Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

My Word of the Year for 2021 was REVISE. With how the year turned out to be, it definitely seemed to be an appropriate word because I did have to constantly have to revise or change the way I would normally do things. Some of these pivots worked better than others.

Heading into 2021 was weird because of all the uncertainty yet there was a glimmer of hope for the second half of the year. When that didn’t really come to fruition, it was a hard pill to swallow. I remember planning goals for only the first half of the year with the intention of reevaluating and resetting for the second half. But I basically burned out after the first quarter and lost motivation for the rest of the year. Then I tried focusing on seasonal goals but when summer didn’t play out the way I intended, I gave up on that. I needed a “Salvage the Summer” week to do just that.

I guess I wasn’t able to focus on anything for a long time so I did two-week sprints of trying to instill new habits (but falling off immediately after they ended) and did seasonal bucket lists to take some of the pressure off.

In 2021, I’ve read 509 books. The breakdown is:

24- Adult novels

23- Adult non-fiction

32- Graphic novels

66- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)

350- Picture Books and Board Books

15- Young Adult novels

of which

109- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)

47- Audio Books

From my Must Read list of 43 titles, I read 15 of them and decided not to read 4.

I was able to get my list of Favorite Favorites down to 52 over the summer which was quite the undertaking.

I also didn’t write as many reviews which made me blog less. I’m hoping that by switching from Goodreads to The StoryGraph, I will be more inspired to write more book reviews and keep up with my blogging. Follow me there!

Writing was pretty bleak this past year. But I did participate in StoryStorm and wrote a poem, “The Boy who Loved Birthdays”, as part of a little series I was doing.

I was able to find more Whimsy and Wonder, which you can read all about here. I also went on at least one Artist Day each month.

I visited lots of bookstores and libraries and reinstated my library hops, which you can read all about here.

As I mentioned earlier, I hadn’t been writing reviews for the books I’ve read- even the ones I’ve enjoyed- so my lists of Favorite Books of 2021 will look a bit different. (These are books I read in 2021 and not necessarily books that were published that year. I’m also linking to to continue to move away from Amazon-owned businesses.)

Picture Book

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho with illustrations by Dung Ho

Middle Grade

Pony by R. J. Palacio

Kids Nonfiction

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

Young Adult / Audiobook

Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Audiobook through

Graphic Novel

Clash by Kayla Miller

Adult Fiction

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Adult Nonfiction

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

And, here are a couple of books that come out this year- 2022- that I managed to read last year that you should keep an eye out for:

Eyes That Speak to the Stars by Joanna Ho with illustrations by Dung Ho

Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds with illustrations by Jason Griffin

Hopefully, next week, we’ll get back to posting regular reviews!

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

8 thoughts on “My Reading Week #IMWAYR- January 3, 2022 / December and Year-End Recap

  1. Best wishes to you and to us all for a better 2022, Earl. I hope that ‘boy who loved birthdays’ received all his wishes! Love hearing you read your poem. I think we all had some surprises last year, not all of them good. Thanks for sharing some books & those newest ones, too!

  2. It was a hard year. I can’t even remember what my word for last year was. This year I am contemplating balance. I will sit with it for a bit and see if it feels right. Over the years I have discovered that getting the right word is important.
    Ain’t Burned All the Bright is on my tentative #MustRead list for next year. I adore Jason Reynold’s writing. Cloud Cuckoo Land was one of my favourites from last year too. I read Caste in 2020 and have continued to recommend it to readers.

  3. 2021 was definitely a chaotic and frustrating year, so I can definitely understand that it was hard to stick with some of your goals during the year—just the act of even trying to improve things is already really impressive! And wow—you managed to get a ton of books read this year! I’m really impressed. I love your favorite picks—Eyes That Kiss in the Corners is a great one (I’m excited for the sequel!), and I’m excited to review Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World in a few weeks (it’s absolutely incredible!). I also understand moving away from Amazon and Goodreads to support less evil companies—I just got myself put together on Goodreads, so I’m probably going to stick with it for a while, but I definitely understand that anyone under the Amazon umbrella has questionable morality! Thanks so much for the great post, and I hope that 2022 is a wonderful, less-stressful year for you, Earl!

  4. I agree with your assessment of 2021. Thinking that things were going to improve and just not seeing it has been tough. It feels to me a little like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day character. As a society, we are doing pandemic things until we get them all correct.
    Despite the times we are in, you got a lot of excellent reading done (I noticed that MG total that was way over your goal). I loved your favourite list too. We have already chatted about our shared love for Pony, but I also enjoyed the Aristotle and Dante sequel as well. I have packed around Christina Soontornvat’s book on the cave rescue in Thailand for the last month and a half but still haven’t read it. It has to be read in the first half of 2022 (at least that is what I am telling myself). I am not caught up with Kayla Miller’s series although I just ordered the rest for my library.
    Thanks for the Jason Reynolds recommendation. I hadn’t really been thinking about that one. I am supposed to get Stuntboy in a few days and am interested to see where he went with that format.
    Happy New Year, and best wishes for 2022.

  5. I love your word for 2021. What is your word for 2022? I’ve seen a few people mention Storygraph but don’t know much about it other than people are using it instead of Goodreads. On the one hand I’m curious about it, but on the other hand, I’ve been using Goodreads since 2009 and have invested so much of my “reading brain” as Donalyn Miller calls it, that I don’t know if I want to start over somewhere else. I guess time will tell if I finally cave and go over there instead. 🙂

  6. 2021 seemed such a let-down for so many. I think we had such great expectations and were sorely disappointed when we had another round of the same thing. And yes please, I’d like to submit my vote for a “Salvage the Summer” week. I’d also like a “savage the spring/fall/winter” if that can be arranged, too! Your reading breakdown is inspiring, Earl. I need to get better about checking those stats to know where I’m spending more of my time (and to know what needs more attention). I’ll have to check out The StoryGraph again some time. I worked on it a bit last year but after struggling with the learning curve, I eventually threw in the hat and returned to Goodreads.

    I hope you have a very happy 2022!!

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