Wednesday, January 12, 2022

My Year in Books, 2021


Happy New Year to everyone. I successfully made it back from a very snowy Seattle pretty much on time. Quite a feat considering how many flights were cancelled the last week of the year.

Now it’s time for my annual reading wrap-up.

In 2021 I “consumed” 119 books, 2 more than last year. Consumed because it’s a combination of listening to audio books and reading. The largest category was mystery/thriller at 48%. This would go up to 66% if I included Nancy Drew, which I put in a separate Children’s/YA category. 10% of the books I read were in the non-fiction category, down from last year. This has been a trend ever since Covid struck. Before that, close to 50% of the books I read were nonfiction. Not sure why as reading non-fiction is very calming for me.

I also read some sci-fi/fantasy and general fiction. Also quite a few Children’s/YA books including 19 Nancy Drew books. These are mostly the 1960s/1970s editions, but I did read a few of the 1930s/40s versions. Mostly the ones where the stories drastically changed. Interesting to see the differences.

I listened to 20 audiobooks. Once again, most of those were the audio versions of the Dark Shadows books by Marilyn Ross, originally published in the 1960s/70s. I’ve finished those now and moved on to other things.

In the mystery category, the majority of them were cozies. This time I noticed an interesting trend, a large portion of them had a paranormal bent: ghosts, witches, vampires, etc. Prior to this past year I really didn’t read many paranormal cozies. Didn’t really find any that interested me. Over the last year I discovered quite a few that I find interesting.

The Oxford Key mysteries by Lynn Morrison are set in Oxford, England. Fun reads, good characters, interesting mysteries. I found out about them through an interview she did on a podcast. Either Leah Bailey’s or Alexia Gordon’s. Don’t remember which one.

I learned about The Vampire Knitting Club mysteries through a cozy group on Goodreads. Couldn’t resist reading a book with that title. This one is yes, set in Oxford, England. Really like the characters and stories. I’m on book 6 of 13 right now.

Another great series, though only 3 books long, is the Movie Palace series by Margaret Dumas. Really great books that feature an old movie theater, which has a ghost, an usherette who plunged to her death off the balcony of the theater.

I also read a lot of historical mysteries, quite a few of them the Redmond and Haze mysteries by Irina Shapiro.

My favorite book of the year in the non-fiction category is a true crime: The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer by Dean Jobb. I’d heard a bit about Dr. Cream before, but didn’t know a lot of the details. Now I do. 

I have two books that are vying for my favorite book of the year in the fiction category. One is Bluff by Jane Stanton Hitchcock. It’s more of a thriller than a mystery. One reviewer called it social noir. However you categorize it, it’s just a great read. The other book is The Vineyards of Champagne by Juliet Blackwell. This is a general fiction book set in France. Just a wonderful book. You may know Juliet’s name from one of her cozy mystery series.

That’s it for my reading wrap-up. Onto another topic next time. I’m curious, did you find yourself reading more last year than in previous years? Did you read different things?

No comments: