With 2017 drawing to a close, and 2018 creeping ever closer, I can’t help but reflect on the past year and the various accomplishments I made with my reading. At the beginning of the year I set a goal of 75 books that I wanted to read. Usually, I set a higher goal of 100 books, but decided to lower it this year in hopes that I could read some longer books during the year.
With a goal of 75 books set, I’m happy to say that I read a total of 102 books, surpassing my goal by 27 books. (Fun fact, I read the same amount of books last year too). Of those 102 books, 10 of them were books that were 500 or more pages. The longest book I read was It by Stephen King, which came in at a whopping 1156 pages. There were only three books that I rated less than three stars, which I find a surprising stat given how many books I read. I’m happy upon reflection to see that I enjoyed the majority of the books I read with most ratings ranging between 3 and 5. I had only two books that I DNF’d (did not finish) and the reason was the same for both, they were library loans and I ran out of time and they couldn’t be renewed; so my plan is to return to each of them at a later date.
This year marked the second year that I took part in my charity reading challenge where each book read earned a set amount of money to then be donated at the end of the year to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. I’m happy to report that this year I was able to make a $151 donation to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, an increase of $20. Going forward I plan to continue with my charity reading challenge and to raise money for the same organization, all in memory of my father who passed away from bladder cancer in 2010.
2017 further served as the year in which I discovered and supported a variety of Etsy and online shops around the world. From shops that created book sleeves and protectors that I use when traveling in order to ensure that my books stay in primo condition, to a variety of candle shops that have created amazing smelling candles for my favorite books and fan girl obsessions, to shops that enabled me to find items that I not only love for myself but that also made wonderful birthday and Christmas gifts for friends and family.
The two shops I frequented the most for book protectors were: @thumbelara and @pages.remembered The quality and hard work that goes into each of these shops products are superb and I have had no complaints. The products have all held up to the rigorous and constant travel and shoving of them into my suitcase that I have put my books through and I will definitely continue to buy from each of them in the future.
The top candle shops I found myself following relentlessly on Instagram as well as forking over my money to were: @novellyyours @canterburyroadco and @acourtofcandles Each of these candle shops have a variety of candles with unique scents and development. I love the layered candles and four pack monthly mini candles that Novelly Yours produces, with some of my favorite candles being As Travars for the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy, Foggy Night a delightfully gray candle with red the color of blood bleeding throughout for the YA book Stalking Jack the Ripper, and the Monsters of Verity candle set. Canterbury Road Co has created both some of my favorite seasonal candles as well as four wonderful scents that go beautifully with my love of the Outlander series. While A Court of Candles answered my desire for candles that would acknowledge my love of Sailor Moon. There are so many amazing candle shops out there, and I know that I will continue to discover new ones, but these are three that I will definitely continue to buy from and support going forward.
2017 was also the year I discovered the beauty and artistry of @inkandwonder.designs Ink and Wonder has become my go to for beautifully wooden bookmarks that are not only sustainable woodmarks, but 100% ethically sourced. Ever since I was first introduced to their products by the YA subscription book box, Uppercase Box @uppercasebox I have become a frequent visitor to their store as I try to get new designs every time I see they are having a special.
This was also the year when I finally decided to subscribe to my second book subscription box. 2016 I became an Uppercase subscriber and this year after trying a couple of boxes when the themes caught my eye, I took the leap and signed up for an Owlcrate @owlcrate subscription. I have to say that I have been happy with my decision and luckily I have only received the same book in both subscription boxes once since signing up for Owlcrate, and that happened this December, which isn’t bad considering how often I had seen that had happened in the past before I was signed up for both boxes.