Would you like to know what I’ve been reading the last twelve months? I made a list.
As I have done for the past few years, in 2019 I kept a list of the books I read. Generally books I read only for fun and not for school, but sometimes they crossed over. I realized a while back I just wasn’t reading enough for pleasure, and that was making my life, well, much less pleasurable. Reading has always been a vigorous staple of what makes my life good, and doing it as often as I can is eminently worthwhile. (I know, you’re shocked.)
Anyway, once I started keeping a list of the books I was reading, I noticed I started reading a lot more. Perhaps this is the same principle that asserts the more you keep an honest food diary, the less you will eat? I know it works that way for me because I find keeping a food diary to be unbelievably annoying, and I will forego a snack just so I don’t have to write it down.
And maybe that analogy isn’t entirely fair because I love reading and have also enjoyed keeping the reading list. (For what it’s worth, I love food, too. So much, OMG. I could be really happy spending whole days just snuggled up reading and eating. I wonder if someone could hire me to do that? Like, for a livable salary? What would the healthcare benefits look like on that? But I digress.)
Here is my list of books I read in 2019, in chronological order of my finishing them; I gleefully reached the end of the last one this afternoon. Note that this list does not include any books I started but have not yet finished (or don’t intend to finish). This list also does not indicate which books I read more than once (because that is a thing I do sometimes). There are, however, a couple of books on here I reread this year that I had read quite a while ago, for whatever that’s worth.
I’m going to list the titles and the authors’ last names as well as a non-exhaustive picture of some of the books themselves. After that I’ll include a brief statistical analysis of my reading diet in 2019 and why I’m keeping track.
If you would like a review of any of these titles, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll be happy to work on that for you!
What I Read in 2019
Avengers: The Final Host (Aaron, McGuinness, Medina, Curiel)
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life vol. 1 (O’Malley)
Good Busy (O’Grady)
Time’s Convert (Harkness)
Fierce Like a Firestorm (Popović)
Priest: A Love Story (Simone)
The Frog Prince (Lothlorien)
Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance (Joudah)
The Truth About Love and Dukes (Guhrke)
What Caught Raven’s Eye (Christianson)
Romancing the Beat (Hayes)
Spinning Silver (Novik)
The Sleeper and the Spindle (Gaiman)
The Kick-Ass Writer (Wendig)
A Raisin in the Sun (Hansberry)
When I Knew (ed. Trachtenberg)
The Professional (Cole)
Calling My Name (Tamani)
Desire and the Deep Blue Sea (Dade)
Tiny House, Big Love (Dade)
The Unicorn Hunter (Kontis)
The Glass Mountain (Kontis)
Damn Fine Story (Wendig)
Just Add Mistletoe (Moore)
Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Dare)
Tales of the City (Maupin)
Red, White and Royal Blue (McQuiston)
Where will you be five years from now? (Zadra)
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (Mackesy)
Traveling with Your Octopus (Kesinger)
Till the Tide: An Anthology of Mermaid Poetry (ed. Edwards)
So, a little analysis of my reading list:
I had been concerned that my reading diet was not well balanced. My pleasure reading is and has always been, to some extent, escapist, especially now that we live in a dystopia — and I was never a big fan of dystopian fiction. I have always gravitated toward fantasy. Add to that, often when I see friends post on social media that they want to know other people’s favorite or most influential or most important or desert-island-worthy books, etc., the lists are often entirely of white male authors and white male protagonists.
That entirety irks me.
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a good long time will probably remember the Women Writers Wednesday series, wherein I invited female-identifying authors to review books by other female-identifying authors here on the blog to highlight the immense contributions women have made to literature. The series came about initially as a response to revelations in the publishing industry about the lack of gender representation in traditional publishing. The series ran just about every week here on the blog for over a year.
I have personally been making a conscious effort to broaden my reading tastes and the representation within it. I don’t think I’m anywhere near where I should be yet, but I am working on it — and I’m enjoying working on it. I think this broadening improves my reading diet but also increases my enjoyment significantly. Everyone should do it.
I’m relieved to report that when I tallied up the categories and genres I’ve been reading, I found that my reading diet wasn’t nearly as narrow as I’d feared it was. Because I write fantasy and poetry, there’s definitely some of that on there. I love to read in the genres I love to write. (Do people normally express that the other way around? That works for me too.) I have also significantly increased my intake of category romance (the whole spectrum of it), by the way, because I’m considering writing in that category. (More on that, I’m sure, when and if such a circumstance materializes.) Otherwise here’s how the genres for this year’s reading list break down:
plays — 3
general fiction — 5
comics — 3
poetry collections — 3
fantasy — 6
romance — 10
non-fiction — 6
(It’s also worth noting that in this tally I’ve relegated each title to only one category, although some of these books straddle the line between two.)
So…what will I be reading in 2020? Oh my goodness, SO MUCH, I hope! My TBR list is literally an entire bookcase full. I’d take a picture of it but the spines would be too small for you to read many of them. I won’t make it through everything — I never do, hence that shoot-your-shot job question above — but I’m going to really enjoy trying. So you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out how it goes over the coming year.
And in the meantime, remember, if you want a review of any of the titles listed above, just let me know, and I’ll be happy to oblige.
I’m also curious: have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?