To my relief, the Cape Town Libraries re-opened earlier in the year, as the Covid Pandemic started to wane.  I really  missed the Public Library during the lockdowns, and my bank balance suffered accordingly, because I was buying books online as a substitute. My best buy in 2022 was These Precious Days by Ann Patchett. Essay collections hospitably  provide for return visits over the years.  As do comic novels: I’ve re-read several of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy novels and  chortled happily, all over again.

Another excellent investment was the 2022 Collins Scrabble Dictionary. My existing copy was published in 2010. And we all know how many new words creep into the compendious English language annually. Over 200  in 2022.  How the compilers keep up is an enduring mystery.

I remained steadfast to my two main Bookish Vows i.e. not to enter reading challenges, and to firmly close books that I’m not enjoying. The acronym DNF  does not bother me one smidgeon!

This was the year I abandoned Goodreads. It’s time consuming, I don’t like their restrictive star system and their year-end stats never coincide with mine.  But, in fairness, I must admit GR helped me find followers when I launched my book blog, The Booksmith.

I’ve re-read some old favourites on my shelves – otherwise, why am I keeping them? “Fiction was invented the day Jonah arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale,” opined   Gabriel García Márquez,  which reminds me, I want to re-read One Hundred Years of Solitude; I read the book when it first debuted, which is a long time ago.   I frequently see the title on lists, you know, 100 Best Books Ever, and the like.

I keep eyeing two very battered collections of W S Somerset Maugham’s stories and perhaps they should feature top of my 2023 Targets list. This year I’ve read very few short story collections. I’ve read Essays,  but few shorts  or novellas.

 I didn’t keep track of my book buying this year,  but inspired by Bookish Beck’s  meticulous record keeping,  I did keep track of other stats. For example: up to mid-December 2022,  I read 85 Books, 33 of which were written by men and the remaining 52  by women .  Not that I was hellbent on reading female writers, it just turned out that way.  Let it be noted that women wrote outstanding non-fiction as well as entertaining fiction.

I’ve always seen myself as an intrepid explorer of the Backlist Territories, but to my surprise, scanning my primitive stats, I see that 32 of this year’s reads were published during the two year period 2020 / 2022.  Just under a third, so it seems  I  didn’t spend all my time in the Backlist undergrowth this year.  

Fellow Book Bloggers have provided pleasure, entertainment and introductions to marvelous books, for which I thank you. A special thanks  to Book Jotter, who provides a comprehensive weekly review over the bookish world.

All things being equal, I intend to continue reading and book blogging in 2023, and I wish you heaps of gift wrapped books over the Festive Season, plus a peaceful, healthy New Year.

Rebecca Foster·

Paula Bardell-Hedley, Book Jotter·





2017 introduced me to some new authors. Happy discoveries were the essays of Rebecca Solnit (American); the novels of Miriam Toews (Canadian) and esteemed English novelist Margaret Drabble.


I find as I age that I am reading more non-fiction. Its appeal grows as the years roll by. Let’s face it, there are only a certain number of permutations on the Basic Plots, and sooner or later they begin to sound horribly familiar. I suppose inevitably one becomes jaded with popular novels, same-old-same-old etc. But that said: I still love to read, whatever the genre.

Inspired by Bookish Beck’s detailed 2017 summary I did a quick sweep through my Book Journal and discovered that during the year most of my reading was in the Fiction category, with Non-Fiction coming in at just under 30%. Did I prefer Female to Male authors? An almost even 50/50 split – by happenchance, not by design on my part.


This year I read 89 books . I’d hoped to make it a neat 100, but hey! who’s counting? Well, actually, I was but … oh, never mind.

I’m not a huge fan of targets, but I promised myself that I would read 18 books out of my TBR pile. Score? I managed 16. Close but no cigar. Trouble is, I belong to a Book Club at my local Library, and every month introduces me to fresh temptations. And when it comes to books, my willpower is not that strong. So the TBR pile hasn’t diminished that much, due to my book club’s monthly offerings, plus my inability to pass up a book sale. Maybe I should devote January to reading only the TBR pile? Now there’s a notion!

However, I can proudly report that I did manage to stick to my self-promise that I wouldn’t buy any new books between 1 January and 31 March 2017. Of course on 1 April, there I was on-line, wrecking my credit card again and eagerly watching my postbox for the parcels.

Naturally I attended a number of book sales throughout the year, and found some terrific bargains. The McGregor annual book sale in support of the Donkey Sanctuary was a highlight (see my post The McGregor Booksale posted in December); as was the huge Booksellers’ Winter Sale held at the V&A Waterfront ( see my post in June: A genuine book sale).
I’m still formulating my Bookish Promises for 2018. As age roars on and my eyesight etetriorates, I probably won’t bother with the classics that I have never tackled. Sorry, Virginia Woolf – way too late now. Maybe I’ll make a determined assault on the TBR pile, perhaps donating some of the pile to charity, and focus on the books that I really, really want to read.

I’m flirting with the notion of Audiobooks, and also the notion of buying a Kindle. My only interest in the Kindle is that you can enlarge the text to a readable size. Still under consideration.

Promises or no promises, declining eyesight or not, I’m looking forward to another year of reading more wonderful books! I wonder what you’ve set your sights on?