Saturday, January 14, 2017

2016 in reading

Last year I set a goal of reading 70 books, which I barely managed to meet, squeaking in at 71 - once again not counting the hundreds read to Malcolm. I also set a goal to read more books by women and minorities, more foreign fiction and more poetry. How did I do? Let's break it down, shall we?

1) More books by women: This was a success. Without even trying to select books by women, 43 of my 71 books were by women - this includes fiction and non-fiction - for 60.5%. By far and away my most successful goal.

2) Minorities: Only eight of the books I read were by identifiable minorities (nine if you count someone with a physical disability). Not as successful, but not a complete failure. I am actually kind of ashamed of how few minority authors I read, because of those eight, six of them were from two authors. I haven't tallied up the children's books I've read with Malcolm, but I have been making an effort to find and include minority authors there too.

3) Foreign fiction: Apart from one Italian novel and two Finnish children's books, I read a few books by Australians and some British authors. Not very good. Not good at all. I am rather sad about this, because I have many foreign works on my to read shelf on Goodreads - I guess I need to make more of an effort to search them out at the library.

4) Poetry: Well, abject failure is one way to put it. I did read some poetry now and then, but I didn't finish any books, and apart from the poetry on Literary Mama, nothing new.

Going forward into 2017 I have the same set of goals. More women, more minorities, more foreign, more poetry. So far, I have finished three books - two fiction and one anthology of essays. Of those, the two fiction are both by women, and the essay was edited by a woman and includes some minority authors. So, yay me - off to a good start! And of the two books I am currently reading, one is by a woman and one is by an African American.

The best books I read in 2016? Absolutely no contest - The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin. She is my new favorite author, hands down. If you are into audio books, I highly recommend the Audible versions, both narrated by the excellent Robin Miles.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year, and where did December go?! Well, I know where it went: into a long drawn out celebration of Christmas that saw Malcolm meeting Santa at least three times, maybe four - I lost track, a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's, decorating two Christmas trees, Malcolm's first time ice skating, and way too many cookies.

No one fell down!
The trip to Bellevue was a good one. I managed to get in all my scheduled runs, including a 12 mile one on Christmas Day. We got to go to Sequim to visit my cousin and her family, a trip which included a couple of ferry rides in bitterly cold weather (Malcolm and I still went outside, of course!). Riding the ferry always feels like home to me. It was a part of some of my happiest childhood memories during our annual trips to the Olympic Peninsula, and it just feels like somewhere I am supposed to be. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it is the only feeling that comes close.


It was only about 25 degrees in the sun, without the wind. And it was really windy.

As I have done for the past few years, I tallied up all my running, walking, and tennis playing over the past year. My walking miles have steadily decreased over the three years I have been keeping track - partly because I am now running for exercise and partly because I am no longer walking Malcolm to get him to nap. But I still managed to walk around 220 miles. And I played about 30 more hours of tennis in 2016 than in 2015, although it really felt like I didn't get to play as much as I wanted to!

The really exciting category for me this year was running. I ran my first and second half marathons (so, really, I ran a marathon, right?), and am now training for my third. On New Year's Eve in the morning, I counted up my miles for the month and realized that I was only 10 miles away from 1000 for the year. Yes, 1000 miles of running. That is more than I ran and walked in 2014, combined. And only about 80 miles less that running and walking combined last year. So, of course, I went for a 10 mile run. I was supposed to run 10 over the weekend anyway, but I had planned to go on Sunday. I cannot believe how far I have come in running. If you had told me 10 years ago, or even five years ago, that I would be signing up for multiple half marathons and running 1000 miles in a year, I would have thought you were crazy. I'm not particularly speedy, and I never will be, but I get out there and cover the distances. And I love it.

So, while there were plenty of things to hate about 2016 in the wider world, I am pretty happy with how my personal 2016 turned out. Here's to 2017 being better in all the ways that matter!