That Was The Year That Was (In Music): 2019 Edition

Last week I posted my 2019 reading report from Goodreads; this week, it’s time for my 2019 listening report from Last.fm. Last year, Last.fm generated a nice 2018 listening recap report and dashboard; this year they did the same:

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That Was The Year That Was (In Books): 2019 Edition

Goodreads has prepared their annual review of books read and rated by their users in 2019, and my reading list apparently went downhill in 2019, with an average book rating of 2.7. (Last year’s average book rating was 3.5.) I attribute this decline to a couple of factors:

  • I only read a couple of Nero Wolfe books this year.
  • I decided to eschew the “pick a random book” reading model I’ve been using for the past few years, and go with “read books in the order I acquired them” instead. This put me back at books I picked up starting in 2015, many of which were, I think, free books from the early days of my participation in the BookBub mailing list, and a lot of these were subpar YA offerings. (Interestingly, back in 2015 or 2016, I tried to get one of my books — Dragon Stones, of course — into a BookBub promotion, and they rejected it because it only had 20 or so reviews/ratings so they couldn’t be sure it was up to their standards. Hmm.)

Aside from the quality of my reading material, there were a few other, uh, issues that cropped up towards the end of 2019 which affected how much reading I got done. I’ll be getting into that soon. But for now, let’s just look at the books:

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That Was The Year That Was (In Music)

Last week I posted my 2018 reading report from Goodreads; not long after receiving the Goodreads book report, I got a music report from Last.fm, a site which, once upon a time, I used quite a bit for streaming and discovering new music (“Neighbor Radio” was a favorite feature of mine). Sadly, some years ago Last.fm was acquired by CBS, and subsequent feature changes (and by “changes” I mean “deletions”) gradually turned the service into a steaming pile of crap. Maybe that was CBS’s fault*, or maybe it would have gone in that direction anyway, but whatever the reason, nearly everything I once used it for (and I actually subscribed, for a while, paying actual cash dollars) disappeared. No more desktop listening client. No more neighbor radio. No more real web listening client, either; the last few times I tried it, all it did was play crappy versions of songs that it apparently found on YouTube or something. Yet one aspect of its old functionality lingers on: The AudioScrobbler, which keeps an eye on what I listen to, so that Last.fm can make artist suggestions on those occasions when I briefly return to the smoldering wasteland that was once a decent web site. And this year, they sent me a recap of what I listened to in 2018. And even though this is by no means a music blog, I figured I would share their findings.

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That Was The Year That Was (In Books)

So this year, as every year, Goodreads sent me a link to review my year in books. Aside from the actual books themselves, 2018 was pretty similar to 2017, which was pretty similar to 2016, which was … Well, you get the idea. One thing that has changed, though, is my average book rating for the year, which has inched up from 3.1 in 2016 to 3.2 in 2017 to 3.4 in 2018. Presumably that means that the books I read this year were slightly better than previous years, and not that my standards are slipping. At least I hope that’s what it means. I’m already notorious for not being very discriminating about movies, and I would hate to think the same thing would ever become true about books.* A more likely explanation is that I was still finishing up all the Nero Wolfe books this year, which probably dragged up the overall rating. We will see how things look next year, when there is no Wolfe to come to the rescue …

Anyway, because there isn’t a good way to embed the Goodreads “Year In Review” page, I have, as usual, resorted to a series of screen shots. I apologize in advance for the load times.

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