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2022 on Goodreads

by Me!

I got a very mild dose of COVID, but it left me a bit apathetic & I had been having a bit of trouble getting this list organised.


I’m getting better but I still haven’t figured out how to name my graphs.

Graph 1 Shows I read a disappointingly low number of NZ books.
Graph 2 Shows I read far more books written by women than by men.
Graph 3 Shows my favourite reading century is the 20th (for some reason 19th century – the yellow one isn’t named. & there is an asterisk by 18th century as Lady Susan was written in the 18th century, but not published till the 19th)
Graph 4 shows I read mostly fiction. (Poetry is Poetry/short Stories)

I had two DNFS (more info below)
I read three books in translation & seven of the books I read were rereads.

I also gave two books that hadn’t read one stars due to author harassment. They have their own exclusive shelf, so they don’t count as read books.

GR’s Year in Review

My average rating 4.0. Happy with that. This was a good reading year for me, & I no longer waste time on (over) hyped books on Goodreads. Well, the occasional waste of time will slip through, but overall I’m happy that I have developed some discrimination.

Average Book Length 244 pages. Totally correct. I don’t read much non-fiction & I will always prefer my fiction to come in at 250-400 pages (short stories drag this average down) Saying that I’m going to reduce my reading challenge to 70 books this year as I do have a couple of longer books to read.

Speaking of Book Challenges – while I comfortably hit my GR challenge of 75, I missed by one of my Kiwi reading Challenge. I finished 11 but I had two DNFs – the only DNFs I had this year. One – Magnolia, 木蘭 I was enjoying the poems that I had read online , so shelled out for a kindle copy – which was formatted so badly to be unreadable. I couldn’t contact Ms Powles, so I tried her publicist who never answered. Looks like Ms Powles has finally removed the kindle from Amazon. Wise move.

So on to The Carol Awards!
Going from Bad to Good!

Worst Book Overall
Georgette Heyer is my favourite author & has written many of my favourite books, but she has also written some of the worst books I have ever read & The Great Roxhythe is one of the worst of these turkeys. This was the author’s least favourite of her own works. Sadly, she has written a couple that were even worse.

Worst Reread
See above. I reread this one because the first time I found it (unintentionally) very funny. The second read it is just bad. My only 1★ this year.

Worst International Fiction
Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis. A lot of my friends like this author’s work but she is not for me.

Worst NZ Fiction
Bonkers by Michele Holman. Nothing like as bad as the above two, but Holman seems to always want a resolution for every character, no matter how minor, in her romances.

Worst NZ Nonfiction
The Great New Zealand Robbery: How gangsters pulled off our most audacious robbery by Scott Bainbridge
Turns out safecracking is very dull. Who knew? This one was a DNF

Worst International Nonfiction
Georgette Heyer’s Regency England I had read enough reviews to know this was going to be bad & inaccurate, but I interloaned it anyway. Saved only by Arthur Barbossa’s cover & b/w illustrations. (the reason I wanted to read it- I’m a massive Barbossa fan!)

On to the good stuff! I only read two cookbooks this year, but both are worthy winners.

Best International Cookbook
Japanese Home Cooking by Maori Murota. I have just taken this book out of the library again, but I get so much use from it, I’m tempted to buy my own copy.

Best NZ Cookbook
Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso Just beautiful & the illustrations are very helpful for keen foragers.

Overall Best Cookbook
Japanese Home Cooking because the recipes are both delicious & for the home cook. Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine is more a coffee table book.

Best International Non-Fiction
The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival by Alicia Portnoy. Only a monster would not be moved by Portnoy’s tale about being lucky enough to be one of the (permanently) Disappeared Ones in Argentina.

Two Equal Runners Up
Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders: A Writer’s (and Editor’s) Guide to Keeping Historical Fiction Free of Common Anachronisms, Errors, and Myths by Suzanne Alleyn. All fledgling historical writers should read this!
Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes. A thoughtful, feminist perspective on the heroines of Greek Myths.

Best NZ Nonfiction
Dressed: Fashionable Dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840 to 1910 by Claire Regnault. Exquisite!

Runner Up
The Abundant Garden : A Practical Guide To Growing A Regenerative Home Garden by Niva & Yotan Kay. So helpful to the beginner gardener & Yotan (in real life) is so generous with his time & advice.

Honorable Mention
Impossible: My Story by Stan Walker. Flawed book, but Stan is a truly awesome human being, who has had to overcome so much!

Best Nonfiction Overall
Dressed: Fashionable Dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840 to 1910

Best Short Story
The Ransom of Red Chief my all time favourite short story

Best Fiction Reread
Devil’s Cub My favourite book of all time

Runner Up
The Foundling both by Georgette Heyer

Best International Fiction
Demelza by Winston Graham

Runner Up
Lady Susan by Jane Austen

Honorable Mention
Voices on the Wind by Evelyn Anthony. I own so many of Ms Anthony’s books – I’ll make it next year’s resolution to read more of them.

Best NZ Fiction
Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz – such an outstanding debut!

Runner Up
Whanau by Whiti Ihimaera

Best New-To-Me Author
Jacqueline Bublitz

Best Fiction & Best Book Overall
Of course it is Devil’s Cub It will be every year I reread this book! 
not set [edit]Jan 01, 2023editvi

Changes to Goodreads

Are we having fun yet?

For those that don’t know/haven’t realised, anyone used to be able to add a book on Goodreads & would have a limited time to correct any mistakes. & most people did a good or at least reasonable job. Unfortunately the ones that did a bad job were spectacularly bad & often quite prolific!

So I do understand why Goodreads has decided to restrict adding new books, to Librarians, Support (Staff) & Authors, (& the bulk of books added to the GR data base are added by bots) but I am puzzled why they have picked to do it now! Numbers of Librarians responding in the Librarians Group are noticeably down. A lot of reasons for that, other than COVID. (although I believe that is a big one.)

All Goodreads Librarians can ask is;

Please be patient. We are unpaid volunteers. What may have take a few hours to get added in the not so distant past, may take a few days. Just keep bumping up your request every couple of days. Someone will get to you eventually. 😊

Another change, due to start taking effect in July (& they will be fully removed in September) is our lists of our Favorite Authors. Goodreads suggests we follow them instead – but most of my favorites are dead & I find the idea of following deceased people a bit creepy to be honest.

If you object to this change please use GR’s Contact Us link to voice your disapproval.

These are just the main changes – there are more, but to be honest they aren’t issues I care about.

This is the link on Goodreads Help but it may only work for Goodreads Help members.

& finally, please don’t take out your frustration on Goodreads Librarians. We have little to no influence on anything Goodreads decides to do.

The Lovers’ Travelogue

by Raymond Peynet

Rating: 5 out of 5.

hree reads in 2022 so far – & all of them 5★!

I’m on a roll!

I was familiar with French cartoonist Raymond Peynet (1908-1999) work, as my mother worked for the firm that imported Rosenthal porcelain into New Zealand, so I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by their pieces.

Here is an example;

I’ve always loved the artwork’s delicate charm.

Back in my op (charity) shop volunteering days I picked up this book. Although the cover art on this title causes me to wince;

& there are more examples that are not PC, the illustrations that do work for me are so romantic, so lovely, so evocative of French style!

There is humour but it is very gentle.

This book brings back treasured memories for me!

My Year in Review on Goodreads 2021

Goals For This Year (I wrote this January 2021)

Reading 80 books for the Goodreads Challenge.

Reading 22 books by Kiwi Authors with the Book Loving Kiwis Group

And reading more poetry. The world needs more beauty.

Well the world certainly didn’t get more beauty in 2021!

All I can find to say about 2021 is that I am really looking forward to 2022!

Reading: I feel bad that I set a target of 22 NZ books & have only managed to read 17 (+ a dnf & a not yet finished) Pretty dismal record for books from my own country. I haven’t decided if I am going to set a Kiwi target in 2022 or not. I probably stuck too long with books that had turned into a chore. That isn’t to say I don’t do DNFs – I had five this year – but maybe I should have had a few more!

So without further ado… as usual I will get the not so good out of the way first.

Most Disappointing
The Once and Future Witches by Alex E. Harrow, because I love Harrow’s short stories so much! But this one felt endless!
Runner Up The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

I had a feeling this one was not going to be great. Years of anticipation and hype and then this dull & uneven book. I didn’t plough on the way I did with The Once & Future Witches – this was a DNF.

Worst Cookbook
Other than this cookbook I didn’t have any bad non fiction reads – so that is a plus, right???

But I can’t recommend I Quit Sugar: Simplicious by Sarah Wilson

not because the recipes were all awful (I still make the Celery Soda) but because I couldn’t trust it! For a recipe book that said it was all about reducing waste… well I have never tried so many inaccurate & tasteless recipes and had to throw out so many ingredients, when I had carefully followed the recipe!

Worst Fiction
A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd. Wooden. A DNF

 Worst Overall
I Quit Sugar: Simplicious Nuff said.

So on to the Good Ones!

Best NZ Fiction

The flawed but brilliant Auē. Becky Manawatu is a writer to watch out for.

Best International Fiction – Reread
Cotillion – of course! My favourite Regency by my favourite author
Runner up A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Honorable Mention Arabella – also by my beloved Georgette Heyer!

Best International Fiction
I’m going to give it to Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
but Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden is a very close second.
Honorable Mention Slow Horses Well worth the wait to acquire a copy!

Best NZ Nonfiction
The Years Before My Death9] by the late, great NZ Comedian David McPhail. Very little of his older work survived – TVNZ taped over them.
Runner Up A Wanganui Photo Album: Pages From the Past I wish I could remember the name of the main photographer – these old photos are works of genius! I would love to own a copy of this book.
Two Honourable Mentions; Ten Years in Wellington displaying the work of the wonderfully talented Michael McCormack
Opera for Lovers by Kiri Te Kanawa – part memoir, part opinion piece, always fascinating.

Best International Nonfiction
I can’t separate these two very different books.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou & Me by Elton John

Best Cookbook (NZ & International)
A Vegetable Cook Book

Best Nonfiction Overall
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou & Me by Elton John

Poetry Best New Zealand
Goddess Muscle by Karlo Milo. Wow!

Poetry International
Was a collection & my first audiobook. & what an audiobook to start with! Classic Love Poems narrated by the velvet voice of Richard Armitage.

Best YA
Fifteen by the late Beverley Cleary. Old fashioned and charming

Best NZ Children’s’ Book
Mophead Tu: The Queen’s Poem by the wonderful Selina Tusitala Marsh

Best International Children’s Book
The Last Noo-Noo by the late Jill Murphy. Jill you, will be very much missed!

Best New-To-Me Author
Margery Sharp I loved Rhododendrum Pie but her adult books seem difficult to find in NZ.

Best Book Cover
This wasn’t my favourite Fiona Kidman but I loved the cover. 

Infinite Air by Fiona Kidman
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& on to my stats. I read 82 books, including 5 dnfs. My average rating was 4.

I’ve given up trying to add my pie charts on Goodreads. I know the developers are doing a bity of housekeeping, but images not working properly wasn’t mentioned.

What these pie charts show.

  1. I still read way more women than men. I’m not expecting this to change.
  2. I’m not reading nearly enough books by Kiwi authors.
  3. I read mostly fiction
  4. Although I still read mostly 20th century books, the amount of 21st century books I read has increased. I’m reading a bit more non fiction & poetry, so that will be part of the reason.

So why couldn’t it be this simple on Goodreads?

So I’ll just say the constant bugs, changes that reduce the functionality for members, but don’t even seem to slow the spammers down and proposed changes to the book page that may make it harder for volunteer Librarians to do the edits are very frustrating.

All the best for 2022!

Goodreads Choice Awards

Have rolled around and for me as a New Zealander they have become even more meaningless with write ins no longer allowed and Cookbooks no longer a category.

I’ll explain. Write ins meant that there was a miniscule hope that one day a book by a Kiwi author would be published in the States and (a big and) I would like the book enough to nominate it. No chance of that now.

Cookbooks- I just like the eye candy of outsize cookbooks.

While I’m on a roll I’ll mention that combining Picture Books with Middle School books seems very short sighted on Goodreads/Amazon’s part. These are the readers of the future after all.

So this year I didn’t vote at all. I am expecting at some point to get around to reading The Plot and The Wife Upstairs but I’m not in any rush. Many of my Goodreads friends felt a bit meh about all the fiction nominations.

Thoughts everyone?

Goodreads Choice Awards 2021- Even Less Choice Now!

I’m a Librarian on Goodreads & I did used to help with the Goodreads Choice Awards – in a very minor capacity. I did enjoy seeing the titles that members nominated – sometimes I even put them on my to-read lists.

But now that is all changed.

I don’t have to make some minor edits – because Goodreads no longer allows write ins.

Goodreads has also reduced the number of categories. Science & Technology has been combined with Nonfiction (no argument from me – the vote numbers were low) But – outrage! Food & Cookbooks have also been combined with Nonfiction. There aren’t many Cookbooks that I read from front cover to back cover. & apparently there wasn’t a single cookbook worthy of a nonfiction nomination this year.

Showing my bias I guess, as celebrity cookbooks are usually among the best selling non fiction in my country.

If I ruled the world & it was really necessary to compress categories I would have put biographies with autobiographies, put history & science with nonfiction. I would definitely left Cookbooks as a separate category as not many people read cookbooks the way they do other non fiction. & I think combining Picture Books with middle grade & children’s is very short sighted. These are the readers of the future.

I am glad they are starting a couple of weeks laterthough.

Disappointing, but no particular skin off my nose. Since books have to be published in the States to be eligible, I have rarely read any of the nominees & prefer to wait a couple of years for the hype to die down.

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!

Goodreads Support & Goodreads Librarians are not Interchangeable Terms!

I thought I really should start doing more with my blog space then just reposting my Goodreads reviews.

So I’ll start with this:

I was reading some blog posts on WordPress and I came upon one that interested me. This blogger was going to write to Goodreads Librarians about a copyright issue. She duly posted her message which she said she sent to Goodreads Librarians. All well and good – except she didn’t.

She would have sent her message to Support (Staff). Goodreads Librarians are volunteers who do the book cataloging and correct quotes & stuff like that. We don’t receive copies of these messages/emails – ever.

Goodreads Librarians have little to no influence over Goodreads policies. There are many things we can’t help with. I know because I am a Goodreads Librarian!

There are many things we can’t help with:

* Spammers

*Trolls & other bullies

*Any bugs or anything not working properly on the Goodreads

*Book ratings

*Book reviews

*Becoming a Goodreads Author or Librarian

*In most cases Goodreads Giveaways (but if there is some missing information we may be able to fill that in. Usually though you will need Support.)

* Changes to Goodreads Policies about pretty much anything

For all of those issues you need Support (Staff) You have contacted staff already and haven’t heard back? Sorry, still can’t help. With millions of members & a relatively small staff sometimes queries to them aren’t answered the same day – or even the same week. You just have to be patient.

Neither Staff nor Librarians;

“I read this wonderful book over ten years ago and all I remember is that it was set in Canada & the heroine was a florist who always wore pink.”

Try a wonderful GR group called What’s the Name of that Book. They have had a lot of successes.

Ahhh, I feel better now!