this arena. (They’re not wrong.)
On to the books! Many of the titles I’m about to talk about are worthy of critical acclaim, but they’re on this list for one main reason: I liked them. These are the books that moved me this year. They are the ones I’m still thinking about. This isn’t necessarily a list of recommendations. Maybe you’ll like these titles. Maybe you won’t. My tastes might not match yours and that’s okay.
You probably thought, after last year’s intense reading challenge, I was done with monthly reading recap posts. I did too. It turns out, though, I read a lot of really good books this month and want to talk about them. I don’t know if I’ll do a recap every month. It depends on my schedule and how much I want to talk about things.
I won’t bore you with statistics (those will come at year’s end–I’m keeping a spreadsheet), but I did finish ten books this month. This adds up to 2,857 pages.
Every morning, right after breakfast, I spend 15-20 minutes with some kind of faith-based nonfiction. This month, I flew through three books. Right away, I finished The Sacred Enneagram by Chrisopher Heuertz. I’ve heard Heuertz on the Sleeping at Last podcast and heard good things about the book. While I didn’t think it was that well written (portions were redundant and there were too many Wizard of Oz references), I walked away from the book thinking a lot about contemplative prayer (which I have now adopted into my regular spiritual routine). I then breezed through The Eternal Current by Aaron Niequiest, which offered an accessible introduction to sacred practices. Contemplative prayer came up again, which was super interesting. Finally, I read my fourth Richard Rohr book, The Naked Now. This one was on Christian mysticism, breaking down dualistic thinking, and practical ways to develop contemplative practice. I found it intriguing how each book flowed seamlessly into the next, the themes building upon each other.
November has come and gone and, with it, it’s time for another recap. It’s weird to think this is my second-to-last one before my year-long index is complete.
I have been another painfully slow reading month. I’m making it through less than half the books per month as the beginning of the year. I’m definitely frustrated with myself, but life has been so busy and when I sit town to read, it has been so hard to focus.
Still, this month’s list has a lot of high ratings. I may not have finished many books, but I loved almost everything. I got to revisit one of my all-time favorites in Pride and Prejudice, delighted in the epic finale of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, and enjoyed some quality poetry by Lin Manuel Miranda.
- Number of books read: 5
- Number of pages read: 2,120
- Number of audiobooks listened to: 1
- Number of rereads: 1
- Longest book: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
- Shortest book: G’Morning, G’Night by Lin Manuel Miranda
- Highest rating: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Lowest rating: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurine Goo
Oh, man, I struggled to get through books this month. It took ages to get through a single title. Life has been absolutely crazy and it’s impacting my reading life. A new job, new semester of grad school, and variety of other factors and responsibilities leave me exhausted at the end of the day. I’ll read a few pages, then put the book down in favor of my Facebook feed.
My first foray into the work of Agatha Christie slowed everything down. The Murder at the Vicarage sucked up over a week of my life, keeping me from the books I actually wanted to be reading, which was very frustrating.
Looking at this month’s list, I notice an equal blend between YA, adult fiction, and faith-based nonfiction. Thinking about this month’s list, the books that really stand out are the nonfiction. This surprises me, as my go-to brain candy is usually fluffy YA. But there’s so many avenues of personal research I want to pursue right now. Sadly, grad school gets in the way of most of that reading.
- Number of books read: 6
- Number of pages read: 2,148
- Number of audiobooks listened to: 2
- Number of rereads: 1
- Longest book: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
- Shortest book: The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns
- Highest rating: The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns (4.5 stars)
- Lowest rating: Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (2 stars)
July has passed us by and it’s time for another reading recap! This month, I wrapped up my summer grad school classes and dove into several of the titles that have been burning on my to-read list for months. Overall, it was a really solid month of books! I thoroughly enjoyed almost everything I read.
During June, I made a physical pile of books in my room I wanted to cover this summer. I’d stare at them longingly before I went to sleep each night, waiting for classes to be done so I could read them. When the time came, I was surprised that the first title I grabbed from the pile was The Great Gatsby. It ended up being the perfect palate-cleanser as I transitioned into summer break. The next title I picked up was Tomi Adeyemi’s debut, Children of Blood and Bone, one of my most highly-anticipated books of the year. For my morning Christian nonfiction, I had the delight of reading Rachel Held Evans’ new book on the Bible.
After such a solid month of reading, I’ve been waffling a bit on what I should pick up next. I’ve started three books in the past week and none have hooked me. What books have you read recently? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
When a dear friend tells you they’ve encased their soul in paper, it is best to tread carefully. Poetry is an intimate form of literature. To translate your inner trials, triumphs, and longings into language and is a brave thing to do. I deeply admire McKenna Hight’s courage in sharing her debut poetry collection, Sublimity, with the world. It’s an act of hospitality I’m honored to receive.
Before proceeding, I’d like to say a few things about my relationship with the author. Sometimes in life, you meet people and find instant kinship. You may only be around each other for a few days, but that’s enough to form what will likely be a lifelong friendship. McKenna, I think, is one of those people. We met four months ago during my brief Spring Break stay at Rochester L’Abri. She’s a writer from Atlanta and we bonded instantly over our mutual love for YA fantasy and Sarah J. Maas. During our short time together, we had some really intense discussions about faith, struggles, and how we are to live. Meeting McKenna was no accident and I value her friendship immensely.
As a blogger, bookstagrammer, librarian, and amateur book critic, it made complete sense to do a review of Sublimity. I use the word “review” lightly. This post is pretty long, as I get into some close reading, but that’s part of the fun. While it’s definitely possible to critique a work of poetry by its structure and adherence to literary form, poetry is hard to pin down. So much of a poetic work is subjective. Poetry is a conversation. It’s about immersing yourself in the figurative language and gleaning whatever you can. I don’t pretend to understand all of Hight’s poems. I don’t think understanding is the point. There is no concrete meaning to poetry and there is space for a thousand interpretations. Poetry is about the journey, so let’s journey together.
If you’re interested in picking up your own copy of Sublimity, you can do so at this link. Follow the author on Instagram @yawnsters.
Yay, another reading recap!
My main goal this month was to get through all the required books in the syllabus for my Young Adult lit class before term starts. I’m happy to say that I succeeded with three days to spare! Required novels dominated my pleasure reading this month. Eight of the following books were for class. There were some really great titles and I’m really looking forward to discussing Maus, Brown Girl Dreaming, and the book on the Romanovs with my classmates.
As for the books I picked up purely for fun… I was unimpressed with the newest Court of Thorns and Roses installment, but enjoyed being back in that world. Naturally, rereading Cinder for my class launched another reread of the entire Lunar Chronicles series, which has been delightful. For my morning cup-of-tea Christian nonfiction, both titles I finished this month were excellent.
- Number of books read: 11
- Number of pages read: 2,949
- Number of audiobooks listened to: 2
- Number of rereads: 2
- Longest book: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
- Shortest book: Maus by Art Spiegleman
- Highest ratings:
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer (4.75 stars)
- Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren (4.5 stars)
- Lowest rating: Black Butler Vol. 1 by Yana Toboso, translated by Tomo Kimura
Another month has come and gone, and I’ve been busy reading! Because, really, what else do I have to do with my time? Actually, I’m quite thrilled because my massive pile of library books that I’ve been chipping away at since January is now reduced to ZERO! Which is a good feeling!
I was on a roll early in the month, but slowed down near the end due to being out of town. This month features a ridiculous amount of YA (what else is new?), some new releases, some rereads, some hyped books, and some that had me less than thrilled.
My thoughts on the following books are all spoiler-free. If you want to talk about any of the titles, feel free to leave a comment!
It’s time for another reading recap! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted.
February was an underwhelming reading month for me. I read a lot of books I enjoyed, but only a few that fully sucked me in and captured my imagination. My highest rating was a reread and the majority of my ratings were in the 3-4 range. The whole month, I felt overwhelmed by a massive pile of library holds that I felt obligated to read right away. I did read a few books that I own that have been sitting on my shelf for a long time, so that felt good.
Time to plunge into the books! My thoughts are all spoiler-free. If you want to talk about any of the titles, feel free do drop by the comments!