Saturday, February 10, 2018

The year in reading, 2017

How did it get to be February already? It seems like we just finished the holidays! Since the year is already getting away from me, I am a little late with my reading roundup for 2017. Oh well, better late than never. Here goes:

In 2017 I had a goal to read 75 books (not counting the picture books and so on read to Malcolm) - I read 80 (a couple of those were chapter books read to Malcolm, but since they were actual books, I let them count). I am pleased with my total, especially since I started working a month into the year and my free time declined precipitously. I didn't keep track, but I suspect the number went up from 2016 because I have been listening to more audio books during my commute every day. I can read faster than I can listen, but I can't read while driving, so audio books are a great solution. I didn't break the books out into categories, but I definitely read mostly science fiction and fantasy this year. Probably because the news is so dreary and dreadful most of the time that I need something to take my mind somewhere else entirely, even if that world is even more wrecked than our own.

For the last two years I have had goals to increase the diversity of the perspectives I encounter by reading more books by women, minorities, and non-US/British authors, as well as more poetry. In 2016, about 60% of my books were written by women; 2017 was about the same, with 63%. I am actually a little surprised about that - at times it felt like I went weeks without reading any male authors. But I am pretty happy with 63% and aim to keep the ratio about the same for this year.

In 2016 I read only eight books by minorities - six of which were by two authors - and I made a very concerted effort to increase that number in 2017. I was pretty successful - I increased the total to 21 books by minorities, one quarter of the total books. There was some duplication of authors, but not much. In 2018, I want to keep seeking out diverse authors and hope to get closer to 1/3 of my books.

Foreign authors is still a hard category for me and needs improvement. I only read five books by non-American/British authors - one Cuban, one Japanese, two South African, and one Nigerian. One of the American women I read is also Nigerian, but since she was born in the US and lives and works here, I didn't count her in the foreign category.

Poetry: I only read two full books of poetry this year, but I did read all the poetry every month in Literary Mama, and occasionally dipped into favorite books of poetry for short snacks. I don't think this category is every going to be a big one for me - poetry just isn't something that I connect with regularly, even though I do enjoy it from time to time.

Favorite books of 2017 in order read throughout the year:
Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Binti (and its sequels) by Nnedi Okorafor
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
The Heist (and the other four books in the Fox and O'Hare series) by Janet Evanovich
Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
The Stone Sky (The conclusion of the Broken Earth trilogy) by N.K. Jemisin
Provenance by Ann Leckie
Artemis by Andy Weir

There were a lot of pretty good ones that I didn't put on this list too. You can find my complete list of books read in 2017 on my Goodreads page.

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