Another year is nearly over and it’s time to reflect on the books I have read this year.
It’s incredible to me that I have been doing this for the last three years. 2014, 2013, 2012 are still online. In that time I read 76 books. This year I surpassed all three years’ previous reading counts with a total of 44 books!
Reading has always been a refuge for me in times when life is rocky and this year was no exception. Having weathered the storm of ending a relationship, I retreated into my imaginary worlds a little more than usual. But! My interest in non-fiction continued this year with the addition of Oliver Sacks, Farley Mowat, Thich Nhất Hạnh, Jean Vanier, Bill Bryson, and Maya Angelou.
This year’s fiction forays steered towards mystery more and more, but I still love my historical fiction.
A particular favourite of this year’s was the German writer Oliver Pötzsch whose series of historical mysteries called The Hangman’s Daughter has been on my TBR pile for over a year. My new library branch in Dundas happened to have the whole series just sitting on the shelf, waiting for me to read, and I eagerly ate up the whole series, plus a stand-alone novel called The Ludwig Consipracy. I learned a lot about 17th century medicine and Bavarian culture from Mr. Pötzsch’s books. He’s an excellent writer and his translators also do top-notch work. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Hangman’s Daughter series when it gets to the library.
There were several other authors that I finally got an opportunity to finally read after having wanted to read them for some time. The first was Maya Angelou’s first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which took me into a world of Southern black culture that brought to mind Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man, which I read several years ago.
I also picked up my first Edith Wharton, a collection of short stories, which aren’t her most famous work, but did well to introduce me to the time period and language of Victorian America. It conjured images of nineteenth century New York City, trolley buses, crinoline and pinafores, horse-drawn carts, and vintage maps of city streets I’ve walked.
A few other things that I got to do this year in my reading was get acquainted with Chuck Wendig’s fiction. I have been reading his blog Terrible Minds, which offers a lot of good advise for writers, but have never had occasion to give his books a try. Dundas came through again with a copy of The Blue Blazes. If I could describe it in one word it would be hard-boiled. Is that two words? Who cares? It was a fun read.
I gave graphic novels another opportunity this year as well, diving into some fun ones recently, such as Vincent by Barbara Stok, a quick, thought-provoking glimpse into the life of Vincent Van Gogh, and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s non-Scott Pilgrim book, Seconds. Great story-telling in that one. I have yet to read the Scott Pilgrim series, but I think that might change in 2016.
Reading Goals for 2016
- I would like to read more female writers. I feel like I was pretty male-heavy this year, mostly because I got sucked into Oliver Pötzsch’s and Farley Mowat’s worlds.
- I’d also like to read more poetry. Poetry is like cake. It has to be savored.
- I’d like to continue mining the classics, such as Edith Wharton, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens.
- I’d like to read more musical biographies/autobiographies.
- I’d like to read 50 books, surpassing my 44 of this year.