I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.
According to my reading log, I read 83 new books in 2016. This doesn't include re-reads and the occasional book that eludes my cataloging madness. It was a pretty good year. Here are some highlights:
It was the year I read "War and Peace." Mostly just to be able to say I had. But I liked it. Not as much as I liked "Anna Karenina," but I did like it - especially poor Pierre. Tolstoy isn't kind to the big lug, but his progression through the story is fascinating. If you, too, want to honestly say you've read this big book, start around Memorial Day, commit to about a chapter a day, and you'll be done right around Labor Day (that's what I did).
Also missing from my reading log (because it wasn't my first time through), but still quite notable, was the fact I spent the first several months of the year reading the Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson aloud. I read the entire volume in college, and have dipped in and out many times since, but it's the first time in more than 20 years I've gone all the way through. And I put them out in the air with my voice. Very satisfying.
Three reading marathons, each in conjunction with seeing a favorite author read: Nine volumes of Sherman Alexie (and a total binge on his podcast with Jess Walter) before seeing him in February. Six volumes of Joy Harjo before seeing her in the summer, and four volumes of Michael Chabon before seeing him in December. I'm now almost a Chabon completist, with just the brand-new Moonglow, a couple of the movies, and graphic novels left. I also read Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe" in preparation for his visit to our university in March. Such a great year for author sightings. There were a few more, but not with accompanying book-binges. Thanks to my friend, C., for arranging the Alexie and Chabon trips for me!
When I went to Harjo's reading, I ran into an acquaintance from Graduate School, Denise Lajmodiere, and leaned she has had a book of poetry published. I got my hands on it in December, and it'll be read in 2017. Denise was visiting with her friend, Heid Erdrich, and I introduced myself and got to tell Ms. Erdrich how much I enjoyed her book, "The Mother's Tongue."
This was also the year I finally read Pat Barker's "Ghost Road" trilogy, as well as the actual collected poems of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Ticked off some more World War I books and this wonderful series I've neglected since learning about it in the '90s. Highly recommended.
For the record, here's a broad genre run-down of my logged titles:
Short stories/Poetry - 1
Mass-Market Romance - 17
Poetry - 10 (seems low, but several were longer "collected" volumes, plus I'm constantly re-reading poetry, and re-reads don't get logged.)
Short stories - 3
Literary and General Fiction - 21
Non-Fiction (could have been broken up into MANY sub-categories) - 19
Kids (YA and Middle-grade) - 5
Picture Books - 3
Memoirs - 2
What does 2017 hold? Well, I'm already working my way through August Wilson's century cycle, so plays are taking center stage in January. Other than that, all I can say is MORE. More books, more books, more books. Please.