Well, 2020 was something, wasn’t it? I’d love to tell you that Cannonball Read chugged along smoothly last year, unaffected by any issues related to the pandemic. But faintingviolet and I decided in December 2019 that 2020 would be PERFECT year to celebrate five years of #CannonBookClub by revisiting our first book - Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. The only problem is that Station Eleven is set in a future where Earth survives a virulent and deadly virus, just barely. Yes that’s right. Our first book club choice for 2020 was a story about a pandemic. Brilliant! The pandemic’s pall made everything difficult, even books people were reading—let alone trying to review. Some of us were rereading like crazy, some of us were reading and not reviewing, and some of us weren’t reading at all.
Still Cannonball Read persevered. We started our first CBR comment diversion series, asking folks to weigh in on all kinds of things, from dream casting their favorite book series, to summer read recommendations, to a “caption this” post. The third annual Book Bingo Reading Challenge kicked off in July and garnered 495 reviews from 37 players. We heard from lots of folks that bingo really revived their reading mojo, and we were thrilled to hear it. (We’ll be doing a 4th this year for sure.) We heard from lots of authors who took the time to tell us how impressed they were with our reviews and mission.
This made me cry all over the chicken I was preparing for dinner. 😭🥺If you want to know more about 40-LOVE and what I wanted to accomplish (other than making you laugh), this is a great place to start.
It’s out in a week! https://t.co/mdXwN3isdx
— Olivia Dade (@OliviaWrites) June 11, 2020
After we survived the Station Eleven reread, we celebrated Pride Month the Cannonball way with a The Future is Queer book club focusing on speculative and science fiction written by and/or featuring LGBTQ+ characters. This was our first book club to offer multiple book titles from which to select, and it made it much easier for folks to participate. We finally got to The Glass Hotel, Emily St. John Mandel’s next published work after Station Eleven in October. You can still read and contribute to that discussion post. This year’s book club choices are still under consideration, so watch the CBR book club page for more details.
We finished out the year with not only our usual holiday book exchange but our first ever CBR Zoom Holiday party! We’ll definitely be doing more virtual events, so follow CBR on social media to stay in the know.
Donations to the American Cancer Society
Cannonball Read’s mission is to raise money for the American Cancer Society in the name of the late, great Pajiban, AlabamaPink. Fundraising drives were a big ask for 2020, so we are even more grateful for all of Cannonball Read’s supporters who were able to contribute. Our efforts led to an annual donation of $1,650, which was only slightly less than 2019. All things considered, we’re counting that as a success. Also a success - the wonderful volunteers managing our newsletter, social media, bookclub, bingo and much more. Cannonball Read could not run without them. If you’d like to join this fabulous crew, drop MsWas a line.
First to 52
The first person to read and review 52 books last year was BlackRaven, who hit the mark at the end of January with her review of Genius by Steven T. Seagle. A specialist in books for younger readers, BlackRaven has been a pillar of the Cannonball Read community since 2018, reviewing over 1,400 titles in that time.
BlackRaven is at the top of the list below, which I’ll include in entirety from the 2020 stats wrap-up post provided so diligently by Cannonballer ingres77. They are powerhouses, every one of them.
Top 20 Reviewers CBR1-12: (total reviews; ranking in 2020)
1. vel veeter (2,401; 1st)
2. BlackRaven (1,474; 5th)
3. Malin (1,344; 3rd)
4. narfna (1,315; 4th)
5. badkittyuno (1,261; 2nd)
6. Jen K (831; 6th)
7. bonnie (783; 7th)
8. Sophia (664; 9th)
9. Caitlin_D (630; 8th)
10. faintingviolet (587; 10th)
11. emmalita (529; 18th)
12. scootsa1000 (529; 12th)
13. Prisco (494; 11th)
14. alwaysanswerb (485; 13th)
15. ElCicco (482; 15th)
16. ASKReviews (473; 14th)
17. Mrs. Julien (430; 16th)
18. Classic (421; 17th)
19. Jake (396; 42nd)
20. Valyruh (364; 19th)
Last year we featured 207 reviews from more than 100 Cannonballers in Pajiba Love, and I’ve heard from a number of people that those featured reviews prompted them to sign up for CBR13. Other details on the year:
Top 5 Most Popular Books:
tie-1. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (13 reviews, 4.3 average)
tie-1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (13 reviews, 4.6 average)
3. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (12 reviews, 3.9 average)
4. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (11 reviews, 4.0 average)
5. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Tailia Hibbert (9 reviews, 3.7 average)
t-6. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (8reviews, 4.6 average)
t-6. The Disasters by MK England (8 reviews, 3.5 average)
t-6. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow (8 reviews, 4.0 average)
t-9. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (7 reviews, 3.0 average)
t-10. Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow (7 reviews, 4.4 average)
t-10. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (7 reviews, 4.2 average)
Top 5 Most Popular Authors:
1. Stephen King (37 reviews): For the second year in a row (and third time overall)
2. Emily St. John Mandel (28 reviews)
3. Brandon Sanderson (27 reviews)
4. Agatha Christie (24 reviews)
5. Seanan McGuire (22 reviews)
Cannonball Read 12 Final Standings
I’m so proud of every single one of these folks below. They pushed through the miasma of the pandemic to click on that publish button. How great is that?? According to our records, this is the final tally for Cannonball Read 12. You can check out leaderboards from prior years, and see how you and others fared in other Reads. (If your number below is inaccurate, please contact MsWas for corrections.)
Duodecuple Cannonball (624+)
Decuple Cannonball (520+)
Full Cannonball (52+) - 15 people
The Chancellor 52
Half Cannonball (26+) - 20 people
Lisa Bee 31
Jen K 29
Caesar’s Wife 26
Quarter Cannonball (13+) - 17 people jeverett15 25 Tracy 24 Leedock 19 kittenkong42 18 jormis 18 MarkAbaddon 18 Rachel 16 tiny_bookbot 15 elderberrywine 15 kniki 15 Caitycat 14 cosbrarian 13 Manimama 13 Professor FluffyKitten 13 AnnaCollier 13 Sidewriter 13 jomidi 13
And the 48 Cannonballers who wrote between one and twelve reviews, listed alphabetically:
If you’ve always thought about joining Cannonball Read, or if this is the first you’re hearing of us, consider making 2021 your year to officially sign up. Open registration for Cannonball Read 13 ends on January 31, 2021. At the very least, you’ll get some good book titles to put on your to-be-read list. I’ve got my book choices all ready!
Header Image Source: US Army; giphy