This year comes up with 281 books or 68,124 pages.
(How do I do it? I neglect many other potentially meaningful aspects of life.)
The numbers alone might seem impressive until one glances at my TBR shelf there, which sits at 8,116 books.
That’s where the numbers become decidedly finger-waggingly annoying.
And, yes, those 8.116 books do figure into my readolutions for 2018.
But, first, 2017’s Memorable Reading Experiences.
2016 = 310 books
Beginning with The Building of Jalna (1926)and ending with Centenary at Jalna (1958), I’ve read 6/16 of Mazo de la Roche’s novels so far.
Beginning with Mavis Gallant’s earliest short stories, with plans to read all 123 of her published works, I’ve read 31 of her stories throughout 2017.
Shortest = 42
Longest = 891
Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series
The year began with a reread of the first book in the series. Her Majesty’s Dragon is the title of the first book in Canada, published in 2006, though it is titled differently elsewhere.
I’ve reread this book three times, not only because it’s very good, but because I had previously planned to finish reading the series. This time I actually did, in the company of my bookfriend, Carra.
She kept me motivated to read on, for while neither of us is terrific about finishing series, she is much more devoted than I, and, so, League of Dragons (2016) was my last book of the reading year.
For those who think they do not like books about dragons, I think you would find Temeraire is an exception, and I have heard that the audiobooks are a particular treat.
The Life on Mars Project, began with Lori McNulty’s short story collection, Life on Mars (2017), which gave me the idea to seek out books with the same title. Partly, this just made me giggle. “What are you reading?” Life on Mars. [two weeks later] “What are you reading?” Life on Mars. “Still?” “No!” I’m not sure if this would have been so much fun if the book titles hadn’t included Mars. We’ll see, as I’d like to try this again! (Also, McNulty’s stories are fine. And, Kaggsy, you would love the Calvino-inspired one!
Although it began slowly, and I have been hesitant to recommend the book because it has its challenges, Bernard Assiniwi’s The Beothuk Saga (1996) was an outstanding read for me this year. It took me inside the world of the Beothuks and inspired a mini-gathering project for related reading as well. Although I do not gravitate towards a “book of the year” outlook, if I were that kind of reader, this might be my book.
More than ever, because I was deliberately reading backlist and allowing for more whimsical choices, you have been influencing my reading this year.
Yes, you. You!
If you are reading this, and if we have been bookchatting through the year, over the years, chances are that you have influenced what’s in my stacks.
Which is why the next thing I’m mentioning are some of those reads, although I wish I’d done a more thorough job of noting them throughout the year. But shared reads are often my favourite reads for a year, as much for the sharing of them as the reading of them. (Other more solitary reads which stand out follow these in much the same format I’ve used in recent years.)
Reading Africa Hosted by Kinna: Summary
Reading Ireland Hosted by Cathy: Summary
#1951Club Hosted by Kaggsy and Simon: Robertson Davies’ Tempest-Tost (1951)
#1968Club Hosted by Kaggsy and Simon: No Clouds of Glory
Non-Fiction November Hosted by Katie, Lory, Julie and Kim: Summary
Shared reads with bookfriends
Margery Sharp’s The Rescuers (1959) with Jane
N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn (1966) with Caroline
L.M. Montgomery’s Emily Stories (1923; 1925; 1927) with Naomi and Sarah
Barbara Pym’s Quartet in Autumn (1977) with Danielle
Iris Murdoch’s Under the Net (1961) with Liz
Kyo Maclear’s Birds Art Life (2017), inspired by Wendy
Shirin Ebadi’s Until We Are Free (2016) inspired by Ali
Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano (1947) inspired by Mel
Ernesto Quinonez’s Bodega Dreams (1996) inspired by Jorge
Derek Walcott’s Morning, Paramin (2016) inspired by Melissa
Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins (2012) inspired by Laila
Toggle in each category to reveal titles…
Sherman Alexie’s You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (2017)
Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters (1988)
Ann Patchett’s This is the story of a happy marriage: essays (2013)
Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau’s Winter Child (2014; Trans. Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli, 2017)
George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo (2017)
Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017)
Louise Erdrich’s Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country (2003)
Peter Orner’s Am I Alone Here? (2016)
Pamela Paul’s My Life with Bob (2017)