Reflecting on 2017: Reading

And yet, another reflection post on the previous year. It might not look like it, but I’m taking it easy with these reflection posts. Last year, I wrote them back to back and was burnt out by the end of the first week in January and didn’t want to look at my blog or read a book. As my mom always says, “everything in moderation,” so I’m moderating how much I write in a day.

Feeling burnt out, I set a manageable Goodreads reading goal for myself in 2017 at just 40 books. I thought I wouldn’t be much interested in reading and would feel pressured by a high reading goal. But I surprised myself later in the year when I passed my reading goal and read 74 books. I was tempted then to increase my goal, but reading pressure-free was so wonderful that I left the goal as is. Inspired by that, at the beginning of 2018 I again set a manageable Goodreads reading goal for myself at just 45 books.

Overall, this wasn’t a spectacular year in reading. I read some great books, but they were few compared to 2016 when I had a hard time deciding on my best reads of the year. However, I was very generous with my star ratings again in 2017 and gave many books 5 stars, which I don’t mind much but as time passes and I reflect on some books, I realize that I no longer think they are 5-star reads. For example, Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders trilogy, which is wonderful and thought-provoking, but is over worked in some areas making reading feel like a chore. The more I think about those books, the more I feel like dropping a star. But, whatever. It’s still a good read that I highly recommend.

Below, I’ve selected the top books for the year for each category I usually include in my quarterly reading wrap-ups. Again, this is unneeded, especially since I’ve already done a favorite books of 2017 post, but I had so much fun doing this last year that I had to do it again this year. I’ve only included up to 5 books in each category and afterward I list some stats on my reading and mention my progress in the reading challenges I participated in. It’s basically a quick overall wrap-up for the year that’s similar to my quarterly wrap-ups. All books/items, depending on their categories, are listed from absolute best to acceptable, or from least liked to acceptable. Rereads are not often consider for the “favorites” and “least liked” lists.

If you’re curious about how I managed to track all this crap, check out Brock’s YouTube video to learn more about the reading stats spreadsheet he creates every year. (He recently posted a link to an updated version on his Twitter.)


Favorites of the bunch

Books

Homecoming

The Curse of Chalion

The Shining

Little Fires Everywhere

Gone Girl

Comics

Saga, Vol. 4

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki

The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 4: Rising Action

Articles

Why It’s Important to Recognize That “Moonlight” Was Robbed Of Its Moment (cosmopolitan.com)

“Institutional racism is often hard to see because we can’t point to an individual person who had bad intentions. Thus we are often taught to think that structural discrimination isn’t real.”

The First White President (theatlantic.com)

“Moreover, to accept that whiteness brought us Donald Trump is to accept whiteness as an existential danger to the country and the world. But if the broad and remarkable white support for Donald Trump can be reduced to the righteous anger of a noble class of smallville firefighters and evangelicals, mocked by Brooklyn hipsters and womanist professors into voting against their interests, then the threat of racism and whiteness, the threat of the heirloom, can be dismissed. Consciences can be eased; no deeper existential reckoning is required.”

Diversity Isn’t the Goal; We Must Do Better (blackgirlinmaine.com)

“The goal should never be diversity and tolerance … Organizations should be dedicated to creating a vision of wellness and an understanding that systemic racism is a barrier to that wellness. This barrier cannot be addressed or eliminated until a critical mass in any given system understands the systemic nature of racism and addresses it as a threat to the health of all members of the system.”

Russell Simmons, R. Kelly, and Why Black Women Can’t Say #MeToo (nytimes.com)

“The intersection of race, class, sexism and power is dangerous, and the most vulnerable women among us must navigate it alone. They are terrorized, then expected to fight for those who terrorized them because a seemingly greater predator is at large.”

FML: Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression.(highline.huffingtonpost.com)

Podcasts

Witch, Please (ohwitchplease.ca)

Lit Up Show: Episode 80: Trevor Noah on His Memoir “Born a Crime” (thelitupshow.com)

Longform Podcast #269: Jodi Kantor (longform.org)

Episode 897: Nerdist Podcast: Neil DeGrasse Tyson (TWCH) (nerdist.com)

The Secrets, Tactics, and Creative Processes of High Performers and Achievers — Debbie Millman (tim.blog)

TV shows/movies

This Is Us

Breaking Bad

Fixer Upper

Game of Thrones

Stranger Things 2

The Shape of Water

Babel

My Neighbor Totoro

Logan

Thor Ragnarok


Least liked

Books

Tess of the Road

Gilded Cage

Wintersong

Where Are You Going, Manyoni?

Comics

I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After

Archie, Vol. 1: The New Riverdale

Jughead, #1

The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide

**Jughead, #1 was included in the Archie volume, so I don’t count it as a separate book in my total books read.**


Best stories

Books

Homegoing

The Curse of Chalion

The Shining

Little Fires Everywhere

The Strain

Comics

Saga

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki

Identity Crisis

The Wicked + the Divine

Birthright, Vol. 1: Homecoming

Best writing

Letters to a Young Writer

Homegoing

No Time to Spare

The Shining

Little Fires Everywhere

Best narration (for audio books)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Eragon

Best illustrations

Comics

The Wicked + the Divine

Wolf Children

Saga

Identity Crisis

Above the Timberline

Illustrated books

The Journey

The River

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Most unique writing/story/other form

Normal

Above the Timberline

Best book titles

Born a Crime

The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide

Brain on Fire

Awesome covers

The Impossible Fortress

Furiously Happy

Normal

The Journey

Above the Timberline

**That’s the ARC cover for The Impossible Fortress, which is more impressive than the actual cover.**


Reading challenge hits ‘n’ misses

**2017 reading challenges announcement**

Goodreads

Goal: 40

Read: 74

Success or Fail

Books I told myself to read in 2017

Goal: 8

Read: 2

Success or Fail

2017 Beat the Backlist

Goal: n/a

Read: 12

Success or Fail

**It’s a success because I hardly read my own books and I actually read more of them than I expected.**

2017 Library Love Challenge

Goal: n/a

Read: 22

Success or Fail

**Again, I read more than I expected.**

2017 Read Diverse Books Challenge

Goal: n/a

Read: 9

Success or Fail

**A success because it’s more than I expected.**

2017 Horror Reading Challenge

Goal: 7

Read: 4

Success or Fail

**A fail, but I read 2 of the books on the TBR I made for it, just like in 2016.**

Classics Club Reading Challenge

Goal: 1

Read: 0

Success or Fail

2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

Challenges: 24

Completed: 9

Success or Fail


Reading stats

Read = 74

Reread = 17

DNF’d = 6

**Read includes rereads. DNF: does not include those I paused reading, which, if I should include them, would bring the total to 9.**

Format

Physical = 30

Comics = 15

E-book = 15

Audio = 13

Manga = 1

Genre

Fantasy = 43

Nonfiction = 9

Contemporary = 5

Sci-Fi = 5

Horror = 4

Historical = 2

Thriller = 2

Literary = 1

Mystery = 1

Romance = 1

Other = 1

**I think of Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones as romance and Things We Lost in the Fire was hard to categorize, hence “other.”**

Ownership

Mine (bought before 2016) = 10

New (bought in/after 2016) = 29

Friends/Family = 5

Library = 22

ARC = 8

Author Gender

Female = 40

Male = 33

Both = 1


Other stats

It seems that the majority of books I read in 2017 were pretty average in length. I use “seems” there since I didn’t include the page amount for audio books I listened to. About 23%, the majority of my reading, was of books with 100-199 pages. However, I managed to consume longer books, of 500 pages or more, which amounted to 13% of my reading. But of that 13%, only 1% was of 800 pages or more.

Almost all the books I read were published in the 2000s, with 47% of them having been published in 2010-2016. Outliers include 1% of books that were published in the 1930s and the 1970s each.

Surprisingly, my stats show that I completed 6 series; but that particular data is probably wrong. I’m certain of completing only 1. More accurate is that I started 21 series and have 19 of them on the go. Those staggering numbers of new things started and ongoing sounds more like me.

According to the stats, I averaged about 6 books read per month, with February, May, and August being my busiest months for reading, or rather, completing books. I completed 14, 11, and 16 books in each of those months, respectively.

As I mentioned above, I gave many books 5 stars, specifically 25 of the books I read received 5 stars and 18 of them received 4 stars. I was very nice in 2017. Only 3 books received 2 stars and I gave a 1 star to none.

And as for purchases, I’ll just say that I bought a lot of books 2017, which I hope will change in 2018. Of the acquired books (I won’t say how many), 32 were library books and I read 46 of them, which, if we factor out the 22 library books I read, means that I read only 24 of the new books I acquired in 2017 (which includes gifts and ARCs).

I mostly acquired (am using this verb to include ARCs, library, new books) trade paperbacks because it’s my preferred book format, but I got almost as many e-books because of those sneaky e-book deals (which I’ll try to avoid for as long as I can in 2018). For some reason, I acquired the most books in June, which is weird because I don’t recall attending any bookish events then. And, of course, the majority of books I acquired were fantasy.

I think that’s it for the stats…yup! Overall, I’d say it was a decent year.


Reading plans for the new year:

Spend less

Read more of my own books


The books of 2017:

13 thoughts on “Reflecting on 2017: Reading

  1. I can really relate to the burnout and the pressure, so I think you did really well to keep your target low. Glad Gone Girl was one of your favourites! And GOT is amazing 😀 Glad you liked Logan and ragnorok (really need to see the latter!! I’ve loved all the Thor movies!) Furiously happy is a brilliant cover as well. Great wrap up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this recap girl!! And thanks for the useful links – you always come thru with that good good. You read a handsome number of books too – 17 is awesome. I wanna re-read about 5 books in 2018, so help me God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, it just didn’t work for me, unfortunately, but I really wanted to like it and for much of it, I did. I think after 60% in or so, it went downhill for me. I’d still recommend it though. I only warn that plot is a bit slow.

      Like

    2. Lol, I got so caught up in Tess of Road, I didn’t notice the rest of your comment, sorry!
      Thanks, and hopefully you’ll do better in 2018. I usually fail the challenges I choose to partake in, so the successes in 2017 are a total surprise.

      Like

    1. Yea, Homegoing was so great. It’s now one of my all time favorite books.
      And yea, Gilded Cage wasn’t so good. It has a lot of potential though. I’d be interested in reading a different book by the author.

      Like

  3. Looks like you had an interesting reading. I see some of the books that are on my TBR, but I haven’t got to. Looks like in the first half of 2018 I’ll be catching on 2017 releases. I’m so behind. I feel like the reading slump I had towards the end of the year set me back. I’m excited for 2018 reads. I keep forgetting to check out “Furiously Happy”, it seems like a book I would really enjoy.

    Like

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