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.
Paula Bardell-Hedley, Book Jotter