So here it is.
New Year’s Eve and, being a dad to a five year old and generally quite antisocial, I am at home with family, a glass of chilled champagne and, currently, Pointless on the television.
Living the high life! But I’d have it no other way. The little one is upstairs reading Emma Yarlett’s Nibbles the Book Monster and enthralled with the idea of the book monster nibbling his way out of his book and into her bed for a cuddle. Bless her! Nibbles is one of two wonderful books I got for her over the course of this year. The other is A Chlid of Books by Oliver Jeffers. Both cite, and are situated explicitly within, the corpus of children’s literature and are lovely companions.
Looking back over 2018, I managed to complete – if my counting is accurate – 39 books this year. Thirty-nine. That is not far off one a week. I think that is pretty impressive. Considering we’ve had Ofsted into work twice over that period and had to settle the little one into her first year of school.
And I managed to bookend the year with Gothic readings! I entered 2018 reading Broken Harbour, a fabulous entry into the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French, and having a deeply Gothic sensibility – in my opinion at least; I am leaving it reading Melmoth by Sarah Perry, an explicitly Gothic tale albeit set in modern day Prague.
It has also been a year of closings as three series I have enjoyed immensely came to an end, although I can only say that because I received an ARC of Katherine Arden’s The Winter of the Witch, bringing a beautifully crafted conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy; the other series (apparently) brought to an end was Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, concluded in Lies Sleeping. I say concluded, but there are enough loose ends left dangling to keep the series going is Aaronovitch wanted to Finally, Marie Brennan’s Memoirs of Lady Trent was concluded by Within the Sanctuary of Wings which was, perhaps, a series which ran a little out of steam by the end?
Can I select my favourite book from the year? Hard to call. Very hard. I could perhaps select a top three: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne, See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt and Reservoir 13 by Jon MacGregor. They are the three that continue to sing to me weeks and months after finishing them, albeit for very different reasons!
And this year saw a new focus from me on keeping the blog going: I moved to a new URL for The Book Lover’s Sanctuary and made a conscious effort to maintain a more regular presence with weekly – which became regular – reading updates and were superceded latterly by the 30 Day Book Challenge, which I have still to complete despite having good intentions of finishing it by Christmas, then the new year. Now, I guess it will provide continuity into 2019! I’ve acquired some lovely new followers both here and on Twitter and have had far more comments on my posts, which is great! So much better than spouting into the void! My 171 current followers may seem a paltry figure compared to the thousands that some blogs have but each and every one of you are valued and cherished! Please do comment, make contact, keep in touch!
Looking at the stats page on WordPress, 2018 has broken the 10,000 views target with 10,787 – and four hours still to go! That’s on average 30 a day. An entire classroom’s worth. Of people who choose to come and look. I am humbled by that! Honestly.
And my sinister and nefarious reach has gone global! The map of my visitors looks like this
I suppose it is not surprising that the UK and USA are most heavily represented – and the South Africa contingent is a response to my review of Tsotsi by Athol Fugard years ago and which is still ridiculously popular! It was a great book! But I suspect it is a “taught” book which accounts for the interest!
Anyway, I am going to raise my glass of champagne to 2018
and return to my reading Melmoth and the deliciously creepy streets of Prague.
May I wish you all a Happy New Year and good reading into 2019!