The Last Day of the Year

Let’s give a little look at my blogging stats this year:

As of Monday December 28:

346 posts

60,979 views

17.2K visitors

25K Likes

Average Likes per post: 71

20.5K Comments

Average Comments per post: 59

Total Words: 116K

Average words per post: 337

3,564 followers

Top 5 Posts:

  1. Defund
  2. Nueve- Masks
  3. Gratitude Saturday September 19
  4. A Tale of Men and Women
  5. Thought for the Day

Far and away most of my visits come from the United States. Canada and the UK are next.

Thank you for all the support, insightful comments and amazing conversation!

And I will leave you with a song:

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, but

I’ll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(Like I’ve been there before)

Writer(s): Wilde Danny C, Willis Allee, Solem Philip Ronald, Crane David L, Kauffman Marta Fran, Skloff Michael Jay

My Year in Music

Thanks to Spotify, I can give you an idea as to what I listened to this year:

My top genres:

  1. Rock
  2. Pop
  3. Show Tunes
  4. Classical Performance
  5. Art Pop

My Top Songs:

  1. Blinding Lights The Weeknd
  2. Make you Feel My Love- Adele
  3. God Only Knows- The Beach Boys
  4. Fix You- Coldplay
  5. Someone Like You- Adele

My top decade was 2000s

I listened to 1,863 different artists this year.

My top five artists were:

  1. The Beatles
  2. The Beach Boys
  3. Harry Styles
  4. Moses Sumney
  5. The Lumineers

This is my 2020 top played songs playlist:

My Favorite and Least Favorite Reads of 2020

As you can tell by my very clever title, I am going to tell you the best and worst books from this year.

My Best Books– these books are in the order that I read them this year- I could not give you a favorite of my favorites. The bottom line is that all of these books made me feel something-

  1. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
  2. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  3. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
  4. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
  5. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
  6. Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
  7. The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
  8. Here for It by R. Eric Thomas
  9. Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie
  10. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

My Worst Books- again just in the order that I read them this year. Though, some of these made the list because they were SO OVERHYPED and did not meet my expectations. There are also 14 instead of 10 because I couldn’t decide which were actually the worst.

  1. The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes (Moyes should stick to what she does best and not delve into historical fiction because she’s convoluted at this genre)
  2. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins The most interesting thing about this book was all the hype surrounding it.
  3. Writers and Lovers by Lilly King- Nothing worse than a book that tries to be literary fiction
  4. Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown- First- this book was not what I expected, so this is a case of it being tagged wrong. Secondly- the ending was horrendous and didn’t make sense with the rest of the book
  5. Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore- This was sooooo boring. I really didn’t care.
  6. Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey- Clearly this was the worst book I read this year. It’s so full of itself. Again, a case of literary fiction gone soooooo wrong
  7. Conjure Woman by Afic Atakora- Just bored me
  8. Normal People by Sally Rooney- Over hyped- Don’t know what the big deal is/was over this book
  9. The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard- I don’t think I like multi generational sagas
  10. Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino- Tried to hard to tell a story but failed to tell a story
  11. THe Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis- Ridiculous non historical historical fiction
  12. Death by Tea by Alex Ericson- I like cozy mysteries. I don’t know what this was
  13. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams- I get very bored by books that rely on sex to get from point A to point B
  14. The Cold Millions by Jess Walter- I do not know what people like about this author

Let’s take a look at my Goodreads stats:

I read 177 books.

Total pages: 55,261

Average Book Length: 312 Pages

Average Rating: 3.6

My reading goal for 2021 will be 100 books.

If anyone would like to be my Goodreads buddy, email me at:

wakinguponthewrongsideof50@gmail.com

Battle of the Book Clubs

Every month I read the influencer book club picks. I thought it would be fun to go month by month and pick my favorite and least favorite book choices. My favorite book of the month will be bolded. My least favorite will be italicized.

MonthReese WitherspoonJenna Bush Hager (Today Show)Good Morning AmericaBarnes and Noble
January“Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid“Dear Edward” by Ann Napolitano“Children of Virtue and Vengeance” by Tomi Adeyami
(this might not be January but my GMA list is not great)
“Dear Edward” by Ann Napolitano
February‘The Scent Keeper” by Erica Bauermeister“The Girl with the Louding Voice” by Abi Dare“Long Bright River” by Liz Moore (this might not be Feb but my GMA list isn’t great)
“American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins
March“The Jetsetters” by Amanda Eyre Ward“Writers and Lovers” by Lily King“In Five Years” by Rebecca Serle“A Good Neighborhood” by Therese Anne Fowler
April“Untamed” by Glennon Doyle“Valentine” by Elizabeth Wetmore“Oona out of Order” by Margarita Montimore“Valentine” by Elizabeth Wetmore
May“The Henna Artist” by Alka Joshi“All Adults Here” by Emma Straub“The Book of V” by Anna Solomon“All Adults Here” by Emma Straub
June“The Guest List” by Lucy Foley (June/July)“A Burning” Megha Majumdar“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett
July“I’m Still Here” by Austin Channing Brown (June/July)“Friends and Strangers” by J. Courtney Sullivan“Sex and Vanity” by Kevin Kwan“Florence Adler Swims Forever” by Rachel Beanland
August “Everything Inside” by Edwidge Danticat“Here For It” by R. Eric Thomas
The Comeback” by Ella Berman
“The Lions of Fifth Avenue” by Fiona Davis“The Pull of the Stars” Emma Donoghue
September“The Last Story of Mina Lee” by Nancy Jooyoun Kim“Transcendent Kingdon” by Yaa Gyasi“Fifty Words for Rain” by Asha Lemmie‘Transcendent Kingdom” by Yaa Gyasi
October“His Only Wife” by Medie Adzon“Leave the World Behind” By Rumaan Alam“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig“Leave the World Behind” Rumaan Alam
November“Group” by Christie Tate“White Ivy” by Susie Yang“Memorial” Bryan Washington“The Cold Millions” by Jess Walter
December“The Chicken Sisters” by KJ Dell’Antonia“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison“This Time Next Year” by Sophie CousinsNo Pick

Must give kudos to Jenna and Reese for keeping their picks organized. It was actually difficult for me to trace back the Barnes and Noble and GMA picks because they don’t keep a running tally. Or if they do, it’s not easily accessed.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the vast majority of these books. There were very few that I did not like, and there were even a few months where the choice for best was quite difficult.

Highlights December 27

This weeks question is about books/authors: Do you think authors/writers of fiction only write about people just like themselves? If you don’t see the survey you might need to go directly to my page:

Does a book need to have a happy ending to be considered a romance?

No

72.73%

Yes

18.18%

Depends on the individual book

9.09%

Not Sure

0.00%

Gratitude Saturday

We have a new puppy- and with new puppies come training.

We have the wee wee pad down by the front door…

The pup decided the other day that she would rather have the wee wee in the living room- so she dragged it into the living room….right in front of the TV…

I am grateful that after she dragged the wee wee into the living room, she stopped to pee on it….

‘Twas the Day Before

Holiday Favorites:I have

  1. Christmas Movie- 1951 version of Scrooge
  2. Song- The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole
  3. Favorite Animated Christmas Movie- The Year Without a Santa Claus
  4. Favorite Christmas Treat- Gingerbread
  5. My tree is made up of mainly cat and a few dog ornaments
  6. Favorite Holiday Display- the Baroque Tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which they did not put up this year)

Normally we spend Christmas Eve with family- but this year we will be just my Husband, Daughter and pets. I made an eggplant parm that is sitting in the fridge waiting to be cooked, and I’m going to make a chocolate mousse in a little bit. I’m thinking a slow cooker of mulled wine should also go down well as we watch Scrooge….

May your days be merry and bright…

All For Altruism

Today we revisit an episode of Friends…

Joey and Phoebe have discussion about altruism. Joey argues that everyone does something for a reason, even good deeds. Phoebe argues that people can be selfless and give just because.

I rarely agree with Joey, but this time I’m saying that Joey has the right idea. Maybe not 100%, but enough to say that most people don’t do things out of the goodness of their heart…

If a Girl Scout comes up to you on the street and asks for ten dollars, are you giving it to her? Or do you expect a box of cookies?

Donate money- get your name on a brick in the new entry level…

Get a tote bag to show that you are a supporter…

Win a raffle…

Silent auction…

Do people need to be enticed to give money to a cause?

As I mentioned a few months ago, the majority of the money I donated this year was to causes that my daughter or my niece have taken part in…I would never have chosen these particular charities without a personal connection…

How about your time?

Do you do it purely because you are a good person? I was a volunteer reading tutor for about ten years. Yes, I did it because to me, education is the great equalizer, and that road all begins with knowing how to read.

Did I do it because I wanted to help kids?

Sure.

But I did it more because I hoped that education would be the route out of poverty for some of these children. And less kids in poverty means less crime, less unwanted pregnancies, less addiction issues, less everything…

Sorry- but my underlying reason was that I just wanted to fix things that would cause me problems in the future…

I volunteered at my daughter’s schools- because I wanted her to get the best free, public education possible, thereby making it a better education for everyone…

But what do you think?

Do you think that people do things solely out of the goodness of their heart?

Or do you think there’s always a motive behind it?

And…

Can you consider “making yourself feel better” a motive to do good?

Cheating?

My quarantine hobby has been making dough- pizza, pasta, pie…

I’ve never been particularly good at baking- I think it’s too exact, and I am not the most exacting cook- I use recipes more as guidelines than anything else.

But baking- dough especially- has been my nemesis…

I wanted to make it my ally…

Let’s discuss my journey into pie crust…

How exactly do you cut the butter into the floor?

I use a food processor…

Is this cheating? Should you do this step by hand?

What about rolling out the dough?

I am especially bad at rolling out dough. I just can’t get it right. So I bought a silicone pie rolling bag. It has a zipper- you put the dough in the middle of the bag and then you can roll it out to the proper size…

When my daughter saw this she called it cheating- she said that I should just suck it up and use the counter…

But as she wasn’t the one trying to make pie crust, I told her to ^%$# off…

I told her that apparently I wasn’t the only one who had this issue with pie crust- enough people have problems with this task that multiple products were developed to help with it.

Do you consider using gadgets to be cheating, or do you think these are just devices made to make certain tasks just a little bit easier?: