Thursday, December 30, 2021

Year in Review: 2021 & Looking Ahead

One of my favorite ways to kick off the New Year is being able to take part in Sheila's (of Book Journey) First Book of the Year event, in which Sheila collects photos of readers and the first book they plan to start reading in the New Year to put together into a cool collage. The last couple years I have threatened convinced my family into taking part too. I am fairly sure I know which book I will begin the year with this year, but, until then, I reserve the right to change my mind. 

While 2021 did not feel nearly as long as 2020, it did, at times, feel just like an extension of 2020. It was quite the year. As life returned to some semblance of normalcy it was (and is) anything but. At the start of the year, I dove into blogging and reading and was on quite the tear. Until I wasn't. Even so, my reading year did not suffer too much this year even if my blogging did. I must have chosen the books I read wisely because I enjoyed them all. Not one fell below a 3 paw (good) rating. There were a couple of books I nearly gave up on, but my decision to persevere paid off in the end. 

Mouse and I spent a lot of time reading together at the beginning of the year, but she's taken to wanting to read more on her own in recent months. We still have our together reading time now and then--and share recommendations--but I sometimes miss cuddling on the couch and reading with her more often than we do. It comes with growing up. What does make me happy is seeing her go from a reluctant reader to really enjoying to read. 

Looking over my list of the books I read this year, I find I gravitated most often to lighter books, books that would make me smile or feel good. For the most part, I avoided reading books that were too dark or too heavy subject matter-wise. Although, there were exceptions--some among my favorite books of the year.

Some Fun Meaningless 2021 Reading Statistics:

Number Of Books Read: 81

Genres Read The Most:
(Some of what I read falls under more than one genre. Here, I count them under the genre I most identified with the book. Also of note, my categorization of each book by sub-genre using broad definitions).

Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror - 25
  • 13 Fantasy
  • 4 Middle Grade Fantasy
  • 4 Manga/YA Fantasy
  • 2 Horror
  • 1 Science Fiction
  • 1 Fantasy YA
Fiction - 20
  •  12 Middle Grade 
  •  5 Historical 
  •  1 General Fiction
  • 1- Magical Realism
  • 1 Poetry/YA (novel in verse)
Crime Fiction/Mysteries - 15
  • 6 Cozies (4 paranormal, 2 contemporary) 
  • 5 Historical
  • 3 Thriller 
  • 1 Science Fiction
Romance - 10
  • 7 Contemporary
  • 3 Paranormal/Fantasy (2 full length novels, 1 short story collection)
Nonfiction - 7 
  • 3 - Memoirs (2 of which were written in poetry/verse form)
  • 1 - Science/History
  • 1 - Science/True Crime
  • 1 - Hobby
  • 1 - Pop Culture/Humor
Poetry Collections - 4 

Of the books I read, 27 were print copies (hardcover or paperback), and 54 were e-books.

I shared my top fifteen books read in 2021 list earlier in the week, but here is a quick look at my top five 2021 reads:

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See 
Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson 
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 
What Mothers Withhold by Elizabeth Kropf 
Becoming by Michelle Obama

How was 2021 for you reading-wise? What were some of your favorite books? 

My Blogging Bookish Life in 2021

I got behind on my review writing this year and will be making up for it into the new year. My blogging also fell by the wayside about half way through the year. It was a combination of things, including a drop in motivation and time. Especially time. My new work schedule has not helped.  

In 2021, I continued to take part in Michelle's My TBR List feature at Because Reading, enlisting your help in choosing one book each month to read. I really enjoyed having you take an active part in selecting what I would read. It can be difficult to choose on my own with so many choices. You wouldn't believe the amount of time I can waste in deciding. Or maybe you can . . . I am grateful to Michelle for coming up with the idea. I plan to continue to participate in the meme in 2022, and hope you will join me! 

Books Read Because Of You (My TBR List Poll Winners of 2021):

• January: Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg
• February: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
• March: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
• April: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
• May: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
• June: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
• July: Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim
• August: Blogging Break
• September: The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
• October: Cackle by Rachel Harrison
• November: Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings (Mrs. Claus #1) by Liz Ireland
• December:  Blogging Break

I took part in quite a few challenges in 2021, all of which I completed successfully if one overlooks the fact that I did not get my reviews posted for many of the books I read. If you would like to see which challenges I participated in and what I read for each one, please check out my Reading Challenge Wrap Up post

My Goodreads 2021 Reading Challenge goal, which I rarely take seriously, was to read 10 books. I knew I would hit that mark early on, but I enjoyed seeing the percentage rise over 100% with each book I read after that.  I think 810% is a worthy completion rate, don't you?   

How are you feeling about your blogging as the year wraps up? If you took part in any reading challenges, how did you do? 

Looking Ahead to 2022 in Reading

As of this moment, I am not planning to sign up for any reading challenges this coming year. I have some of my own projects I would like to focus on. I told myself I was not going to make a list, but, here I go anyway:

1. Read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas over the course of the year ~ It sounds like my husband might be joining me for this one!

2. Catch up on my series reading ~ (inspired by Katherine of I Wish I Lived in a Library) This will likely be a long-term project and not just reserved for this year. A side goal is to update my series' lists so I can better track my progress.

3. Read more from my existing TBR ~ and not just those shiny ARCs, which I will continue to read  because I have little will power when it comes to books.

4. Catch up with my review writing and stay on top of it ~ There. It's in writing. 

Thank you to all of you for your visits and comments this past year. It means so much to me. Coming back from my recent blogging break has only been a reminder of how much I enjoy being a part of this community and connecting with all of you--whether through my own blog or yours. I have enjoyed visiting with you and look forward to seeing what this year will bring us, both in books and in life. 

Here comes 2022, ready or not! I hope you all have a great New Year.

© 2021, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I LOVE that your parents take part in the challenge too! :)

    Happy New Year.

    1. Esther - I was glad I could convince my daughter and husband into taking part in the event last year. Maybe they will for this coming year. :-) Happy New Year to you as well.

  2. Congratulations Wendy, a great year and such detailed stats as well. I love that you all will pick a first book of 2022 and that you are a family of readers. I'd like to read Rose Code and The Last Apothecary is a book group pick in 2022 as well. Happy New Year.

    1. Diane - Thank you! I will be posting our first books of 2022 tomorrow. :-) I hope you do get a chance to read The Rose Code and The Lost Apothecary. Both were good! Have a Happy New Year.

  3. Congrats to a great reading year! I actually got Gage to take a First Book pic with me this year :) Becoming was my favorite book the year I read it. That woman is amazing and I wish we were friends. My reading was great and thanks to Instagram I was able to keep up with social media but one of my goals in the upcoming year is to get back to more blog hopping. I miss it! Happy New Year, Wendy :)

    1. Stacy - Thank you! I am glad you got Gage to get involved with the First Book event! I wish I could be friends with Michelle Obama too. I could relate to her on so many levels. I am glad you were able to keep up with social media via Instagram. Admittedly, my attempts at Instagram have not worked out well. I'm more about the words than the photos when it comes down to it. I wish you luck with your goals for the new year. Have a Happy New Year!

  4. How fun that your whole family is participating in the First Book event!

    I think you have set some excellent goals. I'm trying to keep my goals light in 2022. It seems like I do better if I set my goals so that they are achievable.

    1. Deb - I think I enjoy it more than they do. LOL Thank you. I want to keep reading fun and relatively stress-free so have always tried to keep my goals, as you said, achievable. I hope you have a Happy New Year!

  5. Looks like you had a pretty nice reading/blogging year. I don't know what blogging will hold for me in 2022. I definitely need to get better with scheduling ahead.

    I want to focus more on the books I own in 2022 for sure!

    Lauren @

    1. Lauren - Scheduling ahead is my saving grace when it comes to blogging, but unfortunately, I don't always have time to do even that. I hope you have a Happy New Year!

  6. I'm scrambling to finish off my 2021 stuff and will think further on my 2022 goals this weekend. I have a pretty full normal routine already but it's more about focus. I do challenges and created memes to help me focus on certain things I want to accomplish. I was also inspired by Katherine on the series finishing goal. It's great you have a list. I find goals helpful even if I don't follow them exactly and sometimes have to make spontaneous adjustments.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    1. Anne - You have a great blog! My blog always takes a backseat when it comes to my work and family, both of which can be very demanding, and unfortunately that sometimes means my blog suffers. This was just one of those years it was impacted more than not. My series list is very old and outdated, but it's a starting point, right? LOL I hope you have a Happy New Year!

  7. I only take part in the Goodreads goal challenge but I like seeing everyone else's challenges. Happy New Year.

  8. What a wonderful year of reading you had! Happy New Year!

  9. I mean to do First Book with Sheila, I wonder if I've missed the deadline. I'll go check right now

  10. Happy New Year, Wendy! I like the idea of not joining too many reading challenges. I often get overwhelmed and forget I'm supposed to be doing them. Hopefully 2022 will be a better year, but I guess we will see😁

    1. Tammy - I hope 2022 will be a better year for all of us!

  11. I'm glad to see you back Wendy. I was wondering if all was okay. If only we didn't have to work to survive. Have a lovely start to the new year.

    1. Carla - Thank you. It is good to be back. :-) I hope you have a great start to the New Year as well.

  12. Looks like you'd a great reading year last year, Wendy! I didn't read as many books as compared to 2020 so I'm hoping this year will be better.

    1. Melody - I read fewer books than last year too. Although I think it's because I didn't read as many middle grade books toward the end of the year. I hope 2022 will be a better reading year for you!

  13. Looks like you had a great reading year! I'm so glad you're doing a series project too! I've really enjoyed it and have rolled it into this year though will be mixing it up just a bit. Happy 2022!

    1. Katherine - I am sure the series project will be ongoing for years to come in my case. LOL Thank you for the idea! Happy New Year to you too!


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