My 2022 in books and Blyton


This is my third time of assessing what I read the previous year in a blog post.

Every year I set some reading goals. The main one is how many books – I generally start with a goal of 100 and if if I hit that early I’ll increase it, and I also have some looser goals that I don’t put actual numbers on. So this is a way of me seeing how well I did on those goals, and starting to think about what I want to achieve with my reading this year.


Goal: read at least 100 books

My goal in 2022 was 100 books, and I read 131. I did think about increasing the goal to 120 or 130 but I never got round to it.

In 2020 I read 166 (but I was furloughed for months) and in 2021 I read 121, though I was also furloughed for a couple of months then!


Goal: Read more new books than rereads

I always caveat this by saying that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with re-reading old favourites. I love revisiting childhood books as well as things I first read a few years ago and enjoyed. I’m lucky to have the sort of memory which means I can reread a murder mystery two or three years later and still not remember who did it, but some books are so good that even if I do remember it doesn’t matter, I’ll still enjoy it.

Even so, I can’t just read the same books over and over. There are great new books coming out every day and plenty I’ve missed along the way, so I try to read more new books than I do rereads.

In 2022 I read 89 new books and 42 for the second (or third, or more-th) time.

 That’s not as many new as the previous two years but it’s still not bad at all – I think I did quite a bit of comfort reading (or listening) towards the end of the year.

The rereads

I finished listening to the Aurora Teagarden books, a re-read which I started in 2021.

I revisited several of my favourite Nancy Drews after writing a blog about them.

I started reading Roald Dahl books to Brodie and I think I’ve read him everything I have, plus a few from the library.

And I have read (listened to) the Chronicles of St Mary’s for the fourth time.

The new

I’m not going to list all 89 books, but a few highlights were:

The Lighthouse Witches by C K Cooke which I read because I like lighthouses and witches.

The Secret of Haven Point by Liz Auton another one about a lighthouse and the community of people who live there.

Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch is the 9th book in the Rivers of London series and was worth waiting about a year for since book 8 came out.

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson which is all the better as it is loosely based on real events

Also based on true events is The Wreck of the Argyll by John K Fulton which not only features a lighthouse but is set near where I live.

The Library by Bella Osborne rather than my usual romance in a library/bookshop this is about a friendship between a teenage boy and an elderly woman who frequent the library.

 


Goal: Read some books I’ve always meant to

I always have an enormous list of books to read, many of which have been there years yet I’ve never got around to them. I probably add far more than I read so it is growing rather than shrinking.

Lately I’ve tired to focus on reading at least one classic a year (so that I can have some idea of what people are talking about when they make references), reading some books that have inspired film or TV adaptations that I’ve enjoyed, and books that seem to appear on every ‘must read’ list.

The classics

They were all children’s classics this year, but at least I enjoyed them for the most part.

I read Little Women – Louisa May Alcott, Mary Poppins – P. L. Travers and A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The books adapted for screen

Whether I read the book or see the TV show/film first doesn’t matter to me, I just like seeing the different ways the stories are told in different mediums.

The only one I read deliberately was Sleeping with the Enemy by Nancy Price.

But I enjoyed reading the various Roald Dahl books which have been adapted for screen, and then watching those films with Brodie to see his reaction. (He said the film was better each time…)

Books on all those ‘must read’ lists

I don’t know if I ticked off any of these beyond the classics above. Saying that I do have a few lists that are books about bookshops and libraries, and I have read rather a lot of those (14 to be exact, including the two above) as I do love them.


Goal: Find a good balance between books for children and books for grown ups

Again, I see nothing wrong with enjoying children’s fiction, but it’s too easy for me to stick with reading easy children’s books instead of reaching for something a bit more complex.

Last year I read 75 books for grown ups, 38 for children and 18 for teens/young adults. That’s a fairly similar ratio for grown ups v children’s compared to the previous years but a few more teen/YA books.


Read more non-fiction

In 2020 I aimed to read more feministly and I did quite well, but the further books I’ve gathered on that subject in the past year or so have as yet gone unread. Last year I read a few about race, so I mentally widened that to aiming to read to increase my social awareness. I failed at that this year, but I did manage to read some non-fiction which would be a decent enough goal in itself.

In 2021 I read 22 non fiction (to 99 fiction) but this year it was only 9 non fiction (and 121 fiction). It really didn’t help that two of the non fiction books I picked in the last two years have been a total slog and I still haven’t finished them.

 


Formats

This section used to be about how the pandemic affected my reading but happily we are past that now, but it’s still interesting (to me anyway) to see how I read last year.

I would say the numbers are probably back to normal, I’m reading less ebooks as the library hasn’t been closed!

I read just 18 ebooks,  compared to 71 physical books and 34 audiobooks.

(Of course I don’t think that the format matters, they all count equally, I just like to see the numbers!)


And finally, my Blytons

Well, this is what you’re here for, isn’t it?

Yet again I read shamefully few Blytons for someone who blogs about her every single week.

I was carrying on my reviews of the Famous Five books of which I managed:

Five Get Into a Fix
Five on Finniston Farm
Five Go to Demon’s Rocks
Five Have a Mystery to Solve

I also read two new (to me) Blytons:

The Story of Our Queen
Enid Blyton’s Christmas Stories (I have an old and not very detailed review here.)

I also read several continuations and other books based on Blyton’s works.

New Class at Malory Towers
Bizzy and the Bedtime Bear
The Naughtiest Girl Wants to Win
The Naughtiest Girl Marches On
The Sea of Adventure TV novelisation
The Diary of the Naughtiest Girl
Magic Faraway Tree: A New Adventure

Some of these were pretty dire (Bizzy, the three Naughtiest Girls and the TV novel). The other two were decent enough.

And lastly, I widened my Jenny Colgan reading with her boarding school stories – Class, Rules and Lessons. These aren’t continuations of Blyton’s books or anything but she admits she was influenced by Malory Towers and St Clare’s as well as other boarding school books. I’m hoping at least one of the other three she has planned will come out this year.


Did you hit your reading goals last year?

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4 Responses to My 2022 in books and Blyton

  1. Rashmi says:

    First of all, let me thank you for such a lovely blog, as usual, all your blogs are very good, this one was simply too good. But why the word “shamefully” read out an Enid Blyton to one other member? I was hooked onto Enid Blyton more than 5 decades ago. I still read, re-read and read her books even today. Definitely, I must read the books of authors who were influenced by EB. Here too, we will be (hopefully) enriched.

    Like

    • Fiona says:

      Thanks. I think you’ve misunderstood my meaning, though. I meant “As a person who writes a blog about Blyton every week I am ashamed at how few books of hers I read this year.”

      Like

      • Rashmi says:

        Oh, so that is what you meant, so very happy to have this misunderstanding cleared. It is indeed a great pity that her books are not read in their original form as they were till the 70s.

        Like

  2. chrissie777 says:

    So what’s your opinion on “Sleeping with the Enemy”? I prefer the film, because in the film Julia Roberts has the house to herself and works in the university library. In the novel there are these two other women and that just distracts from the actual story.

    I’ve read 169 books according to Goodreads in 2022.

    Like

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