Happy Fourth Blogiversary!

Four years! It’s remarkable, when reflecting back on all of the events and emotions that can be contained within a four year time span. As Luke can attest, I have a closet full of discarded hobbies, e.g., knitting, guitar, lacrosse, sewing, that I have at one point or another become obsessed with before quickly growing bored and moving on to the next challenge. When first starting my blog, due to my penchant for quickly discarding the obsession of the moment, I have been careful about my mindset when approaching posting self imposed deadlines or reading goals. The overarching challenge I foresaw in creating content I enjoyed writing about, while maintaining a prolonged lifespan for this hobby, has been to keep the Critiquing Chemist from becoming a chore in lieu of an activity I look forward to checking off my to do list.

That being said, the Critiquing Chemist has been such a blessing, from not only allowing me a platform from which to interact and meet authors whose works I’ve admired, but to become acquaintances with and create a network with my fellow bloggers. I’m so very thankful to everyone I’ve met throughout this journey and I’ve found it surprising that my interactions with many of you, some of which I’ve now known for years, make blogging easier as I look forward to your recommendations and opinions after every post.

To celebrate this anniversary, I though it might be fun, keeping to the spirit of my background as an analytical chemist, to look at a variety of my blog statistics with regard to Fiction vs. Nonfiction, Subject Matter, Pages Read, Words Read, and Medium.  This is the fourth year I’ve maintained this data, which has become a slightly unwieldy, yet incredibly satisfying spreadsheet. I hope you enjoy my year four celebration and thank you again for continuing on this literary adventure with me.

If you would like to reflect back on Year One, Year Two, or Year Three and how my yearly celebrations have evolved follow the corresponding links!


As a whole, year four was far less productive than year three which was an insanely reading heavy and likely an abnormality. This year, due to the new job, I read twenty less books than year three which equated to four million less words read. That being said, I’m not discontent at all with this year from a reading perspective, as I still read 73 books, most of which I thoroughly enjoyed. With so many book nearing their release date in the upcoming  year I can’t wait to see what literary adventures are awaiting in the wings.



Not surprisingly, my medium of preference for year four saw a dramatic shift toward audiobooks due to my hour drive to and from work. I would listen to audiobooks on my drive, however due to the time spent during the commute did not have the availability to pick up physicals books after work. As I’ve recently changed jobs and have a more reasonable 20 minute commute, I foresee physically reading making a comeback in year five, however I predict audiobooks will still maintain a lead within my medium of choice.

Fiction vs. Nonfiction:

Throughout the four years I’ve made an effort to mix nonfiction reads into my traditionally fiction laden queue. In year three I managed to get up to almost 25% nonfiction, however that stat saw a dip in year four. Overall though, I’ve managed to stay roughly in the same ballpark every year with regard to the ratio of fiction to nonfiction books.

Posting Subject Matter:


Top 10 Fiction Books Year 4

Top 10 Nonfiction Books Year 4

Advanced Review Copies of Year 4


Travel of Year 4

When I was younger, books were my vehicle to seeing the wider world. Now that I am blessed enough to be able to go on actual adventures I have contracted the travel bug badly. I’m constantly scheming with regard to my next trip, sometimes before the last has even concluded. Year four saw many fantastic trips, from a road trip through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Wawa, Canada, to a wintry excursion to Ottawa Canada. I was lucky enough to be able to visit my brother who was working in Alaska in February before my brother, his fiance, Luke and I went on a trip of a lifetime to Peru where we checked Machu Picchu off the bucket list.

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario Canada

Wawa, Ontario, Canada

Whitefish Point, Michigan

Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan


Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Denali National Park, Alaska

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Chicago, Illinois

Nazca Lines, Peru

Ballestas Islands, Peru

Huacachina Dunes, Peru

Cusco, Peru

Písac, Peru

Ollantaytambo, Peru

Maras, Peru

Moray, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Magic Kingdom, Disney, Orlando Florida

Animal Kingdom, Disney, Orlando, Florida

Hollywood Studios, Disney, Orlando, Florida

Harry Potter World, Orlando, Florida

Library Adventures

University of Michigan Law Library

Library of Parliament

Grande Bibliothèque

Basilica and Convent of San Francisco, Lima

Beekeeping 2018 and 2019

Beekeeping over the past year could easily be described as a roller coaster, filled with many highs and lows. Despite losing our hives last year due to Michigan’s brutal winter, our new hives are thriving! We switched from buying three pound packages of bees to buying nucs in the hope that they would arrive healthier.

Farming 2018/2019

Last summer, Luke and I spent a ton of time on the farm helping bale straw, planting, and harvesting crops. In August though, our barn that was filled with straw was struck by lightning becoming engulfed within minutes of us spotting the fire. Though the event was life altering and scarring to watch, we had so much to be thankful for due to the house being saved, no one being injured, and several tractors being saved. We hope to begin the rebuilding process soon, though we will miss the large antique barn that had been a staple of the farm.



      • Not sure how you feel about Sci-Fi, but I’ve been really into Kim Stanley Robinson lately. He’s moderately heavy on the science side of things and often has a strong ecological component to his work.

        I’ll have to check on anything Fantasy-related. I still need to get to Lies of Locke Lamora and I’m nearing the end of the published Cosmere works.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Congratulations on reaching 4 years, I haven’t been following since the beginning but I love your posts and always look forward to seeing what you have to say.
    Here’s to the next 4 years! X

    Liked by 1 person

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