Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018: A Year in Review

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Another reading and blogging year has come and gone and it's time to look back at the highlights and see what kind of year 2018 was here at My Reader's Block. 

Challenges still remain one of my biggest passions (after reading, which comes after collecting, of course) and despite vows that I will sign up for less I still manage to rack them up like they're going out of style. Over the course of the year, I signed up for 34 challenges and completed all but two of them. The Strictly Print and Birth Year Challenges both eluded my grasp.  I started with my very own Vintage Mystery Challenge and was busy signing up right till the end--joining Michelle's Christmas Spirit Challenge in November to carry me through to the New Year. 

Of course there was also a bit of hosting going on here at the Block, too. The Vintage Mystery Challenge and Mount TBR are still hugely popular. This year's Vintage Mystery Challenge was called Just the Facts, Ma'am and found my fellow mystery lovers and me reading like mad to check off boxes in our detective notebooks. We had to answer the famous Who, What, Where, When, Why and How questions that lead to a successful solution. The Color Coded and Read It Again, Sam Challenges also remain popular with their smaller circle of devoted fans. For the past two years, I also tried my hand at a non-publication-date-centered mystery challenge called Follow the Clues. That one didn't turn out quite as I hoped, so I'm shelving it for the moment. I've traded it in for the brand-new Calendar of Crime which debuts here in 2019. Not content with all those challenges, I also took on the Monthly Key Word Challenge as it seemed that the blog host had disappeared from the interwebs. But the overwhelming favorite remains the Mount TBR Challenge with participants in the blogging world as well as on GoodReads. Thanks to everyone who joined me in my own personal brand of challenge-madness!  

It seems to be a recurring theme...but I continue to regret my loss of blog-browsing time. Someone stole a few of my hours somewhere--or I'm just slowing down as I get older [did I really say that?]--and I apologize to all my friends out here in the blogging world.  I'm still peeking in on most of you--but it's more of a fly-by, I'm afraid, with very little commenting.  I did manage to get through nearly all of the reviews--especially for the Vintage Mystery Challenge, the challenge that is nearest and dearest to my heart. I want to send a shout-out to the bloggers who make this such a great place to visit and chat and read: Sergio at the Fedora, John at Pretty Sinister Books, Yvette at In So Many Words, Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, Curtis at The Passing Tramp, Steve at In Search of the Classic Mystery, and Cheryl and Gina and all the others that I'm having an almost-senior moment and forgetting. You all continually feed my reading and/or challenge addictions and help my never-ending TBR pile to grow. 

Speaking of terrific bloggers...2018 also brought a great time of sadness when we found out that Noah Stewart, one of the most knowledgeable and generous members of the Golden Age Detection blogging community had passed out of this world. I, and many of Noah's other online friends, posted tributes to express our deep sadness and great affection for Noah. Every time I post a new GAD book review, I have to pause and remind myself that I won't hear from Noah on this one. Or the one after. I will continue to miss hearing his thoughts on the books I read and his memories of editions that had passed through his hands over the years. Please feel free to visit my tribute HERE.

Thank you once more to all of the wonderful people out here in the blogosphere--those who follow and just take a peek now and then, those who comment, and those who have become close blogging buddies--especially those of you who share my love of vintage mysteries; I have appreciated your knowledge and insights on my favorite genre. I also appreciate the Golden Age of Detection group on Facebook. It has been wonderful getting to know new folks there as well as getting to know of my blogging friends a little better.  Thanks as well to all who continue to sponsor the many challenges which helped feed my reading/challenge habit--they were all great fun!  I hope you all have a fabulous New Year!   

And my year-end stat totals:

Total Books Read: 128 

New (to me) Books Added to the TBR (either bought or gifted): 328 [How On Earth Did That Happen? No, seriously--we made fewer trips to my favorite used bookstore; I was unable to find a single book that I wanted to bring home with me from either the Spring or Fall Friends of Library Clearance Sales; and we made fewer trips to Half-Price books in Avon...and I still manged to wind up with just three fewer new-to-me books in 2018 than I did in 2017????] 
Total Pages Read: 31,512
Percentage by Female Authors: 47%
Percentage by US Authors: 48%
Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors: 9%

1 Canadian

2 Dutch
2 French
1 Greek
1 Irish
1 New Zealand (12 books)
2 Scottish
1 Swedish

Percentage Mystery: 78%
Percentage Fiction: 93%
Percentage written 2000+: 17%
Percentage of Rereads: 17%
Percentage Read for Challenges: 100%
Number of Challenges fulfilled: 32 (94%)

The Best Reads of 2018 (no rereads allowed)

Five Stars: 

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards 
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay
9/11: A Survivor's Story by Artie Van Why

Four & 1/2 Stars: 

Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville

Four Stars:
 Too Many to List--42 over all

And, finally, even though I did not dish out P.O.M. Awards throughout the year--a glance over my reviews and the ratings I've given tells me that the overall P.O.M. Award Winner for best mystery of 2018 [excluding rereads] goes to Alan Melville for Weekend at Thrackley. This is a book that I promoted for Kate's ROY (Reprint of the Year Award) and which I greatly enjoyed [see link above for full review]. As I mentioned then: "I know I have a delightful book in hand when I am jotting down quotes right and left. I had to stop jotting--I would have been copying nearly 80% of the book. And I certainly could load this write up with many more than what I have sprinkled about. I am submitting Weekend at Thrackley for Reprint of the Year based, in large part, upon its sheer readability, Melville's way with characters & dialogue, and the fact that it was just plan good fun."


Cleo @ Classical Carousel said...

Wow, you read an incredible number of books! Congratulations! The Vintage Mystery challenge sounds so tempting! Have a great reading year for 2019!

reese said...

You added 328 books to your TBR pile! You're just saying that to make me feel better...a mere 104...

Thanks for all the hosting and this delightful post and happy new year to you!

Bev Hankins said...

Reese--I wish that were true. But the numbers don't lie. I somehow (without benefit of some of my usual avenues of book collecting) managed to add over 300 books to the stacks.....