Review of the Year #1 – 2022, A Year of Reading and Blogging

As always, I’m saving my books of the year for the 31st, and you’ll get my book stats (my favourite post) on the 29th, but today I plan to share some other blogging highlights, discovered authors and the few disappointments of my reading year.

Where did 2022 go?

JANUARY – When I proposed running a Nordic Reading Month last summer, I didn’t quite expect it to be quite the mega-project it was for me. The first five weeks of the year were divided into one per Nordic country – the F I N D S – the anagram of their initials I devised to encourage readers to make finds in their reading. It was a huge success and I loved doing it. It’ll be back for Jan 23, but on a more casual basis. So, in January I read only Nordic books, including revisiting / reading for the first time some of the ‘gateway’ books that opened up Scandi-lit for me. The highlights – 1. re-reading Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, 2. The Ice Palace by Vesaas, and 3. the general quirkiness of much literature from the region.

FEBRUARY – After finishing off Nordic FINDS with Iceland week, normal blogging resumed. Time for the next post in Chris at Calmgrove’s Narniathon, re-reading CS Lewis’ Narnia books, one a month – this continued into the summer. February also saw the Sunday Times Young Writer Award, the resumption of my Watchlist – chronicling my TV/Cinema/Theatre viewing. It was also #ReadIndies month.

MARCH – is Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books – and I joined in with here and here. It was also the last month of the annual Japanese Literature Challenge 15, hosted by Dolce Bellezza which runs from Jan-Mar and I squeezed in with Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura, the premise of which slightly puts me in mind of the current TV reality show The Traitors!

APRIL – It’s always great when you can combine two themed reading projects into one – and April’s The Horse & His Boy fitted the Narniathon and the 1954 Club hosted by Karen and Simon. This month also saw the launch of the Big Jubilee Read, which put plenty of titles onto my wishlist.

MAY – A month for blog tours and my own reading. All quiet on the reading challenge front.

JUNE – Is time for Cathy’s 20 Books of Summer challenge to begin and I started with this book on quizzing, it was also the end of the CS Lewis part of the Narniathon with The Last Battle. I was also delighted to be invited to the press launch of the Bodleian LIbrary’s ‘Sensational Books’ exhibition, which has now finished. The behind the scenes look at the work of the book conservation team, and the chance to talk at length to the curators was wonderful. Also in June, I took part in the long-running BBC Radio 4 quizshow – Brain of Britain!

JULY – More 20 Books of Summer, the extension to the Narniathon with Katherine Langrish’s From Spare Oom to War Drobe, reading my first Izzo for Paris in July and looking forward to WIT Month with a review of the past year’s reading by women in translation. The big news this month though, was my announcement of #TDiRS22 – The Dark is RIsing Sequence by Susan Cooper in a readalong, starting in August.

AUGUST – is always Women in Translation month for which I reviewed Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto and Marzahn, Mon Amour by Katja Oskamp. I achieved the full twenty books for 20 Books of Summer. Finally, the #TDiRS Readalong started with Over Sea, Under Stone.

SEPTEMBER – The 8th was my 14th blog-birthday! I also read by 100th book of the year – The Island House by Mary Considine.

OCTOBER – Several blog tours this month, plus the third book for #TDiRS Greenwitch, which I loved.

NOVEMBER – Two major reading themes – Non-Fiction November (see here and here) and Novellas in November – (here, here, here, here and here) These, especially the novellas, made a large part of my reading and blogging this month, and luckily one overlapped for German Literature Month XI hosted by LIzzy. I also announced the return of NORDIC FINDS 2023 in a more casual form than Jan 2022.

DECEMBER – saw the end of the #TDiRS readalong. Susan Cooper’s sequence of five fantasy adventure novels have been an absolute delight. A reading slump marred the fortnight before Christmas though due to extreme busyness and succumbing to the worst cough/cold I’ve had for years. Improving now though.

ALL YEAR LONG – I’ve reported on our Book Group reads, and taken part in most of the Six Degrees of Separation monthly posts hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest. I’ve taken part in 30 blog tours – again a new record, but I’ve had some absolutely super books to read out of those tours.

Which authors were my favourite new discoveries of the year?

There were three new to me authors that I want to read a lot more by in future:

  • Riku Onda– I read Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight and now really want to read The Aosawa Murders.
  • Bonnie Garmus – To have such a hit debut novel at 64 is brilliant! And Lessons in Chemistry was superb.
  • Caleb Azumah Nelson – His debut novella, Open Water was astounding, and I can’t wait for his new book Small Worlds, coming in May

And the disappointments?

I had four DNFs this year, but I’m not going to dwell on them. A few other novels were a little underwhelming but still ok reads, so I won’t single them out here either.

Coming next on the 29th, my reading stats of the year. Hurrah!

14 thoughts on “Review of the Year #1 – 2022, A Year of Reading and Blogging

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    I still have to read the Bonnie Garmus (billions of reserves at the library) but I really liked Open Water and Riku Onda too, so am not surprised these were your favourite new discoveries.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Yet to see if all three make t to my best of post tough. Still ruminating on that. The Garmus, although more commercial and a bit cheesy in parts, was just a brilliant conceit with a stunning protagonist – I hope you enjoy it if you manage to get your hands on a copy.

  2. kimbofo says:

    What an amazingly busy book year you have had! I’m yet to reflect on my own reading year but I do know I read far fewer books this year than I did in 2021 (for various different reasons, but mainly an energy sapping new job that leaves little bandwidth for reading). I have heard lots of good things about Open Water so must add that one to my list!

  3. Calmgrove says:

    What a momentous reading year, Annabel, and thank you not only for participating in #Narniathon21 but for initiating #TDiRS22 which I’m hugely enjoying (I’m currently halfway through the final title). And though I’ve not been following SNB consistently I’ve liked many of the reviews I’ve seen there. Though I’ve not set up my own proper review of the year I shall look forward to yours on the 29th!

  4. Liz Dexter says:

    A great year, I joined you in quite a few of those and I enjoyed Nordic FINDS and am doing my own more casual go at it this year. I loved TDiRS, too, even though I only just started reading the books – as I’ve read them at least twice before (I’m sure more), the spoilers were OK and it was great to see them being read.

  5. thecontentreader says:

    Wow, Annabel, what a prosperous year. You were really busy with all the challenges. It is rewarding when they go well. I am happy to join FINDS again, and have already started a Finnish book. Looking forward to seeing what you will achieve this year.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Thank you! I love doing all the challenges, but apart from my own try not to pre-plan too much to keep it fresh. Enjoy your Finnish read – look forward to your thoughts.

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