December 2021 Wrap-Up / The Year in Review

I finished the final month of 2021 strong by reading 6 books. This may not seem like a lot to some people, but if I take back a look at the past year, that was a really solid month for me in terms of books. I’m really happy with that and it made me finish my Goodreads challenge with a neat 50 books in total. Let’s take a look!

One Hundred Years of Solitude Daisy Jones & The Six Saga, Vol. 1 Where the Crawdads Sing Taste: My Life through Food Weather Girl

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! OR find me on Storygraph, where I’m trying to find my footing as well. My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

As is tradition, I’ll share parts of my reading year. As I’m still struggling with the desktop interface of Storygraph a little bit (I hear the app works better), I have to forego their stats for now, even though they’re magnificent. They even show you what kinds of moods and pacing you were most drawn to, but I’ll just stick to the simpler one curated by Goodreads for now (you can find the full post here).

I originally set the goal to read 35 books (yes, I aim for achievable), but managed to read a total of 50 books (as mentioned above already), which in this particular case translated to 17,255 pages. My reading experiments really motivated me, but I also started a new job that involved a lengthy commute for the first couple of months, which allowed for way more reading time. My shortest book was actually a novella called Galatea by the ever magnificent Madeline Miller. I’m not surprised to find that the longest one was Anna Karenina. It did feel like forever.

The average book I read was about 345 pages long. Honestly, that tracks with previous years, because around 300 pages is the length I feel most comfortable with. I do plan to try and read some lengthier books in 2022 though … we shall see if I actually manage to go through with it. As for my average rating, it’s exactly the same as last year with 3.7 stars! I have gotten more critical over the years and hardly ever give 5 star ratings, if I don’t absolutely adore and love the book, but at the same time, I do know what I like and tend to find books that fit into what I enjoy.

2021 was … something.

I remember clearly, the hope I harbored for 2021 to be better than 2020 and in some regards it really was. I found a great place to work at with colleagues I absolutely love to be around, I found an apartment for myself and finally moved out from my parent’s place. I should not complain and yet … 2021 was hard! Maybe one of the hardest years I had to face ever with a lot of personal dreams getting crushed (goodbye, my beloved Canada) and devastating events that drained my spirits. I don’t want to get into it, but for a time there, it was just one blow after the other. The fact that we’re now going into the third year of the panini isn’t helping either … BUT, and this is just my sunny disposition coming through, I refuse to let that drag me down in 2022. I’ll dust myself off and just get right back to it. I’d like to think that things happen for a reason, that you’re always right where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be. And when it doesn’t feel like it, just fake it until it does *shrug*.

So, on to more pleasant things! I was really consistent with my blogging in 2021. With a few exceptions, I always managed to post at least 3-4 times a week, which would have been unimaginable in some of the past years. I’m still not back to the crazy posting schedule from 2016, where I double and triple posted some days, but I have found my groove and would like to continue that into the new year. I want to thank each and every one who has visited my corner of the internet and especially those that stuck around! My gratitude for your support knows no bounds!
Here are some updated blog stats for you:

  • The blog currently has 2,871 WordPress followers and a couple people via mail as well. I’ve made the decision to wait until the 3K mark for another giveaway on the blog. Money is tight, but I definitely want to celebrate that milestone once we hit it!
  • There have been 20% more views in 2021 than in the previous year, which I know is vague, but has me thrilled!
  • While I’ve written about 1,490 posts for this blog, I don’t want you to go digging too far into the past. I’ve started to tidy up a little and removed some of the older postings. Sometimes I just changed my opinion on them, other times I don’t feel like it fits the content on here anymore. Either way, I’m hoping to not have too many dead links, but I’m working on it.
  • Once again, I’d also like to give a huge thanks and shout-out to my top commenters! The fact that people keep showing up makes my heart sing and my day better. Please feel free to show them some love in return: Brittani, Caro, Marie, Rami and The Orang-Utan Librarian.

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2021

I’m going to start with the posts that I wrote in 2021 and that were most popular and list some of the most viewed archive posts below! If you want to know more about a post, simply click on the title!

Are Tom Hiddleston and I compatible (readers)? – Genuinely ALL my reading experiments (I’ve also done this with Sebastian Stan, Chris Evans and Pedro Pascal so far) were so well received. I did time this one particularly well with the release of the Loki series, so I get why it had the absolute most clicks, but you guys were here for the celeb book club and I love that! I don’t have too many original features on here, so I’m happy that my one original idea took off so well.

8 Years of Blogging – Reintroducing Myself! – Yes, I have been doing this for a very long time and since my readership is constantly changing, I thought it was time to reintroduce myself. The feedback and support was absolutley lovely.

WandaVision: Episode 1 & 2 Review – So many people were here for this show, but also really, really confused. I hope my reviews and recaps shed some light and didn’t just confuse people further. I did stray into theories like so many others from time to time.

credit: Marvel Studios

Book to Screen Adaptations 2021 – This post was SO much work and a lot of the release dates got changed up again, but it was too on brand for the blog not to do it. Since it was so well received, would you be interested in me having another go at this for 2022? 

MOST POPULAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES:

MY 2021 RANKINGS

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve waited to publish this post until I had all my yearly rankings up! There’s a lot on there, but the chances that I forgot something are still pretty high. Anyway, this should be an accurate representation of my favorite movies, TV shows and books from the last year.

MY OTHER DECEMBER POSTS

MARVEL REVIEWS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

TRAILER POSTS


Now, I hope you’ve already had a brilliant start into the year 2022 and that it will be kind to you! Please let me know which content you liked on the blog last year, so I can work and plan for everything that comes next! THANK YOU FOR BEING PART OF THE LIFE AND OTHER DISASTERS COMMUNITY!!!

 

My Top 10 Books of 2021

If you’ve visited my blog these past days, you will have noticed me having started my year in review posts, chronicling my top movies and shows to an extent. Today is all about my top reads of 2021. Once again, I need to clarify that I only read these books in 2021, not all of them were published that year!

I managed to read 50 books in total last year, which was a mix of comics, poetry collections, fiction and non-fiction. Thanks to my reading experiments, I often stepped out of my comfort zone and glad I got the chance to do so. However, I want this list/ranking to focus on fiction. I will, however, include some poetry books, etc. in my honorable mentions at the end of the post!

Read More »

My Top 10 Movies of 2021

Every year, I present to you a series of rankings for movies, TV shows and books that I watched or read in the past calendar year. Today is the first one in said series talking about the best of the best (in my humble opinion) of 2021 in terms of films. I love to celebrate the things I enjoyed, so I hope you’ll either find something on here that you’ve liked as well or something you want to watch in the future.

To clarify, not all movies on my list were released in 2021, that is just the time frame in which I first watched them! I’ve only seen a really low amount of films in actual movie theaters (4 in total), so streaming services or video on demand will be heavily featured.

Lastly, before we get started on this ranking, if you enjoy my ramblings, please don’t hesitate to follow me on Letterboxd! It’s a platform where you can track the movies you’re watching, rate and review them or create watchlists. I’m not the most avid movie watcher, but I adore the platform and record all my activity!

Read More »

December 2020 Wrap-Up / The Year in Review

I concluded the last year by reading a decent 5 more books. Considering that I went back to reading more in 2020 than in previous years, but still not a staggering amount, I am quite happy with that. I definitely managed to pass my Goodreads reading goal even earlier than that already, so, at least there was no “end of the year”-pressure involved. Here’s my December books:

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue This Is How You Lose the Time War Beartown (Beartown, #1) This Is Not a Ghost Story

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

Because this has also turned into a bit of a tradition on here, I’ll also share parts of my reading year (curated by Goodreads) with you again. You can check out the full post here. I know there are now a couple really interesting other platforms that offer even better statistics etc. and I plan to look into that for 2021 (e.g. Storygraph), but for now, Goodreads it is.

My plan for 2020 was to read 30 books and I ended up passing that goal and reading a total of 40 books, which translates to 12,586 pages in my specific case. I’ve had more time to read, for obvious reasons, than in past years, but I also still gravitate towards books of medium length rather than huge tomes. I don’t know how I more or less inhaled them in my younger days. My shortest “book” in 2020 was a single issue of Deadpool. Usually, I only put entire volumes towards my reading goals, but I only had that one and it was listed, so … I put it in too.

Lastly, my average rating has increased again. I always do try to actively choose books I might like instead of going for cover fancy as I used to do. I also managed to not get a single 1-star-book in 2020, so, there’s always that.

2020 was A YEAR.

2020 was full of loss and waiting and restrictions. I know it hasn’t been easy on anyone and I truly wish that more people had been empathetic enough to follow pretty simple rules to get this contained quicker instead of dragging it out for so long. I have found myself in a rather privileged position, having been able to stay with my parents when my plans to emigrate to Canada fell through. I really do not want to get into the personal details of my year, but let’s just say it felt like I was stuck in limbo for most of it. But I am tired of talking about it and thinking about it, because I can’t change much aside from doing my part in staying home and keeping others safe. I do not intend to put any kind of pressure or expectations on 2021, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have the tiny hope of it being better again.

Having had so much time, I was able to have more time for the blog again. Not all things were bad! I am so very grateful for everyone who has made my year better by engaging and getting my stats up again, since 2019 was the worst blogging year. It has made me feel more connected to the community again and I appreciated that endlessly. Here’s some updated info:

  • The blog now has more than 2,666 WordPress followers, which is awesome. I did not grow in an excessive amount, but that anyone actually cares about my super random rambles – it’s forever a mystery to me.
  • This very post is post #1,245. I should probably go all the way back to my early days and maybe put some posts on private that weren’t of great quality, but that’s going to be quite the task.
  • Once again, I’d also like to give a huge thanks and shout-out to my top commenters! You keep showing up and making my day better and it means so much to me! So, please feel free to show some love to RamiLoisThe Orang-utan LibrarianRae, Becks and Marie!

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2020

(click on the title of the post to read the full thing!)

Something Different: Duskwood (Game) – I never talk about any sort of game, well I never did, but maybe I should reconsider that stance! My post about the mobile app Duskwood was by far the most clicked post in all of 2020. I still encourage anyone who wants to play a free chat-based mystery game to check it out (although I did splurge on a pass).

Movies and TV Shows for Book Lovers – I mean, the title says it all and the topic pretty much combines all my passions aka books, movies and TV shows. I really hope the post included some content you weren’t already aware of.

Kiss, Marry, Kill: TV Edition 2020 – You all love that feature so much, it’s literally in the top posts every single year, no matter the theme I choose. I think you all like to see me squirm, because I never want to off any of the characters that get picked.

A Discovery of Witches: Book vs. TV Show: These are my favourite posts to write and although they don’t always garner a lot of comments, they do get a lot of clicks, which makes me think that people enjoy the comparisons. On a side note, I am also very pumped for the new season, which starts in a less than two weeks.

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily (Book Review) – Nothing warms my heart more than to see an actual book review among the top clicked posts. We all know that despite blogs being all about reviews, they are often not the posts that garner any kind of attention. This makes it feel worthwhile.

MY 2020 RANKINGS

I’ve also gone through the trouble of ranking all the content I read and watched in the past year. I am pretty sure I missed stuff (how did I not even mention the second season of the Boys!?), but it still is a pretty accurate reflection of my viewing and reading preferences. Here are the links in case you missed them:

MY OTHER DECEMBER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

TRAILER POSTS


Now, before we leave this dreadful year behind: were there some posts you really enjoyed on my blog this past year? Finally, I hope we all have a better, healthy and prosperous 2021! THANK YOU FOR BEING PART OF THE COMMUNITY ON HERE!

December 2019 Wrap-Up / The Year in Review

I read a whopping 8 books in December, which was 100% a personal record for the year. I just really, really wanted to reach my adjusted Goodreads goal and with those books I did. Here’s the recent ones I read:

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4) Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5) Find Me The Pisces Animals Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses #1) P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)

As per usual, when you click on the covers, you’ll get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! For the books that I have written reviews for, you can find them by clicking on the titles above.

Because I did this last year, I am also going to share my entire year of reading with you. Goodreads is really great at putting together a fun summary to share with everyone and I am going to do that here in parts, but you can find my entire results here.

I didn’t read a massive amount of books in 2019, but I am quite content with it looking back at the year. I was really busy with work and had literal months where I didn’t pick up a single book, so I am glad to have gotten to a total of 26 books! However, I have noticed that I started to gravitate more towards shorter to medium-length books and entirely avoided epic series. There were also quite a couple comic books and novellas featured, if you look at my reading list as a whole.

Finally, my average rating for the books I read was 3.5, which is 0.4 stars lower than in the previous year. Considering that I read 10 books less and actively tried to look at books more critically without giving away high ratings as willy nilly as I have done in the past, I am also not disappointed with this result.

2019 wasn’t the easiest of years for me for a multitude of reasons that I don’t want to get into. I am not going to lie to you though, it did reflect heavily in my blogging habits and the resulting stats. I have been struggling more than usual to deliver steady content and it showed by being the worst year in blogging since 2014 (having started the blog in 2013). I don’t want to whine about it, and even though I strongly believe that stats aren’t everything, it has affected my relationship with the blog a little bit. I am still so very grateful for everyone who stuck around, even when there were sometimes weeks of only trailer posts and nothing else. I don’t really know if I can promise to do better in 2020, but I am not willing to give up just yet.

  • The blog currently has 2,470 WordPress followers, a number that keeps growing slowly but steadily. If I add the people who have followed via mail, we have surpassed 2,500 easily.
  • This is post #1113, so there is really a lot to plow through if you want to do a deep dive into the archives of Life and Other Disasters.
  • I really, really want to give a shout-out to my top commenters, because the interaction is what makes blogging so great and worthwhile. So, huge thank you to Rami, Lois, The Orang-utan Librarian, Rae, Caro and Marie!!

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2019

(click on the title of the post to read the full thing!)

Kiss, Marry, Kill – Marvel Edition: It was a big year for Marvel, so I am not surprised that it was a draw in terms of blog posts. The fact that this one was more about the actors than the characters didn’t really seem to deter anyone either.

The Rook: Book vs. TV Show: It makes me so happy to know that these book to screen comparison posts do so well, because I know that a lot of us bloggers struggle with the performance of review posts. The fact that this is one of my favourite shows of the year is just an added bonus!

Kiss, Marry, Kill: TV Edition: Y’all really like to know who I would kiss, marry or kill it seems? All I can say about that is that I really, really struggle with the last part with every single edition of this post I did. And … I think this was the 5th installment already?

What I’ve Been Binge-Watching #3: I’ve started this series either late in 2018 or early 2019 and toyed around with the format, making little adjustments here and there for a while. I am glad it resonates with people, although I have no idea why this one in particular did well.

Random Movie Recommendations: Karen Gillan Edition: Yay for all of you being as big Karen Gillan enthusiasts as I am! That’s probably the reason this post was interesting to some people out there.

MY 2019 RANKINGS

Last but not least, here are all the links for my 2019 rankings for movies, books and TV shows in case you missed them the past couple of days!

I hope you had a great start into the year 2020 so far! Is there something you really liked on the blog in 2019 and want to see more of in the new year? Let’s chat!

My Top 10 Books of 2019

As promised, this is the first post in a series of rankings for my reading and viewing experiences during the year of 2019. I have to admit that I started with the books, because it seemed like the easiest list for me personally. I didn’t have the best of reading years, so there weren’t too many books to pick from. I also want to note that not all the books were released in 2019, that’s just the year I read them in. Enjoy!

**Click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads**

10. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses #1)I mainly wanted to read this, because the BBC made it into a TV show that was supposed to premiere in 2019. In my typical review fashion, I wanted to make a comparison of the TV show and the book, but then they never released it, which was also partly the reason it took me forever to finish the read. However, Noughts and Crosses is a fascinating alternate history story, where dark-skinned people are the ruling class and “colourless” folks are the underclass, who were once slaves. It mirrors our own world’s racism and doesn’t shy away from showing terrifying consequences of not following the rules. I can definitely understand why these books are read in schools and people got invested in the series.

9. The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)I mainly read the Jackaby series due to massive cover lust, but I am very happy about the fact that it was a great series overall. There were so many supernatural creatures included that don’t always make it into stories and it ended on a hopeful and happy note, while still fulfilling my expectations of where it was supposed to end.

8. Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5)I wasn’t the biggest fan of the 4th installment of the series and still believe that the new “trilogy” isn’t exactly on the same level as the OG books, but Tahereh got me back with Defy Me. It felt more introspective again and while I still think some actions and decisions were out of character, I enjoyed the slow pace and inner monologues.

7. The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

The Wicker KingThis book has so much to offer. I am glad I bought it as a hardcover, because it has a beautiful aesthetic. Also, whenever someone names their character August, they already have part of my heart. I don’t make the rules, that’s just the way it is. The book is both soft and sad, but there were a couple parts that I just wish I could have connected more with.

Check out my review here!

6. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of SeaTahereh Mafi is one of my absolute favourite authors. To read her most personal book yet was an absolute joy. I could see why it meant so much to her and was surprised by how light and fast of a read it was, despite the sometimes quite serious topic. I think that lighthearted-ness was good in some parts, but it’s also why the ending didn’t impact me as much and I found myself not caring as much.

Check out my review here!

5. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’I think I read the book after watching the Netflix movie and I really enjoyed it nonetheless. In fact, I think mixing the two together makes for the perfect story. It was super relatable and had a great message, it was heartbreaking and heartwarming and even though I was sort of late to the party, I am glad I picked it up.

4. Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Justin Paul, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek

Dear Evan HansenI was not super familiar with the musical before picking up the book, but I had a lot of fun reading it. I want to point out again that the book was written AFTER the musical got popular, not the other way around. Still, it offers even more insight into the characters and I, personally, enjoyed that a lot.

Check out my review here!

3. Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro, Cornelia Funke

Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the FaunThis, too, is a book adaption of a film and not the other way around. I feel I am coming across them more and more, but I love that the director of the movie was so thoroughly involved in the book as well. It’s a very whimsical and magical story with some parts being 1:1 what was said in the books and other parts being a great addition to make the memories of the film more impactful and give them more background.

Check out my review here!

2. Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Echo NorthI was in so many massive reading slumps this year, but Echo North was one of the real highlights for me. It reminded me of why I loved Fantasy novels and fairy tales. It’s not that it’s a flawless story, the love that turned very intense very quickly was (despite the explanation at the end) not 100% my cup of tea, but it still had such a great amalgamation of familiar stories while making it their own.

Check out my review here!

1.  The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

The Light Between WorldsThis was my favourite story of the year! Hands down, I still think about it so much and I think I cried through about 100 pages straight at some point. It sounds similar to the Wayward children series or Narnia, but when I read it, I soon forgot about it all. I love how you can interpret the ending and I choose to interpret it in a hopeful way.

Check out my review here!


So, those were my top 10 books of the year! Did you read some of those books as well? What were some of your bookish highlights?