2022 Reading Review

Happy New Year! 2022 was an eventful reading year for me. I read about 160 books (mostly romance novels) and switched up some things about my reading that turned out to be a lot of fun.

Storygraph (and Goodreads) Stats

This year I started heavily using Storygraph to track my reading. Goodreads automatically records everything I read on my Kindle, which is most of my reading, so it has a pretty good record, too, but I really only use it for giveaways haha. I did win several giveaways last year, which was nice.

Storygraph also now has giveaways and a social aspect, but I just like it for its stats 🙂

I finished off the Demon Slayer series this year and loved it all! I’ve been reading a bit more contemporary romance, and while it’s still not a favorite of mine, I’ve been enjoying Susannah Nix’s current series called King’s Creamery about a large family that owns an ice cream company in Texas.

Of course Paper Girls was the longest book I read, since it was like six graphic novels combined. I loved both it and its Amazon Prime adaptation. I normally don’t include books I read to my kids in my own reading totals, but neither of mine had much interest in Finding My Dance because it was for a slightly older age group. I really enjoyed it though!

From Goodreads (since it has more users), the most popular book I read was Book Lovers, a perfectly nice contemporary romance that I very much enjoyed. Totally understandable why it was so popular. Also understandable was that only 50 people shelved the obscure At the Earl’s Command, because I barely made it into the book before moving it to my DNF shelf.

Wash Day Diaries and Obama: An Intimate Portrait were my highest rated reads (by others) on Goodreads and Storygraph, respectively. I would definitely recommend both!

Storygraph Genre Challenge 2022

To expand my reading horizons, I decided to participate in a reading challenge of 5 fiction/5 nonfiction books with various genre prompts. I managed to finish 8 out of 10! (Ducks might be a bit of a stretch for a “political book,” but it does mention political issues of the oil sands in Canada, specifically as it deals with First Nations lands.) And I enjoyed them all. I had books planned to read for the remaining 2 prompts, but I just didn’t get to them, which is ironic because those are the only 2 books of the set that I actually own. I look forward to reading them next year! Right? RIGHT?

I’ve already joined Storygraph’s 2023 Genre Challenge, and I’m looking forward to another 10 interesting and varied books this year!

Nonfiction Audiobooks

I have tried audiobooks previously, and I just couldn’t enjoy them. However, this year I discovered that I do enjoy listening to nonfiction audiobooks. I think the difference is that with nonfiction, if I zone out and miss a detail, I can pick up the thread of the book more easily than with a novel. Plus, authors often narrate their own nonfiction books, and I enjoy that authenticity. I’ve listened to four books during my commute this year, and I’ve already started another so I’m looking to continue this trend into 2023.

I Joined a Book Club!

One of the librarians at my work started a book club this fall, so once a month over lunch I’ve been meeting with a handful of other people to talk books! This is the first time I’ve ever done an in-person book club, and it’s been a great experience. We’ve been picking the books from a list by ranked choice voting, which has resulted in me reading three books I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own. Again, great for expanding my reading horizons. While I enjoyed reading all three, I can’t say I liked any of them enough to re-read them in the future or anything. But it was still very satisfying to be able to discuss them with a group!

If you want to check out more of what I was reading this year, here are my 2022 book review posts:

What was your favorite read of 2022? And what are you planning to read in 2023?

5 Favorite K-pop MVs of 2022

It’s once again time to spread the joy of K-pop to all my readers!  Here are my favorite K-pop music videos from 2022 in no particular order.

Familiar faces and old favorites

1. “Tomboy” by (G)I-dle

This girl group (pronounced “Idle”) had two big hits this year, both written by leader Soyeon, both with very different musical styles.  When I’m not listening to K-pop, my preferred genre is alternative rock, so “Tomboy” in particular really appealed to me.  I love the punk rock feel!  Both “Tomboy” and “Nxde” talk about breaking free from restrictive gender norms, which feels so empowering.  (G)I-dle is such a talented group and I feel like they have a lot to say.  I’ve been a fan of them since their debut and I’m so happy they had such a great year, especially after losing a member to a scandal last year.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.

2. “Waka Boom” by Hyolyn

Hyolyn, former member of SISTAR and one of the best vocals in K-pop, continues to show the younger idols how it’s done with this single for the music competition show Queendom 2.  Hyolyn’s fierce look and dancing combined with the inspiring lyrics make a big impact.  Plus, some rapping by the amazing Lee Young Ji, who is one of my favorite female rappers and just a fabulous person.  Check out her cover of Lizzo’s “Juice!”

3. “Blah Blah Blah” by Itzy

After killing it in Korea, Itzy moved on to Japan this year with two awesome Japanese singles, “Blah Blah Blah” and “Voltage.”  I love the energetic vibe; it really suits them.  Jpop is actually my first love, so I always really appreciate when groups put out great original Japanese songs (as in, not just translations of their Korean hits). I picked this one especially because I love the esthetic of Ryujin in that orange dress!


4. “That That” by PSY

It’s a collab between K-pop royalty!  Suga from BTS joins PSY of “Gangnam Style” fame for this super catchy hit, staging a Wild West showdown. As always, PSY is just so much fun to watch.  Even my kids liked this one!

4th Generation Queens

This year also had an amazing crop of female rookie groups!  I couldn’t pick just one, so here are two videos that really stood out to me.

5.1 “Antifragile” by Le Sserafim 

Despite having a bit of a tough start, what with losing a member to scandal right after their debut, Le Sserafim had an amazing comeback with “Antifragile.”  I particularly loved this performance version, which really showcases their stage presence as well as former ballerina Kazuha’s awesome leg lifting choreo.  Just try to get ANTI TI TI TI FRAGILE FRAGILE out of your head!


5.2 “Attention” by NewJeans 

It is so refreshing to see a rookie group that actually looks like contemporary teenagers! NewJeans feels like a breath of fresh air.  No dyed hair or matchy outfits, just friendly interactions and natural athleticism.

Honorable Mentions:

And on Earth, peace to men of goodwill (via John Denver and the Muppets)

Here’s a classic from the archives to express my wishes for you all this Christmas season.

Jedi by Knight

Around this time of year, the sounds of the season are constantly playing in my house and car: Celtic Woman, Straight No Chaser, Pentatonix, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and many others are regulars in my playlist.  I love all Christmas music, but my very favorite album is this: the sadly-rather-obscure John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together.

We had this album on vinyl when I was a kid, and I learned to use the record player just to be able to play it. It has some darling versions of classic Christmas songs:

  • The Twelve Days of Christmas (BA DUM BUM BUM)
  • Little Saint Nick by Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem (RUN RUN REINDEER)
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Piggy pudding?!?)
  • Silent Night in both German and English, with a brief history of the song

There are also wonderful original songs, most of which I’ve never heard covered by…

View original post 613 more words

Reading Indigenous Authors

Today happens to be the last day of Native American History Month here in the US, so it seems like a good time to mention some of the Indigenous authors I’ve been reading this year. I’m always trying to diversify my reading in various ways, and recently I’ve been enjoying some Native viewpoints across various genres.

Calling for a Blanket Dance

by Oscar Hokeah

I discovered Oscar Hokeah’s writing through his blog here on WordPress. When I saw that his debut novel was coming out, I immediately requested it at the library. Calling for a Blanket Dance is a contemporary generational family drama, with a similar feeling to Pachinko or Roots. It tells the life and struggles of Ever Geimausaddle through the myriad voices of his family members, finally ending with himself. It was such an engaging read, and I loved the writing and the voices of each of the narrators. I also loved the format of interconnected vignettes that fit together to tell and overarching story. Hokeah draws a lot from his own life and family, so it feels very authentic.

Braiding Sweetgrass

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a biologist, this nonfiction exploration of Native ecological wisdom really appealed to me, but it is so well written that it is very accessible to nonscientists as well. We often have a stereotype of Native peoples being “noble savages,” living in perfect harmony with nature, and this book explores some of the Native myths and practices behind this, both from Kimmerer’s Potawatomi heritage as well as the peoples of upstate New York where she lives. It also backs up observations with clear, accurate scientific details, much of which I remembered from college botany, but I’ve been learning some new things, too.

Though there is some interconnectedness, each chapter mostly reads like its own distinct essay, which makes it easy to pick up and put down; it’s not really the kind of book to read straight through as fast as possible. I’ve been listening to it on audiobook (narrated by the author) while I drive, and each essay is conveniently about the length of my commute.

A Snake Falls to Earth

by Darcie Little Badger

I just started reading this one for the recent Big Library Read on the Libby app (which allows for unlimited copies for lending). The sophomore effort from the Elatsoe author (also a scientist!) has been nominated for numerous awards, including this year’s Newbery Medal. It is a bit of a slow tale, but it has really great elements of magic mixed with a coming-of-age story. It pulls from folklore of DLB’s Lipan Apache heritage. If you like YA fantasy like I do, I think you will enjoy this one.

Finding My Dance

by Ria Thundercloud

Ok, I’m going to throw a picture book in here, too. I read this to my kids, and while it was just a touch above their age (better for early elementary), as a former dancer myself I loved it. It tells the author’s journey into the dance world, starting with powwows with her family. The pictures were lovely, too. Here is the author performing the Eagle Dance mentioned in the book.

What’s next on my list? On my to-read list:

  • The Sentence by Louise Erdrich, a contemporary adult novel about a haunted bookstore set in 2020
  • Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley, a contemporary YA mystery/thriller nominated for a lot of awards
  • anything by Joy Harjo, the former US Poet Laureate

If you are looking for further recommendations, here are some great infographics from the bookstory Room of One’s Own

Biology lab humor

DNA: Still single? RNA: Of course 😦

Some more whiteboard humor that some students left in the hall at work.

DNA is the material on which our gene are encoded, in the nuclei of our cells. It is a double helix, as shown by Watson and Crick based on work by Rosalind Franklin.

It is then transcribed into a single strand of RNA, which is then transcribed into protein. So while DNA strands have a partner, RNA is forever alone.