January 2019 in Books

  • Paper Girls, Vol. 1, Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), Matthew Wilson (Colorist), Jared K. Fletcher (Lettering): This was great, I immediately picked up the other volumes available.
  • Word by Word, Kory Stamper: Have you ever wondered who writes dictionary entries? No? Read this anyway.
  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, Helen Oyeyemi: Short stories where the characters from the first turn up here and there in the rest.
  • The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar: I found most of the story in the last third of the book.
  • The Dreamers, Karen Thompson Walker: Super compelling undercover sci-fi. Beautifully written.
  • The Forgotten Hours, Katrin Schumann: The protagonist finds she needs to unravel a trauma from her past before she can move forward into the rest of her life.
  • Hey, Kiddo, Jarret. J. Krocoszka: That feeling when you are suddenly reading something that’s set where & when you grew up. Lovely illustrations & collages.
  • Future Home of the Living God, Louise Erdrich: Unspecified apocalyptic disaster. Echoes of The Handmaid’s Tale so brace yourself.
  • Snap, Belinda Bauer: Character-driven with a dash of police procedural.
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2018 in Books

First of all, here’s what I read in December:

This year I read 101 books, slightly up from the 97 I read last year. That count includes the 6 I didn’t finish, which I’ll omit from here. Of the 95 that I finished, all but 3 were ebooks, and 57 of them came from DCPL’s ebook holdings.

As ever, I remain much more of a fiction reader, but I read 16 works of nonfiction this year. My favorite was Educated, by Tara Westover. Brutal at times, but it showed me a very different perspective, and I found it to be quite thought-provoking. In retrospect, it would have made a great book club pick.

One of my goals for 2018 was to read more new releases, which I defined as within 3 months of release. I read 8 that counted for that goal, and another 10 that were published in 2018. This was a really fun goal that I plan to stick with – of the 18, I managed to get 11 of them from the library. The best trick I figured out is that if you recommend the book, you’re automatically put on the hold list if the book is acquired. The most fun part of this goal was starting Tana French’s latest, The Witch Elm, within a few days of release.

I read 7 books for bookclub this year; the best of them was Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing.

I gave 30 books 5 stars this year. Aside from the ones I’ve already mentioned here, I’d absolutely recommend Seveneves (Neal Stephenson), The Library Book (Susan Orlean), and Pachinko (Min Jin Lee).

Fall 2018 in Books

After suffering through Islands in the Stream (go figure, a Hemingway novel about men drinking & fishing) I gave up on the Read Harder Challenge. I was spending a lot of time trying to identify books to read for each category, and I got tired of it. I read 13 of the 24 categories, so not bad.

I have kept up with reading new releases (I count that as within three months of publication) and more recently-released stuff in general, which has been really great. I also signed up for Book Riot’s Tailored Book Recommendations service, and will get three recommendations each quarter. I got the first set recently and was pleased to see that none of them were already on my radar, and they all sounded interesting.

November

October

September

This Summer in Books

Sometimes I wonder why I still have a blog. Anyway, still working on the Read Harder Challenge and also trying to get to more new releases more quickly. I’m aiming for about 3 months after publication, and while I haven’t quite made my self-imposed limit I have read a few things within a few months of publication, which is unusual for me.

Also, guess which month I didn’t travel.

May

June

July

August

March & April in Books

I’m doing the Read Harder Challenge again this year, as well as trying to read more new releases. I’ll indicate the category (or publication date) in parentheses.

Once again, a lot of random library holds came in all at once.

January & February in Books

I’m doing the Read Harder Challenge again this year, and will indicate the categories in parentheses. I’m also trying to read more new releases – hoping for about one a month – rather than forever being the voracious reader who hasn’t read, say, Lincoln in the Bardo or The Underground Railroad yet.

That said, I’ve had a run on library holds coming in over the last few weeks, so it’s been tough to work on the Read Harder books and new releases.

Lots of good stuff in the last couple of months. Of particular note: Borne and The Stone Sky, if you like sci-fi (the latter is the third in a trilogy); A Separation; and Sing, Unburied, Sing.

 

2017 In Books

I read, or attempted, 97 books this year. Subtracting the 6 I didn’t finish, that’s about a book and 3/4 a week, though of course it’s not evenly distributed in reality. This is 30 more books than last year. About a third of the increase can be chalked up to reading more volumes of comics, but the rest I think can be put down to a combination of long flights, trips to see family where I wind up reading a lot, and a concerted effort to get off the internet on evenings when I find myself refreshing Facebook and Twitter so much they have no new content for me.

37(!) books got five-star reviews this year, which has got to be a record for me. Ten were comics (mostly Squirrel Girl and Lumberjanes). Of the rest, I’d most recommend Every Anxious Wave, Mo Daviau; The Color Purple, Alice Walker; and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, Dinaw Mengestu. 

In 2017, I participated in the Read Harder Challenge, which was a great way of finding new things to read. There were two categories I didn’t manage to find something for – a book published by a micropress and a book of translated poetry on a theme other than love. I found that the best way to make sure I was reading books that fit the challenge was to spend some time every couple of months identifying books that fit different themes, and queueing them up at the library. (I kept track of which theme each book fit.) This way I had a pretty steady stream of books for the challenge interspersed throughout my other reading. I’m planning to participate again in 2018.

Stats (excluding unfinished books):

  • 86 ebooks, 42 from DCPL
  • 80 works of fiction, 10 nonfiction
  • 50 books by female authors
  • 14 volumes of comics
  • 6 books for book club
  • 6 books of short stories, including the wonderful Apocalypse Triptych
  • 2 re-read books
  • 1 audiobook