Wednesday, January 2, 2019

#FirstBook and #OneWord for 2019...and 2018 End of Year #Book Survey

Sending out a big thanks to Sheila at Book Journey for hosting First Book of the Year and sharing My One Word once again this year. This has become a tradition for many of us and I truly appreciate it.

My first book of the year is our non-fiction selection for my True Book Talk book group on Goodreads. January is one of our three yearly non-fiction months and our January selection each year must be a biography or history title. I chose six historical biographies from the non-fiction shelf of my home library and we voted (via poll) for which title we wanted to read. This has been on my shelf for years and Eleanor is one of my historical heroines. So excited to finally read it!

Arya looks quite perturbed with my first book of the year. lol


This year, I want to keep moving forward. I feel like in 2018 I was kind of at a standstill. Not that my life wasn't way busy and hectic. It was. Just basically at a standstill with my goals....reading more, writing, blogging, getting healthy. This year I chose "Onward" as my one word. Onward with all my goals, but particularly with writing my novel. Onward, knocking aside the fear and the doubt. I found this poem online (here) and it is quite fitting...


Words drip out of the pen
A realization begins to take shape
With the pace of a shark that has picked up the scent of blood in the water
With the face of a broken clock attempting to measure the time passing
Through the letters, pain and pleasure
Burdens lifted
Inner peace is gifted
Ink addicted
Especially whilst conflicted
A journey towards the center
Or a journey towards what lies outside
A trek on top of clouds ‘till Heaven
Or a tunnel built with zero degree tilt, straight down towards where Hell must lie
The core scorches with the heat of an impassioned love
Space is empty, vast, and freezing cold
But until I find the answers to my questions
The ink will flow and the pen I’ll hold

Every year, I purchase a necklace or pendant with my one word, but this year I chose to go with a bracelet. This is the one. Of course, it will have Onward engraved on it. I hope it arrives soon!

9th Annual End Of Year Book Survey

Our host each year is Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner.

I'm going to pick and choose which questions to answer on this one, as I feel some do not apply.


Number Of Books You Read:  31
Very shabby turn out on my goal of 75...2018 was not a great year for my reading.

Number of Re-Reads: 3
Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
Howard's End, E.M. Forster
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Genre You Read The Most From: Horror
In previous years, this would have been historical fiction.

1. Best Book You Read In 2018?
I'll go with my top five favorites (excluding re-reads):

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
The Terror, Dan Simmons
The Anomaly, Michael Rutger
Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn
Bird Box, Josh Malerman

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I won't say I was terribly excited about it. I saw it and when I read the description, I thought it sounded in similar vein to The Anomaly. It wasn't. 

Ararat, Christopher Golden

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

I discovered The Confessions of Dorian Gray series by Tim Leng quite by accident when searching for Christmas audio books on Hoopla. I had never heard of the series. The Confessions of Dorian Gray: The Spirits of Christmas was surprisingly good. Very entertaining...acted out like a television show or movie. I will have to listen to the entire series eventually.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

The Anomaly and Bird Box
5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

I did not start or end a series, nor did I read a series ender. Amend that. Just discovered that The Anomaly is the first book in a planned series. The second book is out July of this year. Woot!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Michael Rutger (author of question 5 above), which is a pseudonym for Michael Marshall.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

While I might possibly read more poetry than most (???), it's still not a genre I typically read. Best book of poetry I read was How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Anomaly, hands down. I read it in less than a day!

9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Why A Christmas Carol, of course! I read it every year.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

11. Most memorable character of 2018?
I have to name two...Ruby Lennox from Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum and Captain Francis Crozier from Dan Simmons' The Terror.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

To Kill a Mockingbird
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

Again, To Kill a Mockingbird. I can't believe I waited so long to read it!

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

See above

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)... There are just some kind of men who - who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” 

--from To Kill a Mockingbird

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?
Tales of Christmas anthology, 46 pages
The Terror, 769 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
I would have to say the subject matter of The Treatment by Mo Hayder. Great book, but very disturbing what goes on in that book.

(Skipped 18 and 19)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
The Narrows, Ronald Malfi

(Skipped 21 and 22)

23. Best 2018 debut you read?
Although it's technically not a debut since the author is a pseudonym of a previously published author, it is a debut for this author, and so The Anomaly...again. lol

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Ombria in Shadow, Patricia McKillip

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
I'm Not Sorry: Poems by Cats, Rosa Silva

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?
How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

(Skipped 27 - 30)

I've decided to just freestyle the remainder of this survey with some reading goals and one (or two) blogging goals.
  • Of course, my main goal is to read more books. I want to go with my original plan from earlier in 2018. I was going to track my daily reading progress to hold myself more accountable to read more every day. I have a tab in the blog menu. I'm hoping to keep up with it this year. 
  • I want to read more Anne Rice, and at least one or two Stephen King books this year. I also want to read the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords.
  • I'm working on deciding which reading challenges I'll participate in this year (post coming soon). I failed miserably in 2018 on all but two reading Book to Movie challenge and my 13 Ways yearly challenge. I'm going to try to limit myself to five or less full year challenges, not including the ones I host.
  • The only goals I have for blogging are 1) to perhaps write more reviews, or maybe not reviews (unless it's a review book), but rather write ups of the books I enjoyed. Perhaps mini-reviews...
  • and 2) to start writing my A Reading Life posts again, but changing from weekly to monthly. I think that will be more manageable for me.
So, wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2019. If you happen to read this post, please feel free to share your first book of the year, your one word, and/or your reading goals and plans.

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  1. Excellent post--I like your word for 2019, and the poem was amazing. Thanks for sharing that. It wasn't my first time reading To Kill a Mockingbird, but every time I do read it I am blown away by the writing, the wisdom, and the compassion. Truly a national treasure. Best wishes for 2019--may you make strides towards your goals, and read wonderful books that impact and enrich your life.

  2. The one word thing has been such a revelation for me -- I started doing it two years ago and it really helped me reframe the things I wanted to value. This year I've picked "enjoy" because I am not very good at relaxing and enjoying things.

  3. What a great post! Love that you do First Book and ooh I love love your word of the year. I went with Reignite, even this early into the year it has served me well so I am excited to see where it takes me.
    Happy Happy New year!

  4. Great post and interesting views on the books you have read. To Kill a Mockingbird is really good. I also read it just a few years ago.
    I love historical fiction/non fiction of women in history. This sounds like a great book. I also have a book on my TBR shelves of an Eleanor; Eleanor, the Secret Queen by Ashdown-Hill, John. It is about Edward IV's first queen which he supposedly married in secret. Looking forward reading this story in 2019.
    I like your word for 2019. I am thinking something similar. Onwards is where I want to go this year. Learn something new, be more disciplined and put my projects forward.
    All the best with your onwards year.

  5. I love your word and that you finally read To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my all time faves. My best friend from high school (pretty sure she still reads more than me) read it for the first time in 2018 too. It doesn't age in its wisdom.

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