Folks, you may or may not know that I have been struggling with tendonitis & carpal-tunnel problems for more than a year. This has kept me away from computer-centric leisure activities – including blogging – and has thrust me into a regimen of physiotherapy. But I have still been reading. I never stop reading.
A little while ago I learned of the #95books project, and idly wondered how many books I had read this year – and whether or not that number would come at all close to 95. Despite the fact that it is late in the year and I have probably forgotten much, I gave it a shot: I enumerated all the books I could recall having read since last year’s winter holiday, in half-remembered chronological order.Notes on criteria:
- I counted books only – nothing else, though I also read, for example, countless articles of news online, including long-form journalism, as well as the odd periodical. I did see fit to count novel-length fan works, but not shorter works of fanfiction.
- As I work in publishing, I read a great deal, but for the purpose of this list I made a few distinctions: I counted only the work-related books I read full through (and whose plots/details/themes I can recall after the fact); I did not count the large number of books I skimmed or read only partially; and I distinguish in the chart below between“work-related” books (which I read for work-related purposes) and books I discovered “via work” (books published by my company, which I read for pleasure).
- I also served as a juror and read two large binders full of trial documents … but I ultimately decided not to count those.
- Finally, I also read much Bahá’í material, which won’t surprise anyone, but few books full through, in 2014 – and that is one example of a thing I hope to change in 2015.
Turns out I got to 61. Not bad for an inadvertent effort. 39 works of fiction, 18 works of non-fiction, and 4 collections of poetry. I’ll say this: I read more non-fiction than I thought; I expected fiction from floor to ceiling.
It feels a little strange to me to publicize a personal reading list; what an intimate relationship we have with what we read, after all. Still, here they are, for my records and perhaps your mild interest:
|#||Title||Author||Publisher, Year||Subject Category||How I Found It|
|1||The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories
||Susanna Clarke||Bloomsbury, 2006||Fiction (Short Stories)||VPL second-hand book sale; had enjoyed author’s previous book|
|2||Honky||Dalton Conley||Vintage, 2001||Non-Fiction (Memoir)||recommended by a friend (YR)|
|3||The Salish People vol. 2||Charles Hill-Tout||Talonbooks, [year unknown]||Non-Fiction (Ethnography)||work-related|
|4||The Salish People vol. 3||Charles Hill-Tout||Talonbooks, [year unknown]||Non-Fiction (Ethnography)||work-related|
|5||The Salish People vol. 4||Charles Hill-Tout||Talonbooks, [year unknown]||Non-Fiction (Ethnography)||work-related|
|6||Folies Past: A Prequel to Pride & Prejudice||Melanie Kerr||self-published, 2013||Fiction (Novel)||gift from a friend (CS)|
|7||Pride and Prejudice||Jane Austen||public domain (Kobo edition), 2011||Fiction (Novel)||classic [reread]|
|8||The World Afloat||M.A.C. Farrant||Talonbooks, 2014||Fiction (Short Stories)||work-related|
|9||bpNichol: What History Teaches||Stephen Scobie||Talonbooks, [year unknown]||Non-Fiction (Literary Criticism)||work-related|
|10||The Valley||Joan MacLeod||Talonbooks, 2014||Drama||work-related|
|11||The Stone Diaries||Carol Shields||Vintage, 1993||Fiction (Novel)||VPL second-hand book sale|
|12||Lasagna: The Man Behind the Mask||Ronald Cross with Helene Sevigny||Talonbooks, 1991(?)||Non-Fiction (Autobiography)||work-related|
|13||Seasons: Sixth||BeshterAngelus||FanFiction.net, 2013||Fan-Fiction||novel-length fanfiction, The X-Files|
|14||Seasons: Seventh||BeshterAngelus||FanFiction.net, 2013||Fan-Fiction||novel-length fanfiction, The X-Files|
|15||Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line||Rob Thomas||Knopf Doubleday, 2014||Fiction (Mystery)||already a fan of the franchise|
|16||A Wizard of Earthsea||Ursula K. LeGuin||[unknown]||Fiction (YA Fantasy)||intended to read since Children’s Lit course in 2004|
|17||Girl in the Goldfish Bowl||Morris Panych||Talonbooks, 1999(?)||Drama||work-related|
|18||The Berlin Blues||Drew Hayden Taylor||Talonbooks, 1996(?)||Drama||via work|
|19||DOWNVERSE||Nikki Reimer||Talonbooks, 2014||Poetry||via work|
|20||Back to the Good Fortune Diner||Vicki Essex||Harlequin, 2013||Romance||recommended by a friend (SD)|
|21||Fangirl||Rainbow Rowell||St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013||Fiction (YA Novel)||recommended by a friend (SD)|
|22||The Obese Christ||Larry Tremblay||Talonbooks, 2014||Fiction (Psychological Thriller)||work-related|
|23||Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth (Book 5)||Ruhi Institute||Ruhi Institute, 2014||Non-Fiction (Religious)||study circle resulting from Vancouver Youth Conference 2013 (Baha’i Community) [reread]|
|24||Cockroach||Rawi Hage||Anansi, 2008||Fiction (Novel)||CBC Canada Reads 2014|
|25||Annabel||Kathleen Winter||Anansi, 2010||Fiction (Novel)||CBC Canada Reads 2014|
|26||Hollow City||Ransom Riggs||Quirk Books, 2014||Fiction (YA Fantasy)||bookstore browsing|
|27||Walking Together on a Path of Service (Book 7)||Ruhi Institute||Ruhi Institute, 2000s(?)||Non-Fiction (Religious)||invited to study circle by the tutor [reread]|
|28||The Orenda||Joseph Boyden||Hamish-Hamilton, 2013||Fiction (Novel)||CBC Canada Reads 2014|
|29||The Porcupine Hunter and Other Stories||Henry Tate (ed. Ralph Maud)||Talonbooks, 1993(?)||Non-Fiction (Ethnography)||work-related|
|30||A Slight Case of Fatigue||Stèphane Bourguignon||Talonbooks, 1999(?)||Fiction (Novel)||work-related|
|31||Motherhouse||David Fennario||Talonbooks, 2014||Drama||work-related|
|32||meanwhile: The Critical Writings of bpNichol||Roy Miki (editor)||Talonbooks, [year unknown]||Non-Fiction (Literary Criticism)||work-relatedhA`|
|33||Minor Expectations||Garry Thomas Morse||Talonbooks, 2014||Fiction (Novel – Speculative)||work-related|
|34||Christina, The Girl King||Michel-Marc Bouchard||Talonbooks, 2014||Drama||work-related|
|35||Year of the Flood||Margaret Atwood||Vintage, 2010||Fiction (SF/“cli-fi”)||CBC Canada Reads 2014|
|36||Austenland||Shannon Hale||Bloomsbury, 2008||Fiction (Chick Lit)||had seen the movie|
|37||Guide to BC Indian Myth & Legend||Ralph Maud||Talonbooks, [year unknown]||Non-Fiction (Ethnography)||work-related|
|38||Maleficium||Martine Desjardins||Talonbooks, 2012||Fiction (Novel)||via work|
|39||Wild Child: Girlhoods in the Counter-Culture||Chelsea Cain (editor)||Seal Press, 1999||Non-Fiction (Essays)||gift from a friend (HS) [reread]|
|40||Longbourn||Jo Baker||Knopf, 2013||Fiction (Novel)||bookstore browsing|
|41||Crossing the City||Michel Tremblay||Talonbooks, 2014||Fiction (Novel)||work-related|
|42||Michel & Ti-Jean||George Rideout||Talonbooks, 2014||Drama||via work|
|43||Peacock Blue: The Collected Poems||Phyllis Webb||Talonbooks, 2014||Poetry||via work|
|44||Odd Ducks [manuscript]||Bryden MacDonald||Talonbooks, 2015 (forthcoming)||Drama||via work|
|45||An Error in Judgement: Medical Care in an Indian-White Community||Dara Culhane Speck||Talonbooks, 2001(?)||Non-Fiction (Sociology/Politics)||work-related|
|46||The West Wing: Fantasy 8||various||National-Library.net, [year unknown]||Fan-Fiction||novel-length fanfiction, The West Wing|
|47||Eleanor & Park||Rainbow Rowell||St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013||Fiction (YA Novel)||word of mouth; recommendation (SD & JL)|
|48||Prisoner of Heaven||Carlos Ruiz Zafon||Harper Perennial Canada, 2013||Fiction (Novel)||lent by a friend (VW)|
|49||Hosanna (3rd ed.)||Michel Tremblay||Talonbooks, 2013||Drama||work-related|
|50||Bordertown Café||Kelly Rebar||Talonbooks, [year unknown]||Drama||via work|
|51||Loki is Buried at Stony Creek||Fred Wah||Talonbooks, 1970s(?)||Poetry||work-related|
|52||Pictograms From the Interior of B.C.||Fred Wah||Talonbooks, 1970s(?)||Poetry||work-related|
|53||The Book of Life||Deborah Harkness||Viking, 2014||Fiction (Novel)||bookstore browsing|
|54||The Keeper’s Daughter [manuscript: Finding Rose]||Jean-François Caron||Talonbooks, 2015 (forthcoming)||Fiction (Novel)||work-related|
|55||Half-Blood Blues||Esi Edugyan||HarperCollins, 2011||Fiction (Novel)||CBC Canada Reads 2014|
|56||The Fasting Girl: A True Victorian Medical Mystery||Michelle Stacey||Tarcher-Putnam, 2002||Non-Fiction (History)||VPL second-hand book sale|
|57||In Plain Sight: Reflections on Life in Downtown Eastside Vancouver||Leslie A. Robertson & Dara Culhane (editors)||Talonbooks, 2003||Non-Fiction (Essays)||work-related|
|58||The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America||Thomas King||Doubleday Canada, 2012||Non-Fiction (History)||various forms of publicity; borrowed from coworker (VW)|
|59||My Turquoise Years
||M.A.C. Tarrant||Greystone, 2004||Non-Fiction (Memoir)||recommended by coworkers & VW & AM)|
|60||It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens||Danah Boyd||Yale University Press, 2014||Non-Fiction (Sociology)||recommended by a conference speaker (BB at TechForum 2014)|
|61||The Black Notebook||Michel Tremblay||Talonbooks, 2006||Fiction (novel)||work-related|
I consider it a good year. And the desire to read (as well as available free time for reading) does tend to ebb and flow to some degree from year to year. I may not get to 60 in 2015 – but I will endeavour to keep a more accurate list as I go.
I wish I had time to write reviews or commentary about these books, many of which were excellent, but I don’t. I’ll share just a bit of the cream:
- I was most emotionally affected by Atwood’s Year of the Flood. I won’t get into how or why, because that is a whole other ball game, as they say. If you haven’t read any so-called cli-fi, I urge you to do so. In my case cli-fi essentially preaches to the choir, but it’s sometimes important to remind yourself of why you joined the choir in the first place. Say yes to this series.
- The worst by far was Austenland, which I read as an experiment after watching the mildly amusing movie (best part of which was casting Brett Mackenzie in a romantic role; please, Hollywood, do that again sometime). I do not have the stomach for chick lit, and I found this book unctuous. Mercifully, it was a quick read.
- The book I would most recommend is Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated. Teachers, parents, and anyone who lives, works with, or serves the needs of youth and young people would benefit from reading this book. Anyone flustered by or concerned about or interested in the social and sociological impacts of an increasingly networked world would benefit from reading this book.
The rest was gravy, essentially.
(Gravy, too, is important. Check out this news, published in 2013, which found that readers of literary fiction make good empathizers.)
If you’re interested in tracking your own reading habits, check out the 50 Book Pledge, which I found out about while writing this post. If you’re curious about how and why people choose to buy the books they buy, you might peruse BookNet Canada’s latest report, “The Canadian Book Consumer 2013 – Coast to Coast: Book Buyers Across Canada” (PDF). Last but not least, if you’ve read any of the books above and would like to chat about them, leave a comment!
You may not hear (read) from me for a while, owing to the above-outlined circumstances, but I trust you’ll be doing your share of reading excellent things.
Happy reading in 2015, everyone!