2015 is being crammed in the recycle bin, hello 2016! This has been a year of amazing reading and life and I think it was pretty damned excellent.
So, how did I do on non-reading resolutions posted back in January 2015?
1. Be mindful in my reading and bookish purchases – keeping this up will help so much with financial responsibility and the general amount of excess stuff in my house that I will never get around to reading/liking/re-reading. – This resolution went well until about fall and then ALL the books were published, so not terrible but not great.
2. Be timely on reviews – such a big deal, especially for books that I have requested as a reviewer (I know that there has been a lot of discussion in the book blogging community about what is “owed” to a publisher but, in my opinion, if a publicist, etc. has taken the time to send me an ARC or DRC then I should return the gesture by reading and reviewing the book in a timely manner). – Slightly better, but I tend to have review-writing binges because, let’s be honest, I like to read books far more than write about them even if I do like to write about them.
3. Drink more water – do I need to drink as much Dt. Pepsi as I do? No. Although, #deathbeforedecaf is still a mantra (you cannot separate me from my coffee). – eh, I did better not buying two+ mochas per day? I made my own coffee? Didn’t drink that much more water.
4. Move more – the hip (and knees and back) and I have come to an agreement on ways of moving so I should be able to at least get on the elliptical and basic weights at the gym. – The hip got worse (in fact, I had two cortisone shots last week) so gym was not an option but I did walk a lot.
5. Cook for myself – I got a Dutch oven and new pots and pans for Christmas so this year the goal is to wean myself off of frozen dinners for 2/3 of my meals (they are handy, but my MSG-sensitivity is much less of an issue if I cook food for myself). – This went really well. Fell off a bit in the summer but got back in the cooking groove in September.
6. Be brave – I still hate having my picture taken or meeting new people but I need to keep putting myself out there. Nothing gets accomplished by holing up in my house with the cats and books and not interacting with actual people in a social setting.
7. Take a vacation – I hope (HOPE HOPE) to have the finances sorted out enough to visit my friend Kate and see Rhinebeck (aka New York Sheep and Wool) this year. ALSO, Book Riot announced their first live event in early November in NYC and I really, really, really want to go to that, too. (And see my friend Beth! And maybe Karen!)
8. Relax – cf. resolution #7. – For 6, 7, and 8, this is all down to Book Riot Live. I took a real vacation and flew out to see Beth for a few days then we went to BRL which was amazing. And I rode the subway all by myself.
And now for the pie!! Pie charts!
To start, I blew past last year’s total of 195 books with 269 books (I had a brief spat with Goodreads, who thought I’d read 270 but it turns out the site had recorded a “finish date” for a book in progress…data, man). I read so much great stuff this year, too many to pick a favorite, but standouts include runs of ODY-C and The Wicked + The Divine, Between the World and Me, Citizen, Come as You Are, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, The Rogue Not Taken, Dancer, Edinburgh, When a Scot Ties the Knot, and The World Between Two Covers, which influenced a lot of my book purchasing and reading for the rest of the year and beyond.
How many different genres did I read? More books = more genres!
I leaned farther toward physical formats than digital this year, mostly due to a dislike of how Comixology was redesigned after the sale. I let my subscriptions expire there and transferred them to my LCS (Geek City Games and Comics, holla!) if I wanted any of the new runs. This will also be the last year for Oyster in my stats (boo!) but in July the three local libraries pooled their digital resources to make Digital Johnson County – now I can borrow ebooks and e-audiobooks using Overdrive!
Speaking of library use, I put that library card (all three) to good use this year and started snagging library books and audio CDs instead of buying all the things.
This year I started tracking whether the book was translated into English, a result of my having read The World Between Two Covers. An informal count for last year puts my number of “books read in translation” under 10 so this is an improvement.
How about the percentage of genders?
This was the first year in a long while – since 2006 – that male authors crept up to the 50% mark, due to the runs of ODY-C, The Wicked + The Divine, and Wayward where the writers and authors are male (white males, too, which will come up again in a bit), to the tune of 20+ issues read in physical comic form. In contrast, my aversion to the Comixology format caused me to forgo reading Ms. Marvel in issues and wait until the last two trades were available in paperback to read them – changing approximately 11-12 issues into two books. It changes the “opportunities” in the data for G. Willow Wilson. Also worth pointing out, to my knowledge all of these authors are cis-gendered; I don’t really track orientation, though I know a number of authors I read in 2015 are gay or lesbian.
So here’s the big, big deal: did I read more authors of color? Last year, only 11 of 195 (5.6%) authors were non-white so I gave myself a D- in Diversity. This year:
Not a great jump, 15.5% non-white, but at least it didn’t go backward. So I will advance myself to D+ status. Still, not a passing grade.
I decided to do a second breakdown, this time race by genre, to see where non-white authors are coming into my reading and where I really need to start looking (and actually reading – I have a lot of POC in my TBR stacks). I deliberately didn’t combine comics and graphic novels/manga so I could see that all the comics issues have white writers (to be honest, the East Asian authors in the GN/Manga bar are all from the manga genre). There are a lot of places to improve. A LOT.
My reading is still very heavily from Anglophone countries, however, my reading The World Between Two Covers did prod me to widen my reading to include more authors with origins outside my very safe US/UK/Canadian reading borders.
What are my plans for 2016?
2. Be timely on reviews – I have made serious use of my OmniFocus apps to get the release dates for DRCs/ARCs I have organized and to help my organize my reading into individual tasks (GTD FTW!!) which should (ideally) help with getting reviews written and posted in a more timely manner.
3. Drink more water – the FitBit app can help track this, so I should use it.
4. Move more – the cortisone shots take full effect by the end of January so I hope to at least be back on the elliptical in a regular manner.
5. Cook for myself – this is going really well. I also received My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl and I want to make all the things! This is also good for the budget.
6. Be brave – I’m better at not hiding in general but if you throw me into a crowd by myself I tend to either not talk to people or glom onto the one person I actually know and talk A LOT (read: too much about nothing in general). And in that vein…
7. I am going to BEA!!! I just got registered for my very first BEA (ouch, the dollars) so I will have to be super brave, and network, and find my way around a huge convention center filled with people and not glom onto my roommates for the week.
8. Stop driving to work – last week was a bust with the cortisone shots, but this week in taking the bus to work rather than driving has been going well. I hope to keep it up because $10-15 per day to park the car (plus the extra gasoline) vs. $2 per day riding the bus is a way better fiscal plan.
9. Last, but certainly not the least at all, I need to increase the percentage of books and comics I read that are written by non-white authors. Some genres (like fiction) will be a simple matter of reading books already on my TBR, others (comics, romance, biography, sciences) need me to put forth a far more conscious effort. I would also like to start tracking LGBTQIA as best I can – I use a relational database, so it’s not hard to add and even compare to previous years, but this might take more than just reading an author’s bio. People do not fit neatly into boxes, and I certainly don’t want a world where each author fills out a form and checks all the boxes related to diversity just because that makes it easy for poor little me, but I need to think about how to look for that information. (My default right now is “white, cis-gendered, straight, USA” if I can’t find information that is self-identified otherwise.) I’ll try to take a look at reading stats at least halfway through the year, if not more, to see how I’m doing.
And that’s it! Bring it, 2016!