Happy Fifth Blogiversary!

Five years! I started the Critiquing Chemist as a way to keep track of the many titles I was consuming post graduate school, with the intent to build a personal archive I could reflect back upon if needed. After posting my first review, The Martian five years ago tomorrow, if you’d have told me how large this platform would grow and about all the wonderful people I would meet along the way I would have been in disbelief. I still am. This blog would have likely passed into oblivion had it not been for my fellow bloggers who have encouraged and supported me along the way. Thank you for helping create this community I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy!

Highlights of the Critiquing Chemist over the past five years would include surpassing the 4,000 follower mark, interviewing Peter V. Brett, and incorporating my love of traveling into this platform. My absolute favorite reading moment of the past five years has been receiving an advanced review copy of Dark Age by Pierce Brown. Really finding any much anticipated ARC in my mailbox has been a major source of excitement, ultimately fulfilling a bucket list item that never quite seems to be sated.

Lastly, I’m thankful to all the authors I’ve met along the way and grateful to you for sharing your imagination with your readers. It takes bravery to open up to the world anything you create, let alone when it takes the time and effort needed to write a book.

I’ll refrain setting any reading or blogging goals for year six, as with my previous annual posts, but the next year looks to be the best yet! The Critiquing Chemist has been joined by four of her brilliant friends as judges in the yearly Self Publishing Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) and you’ll see guest reviews pop up from Stephanie, Jennie, Dani, Kelley throughout the next couple of months. There’s also tons of fantastic titles coming out over the next twelve months, especially the next installment of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. Plus, being the perpetual optimist I can’t help but add that perhaps Martin will surprise us with some wintry adventures.


After five years, my reading spreadsheet is getting a bit unwieldy but it is satisfying from an analytical perspective to see how my statistics compare each year. Year five had the least amount of books read during my time blogging at 63. Despite reading ten less books from the previous year, my average was still more than one books a week and my average rating was at its all time highest. One of the most interesting stats, in my mind, is the written word totals over the past five years, which is just over 345,000 words. At first this seemed like a massive quantity until I look at the word lengths of some of my favorite verbose books and it helps put my posts in perspective.

Maybe next year I’ll catch Martin’s Dance with Dragons.


Seriously, who doesn’t love pie charts! Of the many stats I track, the one that has evolved the most from year one is my reading medium of choice. When I started my blog, I was reading ebooks over 60% of the time. In each subsequent year, audiobooks have taken over more and more as my medium of preferences. Although, this can likely be attributed to activity constraints that make listening to audiobooks easier due to the ability to multitask.

Fiction vs. Nonfiction:

I didn’t post all five years or an average chart highlighting my preference of fiction to nonfiction because they’re essentially identical, with nonfiction hovering anywhere from 20-25% of my total reading.

Posting Subject Matter:

Top Fiction Reads of Year Five

  1. Dark Age by Pierce Brown
  2. The Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks
    The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
    The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks
    The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
    The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks
  3. Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
    Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
    A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  4. First Law series by Joe Abercrombie
    The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
    Before They are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
  5. The Testaments by Margarette Atwood
  6. The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski
    Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski
    The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
    Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski
  7. Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
  8. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
  9. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  10. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Top Nonfiction Reads of Year Five

  1. Code Girls by Liza Mundy
  2. The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols
  3. How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr
  4. The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
  5. Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Travel Year Five

Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

San Antonio, Texas

Dead Sea, Jordan

Petra, Jordan

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Red Sea, Jordan

Cairo, Egypt

Self Publishing Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO)

In an exciting new opportunity, The Critiquing Chemist along with her Bookish Boffins are first time judges in the sixth Self Publishing Fantasy Blog Off! We are currently in the middle of Phase One and reading some great books along the way!


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