2015: The Year Ahead

Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ruth Ozeki, Colson Whitehead

Now that we’ve taken a look at the past, let’s look to the future!

I’ve set a few goals for myself in the upcoming months. Obviously, I want to make this blog the best it can be. I want to reach people, and I want to have something to say.

In reviewing the books I read this year, I thought I’d check my diversity. How many books had I read that were written by women?

If you set comic books aside and look solely at novels (because let’s face it–if you want to read classic comics, you’re going to have a really tough time finding one penned by a woman), I had a perfect 50/50 split.

10 books by men. 10 books by women.

Considering how easy it still is to read nothing but men without even trying (ahem literary canon, I’m lookin’ at you), I’m pretty happy with myself. But there was another problem…

Out of 26 reads, only one was by a person of color. That’s only about 4% and that is embarrassing to me. We live in a vibrant, diverse world and there is absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t strive to make what I read reflect that.

And so, I have another goal in mind for my reading this year: make sure that at least 75% of the books I read are written by people of color.

I started curating a list and honestly? I’m incredibly excited about everything on it. I’m still picking titles that appeal to me, some of which have been on my list for some time, so it’s really not much work to take the extra step. And really, if it’s so easy what reason is there not to do it? Who wouldn’t want to hear other voices? I think it’ll make my reading experience a lot more interesting, and I think I’ll be better for it.

I originally thought about aiming for 100%, but I got sucked in by Dan Simmons’s The Terror right after Christmas so 75% seemed like the next best thing. Achievable, but still lofty enough not to be completely devoid of effort on my part and definitely a massive improvement over last year.

I’m probably looking forward to Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist the most, followed closely by Alfredo Corchado’s Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent into Darkness and Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah. Hopefully you are, too. With any luck, I’ll be able to recommend something magical that I wouldn’t have otherwise found this year.

So here’s to a more diverse (and a more interesting) 2015!

Happy reading!

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2014: Year in Review

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This was a busy year for me and my books. I read more and wrote more and shared a bit of both here with you. I’d been meaning to get more purposeful with my blogging for years, and this is the first time I’ve ever actually been able to commit to that goal long enough to do it.

I learned a lot–I’m still learning. I’m not sure how to personalize this site they way I want. I’m not sure how to best expand my repertoire of posts. I’m not sure if my reviews strike the right tone. I mean, if you think about it, it’s pretty daunting to try and review something 10, 30, or even 100 years old. What can I say that hasn’t been said?

But I’m doing my best to try and keep things interesting. Though I’m not sure how many of you I’m reaching, either. Another goal for 2015, I think.

Originally, I made it my goal with this site to review everything I read as I read it, and I’m sorry to say I failed there. Sometimes a book took me too long and sometimes I wasn’t sure what to say about it. Sometimes I forgot or I wanted to rewrite an older review instead. And sometimes I was just too excited about the newest book to have enough interest to go back.

Thus what you saw on the blog in 2014 is an incomplete list.

Here’s the full review of everything I read (and in some ways, a preview of what’s to come) from January to December:

  1. The Likeness by Tana French
  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  3. Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander
  4. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  5. I Feel Bad About My Neck (and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman) by Nora Ephron
  6. Love Dishonor Marry Die Cherish Perish a novel by David Rakoff
  7. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
  8. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  9. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1 & 2 by Joss Whedon and Brian K. Vaughn
  11. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
  12. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  13. Locke & Key: Vol. 1 & 2 by Joe Hill
  14. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
  15. Boss by Mike Royko
  16. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (My only re-read of the year.)
  17. Hell House by Richard Matheson
  18. Ultimates 1 by Mark Millar
  19. Faithful Place by Tana French
  20. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
  21. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  22. House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
  23. Kingdom Come by Mark Waid
  24. Ultimates 2: Vol. 1 by Mark Millar
  25. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  26. Captain America: Man Out of Time by Mark Waid

Not too shabby. Well, not for me, anyway.

The comics are a recent interest and it seems I really took off with it this year. I’m still really struggling with how to review them. The art is every bit as essential as the text and sometimes I feel like I lack the vocabulary to explain how I feel about a work. I’ve been reading more, but maybe it’s time to seek out reviews, too, huh?

The point is, thanks for taking this ride with me. I’m hoping to work harder, read more, and write better in 2015. I hope you’ll stick with me.

Happy (Belated) New Year, readers!