Monday, January 29, 2018

Best Books of 2017

It's...way past time! This has been sitting in my drafts for a month just has been. But I wanted to do a January wrap-up (after I said...I wouldn't do monthly wrap-ups? Whatever) and realized I hadn't posted this. So...ta-da!

These are the books that I keep thinking about, the books that challenged me, the books I want to collect merchandise for. I'm going to make a couple of categories, just for total transparency, and I'm listing in alphabetical order using the author's last name, so don't read in to the order I'm listing them.

2017 Books Read in 2016

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Shadow Run by Michael Miller and AdriAnne Strickland
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin
The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine

2018 Books Read in 2017

Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang


The Morning They Came for Us by Janine di Giovanni
Irena's Children by Tilar Mazzeo
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
Code Girls by Liza Mundy
Shrill by Lindy West

Adult Fiction

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle
The Queen of Dauphine Street by Thea de Salle
Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren
The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Backlist YA Books

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Picture Books, Graphic Novels, and Comics

Beauty and the Beast by Agnese Baruzzi
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Julia's House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke
Faith, Volume 2 by Jody House
Dear Yeti by James Kwan
Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

2017 YA Books

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Warcross by Marie Lu
Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Reading Review of 2017 and 2018 Reading Goals

I thought it'd be good to not just review my favorite books of 2017, but also to look at some statistics to really dig into my 2017 reading now that the year's officially over and review some of my goals! All of these numbers could be a little bit off - I don't have complete information (I didn't even try to count queer authors) or I just miscounted - but I did my best.

One of my goals was to read 150 books, but I topped out at 138.
  • 10 of my reads were books I was working on
  • 2 of my reads were sensitivity reads
  • 16 of my reads were non-fiction
  • 35 of my reads were by PoC, Jewish, or Muslim authors
  • 18 of my reads I did not finish
  • 5 books I put down, but plan to come back to
  • 14 were picture books
  • 11 were graphic novels/comics
  • 12 were romance novels
  • 12 were adult fiction 
  • 14 books were about queer people
  • 31 books were about PoC, Jewish, or Muslim characters (not including non-fiction)
I have all kinds of other statistics that I've been working through - I started crunching numbers before the year was over and read several books after that, but I don't remember how many. But I am pleased with how I branched out to non-fiction, my ability to get better at recognizing a book isn't for me, and the number of books I read that were a little different from my norm.

On the other hand, I'm disappointed with my diverse reading, though. I felt like I had been doing really well in reading diverse books from diverse authors, but numbers don't lie. It's definitely an improvement over last year, when I only read 11, but it's still not where I want it to be. Same for books about characters of color.  My goal last year was 50% of my books read to be by or about marginalized people and I didn't hit that - around 50 of the books I read fit this bill, so around 37%. But I made some really big strides in that direction. I'm really glad I already have quite a few books on my shelves to get me even closer to reaching 50%.

I also had a goal to get rid of more books than I acquired and I came close! The final count I have is that I acquired 323 books and got rid of 313 books. I didn't meet my goal, but I came really close and I think knowing how close I came will be a good motivator for hitting that goal in 2018.

2018 Goals

My 2018 goals are a bit of a challenge without being overwhelming. I want to read 130 books this year - preferably books I can count towards my Goodreads goal since that was definitely an issue this year. Goodreads thinks I only read 121 books. 

My more challenging goals include reading more backlist. Of the 130 books I read in 2018, I want 1/3 of them to be backlist. Too many books have been sitting on my shelf for too long and I want to at least try to read a lot of them. I even have a list of books that I HAVE to read in 2018 or they need to go because I never will.

As I mentioned, I once again want to try to get rid of more books than I acquire. I also again want to try to read at least 50% diversely. I just wanted to repeat that in the 2018 section of this post.

On top of that, I want to finish at least one series per month. I have SO MANY unfinished series on my shelf and that's just an extra stress on me, knowing I haven't finished them. If I finish - or catch up on - at least one series a month, that can get me really far through my TBR. Similarly, I'm debating either not taking on any new series or trying to read first-in-a-series books per month so I can decide if I actually want to be invested in that series or just move on. We'll see how I feel as I start finishing series.

Again I want to try to increase the non-fiction I read. I want to read two a month. There are SO MANY books I want to check out that are non-fiction, but there are also SO MANY sitting unread on my shelf that I don't want to keep acquiring more until I've made a bigger dent. 

These are kind of lofty, genuinely challenging goals, which is why I'm also challenging myself to read for at least an hour a day and 3 hours on Sundays (which will hopefully be my designated "off" day). I read at a rate of about 100 pages an hour - slower if I'm reading non-fiction or adult fiction - so theoretically if I read an hour a day, I finish a book every 3-4 days and likely an entire book on Sundays, so I'll read 3 books a week, which would take me to 156 books in the year, and that doesn't even factor in comics and graphic novels and picture books. And I want that hour a day to be separate from any work-related reading too. This particular goal has an added bonus of taking me off the internet and social media and maybe even getting me to bed earlier.

So, those are my rather lofty reading goals. Some may need to be adjusted as the year goes on and my life changes, but I'm hoping not to sacrifice too much. Last year I promised monthly updates and UTTERLY failed at that, so we're going to try quarterly updates this year. More doable and gives me a better chance to look at how I'm doing with some of my goals.