2020 My Year in Books

by Me!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve never shared this on my blog before, but there is no time like the present!

Anyone who wants to can enter their review of their reading year with Goodreads full blessing.

So without further ado…

I’ve changed my mind – I am setting a goal.

I’m doing the Kiwi Authors Challenge 2020 with this group.


I’ve set my goal at 20 (Proud) Kiwi books!

This seems like a lifetime ago – the world has changed so much!

Like many of my friends on Goodreads, with all the time in the world to read during Lockdown I couldn’t settle. Normally the works of my beloved [author:Georgette Heyer|18067] would be my happy place, but I have been reading her Regencies in order with the Georgette Heyer Fans Group & unfortunately after [book:Black Sheep|311164] these weren’t GH’s best work. So I went on a massive cleaning spree and my husband worked in our garden. We ate breakfast together most mornings & usually started the day with a walk. After the first couple of (terrifying) weeks we enjoyed Lockdown, although we missed our kids terribly. We know New Zealand was very lucky both in terms of our leadership and that we had a small window of opportunity to prepare. And most of us know because we are lucky now doesn’t mean our luck will hold.

And on to the books.

I’ll start low and end on a high.

Worst Book (and Worst Book by a Kiwi Author)
Reckless Conductby Susan Napier I used to love Ms Napier’s romances, but she had lost her mojo by the time this one came out.

The above was my only 1.5 star book, but for runner up I had a few contenders in my 2 star reads! Most of them probably would have been 1 stars if I hadn’t decided to DNF.

Most Disappointing
Did She Fall? luckily this was Thorne Smith’s only murder mystery. Again, I loved his books when I was younger, but this is the second Smith I have tried since being on Goodreads and I haven’t enjoyed either of them.

Now on to the good stuff!

Best Children’s Book Reread
[book:Little Plum|992606] From my childhood. (sentimental sigh)

Best NZ Children’s Book Reread
Nickle Nackle Tree by Linley Dodd

Best NZ Children’s Book -Retro
The Sixpenny Island by Ruth Park

[book:The Sixpenny Island|51700637]

Best NZ Children’s Book 21st Century
Mophead by Selina Tusitala Marsh

Best Poetry
Well this is easy – I only read the one but what a poem it was!
In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

Well, here is where it gets tricky because I read some outstanding nonfiction books. Yes, there is a clear winner for the NZ ones, but as far as international books go, I find I can’t separate these ones out.

Know My Name
Born a Crime

New Zealand
We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa. or those who like their stats presented in a creative way!

Petticoat Pioneers

And Both Best New Zealand & Best Nonfiction Overall for its wonderful honesty
Barry Brickell: A Head of SteamEven in NZ a dead tree copy of this one is likely to be hard to find, but it is available as a Kindle.

Most Eagerly Anticipated Read
Acting on Impulse: Contemporary Short Stories by Georgette Heyer- not a 5 star read but as far as Georgette Heyer goes I am a completist. First time I have paid for a Kindle book!

Best New-To-Me Author
Evelyn Anthony for The Persian Ransom To make it even better, the late Ms Anthony was a prolific writer and I have picked up heaps of her titles from Little Free Libraries & Op (Charity) Shops!

Best New Zealand Fiction
:The Denniston Rose
Honourable Mentions:

This Mortal Boy

Bound by Vanda Symon
This Mortal By by Fiona Kidman

Best International Fiction – Joint Winners
[book:The Bluest Eye|292327]
Honorable Mention

The Green Grass of Wyoming

Best Reread
& of course Best Read of the Year since this is my favourite book of all time!
Devil’s Cub
Honourable Mention

These Old Shades

My Stats!

Provided by Goodreads

I read 82 literary works for a 3.8 average. I’m pleased with that. I only read one book [book:Penelope|17287877] which I didn’t think would reach at least 3.5 stars (& was I ever right!) – and this was one of my five DNF. Life is too short…etc, etc.

Provided by Me!!!

& since I have to keep track of my Most Read Authors now (thanks so much Goodreads bean counters) I thought I might keep track of a few more. In spite of being fond of statistics & graphs (see the book:We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa|52375731]above) this doesn’t mean I’m any good at them and it took me an embarrassingly long time to sort these out. Applause, please!

This is the one that was important to me – in spite of good intentions the number of Kiwi books I read was embarrassingly low. This year I read 25 (or 30.5% of my reading)

I’m more than fine with nearly 77% of the writers I read being female, given that males dominate most of the other arts I enjoy.

And I’m also reasonably ok with 75% (if you count the solitary online magazine I read) being fiction. But it would be get to get my poetry count up a little more. I’ve found an Audible collection read by (swoon) Richard Armitage] – that should help my 2021 count!

I’m thinking it might be fun to include Century First Published in my stats next year. I think of myself as a 20th Century reader – would be interesting to see if that is true.

So thank you to all my Goodreads friends, new and old, especially those who write reviews. You have expanded both my horizons and my to-read lists.

All the best for a happier 2021!

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