Sunday, January 1, 2023

Books Read and Media Consumed in 2022

I read 47 books in 2022, which is a far cry from my reading output of a few years ago.  47 books is a respectable number, but it's really low for me and the lowest number I've had in the last decade.

I am constantly reading, but these days what I read tends to be on Reddit and Quora.  I love reading online discussions about anything and everything and spend a significant amount of time each day doing so.  I just haven't been very motivated to read actual books.

As I've stated before, I don't need any advice.  I'm not disappointed in my reading output.  The pandemic has taken a lot out of me and continues to do so.  While the pandemic itself is waning, the impact continues.  Much of my stress this last year was caused by events that came about due the fallout of the pandemic.  

I am currently dealing with a thyroid flare-up caused by the bivalent Moderna vaccine from September 2022.  A close relative had problems caused by the original Moderna vaccine (shot #2 from February 2021).

Many students have emotional problems that are undoubtedly part of the fallout of the pandemic.  Many of the parents aren't doing that great, either.  What is going on with students and parents is adding to my personal stress.

Many people continue to struggle because they have lost loved ones from Covid-19.  While nobody close to me has died, I do know four people who died of Covid.  One was a former student of mine who died at the age of 21.  There have been so many losses, and everyone has been impacted in some fashion.

I am showing far more grace to students than I did prior to three years ago.  I must continue to do so for the foreseeable future.     

We have a ways to go, but better times are ahead.

Early in the year, I did okay with my reading.  I came up with a great idea, which was to state which book I enjoyed the most for each month.  I did that for January, February, and March, then my reading collapsed.  I have no favorite book for each month from later in the year.  

January:  3 books

Nancy Drew Diaries #23 The Blue Lady of Coffin Hall
Hardy Boys Adventures #24 As the Falcon Flies
Carolina Hurricane by Marian Rumsey 

Favorite January Book: Carolina Hurricane

February:  5 books

Girl Scouts in the Ozarks by Nancy Nance
The Whispering House by Jean Hager
Drina Ballet #1 Ballet for Drina
Drina Ballet #2 Drina's Dancing Year
Drina Ballet #3 Drina Dances in Exile

Favorite February book:  The Whispering House

March:  12 books

Drina Ballet #4 Drina Dances in Italy
Drina Ballet #5 Drina Dances Again
Drina Ballet #6 Drina Dances in New York
Drina Ballet #7 Drina Dances in Paris
Drina Ballet #8 Drina Dances in Madeira
Drina Ballet #9 Drina Dances in Switzerland
Drina Ballet #10 Drina Goes on Tour
Drina Ballet #11 Drina Ballerina
The Secret of Riverside Farm by Jean Hager
Tom Swift Inventors' Academy #8 Depth Perception
The Silent Message by Afton Huff
The Boys' Life Book of Mystery Stories

Favorite March Book:  Tie between Drina Dances in New York and Drina Dances in Paris

This was where I quit reading for an extended time.  

April:  0 books

I watched season 2 of Hardy Boys on Hulu.

May:  0 books

The book and series for The Handmaid's Tale kept getting mentioned online because of Roe v. Wade.  I realized that the premise is dystopian, and I like dystopian books.  I wanted to check out the Hulu series, but I felt that I should try the book first.  When a series or movie is based on a book, I want to read the book first.

I tried to read the beginning of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.   

A chair, a table, a lamp.  Above, on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath, and in the center of it a blank space plastered over, like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out.  There must have been a chandelier, once.  They've removed anything you could tie a rope to.

A window, two white curtains.  Under the window, a window seat with a little cushion...  

I do not like the writing style.  I understand that the book is apparently great and loved by many.  It's not for me.  I cannot stand the way the information is presented in a disjointed fashion.  I skimmed through most of the Kindle sample just to try to get into it.  I couldn't do it.

Off to Hulu I went.  I watched all four seasons at a rate of around one episode per day.  I really enjoy the show, even though it jumped the shark long ago.  

I didn't read any books in April and May because I was watching The Handmaid's Tale.

June:  7 books

Falling Skies by Harley Tate #1 Fire and Ashes
Falling Skies by Harley Tate #2 Thunder and Acid
Falling Skies by Harley Tate #3 Wind and Chaos
Falling Skies by Harley Tate #4 Escape and Evade
Denise by John Benton
Debbie by John Benton
Carmen by John Benton

July:  0 books

I watched season 2 of Only Murders in the Building.

I was selling books and had a lot of extra responsibilities.

August:  0 books

The extra responsibilities continued, and school started.  I quit selling books.

September:  4 books

Inheritance Games Trilogy by Jennifer Barnes #1, 2, 3
Arrow Through the Heart: The Biography of Andy Gibb 

I watched season 5 of The Handmaid's Tale weekly as new episodes were released.

October:  5 books

The Midnight Club by Christopher Pike
The Wicked Heart by Christopher Pike
Gimme a Kiss by Christopher Pike
Witch by Christopher Pike
The Eternal Enemy by Christopher Pike

I read the Pike books in preparation for the release of The Midnight Club series on Netflix.  I watched the shows in early October.  I also watched the first Enola Holmes movie again and then watched the sequel.

I started selling books again.

November: 5 books

All the Young Dudes Harry Potter fanfic
Harry Potter #1, 2, 3, 4

In early November, Pocket presented me with an article about the All the Young Dudes Harry Potter fanfic.

How a 500,000-Word Harry Potter Fanfiction Blew Up Online

Since I am constantly reading even if it's just stuff online, I followed the link.  I was immediately intrigued.  From the article:

It’s called All the Young Dudes, and it's a 526,969-word fic that currently has a whopping 7.5 million hits on the fanfiction site, Archive of Our Own.  All the Young Dudes is set in the era when Harry's parents attended Hogwarts (ahem, known as the Marauders era), and features both familiar faces, and a budding romance between two of the series' most beloved figures: Sirius Black and Remus Lupin.

The 188-chapter story has now spawned a fandom of its own.  For many original HP fans, the story has become canon, and the ways in which it extends far beyond the universe J.K. Rowling created are all part of the appeal.  All the Young Dudes has a huge presence on social media, spawned audiobooks, has 16,000 ratings on Goodreads, has been fancasted, and is even the subject of a conspiracy theory involving Taylor Swift. 

My mind blown, I decided that I must check this out.  My favorite Harry Potter book is Prisoner of Azkaban, and if this fanfic even remotely deserved its fandom, then I had to see for myself.  I started reading it, and I liked what I read.  I didn't know what to do with myself when I finished, so I had no choice but to read the Harry Potter series again.

December: 6 books

Harry Potter #5, 6, 7
Teenage Runaway by John Benton
Crazy Mary by John Benton
Patti by John Benton

After I finished the last Harry Potter book, I was lost again.  I wanted more.  I then made a sudden decision to try to resume reading John Benton's Christian young adult books again.  I had to force myself to read Teenage Runaway followed by Crazy Mary.  By then, I was beginning to feel motivated.  I read Patti and found it to be LOL funny.  I love crazy books.  So fun.

I will admit that I finished Patti at 1 AM today, but most of it was read in 2022.  I decided that was close enough.  The book must go in one year or the other instead of in both.

I have started reading Suzie by John Benton.  This one is also hilarious.  Suzie buys a gun and practices in the basement.  To cover her practice, she also buys a whip which sounds a lot like a gun.  Suzie calls herself "Suzie the Wonder Whip."  OMG.  This is fun.

I am now feeling strongly motivated to read through all of John Benton's books.  I hope I can keep myself going, but going back to work could put a stop to it if I end up too tired.  I will read as much as I can this week and will hope for the best beginning next week.

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