My 2018 reading

Happy New Year!  2018 didn't leave me with much to show for it (alhough Mia Wengen and I put together an awesome program for Kidlitcon 2019 in Providence RI this March, so do come!).  But I read 458 books, and enjoyed many of them.

I set my goal pretty high (it was 501 for 2018), not because I want another source of stress in my life but because I would really like a smaller tbr pile.  It's not working well.  Of my 458 books, 163 were neither review copies nor library books, but this didn't make a dent.  So for 2019 I've set my goal for 502, and I will meet it and I will start 2020 without the albatross of book guilt/chaos draped around my neck.  (My other resolution for 2019 is to start 2020 with a clean and tidy house and no ongoing renovation projects making life a burden....in the spirit of the day, I have already started working on this).

But I made some good book friends in 2018!

The highlight of my reading year was meeting Murderbot (a series of four novellas by Martha Wells).  Great is my love for Murderbot, fueled not just by my own enjoyment but by watching and listening to my 15 year read them.  (my review of the first, All Systems Red).  I had not read any Martha Wells before this, and will read more in 2019.

The close second highlight of my reading year was reading all the Penric and Desdemona books by Lois Macmaster Bujold; Penric is such a decent person and his relationship with Desdemona is fascinating.

As a result of these two series, I think I will look for more novellas in 2019;  there's lots to be said in books that can easily be read in (literally) a single sitting (a Murderbot takes me about an hour).

Weirdest book I liked--The Adventures of Madalene and Louisa, by L. Pasley.  If you like Victorian girl scientists, check it out!

Weirdest book that I didn't like-- Snowflake, by Paul Gallico (the biography of a snowflake, and her marriage to a raindrop, with lots of religion and little acknowledgement of the fact that rain etc. melt snow...)

Book I really enjoyed that surprised me most-- Not Even Bones, by Rebecca Schaeffer.  Who would have thought that a heroine with a penchant for dissecting corpses that is basically a thriller would have gripped me as much as it did?

Book I really enjoyed that didn't surprise me at all (once I realized I didn't have to worry about the author getting everything wrong) The Key to Flambards, by Linda Newbery.  I have reread K.M. Peyton's Flambards books multiple times, and loved the tv show back in the early 1980s, and it was lovely, just lovely, to visit modern day Flambards.

Books that I really enjoyed and didn't have to worry about enjoying them because of trusting the authors:

Beyond the Dreams We Know, by Rachel Neumeier
The Girl With the Dragon Heart, by Stephanie Burgis
The Lost Books: the Scroll of Kings, by Sarah Prineas
Bluecrowne, by Kate Milford

and also three (!) new books from a favorite author, Sarah Beth Durst -- The Stone Girl's Story, Fire and Heist, and The Queen of Sorrow

And finally, it was lots of fun to be part of the YA Speculative Fiction first round panel for the Cybils Awads this year!  Here are the books our panel selected.  My personal favorites were Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman, and Summer of Salt, by Katrina Leno.  (You too can be a Cybils judge!  Look for the call for panelists in mid August!)


  1. I adore Newbery's Flightsend, even if it only circulates once every couple of years. I may have to read Flambards as a treat for myself. I have every confidence in your ability to read 502 books- there's nothing quite as motivating as NOT making your goal. Just don't try to wake up any earlier in the morning to read! Have a fantastic 2019!

    1. thanks! I assume you've read the original Flambards books...and so will enjoy this one too!

  2. Happy New Year! So glad you found Murderbot! I have had the same feeling of wanting to check out more novellas having loved the Murderbot ones, too. Your post is inspiring me to go find the Penric ones, especially since I loved Curse of Chalion, etc. :-)

  3. Happy New Year, Charlotte! To me that is still a very impressive number of books read. I've been hovering just above 150 per year for the past few years, though I'm reading more books published for adults these days, so my page count is probably up. I do think you can read 502 this year. You sound determined. And KidLitCon will be over (and hugely successful) before you know it.

  4. Happy New Year!! Wishing you a fabulous 2019, all ready practicing writing/typing it out :) Wow, 502 sounds amazing and I've no doubt you'll achieve what you've set out to do. Also congrats on finishing up the KidLitCon schedule, have fun with it!

  5. Whoa, that's a lot of books. But your reading list is always impressive.

    I like the sound of those Penric books. When I'm in the mood for something short I might try one.

  6. I am curious about a few of Sarah Beth Durst's titles, but I suppose I will be starting with The Stone Girl's Story for my Cybils reading :) Hope you get to enjoy hundreds more great books in 2019 - Happy New Year!

  7. Happy New Year, Charlotte! Whenever people are impressed with me meeting my reading goal of 250 books, I think of you and Ms. Yingling...
    I was thinking of asking you which of the YA Spec Fic you'd most recommend for me to start with - but based on this post, I just put a hold on Summer of Salt, as I've already read Tess.


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