Best Books of the Year (so far!) and 2020 Reading Stats

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Happy day! Today I wanna talk about all my favorite books that I’ve read so far this year! And after that, I wanna look a bit at my reading stats, as I’ve been keeping track of them as one of my 2020 Reading Goals.

I have nine books to talk about today – all of them got at least a 4.5 star rating from me, and over half got a five!

For those unfamiliar with my rating system, to get a five stars from me, the book has to be perfect to me. Objectively it can have flaws but to me, it’s the bees knees. Basically I have to read it and think ‘man this is a new all-time favorite’. So a 4.5 star book is still a fantastic book, and while I consider it a favorite of the year, it might not quite be an ‘all-time’ favorite. So usually I tend to only have a handful of five star books a year. But so far this year I already have quite a few – it’s a good year! These are ordered from least-most-favorite to most-most-favorite.


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All You Need Is Kill

All You Need is Kill by Takeshi Obata4.5 stars – This is a one-shot manga about a man who gets stuck in a time loop while fighting alien invaders. Sound familiar? This is the source material of the Tom Cruise movie, Edge of Tomorrow. The movie took some liberties for sure, but it’s pretty entertaining. This manga though, I loved it. It’s so gritty, but has hints of humor at the same time. It conveys the emotional state of the main character as he lives the same day over and over and over and over, each time knowing he’s going to die and restart again. It’s a good psychological book, and has plenty of action and suspense as well. And it’s short! One volume!

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen4.5 stars – I know, I know, I’m late to this one. I have a weird aversion to classics, what can I say (Though when I do read them I tend to actually like them, so, like, what gives). I buddy read this book early this year with a couple friends, one of whom has read this book a million times and is an all-time favorite of hers, and the other who had attempted to read it a couple times and never had finished. So we were all at different levels of exposure, so it was neat to see how each of us reacted differently to the story. Me, personally, I ended up taking pictures of passages, scribbling on the pictures, and sending them to the friend that’d read the book a million times. Didn’t wanna spoil the other friend or I would have sent to her too. If you’re interested, here is the post I made with all my scribbles. But yeah I ended up really, really liking this book, and I’m kinda mad I put it off for so long.

A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #1)

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan4.5 stars – I picked this book up back in April, and I still think about it almost every day. There’s just something about it. This book follows the fantasy-equivalent of a Victorian era woman as she goes on a research exploration to study and document dragons. It has sketches in the book that she draws, and tells the narrative from her point of view, as if you’re reading her memoir. It has a lot of charm and wit, along with some fascinating illustrations, some neat plot twists, and some memorable characters. I seriously loved this one.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing #1)

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green4.75 stars – I’m late on this one too, I know. It was a big thing a couple years ago when it first came out. But in my mind for some reason I had categorized it as something I wouldn’t be interested in. Why, I don’t know. The hype? I don’t knowwww. But honestly, this book is right up my alley. It contains one of my favorite tropes: the big dumb object. You know, when something weird just appears, and nobody knows where it came from or what it is. The object itself may or may not be dumb, but the trope is the trope. But I really loved this – I liked how the main character was so incredibly human. Her flaws – the way she handled relationships, the way the fame got to her head after she told herself it wouldn’t – was all so incredibly believable. It was like a character study, almost. It’s so incredibly good.

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino5 stars – This manga made me feel very distinctly, consciously mortal, and I didn’t like it. But that also made me love the book. This manga is a one-shot, and follows a teenage boy who befriends a teenage girl with terminal pancreatic cancer. The girl though, is determined to live her life while she can, and is always taking an almost dead-pan humor take on her situation, like saying things like ‘we should go do this before I die and worms eat me’ and stuff like that. It’s morbid, funny, and heartbreaking all in one. I still get the happysads when I think about this one.

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice5 stars – This book has been on my radar since I was about fifteen years old. I remember borrowing it from a friend and trying to read it, then got distracted about a third of the way through and never finishing. So when I picked it back up, I had it in my head that I was going to get stuck in a similar fashion. But then it surprised me with its atmosphere and tone. This book is seductive, for lack of a better word. It pulled me right in and kept me there, and I enjoyed every page.

Our Dining Table

Our Dining Table by Mita Ori5 stars – This is a oneshot manga, following a young man who has trouble eating in front of others and another young man who wants to learn how to cook for his younger brother. It’s a fluffy, sweet romance, and it melted my heart. It deals with the issues around the main character’s food issues, and also touches on topics relating to adoption, absentee parenting, and more. It’s really wholesome and really nice.

If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio5 stars – This is officially my favorite novel of 2020 so far. And honestly it’s very outside my usual genre of fantasy. This is a literary suspense novel following a group of college students studying Shakespeare at a liberal arts college. The writing is lyrical, sprinkled with Shakespearean verse and at times paralleling its themes. This book really knocked my socks off. Originally, I had given it a 4.5 – I knew I loved it, but I didn’t think it would be an all-time fave. But after sitting on it for a month and not going a single day without thinking of it at least once, I just had to bring it up to a five. This book was really something.

Black Butler, Vol. 1 (Black Butler, #1)

Black Butler by Yana Toboso5 stars – For anyone even remotely following my blog this should really come as no surprise, because since I started reading it I have not shut up about it. I technically cheated by picking a series as my ‘favorite book so far’, well, favorite manga – favorite read – you know what I mean. But with manga it’s really hard to separate the story out into individual volumes. It’s just one story – it’s one entity. And Black Butler, man. Individual volumes rated I think at the lowest 3.5 stars for one volume, and then many 4 or 4.5, and then more a full 5 stars. Overall though, this series in my opinion is five stars. It’s just fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough.

It follows a thirteen year old boy who sells his soul to a devil, bent on gaining the means necessary to take revenge after his family was slaughtered in their homes and he was taken and tortured by the same people. The story is set in Victorian England, and the boy’s father was an earl of the queen. The boy inherits the title, and using his demon – posing as a butler of the family – the boy works to get closer to those who wronged him.

This series has action, comedy (weirdly a lot of comedy), horror, suspense, thrills, sads, all of it. It literally has a bit of everything, and I cannot understate how much I love this. It’s really the best thing I’ve read all year, especially with the latest arc in the most recent volumes. It shook me to my bones, man. It’s so fantastic.

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And that’s all of my favorite books! I’m actually rather proud of myself for actually ranking them for once. Onto the stats!


Total books read: 136

  • Manga: 114
  • Novels: 17
  • Novellas: 2
  • Anthologies: 1
  • Graphic novels: 1

Breakdown by….

Genre:

  • Literary fiction: 3
  • Science fiction: 6
  • Fantasy: 25
  • Romance: 32
  • Horror: 2
  • Magical realism: 2
  • Shojo: 30
  • Slice of Life: 3
  • Historical Fantasy: 29
  • Humor: 3
  • Classic: 1

Age Group:

  • Adult: 14
  • Young Adult: 5
  • Kids/picture books: 1
  • New Adult: 1
  • Manga – Teen(13+): 34
  • Manga – Older Teen(16+): 68
  • Manga – Mature(18+): 13

TBR:

  • 85 read from books added to TBR this year
  • 17 read from books already existing on TBR before 2020
  • 34 read from books borrowed from friends/services/library
  • 4 rereads

Month:

  • Jan: 14 books – 3749 pages
  • Feb: 7 books – 2078 pages
  • Mar: 32 books – 8031 pages
  • Apr: 39 books – 7778 pages
  • May: 22 books – 4661 pages
  • June: 19 books – 5284 pages
  • July (so far): 2 books – 550 pages

Rating:

  • 1 star: 1 (DNF’d)
  • 2 stars: 2
  • 2.5 stars: 1
  • 3 stars: 8
  • 3.5 stars: 33
  • 3.75 stars: 13
  • 4 stars: 42
  • 4.25 stars: 4
  • 4.5 stars: 21
  • 4.75 stars: 1
  • 5 stars: 10

Avg rating: 3.9

Author gender:

  • Male: 16
  • Female: 119
  • Unknown: 1

Author country:

  • United States: 20
  • United Kingdom: 1
  • Japan: 112
  • South Korea: 3

Diversity:

  • Race: 64
  • LGBTQIA: 5
  • Author: 6
  • Combo of more than one diversity (including race, lgbt+, mental illness, disability, author, chronic illness and ownvoices): 49
  • None: 12

And that’s it! I’m gonna save all the fancy bar graphs and pie charts until the end of the year when all of the books from 2020 are present and accounted for. That being said, my end of year faves may contain totally different books! There’s still just under half a year to go. All of these books could totally get swept away by even better books, who knows!

If you read all of this, thank you so much, I really appreciate it! And if you’ve read any of the above or have been keeping stats of your own, lemme know! Happy reading!

 

 

2019 Reading Resolutions Check In

2018 Reading Resolutions

So to start, this originally was going to be a resolutions check in and a reading stats post. But it’s not, now. I’ll get to that below. But man, am I baffled.


At the beginning of the year, I made a post about my 2019 Reading Resolutions. Today I’m gonna let you know how I’m doing.

  • Read 50 books

In progress – I’m 100% I’m gonna hit this one. As it stands, I’m at 47.

In progress – I am right on schedule – 5/10 complete!

  • Keep book purchases around 4-5 books per month

In progress – I fudged a bit in March when I got 7, but otherwise I’m sticking to this!

  • Go on a 2 to 3 month buying ban

Complete! I did a 2.5 month ban from April 1st – June 15th!

  • Reduce physical TBR to 250 books.

In progress – I’ve gotten it down to 267. When I wrote this, it was 283, so… doing ok? I guess?

Complete! Look here if you’re interested in the post about it.

  • Post monthly book hauls

In progress – Haven’t missed a month yet (aside from ban months, but obviously I wouldn’t have books to haul)

  • Maintain a S-W-S posting schedule

In progress, with a bit of an update. The W in the S-W-S schedule was to be Top 5 Wednesdays, but with that currently on hiatus, I don’t have any material. So for the time being, it’s S-S, and it’ll return to S-W-S when T5W picks up.

  • Keep track of statistics

So about that. I was doing it for the first two or three months of the year, and then I utterly stopped because… I stopped. I logged on right before writing this (Friday) to go and update the stats list with all the books I’ve read, purchased, etc, to throw stats into this post, and…. I can’t find it. I cannot find the file. At first I thought I deleted it, so I checked my recycle bin, but it’s not there. I have files I deleted back in 2018 in there, so it’s not like I deleted it and then emptied the recycle bin. But really, I have no idea where this file went! It’s annoying! And it’s not like I don’t know how to look for these things – I write software for a living, I know a trick or two on how to find missing/deleted files. It’s like the file never existed. I’m utterly baffled.

So I’m marking this in progress for now, because I might decide to make another file and have it ready by the end of the year. If I do that, I’ll count it complete. If I don’t, then obviously this one will be a fail. But right now, I’m too mad to go about making a new one, and if I do, it’ll be after I stop being a grouch at my documents folder.


And that’s it! So far, I’m fairly happy with my progress in everything. The only one I really wanna focus on more is the TBR one. How are you doing with any goals you’ve set? Happy reading!

A Year in Books and End of Year Survey

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2015 was a really good reading year for me. I read more this year than I ever have by a long shot. I’ve always considered myself a reader, but the amount I read this year, man. Wow. I read 110 books. I usually read around 20. Improvements!

To close this year out, I’m going to go through my year in books according to goodreads, some blog stats, and complete Perpetualpageturner’s end of year survey. I feel like it’ll be a good combination to really wrap-up everything I’ve done this year. Since this is closing on all the books I’ve read, consider this my December Wrap-up as well.

My Year in Books

Total Books DNFd this year: 5

For the sake of keeping this as non-repetitive as possible, I’m not going to go through the individual books as a lot will likely be named in the stats and survey.

Stats for the Embuhleeliest blog

Total posts published: 155
Reviews: 18
Tags: 25
Blog Award Nominations: 9
Top 5 Wednesdays: 24
Most Popular Post of 2015: Pixar Book Tag (Original)

Wrap-Ups:

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November

December:

In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park: 5/5 stars
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch: 4.5/5 stars
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas: 4.5/5 stars
My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins: 3/5 stars
The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories by Rae Carson: 4/5 stars

Results of 2015 Reading Resolutions and Challenges

Towards the end of 2014, I made three posts about things I wanted to do book-wise in 2015. They were my 2015 Reading Resolutions, 15 in 2015 and my TBR Jar Challenge. These are the results of all that.

Reading Resolutions:
Read 30 books: Success
Focus on sequels and stand-alones: Unsure
Buy 1 book for 5 read: Fail
Write reviews for at least 50% of the books read: Fail
Separate ‘to-be-read’ books onto their own bookcase: Success
Go through ‘to-be-read’ books and decide whether or not I’ll actually ever feel like reading them. If not, give away or donate them: Success

About 50-50 here.

15 in 2015:
1. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking #2): Read
2. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking #3): Read
3. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik (Temeraire #5): Not Read
4. Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik (Temeraire #6): Not Read
5. The Scar by China Mieville (Bas Lag/New Crobuzon #2): Not Read
6. Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey (Monstrumologist #2): Not Read
7. The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey (Monstromologist #3): Not Read
8. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2): Not Read
9. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See (Shanghai Girls #2): Not Read
10. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: Not Read
11. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: Not Read
12. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous: Not Read
13. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: Not Read
14. The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: Read
15. The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku: Not Read

Guys, I read three of them. I’m totally awesome.

TBR Jar Challenge:
Read a book with 500+ pages: Success
Reread a favorite book: Success
Read a 2015 debut novel: Success
Read a book that someone else picks: Success
Read a book that you’ve never heard of before: Fail
Begin reading a new graphic novel/graphic novel series: Success
Read a new-to-you author: Success
Read a book that is not a novel: Fail
Read/watch a book and its adaptation: Fail
Read an award winning novel: Fail
Read a classic novel: Fail
Read a series finale: Success

A bit more than 50-50 here.

End of Year Book Survey

Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 110
Number of Re-Reads: 30
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

Best in Books

Best Book You Read In 2015?
The Martian by Andy Weir
Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love But Didn’t
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Most Surprising (in a good way) book you read?
Easy by Tammara Webber
Book You “Pushed” the Most People to Read (And they Did)?
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Best series you started in 2015? Sequel? Ender?
Starter: An Ember in the Ashes by Tabaa Tahir
Sequel: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Ender: Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Rae Carson
Best books from a genre you don’t typically read/out of comfort zone
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Book you read in 2015 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
Saga volume 5 by Brian K Vaughan
Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Most memorable character of 2015?
Mark Watney from The Martian
Most beautifully written book read in 2015
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015?
In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park
Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Favorite Passage/Quote from a book read in 2015?
“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say” – A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Longest and Shortest books read in 2015?
Longest: A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Shortest: A New World by Patrick Ness
Book that shocked you the most
In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park
OTP of the Year
MarkoxAlana 4eva
Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year
Hakkai and Gojyo from Saiyuki (though some beg to differ)
Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you’ve read previously
Saga volume 4 by Brian K Vaughan (I know it’s #6 on my top 15 list, but it’s the first author on there that I had also read in 2014)
Favorite book of 2015 read based soley on a recommendation from another
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Newest fictional crush of 2015
Chaol from Throne of Glass
Best 2015 debut
An Ember in the Ashes by Tabaa Tahir
Best Worldbuilding/vivid setting of the year
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
Book that put a smile on your face/most fun to read
Trigun by Yasuhiro Nightow
Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Hidden Gem of the year
Priest by Min-Woo Hyung
Book that crushed your soul
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Most Unique Book Read in 2015
The History of the World Through Twitter by Jon Holmes
Book that made you the most mad
Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Blogging/Bookish Life

New favorite book blog of 2015
Orangutan Librarian’s :”D
Favorite review written this year
The one for The Night Circus
Best discussion/non-review post this year
Pixar book tag (original)
Best event participated in
All the different readathons
Best moment of the year
Reading my 110 book goal
Most challenging this about this past year
Keeping consistency when posting
Most popular post this year
Pixar book tag (original)
Post you wished got a little more love
Holiday recipes – Nacho Dip
Best bookish discovery of 2015
All the new bloggers I follow here 😀
Challenges or goals completed?
See above

Looking Ahead

Book you didn’t get to in 2015 but will be a 2016 priority?
Weave World by Clive Barker
Most anticipated non-debut 2016 release?
A Torch Against the Night by Tabaa Tahir
Most anticipated 2016 debut?
Not sure, haven’t been paying attention
Most anticipated 2016 series ender/sequel release?
See ‘Most anticipated non-debut 2016 release’. :”D
One thing you hope to accomplish in your 2016 reading/blogging life
Cut down on impulse purchased of books that sound good because of the hype instead of because the plot appeals to me
A 2016 release you’ve already read and recommend to everyone
Guys, I’m a little blog and it’s still 2015. You silly.


And that’s it. Big, honking New Year’s Eve post up and ready. I hope you all have a fantastic new year. I’ll be over here, eating mac and cheese and drinking champagne until the ball drops. PEACE