2019 Year in Review

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.

2019 Highlights:

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:

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.

22 thoughts on “2019 Year in Review

  1. Yea, I’m thinking you were destined to meet Mina that day. That was really sweet that you took her in. What the name of the older cat? Is it a black cat too?
    Loved your posts on Iceland of course, especially the photos. The place is stunning to me or maybe it’s the photos that make it seem so. Either way, I’d love to visit.
    And that’s a good bit of reading you got through. I’m hoping to make it to 100 books. I’d like to do it at least once.

  2. My older cat’s name is Sidney. He is a striped gray cat. They get along okay.

    Iceland is gorgeous, photos notwithstanding. It’s one of those places where you look around, and every view is incredible, basically no matter where you are.

    Good luck with reading 100 books! It’s a pretty cool feeling the first time you accomplish a goal like that.

  3. I love that you named your cat Mina after Mina Harker, Dracula is my fave book! And she’s beautiful ❤
    Also, I want to thank you for your posts about your Iceland trip, my dad is planning to go during May and he found your posts very useful.

  4. What a great year you had! Welcome to the family, Mina. It’s is wonderful how life tricks us so more love can be in our lives. And Mina is a perfect name for this kitten! She looks like a Mina to me.
    I’m so excited for you that book reviews are the most popular posts on your blog! I aspire to that, after all, DbT is a book blog.
    What are your highly anticipated releases? Anything in particular you’re excited to read in 2020?

  5. Life has definitely been a lite more wonderful since Mina arrived. 😍

    I am looking forward to Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light and Martha Wells’s Network Effect most of all in 2020. I read the previous books in both series last year, and they were among my favorites.

  6. Amazing!!! 😮 I too “adopted” a cat serendipitously. A siamese cat (mother) grew attached to us and then gave birth to a bunch of black kitties, we gave them all away to the vet/shelter and kept one cat who looks a lot like yours!

    And wow, Iceland looks amazing! Thanks for sharing these with us! 😀

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