In 2017, I set myself the goal of reading 70 books, and I’m pleased to announce that I managed to read at least 80 (Goodreads says 80, but I think there are a couple of books I never added).
What I Read
I read a lot this past year, mostly fiction but with a handful of non-fiction thrown in. I also read more than half a dozen graphic novels this year, because sometimes you just want to read a comic book, darn it.
This year saw the completion of two book series I greatly enjoyed, N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy and Marie Brennan’s The Memoirs of Lady Trent. It’s always hard to say goodbye to a series, but they both had really satisfying endings. Jemisin’s Stone Sky was definitely the most impactful book I read in 2017.
The fiction I read this year really highlighted the diversity of the science fiction and fantasy genres. I read books with female protagonists, POC protagonists, and queer protagonists. There’s a reason for that…
What I didn’t Read
I made a conscious decision in 2017 to largely avoid the work of white men. Although some of my favorite books in the past have been written by people who fit into that box, I was burned pretty badly in 2016 by some bad examples of writing by white guys, and I decided it was time for me to focus on diverse authors.
Although I gave myself one “gimme” (the latest in Chuck Wendig’s amazing Miriam Black series), and I slipped up once (I had a fever and a friend recommended a comfort read and I didn’t pay attention to the author), over all I really explored the range of what’s happening in SF/F today.
Of course, so much of our media is shaped by the tastes of the target audience of “white men aged 18-35” or whatever, so I still hit on a few books that utilized the tropes I was avoiding. Wesley Chu’s “The Rise of Io” was one of the worst books I read all year, featuring unbelievable female characters and his male character from a related series sweeping in to save the day. And “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” featured just the sort of insufferable white male protagonist that drove me away from so many books in 2016, despite being written by a woman.
What I’m Reading in 2018
White male authors are back on the table in the new year, though I’ll primarily be sticking with series I was already reading (so I can catch up on the Expanse, mostly).
I fell way behind on non-fiction in the second half of 2017 so I want to add more of that in the rotation. I’m especially interested in reading books about tea.
I’ll keep reading graphic novels, although at a slower pace now that I’m all caught up on the four series I was reading.
I want to keep looking for new-to-me authors. I feel like one thing that was really lacking in my 2017 reading was protagonists with disabilities. There were some neuro-atypical characters, and secondary characters with physical disabilities, but not a lot of main characters with physical disabilities.
I’m repeating my 2017 goal of 70 books in a year. I probably won’t review all of them here, but you’ll still find me posting reviews and book-related ramblings every Wednesday for as long as Ari likes having me around.
Happy New Year and Happy Reading!