2021 in books & my top 4

Happy New Year! 2021 was a good year for me. In the summer my boyfriend and I travelled with our second-hand camper van through the Netherlands. In October we went to Paris. And in December he asked me to marry him! Bookwise 2021 was also good. I didn’t read as much books as I hoped, but I read many amazing books. Quality over quantity! And 33 books in one year isn’t bad at all. Here are some more numbers:

I read a total of 13146 pages in 2021. On average a book had 398 pages. As you can see in the graph below most books I read had between 300 and 500 pages. The shortest book was Dragon Bike, an anthology edited by Elly Blue, with 157 pages. The biggest book was The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel with 779 pages.

Most of the writers from the books I read were female. 27 books were written by women, 3 books by men and 3 books were by multiple writers or a non-binary writer.

Slightly more than half of the books I read were written by writers from the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia. The nationalities of the other writers vary. Exactly a third of the books has a writer of color. 27% of the books have a main character of colour. 18% of the books have a main character that falls in the LGBTQIA-spectrum. I’m quite content with the diversity of my reading!

Compared to previous years, the genres aren’t very diverse. Most books I read were either fantasy, science fiction or historical fiction. I read a lot less contemporary books than in other years.

Just like the year before, most books I read in 2021 were published in the last ten years. I read only seven books published before 2010. The oldest book I read was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, originally published in 1813. I read three books published in 2021: The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley, The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles and The galaxy, and the ground within by Becky Chambers.

Most of the books I read were stand-alones. But (not counting rereads) I also started six new series and finished five series. My favourite series starter was A Deadly Eduction by Naomi Novik. I hope to continue The Scholomance series this year. The best series ender was The galaxy, and the ground within by Becky Chambers, the last part in the Wayfarers series.

Only two books were rereads: This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone and The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco.

Best books of 2021

As usual I am not able to choose one favourite books. I gave four books 5 stars and I loved them all! So here are my favourite books of the year in the order I read them:

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
One evening her father asks Li Lan a peculiar question: Would she like to become a ghost bride? A rich family wants her to marry their son who recently died. This practice isn’t very common, but actually exists. I loved how Chinese folklore and details about life in Malaysia during the 19th century are interwoven in the story. The line between fantasy and historical fiction is crossed when Li Lan becomes involved in the Chinese afterlife.

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa
When his grandfather dies, Rintaro inherits his grandfather’s bookstore. A talking cat appears in the bookshop and asks Rintaro to help him save books. Initially this seemed simply a fun story about books. But like a fairy tale, small life lessons are hidden between the pages.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry
This story is about a supernatural ability I would love to have: Charley is able to bring a character from a book into our world. His brother, Rob, isn’t particularly happy with the problems this family secret causes. Some book characters are quite dangerous and they don’t always want to go back to their books. Because Charley is his little brother, Rob reluctantly helps him. Real problems arise when book characters appear that were not brought to life by Charley…

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
This book was the perfect read after my visit to Paris. It’s about Odile and her work at the American Library in Paris during the Second World War. Life in occupied France is hard, but the staff manages to keep the library open during the war. I adored the characters in this beautiful book. Especially because the story is based on real people and events.

2020 in books & my top three of the year

Happy New Year! It has become a cliché by now to say, but 2020 was a crazy year! Let’s hope things will be better this year. Bookwise, last year was alright. I read a little less books than I expected. I wanted to read one book a week, but I ended up reading a total of 47 books. That isn’t bad either! And I’m quite proud that I wrote a small review in my monthly wrap-ups for every book I read. Some numbers and facts about the books I read:

I read a total of 19300 pages. On average a book had 411 pages. Especially in the first months of the year I read books with more pages like The Seven Sisters series. The biggest book I read was The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley with 728 pages. The shortest book was This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone with 198 pages.

A few years ago I started to read more books written by women. As the numbers show, I unconsciously keep choosing books by female authors: 41 books were written by women, 4 books by men, 1 book by both and 1 writer is unknown (since the identity of Elena Ferrante is unknown as far as I know).

The nationalities of the writers are less diverse than I hoped. Only 10 of them are people of colour. As you can see in the graph, more than half of the authors are either from the United States or the United Kingdom. Some writers have multiple nationalities or immigrated to another country. I made separate categories for them. And you may wonder why I read so many books by Irish authors; that’s Lucinda Riley.

The main characters are a bit more diverse than the writers: 14 books have main characters of colour and 4 books have main characters that fall in the LGBTQIA-spectrum.

The genres of the books vary. As you can see in the graph I read as much historical fiction as science fiction and only slightly less contemporary. Just like every year the biggest category is fantasy.

Most books were published in the last ten years. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez and Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa are the only books I read that were published in 2020. The oldest book I read is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, which was originally published in 1818.

22 books are stand-alones and 25 books are part of a series. The biggest series I read was The Seven Sisters; in 2020 I read 5 books from this series. Not counting rereads, I started 8 new series and I finished 4 series. The best series starter I read was Soulless by Gail Carriger. My favourite series ender was Ruse by Cindy Pon.

I only keep track of fiction, so I may have read more books if I would also count the non-fiction books I read. Some of my favourite non-fiction books I read last year are But you don’t look autistic at all by Bianca Toeps and The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair.

6 books were re-reads:

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There were a lot of amazing books I gave 4 stars, but not many 5-star reads. Luckily there are still three books that impressed me so much that I can call them my favourites of the year.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
My favourite book of 2020 is one of the last books I read. It’s a beautifully written book about books. How I wish I could actually visit the floating bookshop of Jean Perdu! It’s called the literary apothecary, because Perdu knows exactly what book someone needs to feel better. This story wasn’t only enjoyable, it also has many beautiful quotes that helped me to reflect on my life.

Soulless by Gail Carriger
I read this book in April as part of the Magical Readathon. It was so much fun! The story is set in an alternative version of Victorian London with werewolves and vampires. In the opening scene Alexia Tarabotti is attacked by a vampire. This is entirely inappropriate and to make it even worse, Alexia accidentally kills him. The book has an amazing, witty writing style and a great main character.

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
I bought this book in June and I read it the same month. It’s an amazing #ownvoices story inspired by Bolivian history. I immediately loved the magic system. The characters are gifted with magic that comes from the sky. What made me give this book 5 stars is the character development of the main character. The story shows that deep hate can slowly be reversed.

Credits: I used the free version of photo editor BeFunky and Microsoft Word for this post

2019 in books & my top seven of the year

It’s the last day of the year, so time to look back. 2019 was a good year for me! Two amazing things happened: I got a new job and I found a lovely boyfriend! I also read more books in a year than I ever did. Just like last year, I will share my reading statistics and my favourite books.

  • I managed to read 80 books! My goal was one book a week, but I exceeded my own expectations. Reading challenges like Wyrd & Wonder, the Magical Readathon and the Hogwarts House Battle definitively helped.
  • 63 books were written by female writers, 15 books by male writers and 2 books were written by both.
  • I read a total of 29871 pages. On average a book had 373 pages. The biggest book was Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb with 912 pages. The shortest book was Memento by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff with 82 pages.

Pages read

  • The nationalities of the authors are pretty diverse, they came from 20 different countries. 14 of them are people of colour. Some of the writers were born in another country and later came to the United States. I decided to make apart categories for them.

Nationalities

  • 14 books have a main character of colour and 6 of them have main characters that fall in the LGBQIA-spectrum.
  • I read more different genres than last year. Most books were still fantasy, but I also read quite a lot of science fiction and more contemporary than I expected.

Genres

  • I read 36 YA books and 6 middle grade books, the other 40 book were adult fiction.
  • Most books I read were published between 2000 and 2019. 11 books were published before 2000 and 7 books were published in 2019.
  • 5 books were re-reads:

Every Heart a Doorway The Glass Sentence The Girl at Midnight Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling

Favourite books of 2019

And now we finally arrive at my top seven of the year. Linking up with the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, here are my favourites!

Top 7 of 2019

1. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
This is the ultimate comfort read! It’s about a crew of a spaceship with five humans and four non-human characters. I truly admire how well the characters were written. Due to the details that the writer integrated in the story, all of them felt so real! Although the book does have a good plot, it isn’t very important. It’s a character-driven story that emphasises love and friendship. Because this book made me so happy, it was one of my favourites of the year!

2. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
This story left me with a serious book hangover, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The book starts at the terrible night in 1941 when the Lithuanian Lina and her family are taken away from their home. Soviet officers force them onto a crowded train. That’s only the beginning of a long journey… This story is so well-written! The theme is heavy, but I kept turning the pages. The book gave me many feelings and kind of broke my heart, and that’s why it’s an incredible story!

3. Want by Cindy Pon
I was looking forward to this book since the beginning of the year. It did not disappoint! It’s set in a futuristic Taiwan where the air is seriously polluted. The rich wear special suits that protect them from getting ill, the rest is doomed to die young. A couple of amazing characters want to change this.

4. On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
This book starts a few days before a comet is scheduled to hit the earth. Denise, her mother and sister Iris have to go to a temporary shelter. But Denise’s drug-addicted mother isn’t in any hurry and they don’t know where Iris is. In this way they won’t reach the shelter in time… It is an exciting and realistic story with a good plot. But what makes the book really special is the narrator. Denise is a biracial girl who has autism (just like the writer). This was an interesting point of view I don’t see often in books.

5. The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews
Before reading this book I already knew C.G. Drews from her blog Paper Fury. I love her blog, so I really wanted to like her book too. Fortunately I did! It’s a beautiful story about two brothers, Sam and Avery. They dream of having their own home, but for now they only have a house until the inhabitants come back. One night Sam accidentally steals a house that is not empty. But there are so many children, that no one notices him. In the house of the De Lainey family there is love, hope and a lot of delicious food. I loved to be there with Sam! But the longer he stays, the bigger the chance they find out who Sam really is.

6. Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anne James
Even before reading I knew I was going to love Tilly and the Bookwanderers. It’s about a girl who lives in a bookshop with her grandparents. One day a character from the book she’s reading appears in the shop. That’s basically the dream of every book worm!

7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
This book sounded like the average dystopia story. Cia is chosen as a Testing candidate. Passing means a college education and possibly a leading role in rebuilding the country. But what happens to the people who fail? And who can Cia trust? I found this book at my library and didn’t expect a lot from it. In the end I loved it and read the whole trilogy. The story is fast-paced, set in an interesting world and has a couple of great characters. Especially the main character makes The Testing stand out as a dystopia. She is one of the most realistic heroines I read about.

Favourite books of 2018

2018 was a good reading year! Usually I make a top five. This year I have no less than seven favourites of the year! But before we go to the list, first some stats:

  • I read 54 books! Of course the number doesn’t matter, but I am still quite proud of the amount of books I managed to read this year.
  • 38 books were written by female writers and 15 books by male writers.
  • In total I read 21552 pages. On average a book had 400 pages. The biggest book I read was Winter by Marissa Meyer with 838 pages.

Graph - Number of pages

  • The writers of the books I read are from 16 different nationalities. Almost half of the books I read are written by an American writer.

Graph - Nationalities of the writers

  • 10 books have main characters of color and 2 books have main characters that fall in the LGBQIA-spectrum. So I could definitely improve in this area…
  • Just like last year most books I read were fantasy:

Graph - Genres

  • I read 21 YA-books and 4 middle grade books.
  • 7 books were re-reads:

Blue - The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared White Oleander Phase 9 - Thinking about the future: A book or series you know you will re-read many times in the future? Phase 9 - Thinking about the future: A book or series you know you will re-read many times in the future?
Dreams of Gods and Monsters Strange the Dreamer Night of Cake and Puppets

Now we arrive at my top seven. Linking up with the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, here are my seven favourite books of 2018:

Favourite books of 2018

1. Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor
This is the incredible sequel to Strange the Dreamer! It was so interesting to read how every character changed throughout the duology.  My favourite character from the books is still Lazlo, but I ended up loving every one of them.

2. The Travelling Cat Chronicles – Hiro Arikawa
I adore cats, so it isn’t a surprise that I also adored this book. It’s about a road trip through Japan with a cat playing the leading part. This book starts as a feel-good story, but soon it becomes more than that. Nana is an amazing character.  If I could talk to a cat, I think he would sound like Nana.

3. Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi
I am sure this book is on a lot of best books of the year-lists. For a good reason, because it is an amazing story! It is set in a wonderful world, the story is full of action, and also has good characters. I am looking forward to the sequel!

4. Obsidio – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The ending of a great trilogy! I basically love everything about The Illuminae Files!

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Such a lovely book! Just after WWII Juliet gets a letter from a man living on Guernsey who found her address in a book. He appears to be a member of the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. After this first letter, Juliet starts to exchange letters with members from this book club.

6. Words in Deep Blue – Cath Crowley
Another book about books. This one is partially set in a secondhand bookshop. This bookshop has a letter library: a bookcase in which people can leave messages and letters between the pages of the books. A wonderful idea! The perspective alternates between Rachel and Henry. They were best friends until Rachel moved. Now Rachel is back and they meet again.

7. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
I didn’t expect to love this book so much. But I couldn’t stop reading and finished it in one morning. Simon is an adorable character and so funny. I also thought that I knew who Blue was, but I was wrong. So surprised to discover his identity!

Top five favourite books of 2017

This year I read 48 books. And there’s still some time left, so I could reach the 50 books! Some numbers and facts:

  • I read 33 books by female writers and 14 books by male writers
  • The writers of the books are from 12 different nationalities:Graph nationalities
  • 7 books have main characters of color (4 of them were also written by a writer of color)
  • 3 books have main characters that identify themselves in the LGBTQIA spectrum
  • Most of the books I read were either fantasy or science fiction:
    Graph genres
  • I read 30 Middle-Grade and Young Adult books
  • 3 books were re-reads: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Linking up with the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and The Bookish, here is my top five favourite books of 2017:

Top five favourite books of 2017

1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
It will be no surprise that this is one of my favourite books of the year. The writing style is beautiful and the world building is just perfect! I also adore the main character! Lazlo Strange is a kind-hearted librarian who dreams of a mystic lost city.

2. Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Just like last year, a part of The Illuminae Files has a place in this list. Gemina totally lived up to the high expectations I had after reading the first part! It is an exciting book with an end that is mind-blowing. I am definitively planning to re-read Gemina before the release of the last part of this series!

3. Exodus by Julie Bertagna
I found this book during a library sale and I am so glad I bought it. Exodus is about the consequences of global warming. While this is dystopian science fiction, it felt quite realistic! In 2100 the island where Mara lives is slowly flooding. Mara convinces everyone to find a new island. Nobody foresaw the city they find… This is the first of a trilogy, but I haven’t read the other books yet.

4. The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier
This is a book about the Amazons, a tribe of women warriors from Greek mythology. It is an amazing example of historical fiction: well-researched and exciting. The Lost Sisterhood has two main characters. The first story line follows Diana on her journey to find remains of the Amazons. The other story is about Myrina, who becomes the first Amazon.

5. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
This is the first part of the Firebird trilogy. The firebird is an instrument that can be used to travel to other dimensions. It was very interesting to read about the different dimensions! I loved the main character, Marguerite. I liked her artistic outlook on the world and her relationship with her parents. While the first book was the best, I would definitively recommend the whole series!

Top four best books of 2016

Books of 2016

This year I read 38 books. I am quite proud of this number, it is more than in the last three years. Although there are definitively areas of improvement, the list is pretty diverse. In numbers this means I read:
– 19 books by female writers
– 18 books by male writers
– 17 middle-grade/Young Adult books
– 10 books by Dutch writers
– 13 fantasy and science-fiction books (far less than usual)
– 7 mysteries
– 5 historical novels
– 3 books by a writer of color (on this point I hope to do better next year)
– 2 re-reads (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and World War Z)

Linking up with the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and The Bookish here is my top four best books of 2016. To make it a little easier I chose books of four different genres.

Top 4 best books of 2016

1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Without doubt the best book of the year! I loved everything about it: the unique way it was told, the amazing story set in two spaceships and the characters who felt very real. As I mentioned last week I hope to read the sequel very soon!

2. A Disocvery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
It all starts with an old manuscript that has been lost for centuries. But after a few chapters I found myself in a world full of witches, vampires and daemons. This book left me with a small book hangover, but fortunately it is the first part of a trilogy.

3. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
A beautiful novel set in the late 1700’s in the United States. A small Irish girl grows up among the slaves of a plantation. But if she like it or not, her skin sets her apart from the people she calls her family. I found this book by accident (it was an e-book, therefore it is not in the picture) and it kind of broke my heart.

4. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A story about a life in Nigeria, about being an black blogger in the United States and being an undocumented immigrant in London. But ultimately this is a story about love.

My question to you: What is your favourite book of 2016?