I've failed once again to actually record everything I read in 2015. Yay, consistency!
That said, a quick glance at my library history, PW records, and my memory suggests that I probably read about 150-200 books, and about another 200 graphic novels.
A few notes:
1. I've been really lax on reading nonfiction this year. Maybe no more than ten books (most of them frontloaded at the beginning of the year, like the literary equivalent of joining a gym in January and not going after March)? I do read a lot of my nonfiction online, but good long articles (and yes, there are great ones out there) and personal essays are not the same as actual books. I want to change that in 2016. I've also fallen down on short fiction (maybe about fifteen collections?), but honestly, don't feel as bad about that. I do read some short fiction online, but I find that I prefer not reading fiction on the web (see more on that later). The fact that, to be frank, most of the online publications are generally less than compelling (excluding Clarkesworld and Apex and a handful of good crime zines) doesn't help, but it's more an issue of format than content, first and foremost.
2. I went really into mystery and crime this year, even more than in previous years, although it was generally a grazing approach. I only downed one entire series (Lauren Henderson's Sam Jones
books, which required using both university and Minuteman ILL, because the first two books are REALLY hard to find), but otherwise read books by a bunch of folks both familiar (any year a new Quinn Colson
or Kinsey Millhone
book comes out, I read it), and new-to-me (with the exception of Patricia Highsmith, all of the folks in Sarah Weinman's awesome Women Crime Writers
collection were new to me, even though I clearly should have read Laura
ages ago, since I adore the movie; it's embarrassing, as well, that I'd never read Amanda Cross or John Dickson Carr before 2015). I also went for some international works here -- there's great stuff being translated from French, Norwegian, and Japanese -- and expect to continue that trend in 2016 (and contra my point in #1 above about being lax on short fiction, I just took the anthology Passports to Crime
out of the library, and the first story, which I read on by bus ride home, is fantastic). I have a lot of thoughts on crime/mystery tropes, subgenres, etc that might lead to a few blog posts.
3. I read about 35 books this year for PW, mostly SF/F/H and some romance (all romance was "romantic suspense," which is romantic shorthand for "mystery.") Some of them were really good, some of them were insultingly terrible.
4. I re-read no books this year. I don't think I've re-read anything that wasn't by Pratchett or Zelazny in a decade. If I want a comfort re-read before bed, I'm more likely to opt for graphic novels or comic strip collections (and even then, that's rare). I find that there's too much good stuff to spend what little time I have reading something again, although I do recognize that certain works might benefit from my being in a different place in life (while others might suffer). And yes, I know that some works are really so brilliant that they need multiple reads. I'm not disavowing the habit, just saying I don't see myself doing much of it.
5. Speaking of Pratchett, I still haven't read The Shepherd's Crown
. Denial is a powerful tool, even when you're aware of it.
6. I'm strongly contemplating getting a Kindle (probably a Paperwhite). About 2/3 of my review books are ebooks, and a bunch of others are also available easily electronically. The iPad really does create eye strain, and now that the Paperwhite is up to 300dpi, I think I might need to bite the bullet. Most reviews say that using Calibre to convert ePubs is relatively painless these days. I also know there are options for using Instapaper and Pocket with the Kindle, which may make me more likely to read both fiction and longread articles there.
7. Oh, genre stuff? Eh. I'm generally unimpressed by the state of the genre, but there are really good exceptions. Books I'd recommend from this past year: SevenEves
, The Traitor Baru Cormorant
, The Fifth Season
, The Mechanical
, Last First Snow
, Signal to Noise
, The Rabbit Back Literature Society
(the last is not technically from this year, but the English translation is). There's surely other good stuff out there, but I'm generally pickier now than I used to be. With a very
small list of exceptions, I'm less inclined to seek out older works (outside of the last couple of decades) in genre that weren't already on my radar.
8. While I read a ton of graphic novels, I'm generally only a fan of a few current series: Morning Glories
, Wicked + the Divine
, No Mercy
, a handful of others. I bounced hard off one hugely overhyped series (and will just point to a perfect review of it by Sarah Horrocks
), enjoyed a handful from the Big Two (Squirrel Girl
, Ms Marvel
, Injustice: Gods Among Us
), but none enough to convince me that management at the Big Two need to go, and soon. Frankly, the collection I probably enjoyed the most was Archie vs Predator
9. Best book I read this year that wasn't a 2015 release (or translation) The New York Trilogy
, by Paul Auster. It's literary fiction in a detective's outfit, and quite brilliant, even if you're not from NYC.
10. Consider this my annual pledge to actually record all of my reading. Like all resolutions, expect it to be worth the paper it's printed on.