A Blogversary and a Giveaway!

Can you believe that is has been five long years since I counted up all those books, almost fainted and went to work cutting down my backlog?  I can’t believe I’m still here, particularly given the state of this blog at the start of this year!


So, first things first. It’s another year done and how far on am I? Well, I’m midway through the 500s with 201 books read since I started the challenge. Not overly impressive I must admit, but at least I’m trying!

I’d love to make it into the 400s next year – so that is going to be one of my goals for 2019, however the fact that I’m now buying a few books here and there again AND am using Netgalley AND have to read certain new books for work, means that progress is destined to remain slow.

I have done quite well with my reading this year – I set myself a Goodreads Challenge of 75, but have currently read 89 and would secretly love to reach 100 by the end of the year (not happening!).

It was a year of two halves on 746 Books – the year started very slowly. I was in a reading and blogging slump and found little time to dedicate to my little corner of the internet. Reading Ireland Month was a bit of a let-down as far as I was concerned – I only read 4 books for that particular challenge – but I got my mojo back mid-summer courtesy of 20 Books of Summer, which continues to be a highlight of my blogging year.

That challenge really kick-started my reading and blogging again and I’ve spent the latter half of the year feeling energised and excited by my blog again. I will definitely bring 20 Books back next year, but am still undecided about Reading Ireland Month – I need to decide if I have the time and energy to do it justice.

Given the slump in posts at the start of the year, I’ve still managed had another great 12 months on the blog. According to my friends at WordPress, I’ve had almost 23,000 views and over 10,000 visitors with my 20 Books of Summer master post being the most viewed throughout the year.

This Autumn I have introduced a couple of new features, my monthly Miscellany round-up of non-746 books read and Northern Exposure.

Anna Burns Booker-win really made me want to highlight some of the great work coming out of Northern Ireland and I hope to continue my monthly look at writers from this part of the world throughout 2019.

Last January I set myself the challenge of reading a novel a month in translation and by and large I’ve done OK. I’ve read all 12 but have 2 still to review and although I veered massively off my reading list, this is a habit I’d also like to continue next year.

On a personal level, 2018 has been a great year. I continue to love my work at Seamus Heaney HomePlace and this year I had the real honour of attending the Jaipur Literature Festival in India and the Dalkey Book Festival in Dublin to evangelise about Seamus Heaney and his work! I’ve met some amazing writers – Marian Keyes, Paul Muldoon, John Boyne, Helen Pankhurst and I have some amazing writers lined up already for next year (DAVID MITCHELL!!!).

I usually do my Top Ten reads of the year as part of this post, but I’m going to save that until the end of December because, who knows, one of my best reads may still be waiting for me!

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has viewed, read, liked, commented, tweeted, retweeted, reposted and generally supported me along the way this last year. The bookish blogging community is such a friendly one and I genuinely love the little half hour I take every evening as my twins are falling asleep to read and interact with all your wonderful blogs.

Finally, as it’s a birthday and a birthday needs presents, I’m hosting a little giveaway today. Up for grabs is a festive copy of December Stories by Ian Sansom, signed by the author himself.


Published by No Alibis Press, December Stories features 31 short stories, one for every day of the month each offering a very different slant on the Christmas experience; a 1979 Floridian barbecue soundtracked by The Clash, a heart-warming Christmas housebreaking, terrible Christmas poetry, Kylie Minogue in a can-can outfit crawling across a piano and the perils of buying your children’s teacher a novelty mug.

It is a funny and moving collection that explores the more realistic side of the Festive season.

Just comment below to enter and I will randomly pick a winner on Monday 10 December and will post a lovely festive package world-wide.

Thanks again everyone and here’s to another great year of blogging

Cathy x

The 746

Cathy746books View All →

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

78 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Congrats on the anniversary, Cathy!
    Y’know, for a moment I misread your graphic at the top to mean that you’d reduced your TBR from 746 to 5. “Golly,” I thought. “When did that happen?”


  2. Five years of blogging is SO impressive, happy blogversary! 🙂 I think it must be normal to go through slumps here and there in both reading and writing about it, I hope so, at least. It helps to hear your experiences with it. Happy we could connect here!


  3. What a generous way to celebrate such a milestone, and well done in achieving several reading targets (89 books! How do you do it?!). Like you I’m a recidivist bookbuyer (or at least acquirer) — having managed 2017 with the minimum of additional books I’ve nevertheless this year acquired more titles than I’ve consumed/given away. Must do something about that for 2019…


  4. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging! I haven’t noticed this being an ‘off’ year for you; I think you did a great job hosting your two usual events. You can always scale them back, or get additional help from other bloggers, if you find them too much?

    And I would love to win a copy of December Stories. It looks like just the kind of thing I’d enjoy reading this month.


  5. Happy Anniversary, Cathy – how time flies when you’re having fun! I think you’ve had a great year all told. Here’s to many more in the future.

    (PS Please exclude me from the giveaway if that’s okay. Much as I’d love to acquire more books, I’m trying very hard to work through a TBR of my own! Cheers. J)


  6. Happy Blogversary, Cathy. Congratulations on 5 years.
    And thank you for revigorating us all every summer with the 20 Books of Summer Challenge. Here’s to another wonderful year! 🎉🎈
    Happy Holidays! xx


  7. Congrats on 5 years of blogging! That’s so impressive! I’d love to enter your giveaway, that sounds wonderfully festive.
    Also, if you do end up hosting Reading Ireland Month again and need any help with it, definitely feel free to reach out. Any chance to spread the love for Irish lit and I’m there!


  8. Congratulations on the five years of your blog, Cathy! I am very happy to have met you through blogging. You contribute so much to the blogging community, keeping it alive! I particularly love Reading Ireland Month & 20 Books of Summer. Thank you for that 🙂

    I wish 746Books many happy returns!

    (If possible, exclude me from the giveaway, please, because I am trying to control my TBR this year :))


  9. Love all your special interest lists and share them with my book club..a group of retirees,average age 75.I have brought myself a notebook to start doing my own version of 746 books..the very first entry.The Forbidden Places by Penny Vincenzo.I had gone over 60 years without reading chicklit and I was smitten!
    Envy you your contact with the literary world so keep up the brilliant work of sharing it with us.
    Happy Christmas.


  10. You’ve really been kicking it the last little while on your blog! And I have been feeling badly that I’m falling farther and farther behind on my blog hopping. I’m hoping to catch up a bit over the holidays (while ignoring my own blog – I think it needs a little rest).
    Congratulations on 5 years!! Congratulations on 201 books knocked off your 746! And here’s to another wonderful 5 years (on and off the blog)! 🙂


  11. Congratulations, five years is such a huge milestone! I’m impressed with how many of the 746 books you’ve read in the five years as I know how new books keep finding their way onto bookworms’ bookcases! I really need to sort through my books and make an effort to read the ones that have been languishing on my shelves for the longest time.


  12. Happy 5th blogversary, Cathy! I always enjoy reading your blog and discovering so much about Irish lit and culture, so I’m hoping for many more years to come!


  13. Congratulations, Cathy! I think you’ve done really well paring down the TBR. After all, you’re not going to stop reading new books completely. If I can do as well with my Harlequin TBR I’ll be very happy. 🙂

    And I’ll echo other commenters and thank you for the reviews on Irish lit and also the 20 Books of Summer challenge.


  14. Well done on the five years – great stuff, and you are chipping away, and that’s the main thing! I don’t want to enter your draw if that’s OK, but wanted to wish you well for getting that down to zero but never giving up blogging!


  15. Congratulations on half a decade of blogging, Cathy! That’s a huge accomplishment, and I’m glad 2018’s been a great year all around for you.


  16. What a fantastic round-up! Most book blogs, I read somewhere, are abandoned/shut down within a year, so hitting number 5 is a massive feather in your cap 😉👍🏼 746 is a MASSIVE pile, but you’re chipping away at the mountain, keep going! And I love your commitment to reading more novels in translation; I think that’s really important, and I wish more people made the effort to do it. Translators are the unsung heroes of the book world! ❤️


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