Monday, January 16, 2017

Belated 2016 wrap up

It wouldn't be me if I published this post anywhere close to the proper time, now would it?

I read so many good books this year, you guys. I also read considerably more this year than I did last year, which is also super. I tried to make an effort to read more of my own books as well as just sort of following my heart by reading what I wanted to read and not what I 'should' be reading, and it all paid off pretty well I think.

Here's some statistics!

Total number of books read: 130
This is up from an even 100 last year and I'm super happy with that, as I'm finally back to something resembling what I read in previous years. Yay!

Number of books I read that I own (as opposed to library books or books borrowed): 91
Last year I actually only read 23, so this is a huge improvement. Huge. I think I have acquired a lot more books last year than I did last year so the number is probably affected by that, but even so. I'm really happy about this.

Nonfiction: 17
Down from 25 last year. I'm not particularly bothered about this number; I've always read mostly fiction and I don't really see that changing much.

Books written by men: 59
(This number gets trickier as I read more and more books by non-binary writers and it's not so simple as dividing it into books by men and books by women... but this is books written by exclusively men, not including non-binary writers and books with male and female contributors)
This is up from last year, but it's most likely skewed from reading for my MA, which was heavy on men this year *mutter mutter*

Rereads: 28
Higher than I thought and higher than last year's 18- again I blame my MA, where I even ended up reading some of the same books from class to class, because my uni's organisation skills suck. Still, most of the rereads were pretty damn good. Although I have now had to read Heart of Darkness FOUR TIMES in my academic career. I didn't enjoy it the first time, I didn't enjoy it the fourth time. Plz assign different books, any lecturers who might be reading this.

And now, a little run down of my top ten of the year, in no particular order because otherwise this post would have taken probably even longer to finally get up:

Lumberjanes #1 (of 8) by [Stevenson, Noelle, Ellis, Grace] Am I Normal Yet?: The Spinster Club Series by [Bourne, Holly]Nimona by [Stevenson, Noelle]Asking For It (Winner of the Irish Book Awards 2015) by [O'Neill, Louise]If I Was Your Girl by [Russo, Meredith]The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (with Cats!) by [Pulley, Anna]The Argonauts by [Nelson, Maggie]Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir by [Brownstein, Carrie]

Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

I loved this, and I'm sitting here wondering why I haven't reread it since my first reading. In case you haven't encountered it, it's a graphic novel about a bunch of girls at scout camp "For Hardcore Lady Types" and their adventures. My only complaint about this was that it was so short (even by graphic novel standards) but I should make up for that by reading more Lumberjanes in the new year.

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

A wonderful look at being a mentally ill teenager and most importantly, what happens after you think you're getting your life back on track. AKA, a topic that is never discussed enough in any fiction let alone YA. There are three more in the series and I'm really hoping to get through at least some of them in the new year!

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

This was really the year for fun graphic novels. It's difficult to describe the plot of Nimona, but suffice to say it involves a shape-shifting protagonist, superheroes, villains and dragons. Just read it. Trust me.

Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton

I love it when two things I love come together, and here it's literature and piss-taking cartoons. You've probably seen her cartoons everywhere, and here they are in book form! Yay!

Asking for It by Louise O'Neill

It's hard to say that I loved this book... because reading it was a really, really unpleasant experience. I've tried to write a proper review post for this like it deserves but there are really no words. This is about rape and a small town and consent and the awful justice system. It will make you despair and make you angry, but it is so, so important, and so, so well written. I'm still in shock at how much this book affected me.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Amanda moves in with her dad and starts her senior year in a new high school, but she has a secret- she's transgender. There were some problems with this book- Amanda's super-quick transition is unrealistic and her portrayal as super feminine can be seen as a bit problematic- but Russo addresses these issues in her epilogue perfectly reasonably- this is a story about a girl with a secret, first and foremost, and the situations you find yourself in when people don't know who you really are. It's always so good to read good LGBTQ+ fiction that addresses something other than initially coming out and by the end, I was frantically wiping away tears while sitting on my lunch break at work. I loved this.

The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!) by Anna Pulley and Kelsey Beyer

Okay so with a title like this you might be wondering how this could ever possibly live up to its promises. And it does! This is actually a really clever, hilarious look at lesbian culture, illustrated with adorable cats. What's not to love?

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

I picked this up without much knowledge about it other than that it was queer and everyone was raving about it. Honestly, I'm still not really sure what to call it! Part philosophy, part memoir, part polemic. This is a sort of personal account of Maggie Nelson, her non-binary partner, and her pregnancy, with meditations on feminism and queer theory and parenthood. I read this mostly in one sitting and absolutely loved it.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

I'm a big fan of Carrie Brownstein, Sleater-Kinney and basically everything else she ever touches. This is a memoir focused on her life in a rock band and everything that involves: personal struggles, professional struggles, inter-band struggles... it's wonderfully honest and makes for some very sad reading at times.

Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

Actually the very last book I finished this year, and what a book to go out on! I've been aware for years of this book as a lesbian/transgender classic but am only finally getting round to it now. Part of me wishes I got to it sooner, but part of me is also super glad that I'm reading it right now, as the lines between lesbian and man, male and female, start to shift a lot in my own life. I loved the history, I loved the politics, I loved the gender stuff... seriously going down as one of my favourites of all time. (Also, since Feinberg's death this is available as a free PDF on hir website, so what have you go to lose?)

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