Six 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. While my review style has evolved along the way, I always find it a good reminder to revisit my first review, The Martian that was posted six years ago. I’m routinely in disbelief as to how this platform has grown and thankful for all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. This blog would have likely passed into oblivion years ago 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!
This year my was different on many accounts as I was a judge for SPFBO, but I also embarked on a Baby Bookmoon once I’d read that my baby could hear voices in the womb. I reread two of my favorite series, Red Rising by Pierce Brown and A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin on audiobook. I still had half of A Dance with Dragons to go when Quinn was born, so we listen to it together on our walks now. She may be almost six weeks old but she gives me a smile every time she hears Roy Dotrice’s voice. Additional standout reads were both novels I read by Alix E. Harrow and Sylvain Neuvel’s newest novel, A Short History of Nearly Everything.
Highlights of the Critiquing Chemist over the past six years would include surpassing the 5,000 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 that you are brave enough to sharing your imagination with your readers. It takes courage to open up to the world anything you create, let alone when it takes the time and effort needed to produce a book.
I’ll refrain setting any reading or blogging goals for year seven, as with my previous annual posts due to Luke and I expanding our family by one with the birth of Miss Quinn in May! I fully anticipate that this year see a significant reduction in reading quantity due to now being delightfully distracted. That said, The Critiquing Chemist has joined with Lynn’s Books as a team of judges in our second year in Mark Lawrence’s Self Publishing Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO).
After six 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 six saw a slight increase in books read from the previous year to 69 books. I tend to put more emphasis on pages read instead of total books but I do take satisfaction that my average of books read was still more than one books a week. This year my words written set a significant record compared to previous years, but this increase can me attributed to my brilliant Bookish Boffins who were my partners in the SPFBO contest.
Of the titles I read last year, approximately 36% of them were ebooks and approximately 60% were audiobooks. This was a stark contrast to year five that saw almost 84% of the books I read were of the audiobook medium. SPFBO is again the contributing factor, due to the majority of the titles not having audios. I’ve found it most refreshing to get back to physical reading again.
Top Five Fiction Reads of Year Six
*Does not include any of the Red Rising or A Song of Ice and Fire books.
- Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
- The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
- A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel
- Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
- The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Top Five Nonfiction Reads of Year Six
- The Woman’s Hour by Elaine Weiss
- The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
- Beethoven by Jan Swafford
- SPQR by Mary Beard
Travel in Year Six
Travel throughout this past year had taken a different shape due to the pandemic but Luke and I did manage a road trip out west to a wedding in California where we fit in visiting eight national parks. I can’t wait to resume traveling and introduce Quinn new adventures.
Lake Tahoe, California
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Zion National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Arches National Park, Utah
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
While I haven’t posted as many beekeeping updates over the past year, we are still very active keeping our hives healthy and happy. We currently have ten hives that are spread throughout our farm. We lost four hives over the winter and bought hives to replace them that were suppose to arrive two days before my due date. Thankfully Quinn was kind enough to wait to arrive till after we got the hives established. I was out there helping Luke at 39 weeks pregnant. Here’s to a good, healthy summer for our busy bees!