Glance at 2018’s Reading: Mid-Year

When it comes to this year’s read-o-lutions, I am on track for short stories (I’ve read 8 collections and some singles).

And better than that? I have already matched last year for MustReadEverything authors (13 titles) and series completed (8 finished so far).

Almost a quarter of my reading is from series, most of them ongoing, but including a couple new ones (Ann Leckie’s trilogy and Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy, for instance) started and finished this year.

My series reading is likely even higher because two of my main reading projects for 2017 and 2018 revolve around Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna books and Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine cycle. But I was bitten young by the series bug and I’m nearly always giving the itch a scratch, even without a reading project in the mix.

Where I haven’t made any change? I was hoping to read more graphic memoirs and fiction, but not yet. That’s partly because I’m also trying to read more often from my own shelves, and I haven’t been buying these in recent years.

But it’s partly because I’ve fallen hard into the literary fiction habit. As a percentage, the graphic reads barely register over there. Those mystery and sci-fi series aren’t creating much of a distraction.

And that stack? The mysterious stack? Five books have wriggled their way out of it and into my actual reading.

Mind you, I did manage to start and finish George Perec’s A Void (1969; Trans. Gilbert Adair, 1995), which my niece loaned me (abandoned here?) almost ten years ago. If I had actually started when she left it, and read only a tenth of a page every day, I’d’ve finished at roughly the same time.

And Perec is just one of a handful of international reads for 2018 so far. The bulk of my reading comes from Canada and the United States. The third most represented group in my reading are indigenous authors. But there are plenty of other countries represented as well: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Syria and Zimbabwe.

0%
Writers of Colour
0%
Women writers

One surprise is how many children’s books I’ve read this year, but that, too, is down to finishing series. Not only did I finish two series by Julia Craighead George and Gary Paulsen, but I also just finished (this month, so not all the pages are included in these statistics) Margery Sharp’s eight-volume series about Bernard and Miss Bianca, popularized in the Disney film, “The Rescuers”.

Another long-time project was Maya Angelou’s autobiographical writing (the first remains my favourite). And, more recently, I finished Thomas King’s Dreadfulwater mysteries. I haven’t dared to put any specific series on the list while focussing on the Jalna and Love Medicine cycles, but I do hope to finish as many more this year. (My FictFact page says I am “following” more than 200, so another 8 would barely scratch the surface.)

0
Chunksters (over 500 pages)
0Pages
Longest book (Paul Auster’s 4321)

Of the 15 books over 500 pages, four of them were JUST over. As though someone gave the writer a limit and they crammed in every last word they could before the book went to press. Most of them were solidly in the 500s, with just a few chunkier than that: Amitav Ghosh’s Flood of Fire, David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, George Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual, and the longest one of the bunch…

You can see it right above: some of you already guessed, because you patiently listened to updates for weeeeeeks. It took me so long to read it that I had to return it to the library between readings, then go back to fetch it again (an uncatalogued paperback – I couldn’t abide the thought of reading the hardcover). But, ironically, when I was finished, it all made sense and it was as though it had to have been told that way after all. It reminded me of the way you can fall into a long story. It make it easy to pick up Wolf Hall next (in the next bay of paperbacks).

0
# Books So Far in 2018
0
# Pages So Far in 2018

And what of the next few months? More Gallant. More Erdrich. More Jalna. More indigenous writers. More of much of this.

But that’s not very specific. And, maybe that’s a good thing. It’s hard to find the line between keeping things challenging and making them homework.

I have more Australian writers to read. More Caine prize authors to read. More French-Canadian authors to discover.

And maybe – but it’s not very likely – I will finish this year with fewer books on my TBR than I started with in January.

How is your reading year? Do you have a favourite book/author so far?

Are you planning for the remainder of 2018?

2018-07-26T14:12:53+00:00

16 Comments

  1. Alley August 28, 2018 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Good job on the read-o-lutions you have met (cos whoa, still have months left and already done with some!) and good luck on those you’re still working through. I have all the faith. And love the graph and the counter thingys!

    • Buried In Print August 29, 2018 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Thanks, Alley! And congrats on getting out and about in blogland again. It feels good to be more present-day about things instead of always planning to read more “tomorrow”. But sometimes that’s necessary too: say, your life right now. 🙂

  2. TheLiterary Hoarders August 27, 2018 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Love this! Love your graphs and charts! 15 chunksters! I’ve read I think 3 so far and have actually just finished those in a back-to-back-to-back fashion. I started 4321 at the very end of the year, and was really enjoying it -but then I got so distracted with new books in 2018 that I’ve never moved the bookmark from the 25% mark! Will I get back to it? I really, really should shouldn’t I?

    • Buried In Print August 27, 2018 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Penny! That’s really unusual for me; I read Bleak House near the end of last year and was so impressed with myself that I just kept trying the same trick and I even had two in the stack simultaneously in recent weeks (not doing that again, mind you). At the 25% mark, despite having quite enjoyed other Austers, I’m not sure I was convinced that I would finish it either, but I was unexpectedly moved at the end. Mind you, it’s a whole lot of ordinary stuff that happens – it’s not like there’s any major reveal, just normal life and a lot of it, y’know?

  3. Naomi August 10, 2018 at 11:42 am - Reply

    It’s fun to get some reading stats in the middle of the year!
    Right now isn’t a good time to ask me how my reading plans are going, because my reading time has been so limited lately. It feels as though I’ll never get back to it, even though I know this isn’t true.
    I admire the fact that there are so many countries represented in your reading, while still being able to read mostly Canadian!

    • Buried In Print August 13, 2018 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      The fall is a busy time for CanLit reading for me (and I know it is for you too) so even though my CanLit reading is a little lower (stats-wise) than it was for 2017 in total, I think it’ll even out once I get into some new books this coming season. Has any fall reading crept into your stacks yet, now that you are back at home and catching up a little?

      • Naomi August 21, 2018 at 10:14 am - Reply

        There is so much good Fall reading… I just hope I can get to it all!

        • Buried In Print August 21, 2018 at 11:17 am - Reply

          Just last night I was thinking “oh, it’s not so much”, as I finished the last chapter I’d planned to read that night. Now, on a fresh morning, and a fresh day, I am looking ahead to September and thinking “How…?”

  4. Life of a Female Bibliophile August 2, 2018 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Looks like your having a very productive reading year! I’m a bit behind on my Goodreads challenge, but I’m hoping to play catch up in these last couple of months. I have been reading a lot of standalone, but I miss series (I’m a big series reader). Good luck with the reast of your reading goals for 2018!

    • Buried In Print August 3, 2018 at 10:03 am - Reply

      Thanks, R. You too! And I was going to mention that I plan to read more pictures in the second half of this year, some graphic novels and memoirs and those manga/anime series you recommended too. (I still haven’t been able to find all of the specific volumes that I wanted, but I have a plan.) That’s one of the reasons I’ve been so focussed on my other projects, so that I have time to try some new things in the coming weeks.

  5. Rebecca Foster August 2, 2018 at 4:52 am - Reply

    Ha, in my e-mail digest all the numbers above came out at zero; I had to visit the site to see them count up!

    I am SO not a series reader nowadays, though I was in my childhood. I always end up disappointed with a sequel and sometimes don’t end up finishing it (recent case in point: The Shakespeare Requirement, the sequel to Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members). I need to write a blog post about this sometime, actually. I don’t like the sense of obligation that a series creates. However, I do like when a follow-up memoir continues a true story.

    I surprised myself by reading two short story collections while in America. I would like to try to pick up a few more before the end of the year. I may try to do Women in Translation month, too, though I think I only have four eligible titles on my shelves. And then I’ll do novellas for much of November, and make sure I’ve read all the 2018 releases I own in print before year end. Other than that, no specific plans for the rest of the year’s reading.

    • Buried In Print August 3, 2018 at 9:56 am - Reply

      snickers Oh, that’s funny. Thanks for letting me know. I try to check formatting (in a variety of browsers, etc.) but this hadn’t occurred to me. I’m guessing all interactive widgets must be like that (the accordian Q&As that Naomi admires, for instance, and flip boxes – not that I used those in this post).

      Although I don’t mind the sense of obligation – I feel it to the characters, not the author/series, which is where my attachments rest- continuing the habit into adulthood has certainly brought to the forefront my pie-in-the-sky goal-setting tendencies; I tend to take on a lot (more than I can comfortably finish) without looking at the whole picture (i.e. what will I not be doing while I am so busy reading reading reading) so what I do mind is that weight of the over-commitment. [You know (and I’m sure you do)…I used to have OTHER interests too. grins (Not many, but some. :)]

      I, too, keep up with the year, for new acquisitions, but only recently, so I have a lot of catch-up to do, for all those years of gathering-faster-than-anyone-could-ever-read. Do you let yourself roll a few over into January, or do you stop acquiring sometime in December? I didn’t know you did novellas in November. I think it’s also graphic novel month, which would make a good combination. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

      • Rebecca Foster August 5, 2018 at 10:02 am - Reply

        I doubt I’ll acquire any more print books from 2018, but the Kindle titles from NetGalley and Edelweiss are still piled up and there’s no way I’ll get close to clearing them before the end of the year. I always end up with a list of about 10-15 books from the year that I most wanted to get to but didn’t. Unfortunately, that usually tends to mean that instead of rolling them over to the next year I don’t get to them at all.

        This will be my third year doing Novellas in November with Laura F. It’s a nice way to plow through lots of books within a month! I’d love to read more graphic novels again, but my sources seem to have dried up. All I can access is public library copies, and they don’t often acquire new ones.

        Luckily/unluckily, I hardly have any non-book-related hobbies. I started learning to play the accordion earlier this year, but had to put it on hold while I was in America and need to go back to it. I haven’t given it as much time as I meant to, though my instructor said 15 minutes a day is enough practice.

        • Buried In Print August 8, 2018 at 11:34 am - Reply

          I wonder if your instructor meant that it was enough practice for you or enough practice for those who are in earshot? grins

          Somehow it seems even harder to get to the books you’ve missed from the last year or the one before than ones you’ve missed from ten years ago, as though you were nearly reading it when it was fresh and everyone was interested in discussing it and, then, you missed the opportunity and the disappointment is still too fresh or something.

          I do want to read more novellas this year, so maybe I will try to make some notes for November. I suppose it would be a fun way to feel like you’re making progress through your TBR. I wonder if I can identify them using the page-number sort in my GR TBR shelf, or whether that would just bring up a bunch of skinny-but-not-novella books. Hah.

  6. Laila@BigReadingLife August 1, 2018 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    147 books by August – wow! That’s terrific. It’s good to take a breath half-way(ish) through the year and see how things stand, evaluate (re-evaluate?) one’s goals. Lately I’ve been feeling a profound urge to go OFF my TBR and OFF my 20 Books of Summer. That’s the mood reader in me breaking out! It won’t be constrained long. So I picked up a book off the New Books section of my library today and it wasn’t even on my TBR list. (Gasp!) But it’s an author and book that other bloggers have written about and I had in the back of my mind anyway.
    Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton. I’m 69 pages in and so far it’s super addictive. I’m feeling the need for some easy entertainment in my reading life right now. And for me that means mysteries/thrillers.

    • Buried In Print August 3, 2018 at 9:39 am - Reply

      I hear ya, fellow moody reader insert not-so-secret handshake and, coincidentally, I was just mentioning to a reading friend that I have been feeling the urge for a thriller. But I think I will be able to scratch the itch with a backlisted title because there are tonnes of them on my TBR, or maybe a Louise Penny or a Maureen Jennings. I’ve heard good things about Bolton but I’ve never “happened” upon one of hers – probably because she’s popular! On my next library visit, I’ll check the new shelves for it though, just in case…

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