Final Post of the Year

Compared to all my fellow bloggers, JJ, Brad, Aidan and the Puzzle Doctor, I have yet to publish my final post of the year. Starting to write it at 2:50 is perhaps cutting it a little bit fine. But hey at least by reading everyone else’s round up posts I can get a few ideas for mine… That said there aren’t going to be any all singing all dancing graphs (like JJ has on his post), as if I did try to create all singing, all dancing graphs to depict my reading this year, you can be assured they would all have two left feet. Whilst it has felt like a busy year on the blog, having published 237 posts, (of which 178 were reviews), this year, I actually wrote fewer posts than I did in 2016 (where I somehow managed 281). Though weirdly I managed to read more books in 2017, gaining a personal best of 236 books (not all mystery fiction related of course).

This is the dream of course…

This year was also an important one for me as it saw the launch of my new venture: Coffee and Crime, a vintage book box subscription service and it was great that it has been keeping me fairly busy. The reviews on Etsy and on personal blogs have also been a big boost, in showing me that it wasn’t such an insane and silly idea after all. Also FYI I have recently acquired a number of Dell Mapbacks for my lucky customers. Not one of these fortune few yet? Well here’s the link to rectify that difficulty for you!

Looking back over my mystery reads this year, (creating far too many tallies for my liking), it was interesting to see what I was reading in terms of author gender and country of origin, as well as which decades my reads came from. I wasn’t at all surprise that the vast majority of my reads came from UK and US authors, though I still managed to sample works from 9 other countries (Italy, France, Austria, Norway, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Holland and Russia). This is an area I would like to work on more but it is not so easy to do when your reading preferences lie mostly in books published in the past. Like other GAD-fanatic bloggers most of my reading came from the 1930s, followed by the 1940s and 50s. However I did manage to sample at least one book from every decade in the 20th and 21st century, excepting for the 1990s (Was this a dud decade for mystery fiction?). One thing which did surprise me though, was when looking at the novels I read this year, I read many more by male authors, (100 in fact), compared to the 66 novels I read by female writers. It felt like I had read more female authors than that. Oh well something to work on in this coming year…

I also decided to see which posts of mine were the most viewed this year and thankfully this was something WordPress could calculate for me, (as I seriously wouldn’t want to count it out myself). Below are the…

Top 10 Most Viewed Posts:

  1. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
  2. Country House Mysteries – Some of my Favourites
  3. Taking Detective Fiction Seriously: The Collected Crime Reviews of Dorothy L Sayers
  4. Agatha Christie’s Most Memorable Victims and Villains
  5. Villages and Detective Fiction
  6. Two Bottles of Relish: The Little Tales of Smethers and Other Stories (1952) by Lord Dunsany
  7. 7 Ways to Read The Invisible Man (1897) by H. G. Wells [Yes it was quite pleasing that this post got 7th place]
  8. The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (2017) by Martin Edwards
  9. Coffee and Crime: The Launch of my Vintage Mystery Book Box Subscription
  10. Christie in Translation: Your Experiences

It was interesting to see that posts I had written quite a while ago were still of interest to readers during this year and it was also helpful to see this list, as there were a couple which were a little hazy in my mind, such as my piece on Villages and Detective Fiction.

Of course a key part of blogging is the debates and dialogues which arise from various posts, with conversations leading in all sorts of directions, so it was interesting to see who my most frequent commenters were. *Drum Roll Please* My top 3 most frequent commenters were: JFW, JJ and rkottery. But there were quite a few following closely behind, so you know what to do if you want to get into top 3 (and no the answer is not nobbling any of the top 3, before you ask).

So to wrap up my final post of the year the Book of the Month and the Book of the Year awards need to take place…

Book of the Month

This month for a variety of reasons I only managed to read 12 books (a travesty I know!). However this did make it quite easy to decide on my favourite book of the month, which has to be Conyth Little’s The Black Iris (1953), which was a wonderfully comic crime novel, with a host of delightful characters to engage with.

Book of the Year

This award on the other hand was a much trickier one to decide upon, as I have been fortunate to have read a lot of good books this year. It was so tricky that I eventually caved in (sorry) and did a Top 10 of the year instead. Yeah I know it is a bit of a cheat, but it was tough enough whittling it down to only 10. However I think my Top 10 cover a pleasing range and variety of mystery fiction, so will hopefully give you some potential titles for your TBR pile (or in some cases piles) in 2018.

Top 10 Reads of the Year (in no particular order)

  1. The Danger Within by Michael Gilbert
  2. The Waikiki Widow by Juanita Sheridan
  3. The Owner Lies Dead by Tyline Perry
  4. Keep it Quiet by Richard Hull
  5. Mind Your Own Murder by Yolanda Foldes
  6. The Spinster’s Secret by Anthony Gilbert
  7. Enter Murderers by Henry Slesar
  8. Four Days Wonder by A. A, Milne
  9. The Piccadilly Murder by Anthony Berkeley
  10. A Whiff of Cyanide by Guy Fraser-Sampson

I also feel that there should be a shout out to Martin Edwards’ The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books and Taking Detective Fiction Seriously: The Collected Crime Reviews of Dorothy L Sayers, which were both published this year and which were both brilliant reads.

So there we have it, Book of the Month and Book(s) of the Year decided upon. I don’t really have any specific reading goals for next year, other than participating in one reading challenge hosted by Bev Hankins, but I do know that my reading next year will be less Delano Ames focused. Surely you haven’t gone off his work? You cry. No I haven’t but I have read an awful lot of his work this year (8 books in fact), so there aren’t all that many left to read. But hey at least that gives me the opportunity of finding a new author to obsess over next year.

Hope you all have a Happy New Year!

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About armchairreviewer

Qualified English teacher, with a passion for literature and crime fiction. On a random note I also own pygmy goats and chickens with afros (it doesn't get any cooler than that).
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38 Responses to Final Post of the Year

  1. Guy Savage says:

    I have The Piccadilly Murder still to get to, so it’s good to know that you liked it so much. Have a great New Year

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great year! And what a huge number of books! Really glad the Vintage Mystery Etsy has taken off some what. Thanks for all your hard work in promoting this genre, here’s to another great year!/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JJ says:

    Your productivity continues to put the rest of us to shame, Kate…and you set up a business in the middle of it, too — no mean feat! A fabulous 2017; here’s to an even better 2018 — happy new year!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Happy New Year, Kate. Glad to here the business is going well, but a bit miffed that I just missed to outreading you for once this month… See you at Bodies, I presume.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I have to keep the reviews going otherwise I’ll never catch up with your number of posts in whatever year you worked it out at. And yes I shall definitely be at Bodies from the Library again. Feel like we should get personally named seats given how many times we’ve gone.

      Like

      • Maybe it’s time they asked us to give a talk! I wonder, could I cobble together 10 minutes or so on Brian Flynn? Possibly…

        Liked by 1 person

      • haha yes I could see a joint talk by us being the highlight of the proceedings lol Let you ask Martin about that one…
        Hypothetically, in the realms of fantasy where we actually get this talk, I’d either talk about Juanita Sheridan or Joan Coggin’s work.

        Like

      • Pretty sure JJ could find someone to talk about as well… or we could just talk about blogging in general.

        On a more serious note, you should see about finding out if you can leave some business cards or fliers for the coffee and crime package business. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind…

        Liked by 2 people

      • JJ says:

        Yeah, I’ll talk if someone asks me to. I don’t even mean at BftL, more just in general. No-one even has to listen, just give me a topic and then wander off and leave me to it. I’ll be quite happy.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I bet you would be really good at that game where you have to speak on a subject for 60 seconds without hesitations or repetitions (the name eludes me at the moment).

        Like

      • Sounds like a great panel discussion! Probably get so carried away listening to you to that I’d forget to speak.
        And yeah I had been thinking along similar lines re business cards or fliers.

        Like

  5. Noah Stewart says:

    I think you published more reviews in December than I did in 2017 😉 so I wish you even more productivity in 2018 — that way I’ll have something to read!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Aidan says:

    What a great year of reading and reviews! A really impressive number of books. Hope you have a wonderful New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Brad says:

    Oh, thank goodness I read this, Kate, because when you said you read 236 books this year, I realized that in addition to the 28 I reviewed there were an additional 209 that I read and forgot to review so I’m going to review them today and I sincerely hope that you and JJ and John and Noah and Colin and rkottery and even Sergio before he retires will read and comment on every damn post!!!!!!

    That’s what you get for showing off, lady – a big fat run-on sentence! I am always in awe of your output and continue to stand humbly at your side as an unworthy consort!

    Happy New Year, happy reading and ever-growing success at the business!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. xavierlechard says:

    My reading this year amounts to a little more than the tenth of yours, and the least said about my blogging activity the better. Suffice to say, I’m admirative and a little envious too!

    Happy New Year to you, with even more great reads and reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well you are a very big contributor to the GAD FB group, so that can be your blog equivalent, as the ideas and opinions you raise in the group are always very interesting and usually leave me wondering why I can’t come up with such ideas. Hope you have a great 2018.

      Like

  9. Christophe says:

    I am happy that a book by Michael Gilbert made your top ten list. It seems to me that his work is little or not discussed by other bloggers focusing on crime fiction.

    Thanks for all the interesting reviews and perspectives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apologies for the delay in replying to your comment. You unfortunately ended up in my spam folder for my comments. Glad you are enjoying my posts. Gilbert is an interesting writer as I tend to either love or dislike his books. The Danger Within and Death Has Deep Roots are my favourites so far. Which ones would you recommend?

      Like

  10. JFW says:

    “…so you know what to do if you want to get into top 3 (and no the answer is not nobbling any of the top 3, before you ask).”

    I can imagine running a blog chock-full of reviews of mystery novels could be dangerous, but when has making comments on blogs become a dangerous activity? 😛

    Anyway, thanks so much for the reviews, and for replying to our comments. Have a great year ahead – and I’m looking forward to more reviews! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha yes even commenting has it dangers. Just avoid all invites to isolated country houses and don’t try any boxes of chocolates mysteriously sent through the post.
      Glad you’ve enjoyed my reviews in 2017. Which would you say have been your favourite reads of 2017?

      Like

      • JFW says:

        I shall duly avoid invitations to country houses as well as mysterious gifts of chocolates, as well as invitations to islands or extended travel on trains. 😛

        The problem I face with leaving the best titles to the last is that I’ve been reading many titles that are at best middling this year. Case in point: the standout Carr novel I read was ‘Unicorn Murders’. I also read ‘Hollow Man’, and I was definitely impressed by the mystery, but I was less enamoured by the story. In terms of the Golden Age, I enjoyed Julian Symons’s ‘Plot against Roger Rider’, but found some of the characters and situations unsavoury. Perhaps the highlight was Anthony Horowitz’s ‘Magpie Murders’. I also enjoyed Robert Galbraith’s ‘Career of Evil’. I read a few good mystery novels written in, or translated into, Mandarin.

        I’m sure I read many other good titles, but they seem to have slipped my mind…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think the only two books from that list that I have read are Magpies and Hollow Man, but I do agree with your findings. Hollow Man is impressive but perhaps lacks something which would have make it amazing.

        Like

  11. JFW says:

    Incidentally, I’ve quite a few of your top ten titles on my Kindle, awaiting to be read, thanks to your recommendations. Though I’m still slightly sore that I missed out on snapping the last copy of Yolanda Foldes’s novel. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha yes I was surprised with the speed by which those remaining copies of Foldes’ novel vanished. I got my own copy from Baskerville Books rather than the more mainstream book sellers online.

      Like

  12. rkottery says:

    Happy New Year, Kate, and thanks for all the great reviews. Looking forward to your thoughts on 2018’s crop.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. TomCat says:

    I’m a poor commenter on these blogs, but wanted to wish you a (belated) happy New Year regardless. And glad to see Micheal Gilbert and Tyline Perry made it into your top 10!

    Can we expect more Anthony Gilbert review from you this year?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Glad you liked the Tyline Perry that much! I made my final 2017 post a bit late too, just don’t have that much time these days, but plenty of you have taken up any slack, that’s for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

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