This was a challenging book year for me, mainly because I spent at least a quarter of the year studying Spanish intensively in the hopes of taking the C1 test to receive my Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera. Well, I didn’t take the test. I didn’t feel fully prepared, and since I’m only doing this for my personal edification, I didn’t want to pay the $100+ registration fee if I didn’t feel completely ready to take the test. Maybe next year. I learned a lot and feel a lot more confident in my Spanish abilities, so it definitely wasn’t without gain. Of course, this means that I didn’t read much during that time and I just barely slid under the wire for the Read Harder Challenge and my yearly goal of 52 books, with a total of 57. Yet, I completed both of them and I read Octavia E. Butler’s entire oeuvre. That is something to be celebrated. Here’s what my reading year looked like in some colorful charts:
Fiction vs. Non-Fiction:
Male Authors vs. Female Authors:
Star Ratings (Again, no one-star reads!):
Diversity percentage: 54%
Percent borrowed from the library: 61%
Pages read: 14,226
Hours of audio listened to: 89
Favorite read(s): This year it’s a multi-way tie. I saw Butler’s Parable of the Talents in a completely different light and was simply amazed by it. I found Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow to be edifying and enlightening. I loved Yaa Gyasi’s multi-generational saga centered on the transatlantic slave trade, Homegoing. And, as a late entry, I adored the complex racial entanglements of Chimamanda Ngozi Adicie’s Americanah.
Least favorite read(s): Probably Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick, not because it was a bad book, but because it is not something that interests me at all and while, yes, I am sticking my head in the sand on this subject, I can only be terrified of so many things. I’ll also add book four of the Time Quintet, Many Waters because, really Ms. L’Engle, what’s up with the slut shaming?
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Goals for 2019:
My “Year Of” project will continue, and this year I’m picking my absolute, most favorite author: Ray Bradbury. (See my Bradbury shelf above. He’s so much more than Fahrenheit 451, you guys.) You may wonder why I might need to dedicate myself to reading my favorite author’s works in a year, as clearly I would have read them all, but the truth is that I haven’t. I’ve always been in the mindset of “saving” those books that I haven’t read, especially after Bradbury’s death, but that has started to seem both silly and wasteful to me. So, this year I will not only reread all of his books that I love, but I will finally crack open the ones that have been sitting on my shelf for years. Because Bradbury’s publications are extensive, I’m focusing on his novels for this project. His short stories have been collected and recollected and republished under numerous guises, some of which are no longer in print, so I don’t have a definitive list of these. I do have a number of short story collections, though, so I will try to work some in over the year.
After some consideration, I’m tackling the Read Harder Challenge again this year. I thought about giving myself a rest, but the truth is that I like being forced to not only read outside of my comfort zone, but also having strong motivation to read some of the books that have been languishing on my want-to-read list. My list of things I want to read is pretty broad; however, the list of things I would read, if left to my own devices, would not be quite so much.
I didn’t really work toward reading prize winners or presidential biographies this year and I’m not sure how hard I will work toward that in the coming year. I’m starting to realize that I can really only handle the above two goals before I start to rebel and want to read only the latest, shiniest thing that everyone is talking about. But, I’ll keep both in mind and maybe I can tick some off anyway.
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That’s it for me in 2018! How did all of you do? Did you complete your challenges? Are you setting any new ones? What were your most and least favorite reads? I look forward to keeping up with all of your thoughts on books in 2019!