Okay okay okay. I did a terrible job of tracking my books this quarter. Shame on me. I also did that thing where I put many many books on hold and they all come available at the same time. Yikes. Which means there are also loads of books that came home with me, and I barely cracked the spine before they had to make their way back to the library. They usually make it back on the hold list, but there were a few duds this quarter that I was not sad to return early.
Keeping the above in mind, it surprised me to see how few books I read this quarter. It felt like I was always moving a book off the couch or table to make room. But perhaps it was always just the same two books!
FAVOURITES AND SURPRISES
It used to be that I could choose a favourite book quite easily. I suppose with reading more books, it becomes more difficult to choose just one. At any rate, I was having another hard time and was ready to create a “4th Quarter Favourites List” when I read the final book in the Wayfarers Series by Becky Chambers (The Galaxy & the Ground Within). Nothing can possibly touch her way of writing heartfelt, exciting, beautiful, fully-formed aliens doing mundane things. I eagerly await anything else she writes. I am beyond blessed to be living in her time.
This book follows a random grouping of folks who become stranded at a rest stop. Their hosts are furry and eager to please, but all the travelers want to do is get on their way. Each Alien has their own backstory and baggage. They spend a few days together and become the bestest friends, despite their differences. There is a lot going on, and yet also not much at all. There are a lot of snacks. All five beings have to negotiate being very stuck in a small place together, and Becky Chambers keeps things moving perfectly. There are a lot of scary, boring, action-packed, eating, and heartwarming moments.
I grabbed a mystery bag of books at my local library with the theme of “food based mysteries” and oh my god. I was not prepared for the sub-genre of food crime. There were recipes, there was so much awful banter and cringe. But I somehow loved it, and I will probably seek out more titles when my brain needs a break from the stuff I usually dig into.
2021 Results and 2022 Goals
In the fall of 2021 I started to struggle with the way I had written my goals, compared to what I wanted to achieve. I called them “white supremacy” goals. I was ticking off boxes for diversity, and patting myself on the back for each POC or Indigenous author I read. I was using these folks as trophies in my bookcase and it felt awful, and gross. But I also really love reading books by “more diverse” authors, which I concluded meant “less white women, and even less white guys especially if they are old and straight.”
I am still doing work around this, and will probably struggle with how best to frame my goals in 2022 and beyond. And maybe that means I won’t have specific reading goals. Diversity doesn’t mean anything if you don’t back it up and change the system that makes things un-diverse in the first place. Yeah I’m pretty sure that isn’t a word.
Ignoring those goals I am having *feelings* about, I still found victories in 2021. Looking at my overall goal to read 70 books, I came in at 83. Every year I put “read one book of poetry” on the list, and my spreadsheet is showing me that I read zero. Well, dangit. At least I found eight books of essays or short stories this year, outstripping my goal by three. There were some high hopes in January of recording more videos where I talk about books. Thankfully, I did none of those. But I still enjoy these quartery roundups, and met my goal to do one per quarter. They are all linked at the bottom of this post if you want to get the full effect.
I read 61 books by women! I read 15 non-fiction books, which was a struggle for me for many years. I read a book that was translated into English and it was really weird! More of all that please.
I know I want to read more books overall in 2022, and I want to really expand the authors I reach for. Kind of related is the fact that I have been spending more time working inside the library lately and I love it. More of that is on the list for 2022 as well, which makes it a reading-adjacent goal I suppose. Lucas also seems more keen on going to the library so it pleases me to the dang moon that I will get to share this with him.
2022 is the year I really expand into my reading in a new way.