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Tag: reading

My Reading Plans for 2017

the-new-youI hope that the holidays have treated you well. 2016 wasn’t a bad year for me on a personal level, but I did really fall down when it came to writing reviews regularly. I do hope to pick up the pace in 2017.

In years past I’ve pledged to read a certain number of books or certain types of books. However, I don’t know if that tactic really works for me — over time, the books that I haven’t yet read become imposing, and the fact that I’ve “promised” to read them makes them less attractive prospects. A lot of what I read depends on gut feelings and moods and recent events. So here’s a list of books that I’d like to read in 2017, as well as ones I’ve promised to review because I was given a copy by the author/publisher.

Books About Politics

  • Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit (I’m currently reading this)
  • The Canadian Constitution by Adam Dodek (Another one I’m currently pecking away at)
  • The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer (You can get it for free!)
  • Fascism: A Very Short Introduction by Kevin Passmore
  • The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
  • Rhetoric for Radicals by Jason Del Gandio

Books for Myself

  • Borderline by Mishell Baker
  • Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • Trade Me by Courtney Milan
  • Arrival/Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang
  • Company Town by Madeleine Ashby
  • The Soul of Rumi by Rumi (a collection of poems translated by Coleman Barks)
  • Take Me to Your Chief by Drew Hayden Taylor
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (translated by Gregory Hays)
  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
  • House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
  • Hild by Nicola Griffith
  • Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr
  • Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
  • Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison
  • The Starlit Wood, edited by Navah Wolfe and Domink Parisien

Books for Which I’ve Received Review Copies

  • Invisible Influence by Jonah Lehrer
  • The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu (I still need to read The Grace of Kings first! Ack!)
  • The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories by A.C. Wise
  • World Atlas of Tea by Krisi Smith
  • Strangers Among Us: Tales of Underdogs and Outcasts, edited by Lucas Law

Will I read all of these books? I have no idea. Chances are that something new, or some resurfaced classic, will capture my attention in 2017. But these are the books that are taking up space in my mind at the moment.

On Being in a Slump

Have you ever felt overwhelmed after looking at your bookshelf and tallying up all the books that you have yet to read? Jesus, there’s still a lot of stuff I need to get through. But I really don’t want to deal with new things right now.

You know. A “blah” feeling. This feeling that stories, that books, that tea, that things you come across in your daily life are just pieces of content to be consumed. The feeling that every new book read is a task checked off your list, rather than a source of joy and enrichment. It doesn’t help that there are so many new books and stories coming out that the act of reading feels like running to stand still — because if you don’t read the Shiny Book That Everyone’s Talking About, you’re missing out on the conversation surrounding The State of Genre Today.

When things feel like that for me, I hide. I bury my head in the sand and take a mental break from reading new books.

Breaks like this take 2 forms for me:

  1. I read a lot of internet articles instead. Pocket is great for this kind of thing. So is Longreads.
  2. I read the same tried-and-true books over and over because they’re comfortable and familiar. Lately, The Goblin Emperor has become one of those go-to reads.

I’d say that I’ve been in a reading slump for a good 2 months or so. In that period of time, I’ve finished reading only 2 books. Considering there have been times where I’ve read that same amount in a single week, taking 2 months to do so makes me feel like my brain has turned into molasses. I’ve already reviewed 1 of those 2 books, Ancillary Mercy, a few weeks back. I still have to review the other book, which is The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein.

In the meantime, I’m currently reading The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. It was on my to-read list for a while, but what ultimately tipped me over into reading it was that the prose was astounding in its precision and clarity, and that it was short.

I need short things right now, I think.

The good thing is that The Last Unicorn is turning out to be so enjoyable that I’ll probably finish reading it this evening. And it’s made me excited to read again, which is amazing. I hope that this upswing continues for a bit.

Anyways, I’ve been in a slump, and I hope I’m coming out of it. If you’ve been in a slump too, maybe we can commiserate in the comments.

Reading Diverse Books in 2016

One thing you may have noticed about my book reviews over the past few months is that I haven’t read/reviewed a book that was written solely by a straight white man. I’ve tried to expand my horizons this year and make my reading more diverse over the past few months, but I want to come right out there and say that in 2016, this will be a central policy of my reading.

Why? Because I know that others have had fun setting certain reading challenges, and I want to try. Because I want to expand my literary diet, rather than just reading the same kinds of stories over and over. Because I want to expose myself to new ideas, and while you can do so by changing where you live or who you hang out with, changing what you read is much easier in comparison. Because I think proving to the publishing industry that there is an appetite for different stories is important.

Most importantly, it’s because I want to.

So, in case you want to read diverse books too, or you want to follow along at home as I read my way through the upcoming year, here is a list of things I want to accomplish in terms of my reading in 2016.

In 2016, I want to read:

  1. At least one book written before 1800
  2. At least one romance novel
  3. At least one book with a queer, trans, intersex, or gender-nonconforming main character
  4. At least one book with a disabled main character
  5. At least one book with a main character of colour
  6. At least one book from an independent/small press
  7. At least one book about science
  8. At least one book about food and culture
  9. At least one book written by a Latin American author
  10. At least one book by an Asian author
  11. At least one book by an African author
  12. At least one book by a Caribbean author
  13. At least one book by an LGBTIA author
  14. At least one book by a disabled author
  15. At least one book on a topic I know nothing about
  16. At least one memoir/biography
  17. At least one work translated into English from another language
  18. At least one book of poetry
  19. At least one historical fiction novel set before 1800
  20. At least one mystery novel
  21. At least one YA novel
  22. At least two finalists of the 2016 Canada Reads competition
  23. At least one graphic novel written or drawn by a LGBTIA creator
  24. At least one graphic novel written or drawn by a woman
  25. At least one graphic novel written or drawn by a person of colour
  26. At least one graphic novel written or drawn by a disabled person
  27. At least one graphic novel from an independent/small press

Of course, I won’t abandon my current reading habits entirely — I still plan on reading science fiction and fantasy, and I plan to read the 2015 Hugo Awards finalists, plus catch up on a few series like Discworld and the Gentlemen Bastard books.

I also plan to maintain the routine of doing one book review a week (with the occasional break) and mix up my fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novel reading accordingly. It looks like reading diverse books could be challenging, but I also think it will be a lot of fun, and quite mind-expanding.

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