No records were broken as far as quantity of books read by me this year, but the ones that I read were enjoyable and interesting in a variety of ways, and here they are in all of their glory. I really love these authors, and some of them will be on my reading list for this upcoming year, as well.
You'll see Piper Kerman in the mix, and a highlight of my year came early when I met her last winter and got to chat with her briefly and get a really lovely autograph and inscription in my copy of Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison. That was about a month after the death of my father, and it was the first time I'd really gotten to go to an event that was enjoyable and gave me enough of a diversion that I was able to (sort of) forget about my loss for awhile. I'll always think fondly of her for that!
In December of last year, I got proselytized (via great sushi) into a Japanese Literature group, which almost immediately went on hiatus because of changing circumstances in the lives of some of the members (moves, job changes, etc.) and not, as it turns out, due to my joining the group. It was active just long enough for me to go to a couple of their dinners and read the first book club selection of the year, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. I really loved this bizarre book, and followed it up with another from Haruki Murakami, The Strange Library, which is not really a graphic novel, but maybe a close cousin to one. Also bizarre, dark and wonderful. I have more of his books (freebies from work, fortunately), and plan to read his stuff again soon.
As far as diversity among authors goes, maybe I didn't do so hot. There are several middle-aged white dudes in this list, which doesn't bother me really, but it doesn't hurt to read from a wider variety of perspectives. I did read three books by two Japanese authors, four books by women, four books by three authors who identify somewhere in the LGBT spectrum...as far as I know, that is. Checking the rest would just feel weird, as does rattling off stats like this. However, I do think it's a broadening experience to read from authors of different worldviews, from locations around the world and with a multitude of life experiences. I don't plan on strictly following some of the book challenges floating around the nets this time of year, but I want to take some ideas from a few of them to widen the scope of my reading a bit. Also, it's fun to read from genres that I normally might not choose. That's how I've found really great books and new obsessions in the past. Here are examples of the reading challenges out there, one from Book Riot, and the other from Pop Sugar. Click to 'embiggen'!
Looking over my books up there, I realize I had a decent mix of literary challenge, relevance and pure entertainment. I want the same mix for this year. I don't really do those challenges, like the Goodreads one, where the goal is to plow through fifty books. I definitely want to read more in 2016, but not for the sake of scoring and 'winning' a challenge. I find that a lot of times, those challenges are filled with crappy YA books that are no-brainers to read and/or the participant is cramming in ten of the shortest books they can find in December, just so they can finish successfully. Bless them, and good wishes, but that's just not the type of reading I want to do! There are definitely some dumb time-wasters that I can cut out next year that will carve out more time for good book reading. We'll just have to see if I follow through and do it!
That's about all I have to say about books at the moment. I wonder what books you all like to read, or liked reading in the past. Who are some of your favorite authors? Did you ever read a book that surprised you by how much you liked it?
Happy 2016, everyone. I really like reading your blogs, those of you who still write them, and those who don't, I'm glad you still pop in and comment now and then, and I'm really happy that I found this place years ago to come to and read and vent and have some fun and make some pals and write some run on sentences. I like you all a ton. True story.