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
Apparently it’s been longer than I thought since I posted about what I’ve been reading. Oops! I’m still working on the read harder challenge – I’ve read books in 10 of the 24 categories. I’m trying to queue them up and alternate reading them with other titles, which has helped. I also dug out some comics that got semi-forgotten before we moved and then buried in the move, and oh man, was it ever dumb of me to not read that stuff ages ago.
- The Trespasser, Tana French
- The Night Watch, Sarah Waters (a book about war)
- The Fireman, Joe Hill
- Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy, Noelle Stephenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters & Brooke A. Allen
- The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (a banned or frequently challenged book)
- Belgravia, Julian Fellowes
- Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple
- The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy (a book set more than 5,000 miles away)
- Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max; Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan; Vol. 4: Out of Time; Noelle Stephenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters & Brooke A. Allen
- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe, Ryan North & Erica Henderson (an all-ages comic)
- French Revolutions for Beginners, Michael J. LaMonica
- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know it’s True, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now; Vol. 4: I Kissed a Squirrel and I Liked It; Vol. 5: Like I’m the Only Squirrel in the World; Ryan North & Erica Henderson
- Girl in Dior, Annie Goetzinger
- Signs Preceding the End of the World, Yuri Herrera
- The Summer Before the War, Helen Simonson
- The End is Nigh, John Joseph Adams & Hugh Howey (Editors)
- Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro & Taki Soma
- Eleanor and Hick, Susan Quinn
I haven’t done a “number of books read” challenge in a couple of years, mostly because my numbers have dropped. But this year I’m participating in the Read Harder Challenge, which encourages people to read more broadly. This doesn’t provide a list of books, but a list of types of books and stories, and leaves it to you to figure out what counts for any given category. There are 24 tasks, so to speak, on the list. I’ll indicate here when I’ve counted a book towards the challenge.
- Rare Objects, Kathleen Tessaro
- At the Edge of the Orchard, Tracy Chevalier
- The Vegetarian, Han Kang
- A Fine Imitation, Amber Brock
- In the Woods, Tana French (Read a book you’ve read before)
- The Dog Stars, Peter Heller
- The New Persian Kitchen, Louisa Shafia
- A Land More Kind Than Home, Wiley Cash
- The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016, John Joseph Adams & Karen Joy Fowler, Eds.
- What My Body Remembers, Agnete Friis
- Happier At Home, Gretchen Rubin
- Get In Trouble, Kelly Link (Read a collection of stories by a woman)
- All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
- Girl Waits With Gun, Amy Stewart
I read, or attempted, 67 books this year. Subtracting the six I didn’t finish, that’s a little more than a book and a quarter a week, though of course it’s not evenly distributed in reality.
Eight books got five-star reviews this year: All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr; The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters; A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara; Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Matthew Desmond; The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman; Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Robert Wilson IV; Welcome to Nightvale, Joseph Fink; Kitchens of the Great Midwest, Ryan J. Stradal. There are some very different books on that list! I think The Paying Guests and All the Light We Cannot See are the most widely appealing, though I cannnot recommend A Little Life enough, if you think you can handle both the length and the fact that this book is heartbreaking – it made me cry more than once. I do still intend to re-read it, though.
After we moved in the fall, I started reading more on my iPad, in addition to my Kindle. This came about initially because I had a couple of library ebooks in a row that turned out to not have a kindle edition available, so I decided to read them in the Overdrive app. I then started doing the same thing with kindle books sometimes, mainly when my kindle wasn’t handy (read: because it was up two flights of stairs). I don’t mind reading on my iPad, but I definitely prefer the kindle, especially for reading in bed.
Stats (excluding the six unfinished books):
- 53 ebooks, 39 from DCPL
- 52 works of fiction, 5 nonfiction
- 30 books by female authors
- 3 volumes of comics
- 7 books for book club
- 2 books of short stories
- 1 re-read book
- 1 audiobook