At the risk of sounding clichéd, this year taught me to live in the moment. Taking my time to savor a good book took priority over the rush to finish reading challenges and “prove” myself to be a voracious reader; anxiety over the potential of failing was replaced with satisfaction over adequately balancing university life and leisure time.
With the above pretty excuse for my actions aside, I now present to you—amongst other things—all the reading challenges I set myself this year that I failed miserably!
My official goal every year is set to 10 more books than whatever I targeted the previous year, which means 2022’s was 70 books. My unofficial, very secret goal was to read 100 books, because I ended up reading 94 last year and felt confident I could surpass that. I may have smashed through the first goal by 22 books, but my confidence in the second was unquestionably misplaced. (Maybe I should start adding webtoons to my challenges?)
The StoryGraph has a number of other challenges one can join and attempt to keep up with, like their Onboarding Reading Challenge and The StoryGraph Reads the World. I signed up for both of these… but completed neither.
There’s a “12 books recommended by 12 friends” template that makes its rounds on Twitter every year when December begins. I asked my friends and followers to help me fill mine out with their best reads, then promptly forgot about the challenge; if I read any of the books on that list, it was entirely accidental. But my failures don’t end here: I also set myself a very small TBR in my 2021 year in review blog post. Only five books, with expected publications in 2022, ones which I anticipated reading and thought would be right up my alley. I couldn’t even finish those five. I did read three of them (and I was mostly right, since I rated them all 3.5 stars or above), and I started a fourth, but I didn’t so much as touch the non-fiction I had added “to diversify my reading even further, if possible.” It was not possible.
Most Read Genres
Finally, a year where my most-read genre isn’t fantasy! It was a close call, though: classics won only by a few books, and the credit for that win goes to my studies.
Moods and Pace
Statistics tell me that this year had me gravitating towards books which are categorized as adventurous, reflective, and/or emotional; medium-paced in nature; and under 300 pages in length. The longest book I read this year is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, coming in at a whopping 1,006 pages; the shortest was a collection of poetry by Jayant Kashyap titled Water.
Last year it was 4.01. This year it dropped to 3.89. Honestly not bad overall, although I did read far more average and below-average books than I expected.
Top Books Read This Year
Excluding manga, I only read seven five-star novels this year, so I put them all on a thread on Twitter! I did, however, reread a couple particularly good books which deserve their own special mention. Those are:
- Dark Apprentice by Val Neil: I read this for the first time in February, and ended up rereading it come August. Adult fantasy with an edge of humor that I couldn’t help but love.
- The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang: I read this book in 2020. Then another time in 2021. Twice more in 2022. No book is perfect—and this one’s no exception—but The Sword of Kaigen’s always, always fun to reread.
Top 5 Blog Posts Published This Year
I did not blog much. Still, I did post enough to be able to create a top 5, so here’s the final list:
- Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li — Don’t Read It, Watch It
- Babel, or The Necessity of a Clear Vision: A Review
- Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda: A New Literary Novel With Bite
- Socialites, Secrets, and Scandals in Singapore: THE FRAUD SQUAD by Kyla Zhao
- The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake: Knowledge is an Afterthought [Review]
Most Read Authors of 2022
In a turn of events that comes as a shock to nobody ever, my most-read author is (still) Shakespeare, (still) thanks to the module dedicated to him in my degree. He did tie with Tatsuya Endo, though, because Spy x Family is an incredible manga and everyone should read it.
Most Anticipated 2023 Releases
My track record with challenges is making me hesitate, but I still insist on listing at least a few as-yet-unpublished books that caught my eye, ones which look promising:
- A Spell of Good Things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
- The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
- A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher
- Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling
- The Deep Sky by Yumei Kitasei
- Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor
I’ll wrap up here. I may have botched a number of my goals this year, but I did find several excellent books which I will be recommending to everyone given a single chance. Outside of reading, I studied hard, wasted time on YouTube and Twitch harder, and generally found myself in enough good moments with family and friends to balance out any bad ones.
Here’s to hoping 2023 brings with it plenty of happiness, love, and success for all!
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