December’s dark days should have been the perfect excuse for reading, but sadly a lingering cold shot my concentration. Thankfully, I had some bite-sized books on hand to cheer me up. It also gave me some time to reflect on the year overall and what I want to tackle next year; although I reserve the right to change my mind. Constantly.
- Witches of Lychford – Paul Cornell
- Winter Tales – Margrét Helgadóttir (ed.)
- Caraval – Stephanie Garber
- A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers (yes, again)
- The Lost Child of Lychford – Paul Cornell
- Europe in Winter – Dave Hutchinson
- Victory of Eagles – Naomi Novik
- Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
- Echopraxia – Peter Watts
Tremontaine and Riverside stole my heart this year with their intoxicating mix of passion, politics and sticking people with the pointy end. We’re deep into the second half of Season Two now, and I am giddy with fear and joy at the heights achieved by Tessa Gratton and Joel Derfner. If you haven’t dipped your toe, I strongly recommend it.
A Closed and Common Orbit Read-along
I loved the sequel to The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet so much I was happy to read it twice in two months for the joy of a read-along. I am yet to write a review, but it is easily my Book of the Year for its full-hearted look at the difficulties of finding and accepting ourselves, and the joys to be found in approaching life with an open heart, free of prejudice or privilege.
Stacking the shelves
Restraint? What’s that? I got into the swing of things before Christmas with an ARC haul, then couldn’t resist picking up the gorgeous Masterworks edition of Thomas the Rhymer when I met the lovely Ellen Kushner during her trip to London. Ducking into a charity shop to escape the rain led to an ambush by the first two Ancillary books, and then gift season kicked in with special offers and temptation to let things I wanted slip into my basket! Can I take 2017 off as a Do Nothing But Read year?
Looking back at 2016
I’ve had a good reading year – lots of big rollicking adventures, many shared with fellow bookworms through group reads, which have brought me a great deal of joy and new friends both fictional and real. Reading has definitely been an escape this year rather than an education or an attempt to grapple with big issues (there’s been enough off the page), and as 2017 is lined up to be much busier at work, I fully intend to stick with reading for fun.
I beat my original 2016 goal of 60 books, but didn’t quite meet my stretch goal of 75 this year. Once again, my reading has been predominantly genre fiction – I have no qualms about this and no intentions to change it in 2017. What intrigues me more is that I have the sense of reading very little fantasy this year, which is entirely untrue – although it’s been a few months, which I guess is the root of it. Still, that’s as good an excuse as I need to get right up on my fantasy reading at the start of the new year!
I challenge myself every year to read diversely and to love every book (i.e. I follow my heart with my reading choices even if they don’t always turn out to be winners). In 2016, female authors once again dominated my reading, but I failed to keep it as diverse as I’d like although authors of colour have dominated my short-form reading. Final standings (excl. short stories):
- 30 male (42%) / 35 female (49%) / 3 trans, non-binary or genderfluid (4%) + 4 anthologies
- 9 (12.5%) – by authors of colour
- 11 (15%) – by LGBTQIA authors / 16 (22%) featuring LGBTQIA protagonists
- 72 / 75 books (excl. short stories and DNFs)
- 25 (35%) – towards the Backlist Challenge (excl. re-reads)
Top Ten Round-ups
- Top Ten Reads of 2016 (although now I’ve read The Lost Child of Lychford, this should be a Top Eleven, as the Lychford novellas deserve most honourable mention)
- Top Ten Authors New to Me in 2016
I hope you’ve had as much fun in your reading year as I have – here’s to more great reading in 2017. Happy New Year!