2021 Book Bingo Retrospective

I made it*! My original goal was to finish all 25 books on the Book Bingo card, every one of them on hardmode. With two exceptions, I made it (see below). You can click any book to read my review: 2021 Book Bingo Attack on Titan, Vol. 1 (Hard Mode) 5 SFF Short Stories (Hard: An entire anthology or collection) The Poppy War (Hard Mode) Set in Asia (Hard: by an Asian author)

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2021 Reading Retrospective

Well. That was a year. Covid, take 2. A new job. A new baby. I didn’t quite make my 200 books this year (I didn’t quite even make it to 1/2 days), but that’s okay. I still read a giant pile. :D

Some stats:

  • 179 books read: 1 every 2.04 days (almost!)
  • 47,236 pages read: roughly 130 pages/day
  • 29 audiobooks, 96 graphic novels, 18 children’s chapter books, 18 non-fiction
  • 56 unique authors (top were Hajime Isayama, Patricia Briggs, Warren Ellis, and Neil Gaiman)
  • 19 series (top were Attack on Titan, Mercy Thompson/Alpha & Omega, Sandman, and Runelords)

Shortest: The Shepherd's Tale with 56 pages, longest: The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition with over 1000. That feels like cheating though, so let’s go with Rhythm of War at 1270 / Crafting Interpreters at 865. 😄

The most read book I read this year was 1984 with 5 million others reading it (on Goodreads alone; I was working on my earliest backlog). Least popular: Tales of Nezura: Book 1: The Zevolra with only 39. It … wasn’t bad. Give it a try?

Overall, I gave 119 five-star ratings, 45 four-star, 7 three-star, and less than 10 other ratings. I’ve come to the realization over the last year that I tend to like just about everything. Books in particular, they’re only on my list if I think I’d find them interesting, so of course, they’ll be rated highly…

Not bad.

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Hellblazer, Vol. 9: Critical Mass (Hellblazer #9)

Two big stories, a few really trippy dreams, and Constantine managing to push off damnation a bit longer. A neat collection. Critical Mass in particular is worth the read. Mini reviews (spoilers): In Another Part of Hell Chas’ mother… quite a figure. Warped Notions Part One: The Delicate Power of Terror Allllll right then. Same thing. Part Two: The Everything Virus They’re really going into the weird this time around…

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The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition

No. I’m not going to review the Bible. I did however, read the entire Bible this year (for the second time, first time with the additional Catholic books). This time around, guided by the excellent Bible in a Year podcast hosted by Fr. Mike Schmitz. Over the course of the year, it goes through every single book in the Bible in a fairly well thought out order–which certainly does make you realize just how much more of the Old Testament there is… (For context, the OT is 3x as long as the NT.

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Clap When You Land

I was raised so damn Dominican Spanish my first language bachata a reminder of the power of my body plánto & salami for years before I ever tasted peanut butter & jelly sandwhicches. If you asked me what I was, & you meant in terms of culture, I'd say Dominican. No hesitation, no question about it. Can you be from a place you have never been? You can find the island stamped all over me, but what would the island find if I was there?

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Worldbinder (The Runelords #6)

Where Sons of the Oak could arguably considered a continuation of the first four books, what with references and plots revolving around the Earth King and his wife and a focus on Borenson, Myrrima, and their children, now in Worldbinder we’re really getting into the changes–and I’m not sure I’m okay with that. For one, the first real ‘binding of worlds’ happens fairly early in the book. In a nutshell, that means that any character alive in both worlds is now a mix of memories, experiences, et al of both characters, while those only in one are initially weaker for it.

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Pippi in the South Seas (Pippi Löngstrump #3)

Cute enough. For the most part, it’s more Pippi stories, but they do finally get out of the town and go with Pippi and her father to the South Seas island where her father is king. Which… is both the best and worst part of the book. It’s zany and fun in true Pippi fashion, but it’s also horribly imperialistic/racist. It’s still a fun book, but definitely a product of the times.

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Hellblazer, Vol. 8: Rake at the Gates of Hell (Hellblazer #8)

There was a lot of potential in this episode, with two longer storylines–one the continuation of the angels/devil storyline we’ve been dealing with for a while. But unfortunately, outside of a few very cool/trippy visuals it was a surprisingly quiet volume. A lot of human trouble, not enough supernatural craziness. Less moping at least, but without a real transition (at least in my opinion). Not terrible, but certainly one of the weaker entries in the series.

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An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors (The Risen Kingdoms #1)

Well that was delightful. One of the reasons I’m really glad for the 2021 Book Bingo. I don’t know when/if I would have found this book, if not for that, and I really quite enjoyed it. It’s got great steampunky worldbuilding (with some hints of body horror I honestly feel steampunk should probably have more of), royal/courtly intrigue, wonderful characters, and some delightful writing (with a French twist to the word choices that I don’t see much of).

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Hellblazer, Vol. 7: Tainted Love (Hellblazer #7)

Another solid volume. In particular, there’s another volume about angels/demons/and the troubles they get into. It’s not quite as good as the one in Bloodlines, but still enjoyable. An interesting take on Gabriel, that’s for sure. End of the Line Family trouble… … of the magical kind. Both ways: Forty … years old and all alone. Until: Now that’s a party. Oh my. They even got Swamp Thing.

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