I’ve had an interesting year of reading. There have been a few lows and some definite highs. I’ve read blissful and entertaining books, as well as downright depressing ones. The full year has been a whirlwind, but I did manage to get in some solid reading. Let’s take a closer look at my stats as of Dec. 26, 2020:
Read 10,230 pages from 30 books — Goodreads for the win again — compared with 10,904 pages across 31 books the year before (though I’m trying to finish one more before Jan. 1, which would put me at my goal for the year).
The above stats do include one book that I’ve finished but haven’t yet reviewed (coming January 2021). Once, I include that one, my average flameworthiness for the year will be 3.9 flames, just higher than 2019. Now let’s take a look at the individual rankings:
Flipped through one two-flame book, which is a huge improvement from 2019’s five.
Finished six three-flame books, which matches last year’s total.
Enjoyed 14 four-flame books, which is more than 2019’s 11.
Indulged in seven five-flame amazing reads, which is two less than last year.
Anybody else love stats and data and totally nerding out on it, especially when it’s related to books? Nope? Just me? Well OK then. In that case, it’s time for the most important part of my 2020 bibliophile review: assessing my resolutions that I set for myself back in January. Did I hold myself accountable and obtain my goals?
Resolutions definitely guided my reading choices in 2019. Even if I didn’t fully succeed, I was at least conscious of them while picking out some of the books I read. I’d like to keep on this resolution road because it’s changed my mind about memoirs, forced me to think about diversity when choosing authors, and influenced me to dabble in other genres. (I’d also be remiss if I didn’t give resolution-making the credit for five straight years of flossing every day.)
This year, though, rather than thinking about the types of books I want to read, I’m focusing my resolutions on my baby, Big Little Literature. My greatest joy is sharing my thoughts and feelings about books with you all, so for 2020, I want to think of new ways (and revisit some old ones) on how to grow our community and improve the BLL experience. Check out my 2020 resolutions below.
There’s nothing like weekend getaways to quaint beach towns. I can so easily get lost in the quiet stillness and the views these places have to offer, and they’re the perfect escape from life in the city.
Enter: Sag Harbor, New York.
I’ve only ventured to the Hamptons one other time in my life. (Thanks to my BFF for taking me as her plus one to a work event four years ago.) So I was ecstatic to break away from home the last weekend in September to visit what I’d heard was one of the cutest spots in the region. And the reviews proved to be right. Sag Harbor was beautiful and cozy and everything I was looking for in a small beach town. I can’t say I expected to step into bookstores, but I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon two that gave me all the literary feels. They were definitely a highlight of a fantastic trip.
Oh, Colorado. What a kinship I have with thee. From the age of 17, when I first visited my aunt who was living there at the time, I’ve felt a special connection with the state. I vowed to move out there during college to intern, and I made that happen when I was 21. It was an incredible summer.
My love for Colorado is shared by my family who have all made several trips out west. My best friend and her now-husband are also from there, and I have many coworkers in the big C-O. As you can see, the bond I have with the Centennial State goes pretty deep.
Ever since I discovered Liberty’s Kids and became obsessed with the American Revolution — which really should not be a secret at this point — I had been dying to visit Boston. Fortunately, I’ve scoped out this beautiful city twice in the past year, including two weeks ago when I met my mom there for a much-needed girls trip.
This will be hard to believe, but my mother actually does not like to read. I know I know it pains me too, and I too question if we share DNA. (Believe me: Other similarities will prove this.) But she was willing to visit some bookstores with me to see what Boston’s literary community was all about it. She enjoyed it too!
It’s only fitting that my next “Shop ‘Til You Drop” series would be researched with my shopping partner in tow.
The view of Boston and Cambridge from Harvard Bridge.
Being from the Midwest, I always thought Chicago seemed so close yet so far away. It’s only a five-hour car ride from my hometown of Festus, Mo., and it’s silly that I only spent one day in Chi-Town of my 22 years that I lived in its neighboring state. But lo and behold, adulthood came, and two of my dearest friends, Layne and Nick, moved to DeKalb, Ill.
This past March I flew out to visit the couple, and they kindly indulged me with stops at four superb Chicago bookstores. (Let’s be honest: Nick enjoyed the perusing just as much as I did — if not more so.) We definitely shopped ’til we dropped, though that could also be due to the insane amounts of yummy food we consumed during our trip to the Windy City. Read on to see four must-see Chicago stops for bibliophiles.
I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. When I look back on 2018, traveling will best depict this year, and I have absolutely no complaints about that. Since January, I’ve had first-time visits to Italy; Portland, Maine; Sea Bright, N.J.; Boston; Baltimore; and, most recently, Montreal. Gah … #blessed.
Now in Boston, I was much too busy reveling in our win for independence (see: Beth living out a fantasy) to think about bookstores.
I know I know.
But I picked up my own slack in Montreal by visiting three lovely bookstores that had their own flair and charm and, of course, books on books on books.
Readers, it’s time to shop ’til you drop: Montreal style.
Many oooh and aaahs to be had at Montreal’s Old Port.
Some people might argue that if you’ve visited one bookstore, you’ve visited them all; how different can they possibly be? I know on the surface many have similar names and characteristics, but au contraire. I firmly believe in bookstore individuality, and just like you can’t judge its contents by their covers, you cannot judge a literary hub by its storefront.
So I make it my duty to visit as many bookstores as possible when I travel; thus, I’m introducing a new series to Big Little Literature of all the necessary deets about bookstores across the country: Shop ‘Til You Drop.