A 3rd Birthday and a Giveaway!

Today is my Blogversary!


Yep, it’s been three long years since I counted up all those books, almost had a heart attack and planned to cut down the TBR.

So, it’s another year done and how far on am I? I’m so close to the 500s I can taste it! Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have reached that milestone. 146 books in 3 years isn’t great, but it’s better than the pre-blog days and if I keep up the momentum, 746 books will be done and dusted by 2028. Go me!

Despite having made it through another year without buying myself a book, I have acquired books through other means. My use of Net Galley has risen and I did receive quite a few books from publishers this year. I have tried to stick to my (very loose) rules and only read new books by Irish writers, but this little habit has definitely slowed my progress in my challenge. I may have read 71 books this year, according to Good Reads, but I only reduced the 746 by 47.

Reading aside, I’ve had another great year on the blog. According to my friends at WordPress, I’ve had over 23,000 views and 11,500 visitors. I was also delighted this year to pass my 1,000 follower mark, so thanks to you all for continuing to read.

Highlights this year have been the second annual Reading Ireland Month back in March which generated over 100 posts.


Plans are already afoot for 2017, which I will again be co-hosting with my pal Niall of Raging Fluff fame, so if you have any books by Irish authors lurking in your TBR why not save them until March and join in the craic. This year I’ll be focusing entirely on Irish women writers, but there will be lots of other fun posts and giveaways.

20 Books of Summer also went down a treat this year, with over 120 fantastic bloggers participating and as a bonus, I actually managed to read all 20 of my books! This feature will certainly be back in 2017 as it gives my reading a real kick up the butt mid-year!

Once again I was delighted to make the finals of the Irish Blog Awards for the best Books and Literature blog – getting that far never ceases to amaze me! Plus I clearly take every opportunity throughout the year to show off about it….


On a personal level, 2016 has been both a difficult and an amazing year. Since this time last year I had the real pleasure of interviewing Nuala O’Connor and Dame Fiona Kidman for the Belfast Book Festival and of course, I started a new and wonderful job at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy. Leaving the job I had done for 17 years was frightening and daunting, but I have to say that I have never been happier. I adore my new job, surrounded by books, poetry and writers all day; it feels like it was made for me!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The intensity of my new position and some health issues this year meant that I haven’t blogged as much as usual. I am trying to rectify that and make some time for this lovely little corner of the blogosphere I call home and I just hope I can continue with the same enthusiasm next year.

I’ve never really been one for a year round up, but this year I am picking my five best reads of 2016. Of course, these haven’t been published in 2016 but you all know what I mean!

  1. The Republic of Love – Carol Shields

For sheer enjoyment, Carol Shields wonderful, heartwarming, sprawling tale of love in all its forms tops my list of the year. I didn’t read another book that made me as happy as this one.

  1. Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

I didn’t get to join in with Heaven Ali’s Woolfalong as much as I would have liked, but I am so delighted that it nudged me to read this luminous, wonderful book, that was everything I hoped and more

  1. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha – Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle makes it into my Books of the Year list for the second time. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha was nothing like I imagined. It was simply magnificent.

  1. The Rose Garden – Maeve Brennan

Maeve Brennan was my author of the year, with both this collection of spiky short stories and her wonderful novella The Visitor. She’s undergoing a bit of resurgence here in Ireland and next year I plan to read her biography by Angela Bourke and her collected works from the New Yorker, which have just been published by Stinging Fly

  1. Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Kate Atkinson

Can Kate Atkinson do no wrong? Ruby Lennox stayed with me long after I closed this book which is wonderfully plotted and beautifully uplifting.

I’m looking forward to a positive 2017. With Reading Ireland Month and 20 Books of Summer planned, I also hope to start a feature called ‘The Books that Built the Blogger’ where my favourite bloggers chat about the books that made them into the readers and bloggers they are today.


Each month I plan to chat about a book which has formed and influenced my reading life as well. If you’d be interested in taking part, drop me an email, I’d love to hear from you.

Finally, as it’s a birthday and a birthday needs presents, I’m hosting a little giveaway today. Up for grabs is a paperback copy of Mike McCormack’s critically acclaimed one sentence novel ‘Solar Bones’


Winner of the Goldsmiths Prize and Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards this year, Solar Bones has been called ‘an extraordinary hymn to small town Ireland’ by The Guardian. To win a copy, just comment below. I’ll draw a winner on Monday 12 December and will post world-wide.

Good luck and thanks, as always, for reading


Giveaway Ireland Month The 746

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

88 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Happy Birthday, Cathy. I was just saying that I was in the mood for a bit of cake! It’s sounds like it’s been quite a year for you – I’m very impressed that you’ve managed to keep up the blog at all let alone write such enjoyable posts and be shortisted for the Irish Book Awards. Here’s to another year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Three already!! Happy Blogiversary … looking forward to the Begorrathon. Now that I am back in the old sod I will actually have the chance to see some Irish films that I might not otherwise get to see, and of course hopefully lots of Irish drama. I’m also planning to focus on contemporary Irish poets … watch this space.

    And once again, congrats on three wonderful years …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations! Your blog is one of my favourites, I look forward to the next 3 years and beyond!

    Of your books of the year, the only one I haven’t read is Maeve Brennan and I’m determined to rectify this ever since you put her on my radar 🙂

    I’m also wondering if 2017 could be the year I follow your excellent example, as the TBR really is spiralling out of control…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy blog birthday! I like your best reads of the year list. Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha is one of my faves! I’ve liked several Carol Shields books, but I haven’t read The Republic of Love. I’ll have to check it out. 🙂 I’m always really impressed by your aim to read only the books you already own, something that I’m not so good at, myself…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy birthday! 47 off your total is great, and I reckon it’s good to mix it up with some new stuff – will help stop you getting demotivated. And you don’t want to finish too quickly or what would you blog about…? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There are so many things to say! Happy 3rd ‘Blirthday’!! I just passed the 3 year mark, as well, but just let it go by this year. Mine is mid-November, which I find is a busy time of year and keep wishing I’d been more strategic about when I started blogging. 🙂
    I love seeing Carol Shields on your list – I still have that one to look forward to! But it’s on my shelf, and so is the Paddy Doyle (they’ve both been there for years, actually). I think we could all take a little inspiration from the idea behind your blog!
    I’m always impressed with everything you manage to do on your blog each year, and I’m looking forward to your new feature!
    Here’s to another 3 years! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Birthday greetings! I feel like I added 746 books to my collection and read about the same number as you. Something tells me that’s not the way it’s supposed to work! Here’s to another year of books and blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations Cathy! So pleased you loved Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clark. I read it when it first came out (in early 1990s) and it remains one of my all-time favourite books.


  9. Shame about the health issues but all the other indicators are well in the positive zone. You’ve done tremendously well to keep to your objective of clearing the TBR and not getting sucked in by the lure of new purchases. Netgalley can be a distraction I’ve found so am reigning that in for next year

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations Cathy, I love your blog and not just because it makes me feel better about my TBR 😏 I’m so glad you’re planning on doing the 20 Books of Summer again this year, said by someone who is reading their twentieth book at the moment! I will nail it in 2017!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Cathy, your blog has been a delight, and I don’t know how you manage to do it all. Thank you so much for being ”you.’
    BTW, I loved Mrs. Dalloway. Let’s hope this new year is better for all.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulationd, Cathy! I love the way you write about books and engage with the community of book bloggers! I’ll try to take part in Reading Ireland Month and 20 Books of Summer; those events already belong to my annual literary calendar 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy Blogoversary Cathy! I’ve really enjoyed discovering your blog this year and am constantly amazed how much you manage to not just read but write about, as well as having young twins and a very demanding full-time job! Not to mention all the other culture you consume so joyfully and are so knowledgeable about. You’re definitely an inspiration. Do you sleep?? Charlotte xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Happy Blog Birthday, Cathy! I enjoy your posts so much and have learned so much about Irish literature this year since following you. I look forward to joining Reading Ireland Month in March! Also, I’m delighted that the Carol Shields was your top pick this year. She’s one of my very favorite authors, and one I definitely consider to be worthy of rereading. it’s been a while since I read Republic of Love so perhaps I’m due for a reread of that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Congratulations. When I first found your blog, I loved the concept. While my own TBR stack is not as great as yours, I immediately thought, “I should have done that!” As an added bonus, I’ve enjoyed reading about your reading. We’ve many of the same books in our TBR piles.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m a bit late to the party, but happy anniversary! I’m so happy that I got to meet you, with all the book-related discoveries it has meant! I also think that you read a lot taking into account your job, your wonderful family and your health issues. Remember not to be too hard on yourself. You’re doing great.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Happy belated blog birthday, Cathy. I love reading your blog and the idea behind it. Pleased to see two of my favourite books on your top 5 – Behind the Scenes at the Museum and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. Love the sound of the new job too – I’d like to visit the centre at some point. Here’s to getting under the 500 and to the new feature, which sounds fab.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Book Decoder

Book Reviews By A Geek

Look Into Our Life

Our adventure through life and homeschooling in the UK

My Book Joy

Joy in reading and life


Books reviews with the occasional interview thrown in for good measure

Anne Is Reading

Books, books and more books

Lady Book Dragon

Books, reviews and more...

%d bloggers like this: