The early snow and then the weird temperate rain this year has affected my patience with the Christmas season.
I am lucky enough to always have a lovely Christmas in my home but I am ready to move on to the next part of the year, which is surprising, given the fact that I loathe the time before spring could even suggest rolling in. I might take down the tree after I write this. Or I might attend the cardboard bonfire in my yard that is scheduled for all the Christmas shipping boxes later this afternoon. I agree with the memes about this week of the year being one that feels nearly unmoored, even though I attended work to get some structure back into my life.
Working through the Royal Spyness series backlist books has been a light and fun distraction to this week that is always weird, no matter what I try to do with it. Always the best on audio with the late but brilliant Katherine Kelgren.
But how did I do for my 2018 reading?
I surpassed my reading goal this year of 60 books. Not as much as other years, but I have a full manuscript written out and half revised. I will sacrifice 40 books this year for that goal, certainly. And more books will be sacrificed when I get back to revising in the new year.
BookRiot’s Read Harder List 2018:
- A book published posthumously : The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
- A book of true crime: The Spider and the Fly, Claudia Rowe
- A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance): Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel
- A comic written and drawn by the same person: Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol
- A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa): The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden
- A book about nature: H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald
- A western: News of the World, Paulette Jiles
- A comic written or drawn by a person of color: Black Panther, TaNehisi Coates
- A book of colonial or postcolonial literature: Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
- A romance novel by or about a person of color: The Dutchess War, Courtney Milan
- A children’s classic published before 1980: Mowgli Stories, Rudyard Kipling
- A celebrity memoir: Bossypants, Tina Fey
- An Oprah Book Club selection: Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman
- A book of social science: The Wisdom of Psychopaths, Kevin Dutton
- A one-sitting book: The Vegetarian, Han Kang
- The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han
- A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author: Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler, and Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
- A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
- A book of genre fiction in translation: Black Tea and Other Stories, Samuel Marolla
- A book with a cover you hate: My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrarante
- A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author: Tall Tail, Rita Mae Brown
- An essay anthology: Best Food Writing 2018, Ruth Reichl
- A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60: Kitchen God’s Wife, Amy Tan
- An assigned book you hated (or never finished): Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
I have noted before that I didn’t read any 2018 releases this year that I can think of, so I don’t have any Best of 2018 recommendations. Other readers have certainly taken care of that for me and made me curious, now that the year is over, what I may have missed. Circe, Where the Crawdads Sing, You’ll Find me in the Dark, etc.
I don’t know if I can pick a very favorite off this list. I have been trying to think of the books that stood out of this year’s reading, but I love reading, and I love what this reading challenge brings to my perspective on the world, and I loved most of these. Most hit the blog in the form of a review.
I have to say that I feel weird sometimes when I am searching out books for these categories, combing for pictures of authors to be sure they are of color or reading their bios for their gender/sexual orientation. The recommendation that I look at award lists is helpful, because some authors identify as color and they look white to me. I am not a judge of these things.
Next week I hope to have hammered out some reading goals to share, deciding what lists to do, clarify writing goals. I have the perfect creative space now and I want to also share my pictures of that.
Happy and Safe New Year!