Now that we’re well away from 2021, you might be wondering just what good came out of last year. In all the disasters of the year, was there any good news?
Yes, dear reader, there was: Cannonball Read became official. We’re now incorporated as a non-profit, Cannonball Read Inc., and our application for 501(c)(3) status is pending at the IRS. That’s pretty big doings for a project that began with a friendly wager between Prisco and AlabamaPink.
I bet ‘Pink would have been pretty freaking amazed by not only how many books have been read in these past 13 years (over 23,800), but that hundreds of people have taken part in this reading challenge in her name every year. Take a look at the maps of where participants were from over the years, the reach is truly astounding.
And yet, cancer still sucks.
Sadly I suspect you’ve had shitty health news from friends and family this year too, and cancer continues to wreak havoc along with the stupid pandemic. Tragically, CBR lost one of our own last year, Rachel Grace Sanchez. Rachel’s friend Sarah, another Cannonballer, wrote a beautifully vivid and loving memorial of her dear friend in December, which I encourage you to read. Rachel Grace Sanchez was 34.
I hope you will take heart, though, to learn that CBR’s mission to fundraise for the American Cancer Society (ACS) did not fall by the wayside during this year of pandemic and non-profit legal paperwork. Thanks to two matching donations at the end of the year, Cannonball Read donated $1,080 to ACS in 2021, which brings our total donation to ACS to $9,655. Over nine thousand dollars. From people reading and writing and talking about books.
I couldn’t be more grateful. Please consider making a donation to support us this year in our mission to stick it to cancer, one book at a time.
One of my favorite things about Cannonball Read is connecting Cannoballers with the authors whose books they read.
Author Interactions (my favorite!)
We love to highlight the happy books and cheery comments, but even the powerful, heavy books can get good feedback. Esmemoria’s review of Dave Cullen’s Columbine got a nice comment from the author: "Thanks for that thoughtful review. I appreciate it. I know it’s a tough read." Among the other authors who can be found on our Fan Mail page include: Olivia Dade, NoNieqa Ramos, E.J. Beaton, and Milla Vane.
Along with the thrill of hearing from authors, we also loved the fun we had during the CBR14 Book Bingo Reading Challenge, Holiday Book Exchange, and multiple Zoom meetups. We’ll be launching even more challenges this year, so stay in touch with our newsletter or social media to play along with your reading selections. We’ll also continue the CBR book club.
In retrospect, 2020’s book club choices all seemed a bit difficult. We’d selected a book about a pandemic (Station Eleven) to read in March 2020 and finished up with the newest book by Emily St. John Mandel, The Glass Hotel. That was certainly not a light-hearted romp, so we looked at 2021 for comfort; and we selected childhood favorites and fairytales and their adaptations. Eight books were selected between the two book clubs, so our readers had a wide selection to choose from. If you’re interested in joining our book clubs this year, or have an idea for a book to read, please contact us.
Super Awesome Volunteers
I want to take a second before we get into the rankings to thank faintingviolet for shepherding us all through book clubs. My right hand gal is Emmalita, and she might just be my left hand too. We’ve got a bunch of other people helping out with the newsletter, social media, graphic design and much more. Big thanks to andtheIToldYouSos, Bothari43, JenK, katie71483, kendradon, Nart, teresaelectro, The Mama, yesknopemaybe. My apologies if I am missing anyone.
First to 52
The first person to read and review 52 books last year, for the second year in a row, was BlackRaven, who hit the mark at the end of January with her review of Animal Crackers by Gene Luen Yang. BlackRaven calls herself a “book pusher" in her bio, and she’s a great resource for children’s books.
BlackRaven was ahead of the group at the beginning of the year, but vel veeter claimed the top of the Leaderboard at year’s end with a grand total of 550 books read and reviewed. These two were at the top of the rankings, and here are the top 10 reviewers. (See Final Standings at the bottom)
Top 10 Reviewers of 2021
There were 5,394 reviews written for CBR13. That’s a record!
Our top 14 most reviewed books last year (including two huge ties) were:
1. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (11 reviews, 4.30 stars)
2. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (10 reviews, 3.90 stars)
t-3. Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells (9 reviews, 4.10 stars)
t-3. Battle Royal by Lucy Parker (9 reviews, 4.40 stars)
t-3. Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell (9 reviews, 4.00 stars)
6. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (8 reviews, 3.90 stars)
t-7. The Searcher by Tana French (7 reviews, 4.30 stars)
t-7. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (7 reviews, 4.10 stars)
t-7. Later by Stephen King (7 reviews, 2.70 stars)
t-7. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (7 reviews, 4.70 stars)
t-7. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (7 reviews, 3.50 stars)
t-7. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (7 reviews, 4.40 stars)
t-7. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (7 reviews, 4.30 stars)
t-7. All Systems Red by Martha Wells (7 reviews, 4.0 stars)
Our top most reviewed authors last year were:
1. Martha Wells (34 reviews, 9 books, 4.10 stars)
2. Stephen King (30 reviews, 18 books, 3.40 stars)
3. Julia Quinn (28 reviews, 11 books, 3.70 stars)
4. Brandon Sanderson (23 reviews, 14 books, 4.40 stars)
5. Agatha Christie (22 reviews, 18 books, 3.70 stars)
6. Lois McMaster Bujold (20 reviews, 17 books, 4.50 stars)
7. P. Djèlí Clark (19 reviews, 5 books, 4.40 stars)
8. Rainbow Rowell (18 reviews, 6 books, 3.80 stars)
9. Tamora Pierce (17 reviews, 14 books, 4.10 stars)
10. Jim Butcher (16 reviews, 14 books, 4.00 stars)
t-10. Molly Harper (16 reviews, 7 books, 3.10 stars)
t-10. Sylvia Moreno-Garcia (16 reviews, 4.00 stars)
And without further ado, here are the final totals of all the Cannonballers from last year. If I’ve missed someone or if your number seems incorrect, please contact me.
Decuple Cannonball (520+)
vel veeter 550
Octuple Cannonball (416+)
Quadruple Cannonball (208+)
Full Cannonball (52+) - 17 people
The Book Omnivore 52
Half Cannonball (26+) - 21 people
Caesar’s Wife 26
Quarter Cannonball (13+) - 21 people
persnickety chick 25
enaj Mcbob 24
Catticus Finch 23
Claire Badger 13
And the 62 Cannonballers who wrote between one and twelve reviews, listed alphabetically:
Is butter a carb?
Registration for this year is still open. It’s free to join, you just need to set a reading goal for the year. Please join us!
Image sources (in order of posting): Giphy, gifer, tenor