Towards the end of 2012, I was overwhelmed by the idea of being just one indie-minded reader in a literary world dominated by mega-publishers and mega-retailers.
I felt unsure how to affect change, how to best respond to the sense of despair swelling within my reading heart and mind.
I decided that making a change, even just One Reader at a Time, was still making a change (which made me much happier).
And those new thoughts culminated in a new reading project: Fiercely Reading Indie: House of Anansi, 45.
(HOA celebrated their 45th anniversary in 2012, hence the ’45’.)
And even though I had expected to find lots of great reading in those 45 days, I was truly amazed by the breadth of the content and the consistent quality.
In short, soooo much great reading!
A page which records my 45-day-long reading journey appears here.
What remains? Now that that’s all done with?
Well, the giveaway, and the question of new habits.
The winner of the $45 giveaway, out of the 111 entries in the randomizer?
Stefanie. Of So Many Books. *claps*
Thanks very much to all who read and commented and encouraged and celebrated.
And a special thanks to Sandra, who contributed four guest posts throughout the event and placed hefty orders with House of Anansi because their catalogue was so tempting.
And, then, the question of how easily a reading-indie effort can be maintained, whether it can become a habit?
For that, I checked the numbers.
This year 19 of the 89 books I’ve read so far have been via indie presses.
Of the remaining 70 books read, published by large publishing houses, 15 are via a single publishing house.
Of the books I’ve purchased new this year, 71% were published by indie presses and 29% were published by large publishing houses.
(Note the stats have shifted to percentages: best not to discuss the exact numbers of books bought new. Especially given that my TBR shelf currently numbers 4749 books.)
How does that compare to the year before?
When I had only vague thoughts of supporting indie presses, but hadn’t really looked at my logs to see if my actions aligned with my intentions?
I had read 24 books from indie presses by this time last year, but had read a total of 137 books, so percentage-wise I was reading a smaller amount of books from indie presses last year.
I’ll be reading with various events and prizelists in mind, so I’m tempted to guess ahead. How likely is it that I will be reading MORE indie-mindedly?
I’m preparing for this year’s International Festival of Authors. Of the confirmed authors whose works I’m eyeing, there are 7 whose works are published by different indie presses, and more than 50 whose works are published by major houses.
Of the 13 books longlisted for last year’s Giller Prize, 3 were published by indie presses. (For the 2011 Prize, 7 of the 17 longlisted books were via indie presses.)
Of the 5 books shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award, last year 4 out of 5 were via indie presses. (In 2011, 1 of the 5 shortlisted books was published by indie houses.)
I’ll be following this year’s Massey Lecture (published by none other than House of Anansi): Lawrence Hill’s Blood: The Stuff of Love.
So…it’s hard to predict, because my reading in the latter part of each calendar year is more event-driven.
And each prizelist jury has its own flavour, so longlists are truly impossible to predict.
But I’m also returning to my annual ReLit reading, which is all about the indies.
And many of the new additions to my shelves are published by indie presses and I could as easily reach for those as for the books which are part of the reading projects which include a higher proportion of books from larger publishing houses.
But what I have learned? My reading intentions did not match my actual reading habits in 2011, before undertaking this project, and they are more closely in alignment now (but I’d still like to play with the balance a little).
So far, there have been some really great reads in my bookish year. And of the 6 titles that I’ve promptly included in my rough notes about favourites for 2013?
Each of my favourites-so-far is from a different publishing house, and they are from three big ones and three indies. Now, THAT’s a balance with which I am content!
Overall, it’s that gap between what I want to do and what I actually do that (sometimes) keeps me up at night. (Not always in terms of bookishness either.)
So simply narrowing the gap is a step towards contentment. So far, it’s been a truly satisfying reading year, and I’m looking forward to the pages ahead.
How about you? Were you eyeing any particular reading habits this reading year? Evaluating, calculating, altering, shifting?