Welcome to The Bookish Context! I am so excited to finally launch my new blog. So I pondered over this for a bit, and though it is months later than expected I would love to share my reading year of 2020 as part of my very first blog post. No matter how dark this year was, it made me recognize and hold on to the good in my life. I found renewed pleasure in old delights and learned to appreciate the smallest things that suffuse my heart with joy.
But before I dive into that, I would like to share how the blogging process has been like pre-launch.
The Beginning of My Adventure in the Blogosphere
I was a stranger to the blogosphere until the beginning of this year. Being a newbie I knew next to nothing about creating one. The setting up process has been a journey of trial and error. For the better part of the last three months, I read up and taught myself the workings of a website from scratch. Starting from crucial points such as web hosting to minuscule details such as coding in tweaks to the overall theme, and anything in between. While also learning basic skills like designing graphics and how to go about actually writing blog posts.
There are so many nuances to consider that at times I was frustrated with how confusing everything was. However, I took a leap of faith as it were and kept at it. The realization soon hit me, that this the most fun I have had in challenging myself in recent years. And this feeling is manifest even now, at the starting point of this adventure. I get so delighted with the thought of the numerous possibilities that are yet to come.
I admire all the bloggers in the community for inspiring creativity in others. Because it is all the wonderful people who are a part of it, that served as a major motivator for me. I would especially like to show my appreciation for Avalinah’s Books and Drizzle & Hurricane Books for the incredibly useful resources curated for new bloggers.
My Year in Books
Here are some of the highlights (including both backlisted and the latest releases I read in 2020).
Reading Statistics for the Year
This was a great year in terms of reading because I perused several very well-written novels. So I am well-pleased with the outcome.
- According to Goodreads: total pages read= 21,150.
- The genres which my reading was majorly inclined towards included Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Historical and Contemporary among others.
5 Star Reads of the Year
- The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation provides a mixture of heartbreak and laughter. The intricate storyline and dynamic characters make one fall in love with this world.
- Persepolis, a charming coming of age story which is a must-read. It conveys how a graphic novel can serve to effectively portray and draw people to reflect upon grim realities in a seemingly light-hearted manner.
- A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is just the kind of book one cannot put down because the mystery is that compelling.
- The Song of Achilles casts a spell that one would never want to break free from. The writing is so evocative that it truly touches one deeply. Now I know why one would relish reading such a tragic tale.
Readathons and Reading Challenges I Enjoyed
I could not seem to get enough of reading challenges so I incorporated prompts from previous years as well. Rules that I made for myself were:
- One book can match multiple prompts but from different challenges.
- The same book cannot be used for more than two prompts.
- 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge: 42/50
- 2019 Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge: 21/21
- 2020 O.W.Ls Magical Readathon: 12/12 and 2019 O.W.Ls Magical Readathon: 12/12 (hosted by Book Roast)
- 2020 Jane Austen July hosted by Books and Things: 4/7
- 2020 Romanceathon hosted by gabbyreads and Jacqueline: 5/5
Unexpected Delights of the Year
The Other Bennet Sister struck a chord with me in ways I cannot explain, there were some moments I could relate to so well that they made me cry. The beauty of the writing lies in being able to bring out the distinct flavour of Jane Austen. In describing an oft dismissed character Mary, her insecurities and her journey to self-love and acceptance, the author was able to create such a well-rounded protagonist.
Twenties Girl with its rib-tickling humour courtesy of one of the most rambunctious ghosts ever was a surprisingly touching story about familial bonds. This book was different from Kinsella’s usual romantic comedies.
Most Disappointing Reads
Less and Jar of Hearts are both highly acclaimed novels, and the mistake I made was going into these novels without knowing anything about them. I simply could not connect with the stories being told. For the latter, the themes were immensely disturbing.
I Ship It
- I was re-reading Much Ado About Nothing after many years. Benedick and Beatrice will hold a special place in my heart because who does enemies to lovers better than them? I adore their witty banter and transition from despising each other to be ‘tricked’ into falling in love.
- Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian from The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivaton (Mo Dao Zu Shi) are a pair that epitomize that timeless bonds of love are created between individuals who no matter how outwardly different share the same core values and principles. The trust and respect built from such a foundation make the ultimate power couple.
Re-read Worthy Novels
Wonder and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo are both gems that I see myself coming back to many times in the future. The characters have such powerful messages to convey through their triumphs and struggles. I had initially been sceptical going in with the hype surrounding these books, but they deserve all the love we can give. They urge one to be more sensitive and considerate as a human being.
Series I Started and Would Like to Continue
New to Me Authors Whose Works I Wish to Explore
- Michelle Moran
- Taylor Jenkins Reid
- Janice Hadlow
My love for audiobooks for which credit goes to The Diviners. This was the first audiobook I listened to and (my threshold for horror being really low) was thoroughly creeped out but exhilarated by the experience. This book just lends itself to the format so well. There has been no looking back for me ever since, audiobooks have completely won me over. Nowadays, even if I have a physical copy I still enjoy reading along with the audiobook.
Favourite Picks of the Year
I want more books to have females leads like those in Spinning Silver. Miryem and Wanda taking charge of their destiny in believable ways. I always look forward to reading about women whose strength of will and intelligence is highlighted, rather than the conventional depiction of strength being only in terms of physical prowess.
Mystery and Thriller
I completed the two books in the series in less than a day so you can guess how much I loved it.
Nefertiti is an iconic figure associated with power and beauty in Egyptian history. But the character who I particularly empathized with is the narrator in this book, her sister, Mutnodjmet who provided such a humane perspective to the political intrigues of the time.
William’s shenanigans are obnoxious but hilarious. I can completely relate to his perpetually exasperated family.
My Lady Jane had such a unique premise and it was such an entertaining read integrating historical elements with humour, fantasy and romance in such an unforeseen way.
The Prince and the Dressmaker gladdens one’s heart in a way that one would love to get lost in this fairy tale.
There is something so serene and idyllic about the cover, the colours bring out the heartwarming feel the novel rouses.
It is never too late to share one’s love of reading, as is the motto of this blog I hope I will be able to bring you many happy returns to your TBR pile.
What are your thoughts on the overall look of the blog?
How was your experience starting out as a book blogger ?
Have you read any of the books mentioned above or plan to?
Let me know in the comments below!