Half the year done, and I read 89 books during that time. If I subtract the 49 from the first part of the year, that seems low, but I actually also read about five unpublished manuscripts as contract work, and I don’t put them on the spreadsheet since that doesn’t seem fair, as they’re not final copies. But if we’re talking pages read and hours spent and content, there is a bit here going unsaid.
My spreadsheet does not calculate things by quarter, and I’m too lazy to figure out how to make it do so, so instead, I’m just updating my stats from the first quarter of the year to see how I’ve done overall in six months.
My ratio of male-female authors/illustrators is 29-65, which makes me very happy, except that I haven’t had to think about adding a category for nonbinary authors, so there’s room for improvement. On that note, 13 books have queer main characters, and I’ve listed nine for queer creators, but I have a feeling my creator number is low, because I just don’t know people’s identities. Still, it’s a lower number than it should be by this time in the year, and I know I have some books on my shelf I could easily use to up that number–I’ve been wanting to read The Paying Guests and Symptoms of Being Human, for example. I also have a small pile of ARCs that I believe include quite a few queer titles, and an extra point of inspiration for reading them is that I can’t bear to give them up without giving them a try, but an LGBTQ+ youth center is opening downtown any day now, and I very much want to gift them a pile of queer YA books–it’s silly, because I know any good book would be welcome, but I especially want them to start with a strong collection of queer lit.
Fifty-three books have people of color as protagonists or co-protagonists, which feels shamefully low, as it means about 40% of books I’ve read are about white people. That’s sad. I can do better. While I find people’s essays about a year of reading only women or only black authors really interesting, that’s not feasible with my life as a reviewer and scholar, but maybe I should make some sort of rule for myself when it comes to my personal reading so that I can amp that up a bit.
I’ve done four audiobooks, and I’m okay with that number. I only do audiobooks in the car. If I take the bus to school or park far away, I get walking time in, but I’ve been using a lot of that for podcasts, and I think I’d ultimately like to prioritize those. Eleven books this year have been read via Kindle, which is to say that I’ve been on the elliptical, stationary bike, or treadmill for enough hours as it takes to read eleven digital books and one or two print books. I thought that 11 seemed low for someone who owns a Kindle, but when I look at it that way, it seems respectable.
77% of the books I’ve read were fiction; the rest were some kind of nonfiction, including poetry. That seems on par with every year of my adult life.
The only area of stats where I can really feel proud, I think, is when it comes to books I already owned versus books I borrowed from the library. Forty were previously owned, 49 were borrowed. And, amazingly, this afternoon I returned four (unread) books to the library, and now I have absolutely ZERO checked out! I don’t remember the last time this was true, except when I’ve been in the process of moving to a different state. This is a huge accomplishment. I don’t even have much on reserve, which means I will continue to read books I already own and either find them a permanent spot on my shelves and stamp them with my personalized ex libris stamp, or I will take them to a good home wherever that might be.
Again I’m mostly disappointed in myself. I hope I can make the next part of the year a lot better. I don’t want to say I get why people say it’s hard to read diversely, but even though I think content-wise I diversified, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Anyway, some favorites scattered throughout this post, which serve as my recommendations for you. Off I go back to blog hiatus.