My 2020 reading year

My takeaways

  • I read more books last year–120 books–than I’ve read in a number of years.
  • I read 60 ebooks of which 30 were Kindle Unlimited (KU) books. I try to read at least two KU books every month.
  • I listened to 52 audiobooks this year–a big increase from 2019. Most of them were from the library.
  • A little over 50% of the books I read were mysteries.
  • About a third of the books were fantasy and science fiction.
  • My favorite genres continue to be mysteries, science fiction and fantasy (though I did read seven romance books).
  • 2020 was such a stressful year I hibernated (self-quarantined) and read. Most of the books I read were read to escape what was happening in the real world.
  • I didn’t write any reviews for my blog though I did write a few short reviews on Goodreads.
  • I didn’t participate in any reading challenges.

The three things that stood out to me in 2020

My library

My library was a huge comfort to me. Almost half the books I read in 2020 (55 books) came from my library–almost all of them either ebooks or audiobooks.

The Libby app

I use the Libby app which I love. I can search on my phone by author, subject or name of book to see if my library has electronic copies. I can use tags to put a book on my wish list so I remember to check it out when I have time to read it. (Sometimes I have six or seven books checked out to read at the same time and I don’t have time to read all the books if I only have three weeks.) I can check out a book or place a hold right in the app. I can listen to the audiobook using the app. I can even read the ebook in the app though I usually use my Kindle to read ebooks. Only five of the books I read in 2020 were paper books. Those five books all came from my library.

Library closed

My library was closed most of the year for in-person use although I’ve been able to check out books and a librarian brings the books to our car and places them in the trunk. I mostly did that with cookbooks and other nonfiction which I don’t usually read in Kindle versions. A lot of the nonfiction I skim and read just the sections that interest me so I don’t add them to the books I read.

I checked out fiction books a few times, but often returned them unread when I discovered the library had gotten the digital copy of the book. My library focused on adding more digital items to their library in 2020.

New authors

I read 39 books by new-to-me authors. I usually read about a third of my books by new authors. And that was true again this year. I read most of my new authors either as books from the library or Kindle Unlimited books. The rest of the books I purchased for under $5.00. Especially when an author is new to me I don’t buy books which cost over about $3. (Actually, I don’t buy many books over $5.00 even from authors I love.) I try to wait until their books go on sale.

Books I didn’t finish

The last group of books I want to talk about are the books I didn’t finish this year. There were 16 of those books. I read at least 15% of all the books I designate as “not finished.” I usually decide within the first chapter or two whether I want to read a book or not, but I didn’t add the book to my DNF group if I hadn’t read at least 15%. However, I read over 50% of a few of them before I decided to stop.

  • This year I was much more sensitive to the tone of the book–too sad or too depressing and I bailed.
  • A number of books that other times I might have enjoyed just didn’t hold my interest.
  • A few books that I thought would be calming were just too predictable or silly.
  • One thing didn’t change: I will stop reading a book if it’s too violent for me.
  • One book I was enjoying totally changed at about 50% and I suddenly felt like I was reading a different book.

The numbers

2019

Reading Challenge -95

Books Read-90

Ebooks — 60

Audiobooks — 27

Hardcover & Paperback — 3

Library — 28 (audio-15; ebooks-10; hardcover-3)

Kindle Unlimited — 9*

New Authors — 34

Did Not Finish — 1

*I only started KU towards end of the year

2020

Reading Challenge-90

Books Read-120

Ebooks — 62

Audiobooks — 53

Hardcover & Paperback — 5

Library — 55 (audio-40; ebooks-10; hardcover-5)

Kindle Unlimited — 30

New Authors — 39

Did Not Finish — 16

What about you? How was your 2020 reading year?

Library Love Challenge 2019

The Library Love Challenge hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasures.

I’m happy to find this reading challenge! I’ve loved libraries and checked out books from them since I was a child. I read 20 library books last year so I’m hoping to read more this year. Having a challenge should help me push for more library books!

My Reading Goals:

  • Read at least 24 library books (Thrifty Reader level)
  • Write reviews for the books
  • Try to remember to link them to the Linky/Rafflecopter on Angel’s Guilty Pleasures blog at the  2019 Library Love Challenge Review Link-up.
  • Remember to use #LibraryLoveChallenge when sharing reviews, library pictures, etc…

Have you signed up for any reading challenges this year?

 

What I love about libraries

tell me something tuesdayTell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings where a range of topics from books to blogging are discussed. The subject this week is to talk about what we love about our library. I’ve changed the topic a little because I love all libraries. They’re some of my favorite places in the world!

My childhood library

Libraries have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother taking me to the library. When I was a child our town didn’t have any bookstores so the library was where I found books to read. By the time I was 11 or 12 I was reading the books in the adult section of the library. I remember lots of Saturday mornings spent in the adult section slowly browsing the shelves finding authors like Agatha Christie, Dick Francis and Robert Heinlein.

deschutes county library from 1939 to 1998
My childhood library in Bend, Oregon–built in 1939 and the main library until 1998. Today it’s used for administration. It’s one of the few remaining examples of Oregon Rustic or National Park Style.

My life-long love of libraries

As an adult I’ve moved a lot, but one of the first things I always do in a new place is get a library card. However, even before I get a library card I visit the local library and see what information it has to offer about the local area so I know more about my new town and what activities are going on.

When my kids were little I would take them to the library and we’d find books for them to check out. Then I would sit them down with their books in the aisle I was looking in and spend five minutes looking for a couple of books for myself!

Current library

My current library has a beautiful main library downtown and a number of branches. I go to my branch library about once a week. Since the internet came along I don’t browse the library shelves as much as I used to. I use the computer catalog at the library website at home and search for books I’m interested in reading. If the library doesn’t have a digital copy (ebook or audiobook) I sometimes get a physical copy though my preference these days is for an ebook or an audiobook. I can reserve both physical books or digital books using the library website. If the digital copy isn’t already checked out I can immediately download it. (I love that feature!) And I don’t have to worry about overdue fines with digital books since they disappear when they’re due. (I love that feature, too!)

Research

Finding information on the internet is great, but if I’m researching a subject like gardening or genealogy I like to find a book or two about it. That’s where the library is really great. I can do my catalog search at home and can reserve the book if it’s checked out or my library branch doesn’t have it. If my branch has the book I can find it on the shelf and check it out.

Research databases

My library also has research databases on its website. There’s an online Consumer Reports database that’s free for library patrons to search. There’s the library edition of MyHeritage where I can do family history research without having to join MyHeritage and pay a fee. They have lots of other research databases, too.

Interlibrary loan

And if none of the branches have a particular book I’m interested in I can ask my library to use interlibrary loan to try to get the book from another library. That’s really great if I’m researching something and my library doesn’t have the specific book I need.

Mostly though I just like to know I have a library to go to. I can find a book to read, look at the magazines and maybe check one out and I can look at the new books to see if there’s something that looks interesting. I especially love that the library has ebooks and audiobooks. They don’t have everything I search for, but they do have enough that I can usually find something that’s on my list of books to read.

What about you? Do you go to your library and check out books? What do you like about your library?

I love blogging and reading…

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week.

when-i-open-a-book-quote

This week I talk about my love for both blogging and reading.

Blogging

…new books and authors found since I became a blogger.

…wonderful blogs and the people who write them.

…a creative outlet–writing blog posts, figuring out technology, talking about books.

…sharing a good book with someone I’ve never met, but who loves reading the same kinds of books I do.

Reading

…a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother read to me, took me to the library, talked to me about books.

…Mom and I shared so many books back and forth through the years. So many great memories.

…We didn’t have bookstores in the small town I grew up in, but we had a wonderful library and I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons browsing the bookshelves.

…Books transport me to new places in this world and out of it.

…With a book and a blog I’m never alone.

…My husband and children share a love of reading and talking about books.

 

Review: The Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

Jim C. Hines is an author I haven’t read before and so it’s part of my New Authors Challenge which is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Check out their blog and also the challenge. I’m really enjoying all the new authors I’m reading this year!

BTW, I challenged myself to read 25 new authors this year and with this review I’ve reached my 25 books! And I still have more books to review which are written by new-to-me authors…

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libriomancerThe Libriomancer
by Jim C. Hines
Series: Magic Ex Libris, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Daw, 2012
E-book, purchased
308 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg.  Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .

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Like any child raised on tales of magical worlds beyond paintings and mirrors and wardrobes, I had yearned to enter Middle Earth, to reach through.

and

“This presents a serious question.” They both looked at me. “What’s that?” asked Lena. “Whether to start you off with a Doctor Who marathon or dive straight into Firefly.”

What I like about this book:

  • All the literary references are so much fun.
  • Isaac is a science fiction and fantasy enthusiast so that’s where most of the references come from.
  • I love that first quote (see above), because that’s what I’ve always loved about fantasy and science fiction–imagining a whole new world. This is almost like a book-lover’s love letter!
  • Libriomancer has a unique world. It’s so interesting that libriomancers can reach into books and bring forth items to help them. Mr. Hines has created a complete world and explained it well.
  • I like that the book doesn’t begin in the very beginning. Life isn’t like that. Isaac’s life as a libriomancer begins long before this book begins.
  • I like the characters–especially Isaac, Lena (the motorcycle-riding dryad) and Smudge (Isaac’s spider which he pulled out of the pages of a book).
  • Johannes Gutenberg is the “father” of libriomancers–and still alive!

What I don’t like:

  • Really I don’t have any problems with the book. I just hope I like the second book as much!

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My thoughts: 

An excellent first book in a series. I like the world, the characters and the story. I’m very much looking forward to the second book–Codex Born–which I still need to buy.

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Have you read this book? What did you think?

National Library Week–April 14 – 20

April 14-20 is National Library Week here in the U.S. I love libraries. The small town I grew up in didn’t have any bookstores so the library in our town was very precious to us. Some of my earliest memories are going to the library with my mother. I remember the children’s section was in the basement. I was thrilled when I finally came upstairs and looked for books in the adult section! In those days there weren’t any young adult books though looking back a lot of the books I read were pretty much young adult–Mary Stewart, Andre Norton and some of Robert Heinlein, for example.

I loved spending a Saturday morning browsing through the adult section at the library. In those days I read a lot of mysteries and science fiction and it was wonderful just to pull books from the shelves and look through them to decide if I wanted to check them out. My mother read a lot, read to me when I was younger and when I was a teenager we read a lot of the same books. It was wonderful for us to go to the library and each check out books and then trade books part way through the two week check out period. Even after I became an adult and moved away we each continued to use libraries and continued to talk about books and share favorite authors.

You can check out the graphic below at this site:

This graphic illustrates how important libraries are today. They have evolved and stayed relevant in this Internet age. I still love to browse the shelves in a library, but today I also check to see if my library is offering e-books or DVDs. When my husband and I travel we often find a library we can go to use the Internet. When we moved to Maryland one of the first things we did was visit the library so we could find out more about the area we were moving to.

What about you? Do you use libraries? Have they been important in your life?