First Line Friday — gearing up towards warfare

Oh my goodness, it‘s the weekend. Hallelujah. Long week was long and gave me a headache. Going for a long walk with a friend and her dog tomorrow, no plans for Sunday. Well, I need to do some laundry and my kitchen floor really needs some attention…. Back to the main topic, reading! I used to do a meme with posting first lines of books. At some point it was discontinued or I lost track. This one here looks the same at first glance. Maybe it is? Anyway…

First Line Friday is a weekly linkup hosted at Reading is My Superpower. To participate, share the first line of a book of your choice, add the link to the linkup on the host’s page, and check out what others are reading and sharing!

I started a new book this week. I haven‘t gotten far yet, as it was a busy week and I was out for dinner twice as well. I decided to finally start working on my Adrian Tchaikovsky backlog….

Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt, #1)
by Adrian Tchaikovsky

It feels very much like epic fantasy, but it also has steampunk elements, which messes with my head. People are either like ants or like beetles, one of them has features of a mantis. The bad guys are wasp-like, with wings…. I‘ve only read the first chapter, so I barely scratched the surface. Here is the first sentence:

After Stenwold picked up the telescope for the ninth time, Marius said, ‘You will know first from the sound.’

Not a bad first line. We jump straight into the action and there is build-up straight away. What will I know from the sound? What sound? A telescope in Fantasy? Nine times, something is up, obviously…. Good one! I hope it keeps going like that, because my secondhand paperback is over 600 pages with relatively small print.

In other news, The StoryGraph has added a streak tracker. And as I am slightly OCD about my pages & minutes tracking, I was allover this like white on rice… Sadly the new feature only starts tracking from the new year, otherwise I would have had a really nice streak from the start. My tracking was spotless in 2021 and 2022. Anyway, it‘s opt-in and the standard setting is 1 page or 1 minute per 1 day. I checked January and February and as this is my year of chilling and mood reading, I only changed the setting to 5 pages or 5 minutes…

Let‘s see if I can manage the full year!

My year in book, 2022 StoryGraph Statistics

I finished reading 103 books, across 19,979 pages and 338.83 hours. Goodreads claims that I read 29,918 pages. Which might or might not fit, if you convert the hours into pages. 🤷‍♀️

First book:

Cursed by Benedict Jacka


Last book:

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

To Be Taught, If Fortunate

I explored new worlds, went to dark places, and got wrapped up in intrigue.

Longest book with 915 pages:

The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

The average length of the books I read was 275 pages and it took me around 10 days to finish each book.

I explored the works of 55 new authors, including James A. Moore, Molly Harper, and Ryan North.

Alien: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore

71 of the books I read were part of a series.

Nerilka's Story & The Coelura by Anne McCaffrey

I revisited a total of 2 books, decided not to finish 15 of the books picked up, read 77 books from my own shelves.

Compared to 2021

Number of books: Decreased by 21%

Number of pages: Decreased by 26%

Number of hours: Increased by 31%

The discrepancy of pages and hours in the last graph: I think here Storygraph only counted the finished books. The overall figure at the top also counts the DNFs. Anyway, so much for the statistics…

StoryGraph and currently reading

I started using StoryGraph at some point last year. I had an account longer than that and had also imported my Goodreads data, but never really did anything with it. The usual discussion with friends about the failings of Goodreads results in another hunt for options. Which, sadly, still doesn‘t exist.

However, I took another closer look at StoryGraph and decided that I like their stats. I started logging my reading progress regularly this year. A few days ago they added a new feature—tracking audiobook minutes. Something that GR never managed to set up in a satisfying manner. So, here we are—I checked and hopefully caught all those audios from last and this year and switched them back to their proper audiobook settings.

This is what my May looked like with pages read only: May Wrap-up — 2.042 pages. And with audiobooks I get this:

A little less than half my pages were audio. And my 2021 now looks like this:

My June is plodding along with longer and slower offerings again, hence the lack of updates. I am still reading Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes and Middlegame (Alchemical Journeys, #1) by Seanan McGuire. And I started March to War (The Walking Dead, #20) by Robert Kirkman. Incidentally, all books with horror themes. Well, ok, Middlegame not so much, but it had tendencies towards that genre.

Middlegame is pretty odd so far. A linear timeline with some jumps, twins with supernatural powers that have been separated at birth, an evil alchemist with a scary scheme for world dominance… I am about halfway and have slowed down a bit, the middle bits often do that to me.

Dead Silence is moving into haunted house territory. Or in this case haunted ship in space. So not my thing, really, I generally find psychological horror like this boring as hell. Odd, I know. This is ok so far, but the suspense is not killing me. Plus the audiobook narrator with her breathy and sometimes frantic voice is grating on my nerves just a bit. And the MC is too whiny. And the whole book is told by the MC looking back. I hate that kind of thing, when you already know from the start who lives and who dies. So this book does not have a lot going for it right now.

March to War Is another one in the endless comic series of The Walking Dead. Getting ready for that ultimate confrontation with Negan. So far, so good.

New year, new opportunities…

So, I spent most of today sorting my reading shelves and looking through possible challenges and whatnot. This is what I came up with…

Planned reading for January:
– Buddy Read Cursed, Alex Verus #2, ebook, started today and made it to chapter 2.
– Buddy Read Black Powder War, Temeraire #3, ebook. I will pick this up after the above. More dragons!
– Saga #55, eComic, pre-ordered, pub date Jan 26. I can‘t possibly wait for the collected volume, after waiting for this since they went into their extended hiatus in 2018!

Also reading / ongoing:
– Life on Earth, audio, narrated by David Attenborough. I made it to chapter 9, all about birds of paradise. Fun chapter, but even so I feel a bit bored by this book.

I settled on a TBR Challenge for 2022 for the 217 owned books currently on my physical and digital shelves:

This reading challenge is for folks who have an obnoxiously large TBR (over 100 books) and need a kick in the pants to get it whittled down. These prompts will help you randomly select 24 books (2 for each month) from your TBR in the hopes that you pick up books you keep forgetting about or putting off. 

1. You must start AND finish each book in 2022.  
2. A DNF still counts! The purpose of the challenge is to get you to at least try reading some books you might not otherwise pick up.
3.  Audiobooks count!
4. You must use a random number generator for each prompt. Here is an example of one you can use, but you can use any random number generator of your choice. 
5. You must use the first number that is generated every time you select a book for a prompt. 

Here is what I got from that numbers generator and my owned-books-shelf over at Goodreads:

1. January: Book 1 
Using the default order of the books on your spreadsheet (or my sorted-by-numbers GR list…), generate a random number from 1 to the number of books on your TBR. Use this number to find the book on the corresponding row in your spreadsheet.

– January #1 The Sweet Rowan

2. January: Book 2 (126 books added)
Sort your TBR by date added in ASCENDING order. Generate a random number from 1 to 100 and choose the book on the corresponding row. 

– January #2 The Marrow Thieves

I just realized that I didn‘t just pick between 1 and 100, but between 1 and all of my owned books. Never mind, not doing it again. So, we‘ll see how long I can keep up with this challenge!

And then there is my Pern Re-read:
I am deleting, as I progress through my re-reads. I made a nice dent in my list in December. Here is what‘s left! I probably won‘t get to the next one until February though, looking at my above plans.

Publication Order
* 1983 – Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern — part of On Dragonwings
* 1984 – Nerilka’s Story
* 1989 – The Renegades of Pern
* 1991 – All The Weyrs of Pern
* 1994 – The Dolphins of Pern
* 1998 – The Masterharper of Pern
* 2001 – The Skies of Pern
* 2003 – Dragon’s Kin
* 2005 – Dragonsblood
* 2006 – Dragon’s Fire
* 2007 – Dragon Harper
* 2008 – Dragonheart
* 2010 – Dragongirl
* 2011 – Dragon’s Time
* 2012 – Sky Dragons

I should not run out of ideas of what to read next, what do you think?