Now that 2020 is upon us, it’s a good time to look back at 2019. It was a good year, overall, with a few rough spots that left me extremely stressed out until events were resolved. I didn’t change jobs or move or anything, but I made some new friends, traveled a bit, and adopted an adorable kitten.
I did a lot of reading, as well, finishing off the year with 170 books– the most I’ve ever read.
On July 10, I got up early to go to a dental appointment. I walked into my apartment building’s laundry room to go to the parking lot, looked down, and there was a tiny black kitten looking up at me. I don’t know if someone brought her inside and left her there, or if she snuck in on her own, but she was all alone and there was no sign anyone was coming for her. I picked her up before she could get under the boiler, hurried back to my apartment where I put a towel, a bowl of water, and a bit of cat food in the bathroom for her, closed the door so my old cat wouldn’t bother her, and rushed to my dental appointment.
Upon arriving at the dentist’s office, I discovered that I got the week wrong. My appointment wasn’t until the following Wednesday. It was the most fortuitous misunderstanding of my schedule I’ve ever had.
So I went home and took the kitten to the veterinarian. The vet guessed that she was about five weeks old. She weighed 1 lb., 2oz., had fleas, tapeworms, and the worst case of ear mites the vet had ever seen. I think she came from the feral colony that lives in my neighborhood. I can’t think of another way a kitten would get so sick so quickly. Thanks to the vet’s intervention, flea and mite treatments, a few rounds of de-wormer, and Kitten Milk Replacement, the scraggly little fluffball started putting on weight and has been my boon companion ever since. I named her Mina, after Mina Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as it seemed both sufficiently Goth for a black cat of mine, and sufficiently literary.
Nowadays, she has grown into her ears, sleeps on the bed next to my head, and enjoys sneaking into the kitchen cabinets. I hadn’t planned to adopt another cat at the beginning of 2019, but I wouldn’t have it any other way now.
In September I traveled back to my favorite destination: Iceland. It was my second trip there, and because I was more comfortable with the driving situation, not suffering from tendonitis in my ankle, had upped my photography game, and was generally more adventurous this time around, I had a lot more fun and saw far more amazing things that I did the first time I went.
There are too many highlights from the trip to narrow it down to a few, but you can read about my adventures in the following posts:
- Iceland, Days 1 & 2: Reykjavík and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Some of my favorite photographs from Iceland:
2019 Year in Books:
As I mentioned earlier, I finished 170 books in 2019. I found some new favorites, a few more I thought were lousy, started a few new series, finished falling head over heels for audiobooks, and did a lot of geeking out over the year.
The year’s reading stats:
- 60.9% were written by women, 38.5% were by men, and 0.6% were written by a team of men and women. I didn’t go out of my way to read more books by women. That’s just how it worked out.
- 53.3% were written by Americans, 29.6% were by English authors, 0.6% by Canadians, 1.8% by Polish, 1.8% by German, 1.2% by Irish, 3% by Japanese, 1.2% by Australians, and 1.2% were by Icelandic writers. It’s not the worst spread of nationalities, but I can do better than that. I’m going to make more of an effort in 2020 to read more books from more countries.
- 88.2% of the books I read were originally written in English, while only 11.8% were works in translation. I can definitely do better than that.
- 60.4% of what I read were physical books, 22.5% were ebooks, and 17.2% were audiobooks.
- 37.9% of the books I read were adult fantasy, 8.3% were YA fantasy, and 4.1% were middle-grade fantasy. Speculative fiction accounted for 0.6%, mystery for 5.9%, 6.5% were nonfiction, 5.3% were memoir, 4.7% were historical fiction, 4.7% were poetry, 11.2% were science fiction, and 7.7% were general fiction. I am not surprised by this spread, though I think I will be reading more nonfiction in 2020.
- 50.9% of what I read came from the library, 37.9% was from my own shelves, 10.1% was from NetGalley, and 1.2% were bought via GooglePlay or Kindle. I don’t buy many ebooks. Is it obvious?
- The years of publication ran from 180 CE (Meditations, Marcus Aurelius) to 1120 (The Rub’iyat, Omar Khayyam), to 1691 (The Narrow Road to the Interior, Matsuo Bashō) to 2019.
The blog saw steady growth throughout 2019, and I was active on Bookstagram through most of the year. I think I’ve settled into a style for my book photos for now, though I may shake things up later. You never know!
My most popular posts of 2019:
Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Book Review: Wayfinding
Book Review: Ninth House
Book Review: Lethal Pursuit
Book Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come
Book Review: The Paragon Hotel
Book Review: Wicked Saints
Book Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow
It’s funny that my most popular posts were book reviews since it feels to me like I did relatively few of them overall. I plan to write more reviews this year.
On the whole, it was a good year here at Traveling in Books. I don’t know what 2020 will bring, aside from some highly anticipated releases, but I hope I will travel even farther afield– in books or in the real world– than I have before.