Yup. This graphic says sooo much about my reading.
I have been thinking of going on about this for awhile now, and then this wonderful cartoon showed up online, and I was like NOW is the time.
Several years back, even predating this version of Scoops Mental Propaganda, I took a good hard long look at my bookshelves. I had well over a hundred and fifty unread books located all over them. I generally tend to organize by genre, so the pockets of the unseen by my eyes were everywhere. Science fiction, self help, fantasy, biographies, history, literary fiction, kids, young adult, humour, graphic novels, and true crime are just some of the categories they all exist in.
So I started reading, very much in earnest, and way way more than I usually had for several years previously. The progress was slow, with less then ten books being completed that year. Which really sucks. Big time.
Over the years the number kept going up, and the amount of books added lessened. But while I was happy, I realized that a major book purge was also necessary, for my mental health at least. Two successive turns in 2014 of yanking volumes that I truly know I would most likely never ever get to happened. Reorganizing the sections afterwards and redistributing the toys to adorn them took way longer then the purge. And boy did that feel good.
At this point, I went right back to reading and reading.
Which brings us full circle to the above comic. And it’s sentiments.
All the readers I know have different criteria of what they read and why and how. Bookies and book bloggers will specialize in young adult or romance or historical fiction or mystery or any assorted variation of these genres. And so many of us readers create projects of what we are imbibing in, or plan to imbibe in. I did this with Harry Potter and Hunger Games and with whackloads of comics.
One trend that happens every year are the people who join in with the 50 Book Pledge. Bless them because they are far far braver than I. If I reach forty odd books in a year, like in 2014, I am very very happy. I think doing more would have morally, emotionally, and physically broken me. Imagine me as Batman after Bane was finished with him.
Another trend are declarations in January that someone wants to read more books by women writers, or people of colour, or LGBTQ, or Canadians, or whatnot. I admire people who create these plans and goals, and it is even better when they manage to execute them. I have lost count of how many times my own reading plans have been derailed by life, the universe, and well, everything.
Funny thing is, over the last few years I have read things I have really wanted to read, sometimes for decades, and these books would cover the territories other readers were questing to conquer.
For me, it luckily just happened.
More ethnicity? I finally got to Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Twenty years after I first started. I also read Wayson Choy’s first novel a million years ago, and have a few more of his I want to get too as well.
More woman writers? Judy Blume won as my favourite author of 2013 and Lois Lowry took that honour in 2014. This year Black Beauty by Anna Sewell has already been finished, and it was read because I always wanted to read it. I also have added Raina Telgemeier and Faith Erin Hicks, whose works I discovered and read recently, as people to get more books from. One Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper, has also been read by me, many many years back. And I still have her novel The Pact awaiting me on my shelf someday.
More LGBTQ? My track record here only includes Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse at this moment. Maybe some other writers I have enjoyed are LGBTQ, but I have no idea. A really good online resource for LGBTQ books is @Christasbooks who has a section on More Than Just Magic dedicated to this.
As for writers never read by me?
On my long long long maybe someday list, and all you bookies know what I mean by this, was American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. I had heard about this graphic novel for awhile, but what moved it up the list is the announcement that Yang will be writing my beloved Superman soon.
Lauren Beukes is a writer who has been in my view for years now, and several of her books live in my kindle now. Yes, the same kindle I have never used, much to Googliebear’s annoyance, but remember I have been concentrating on my bookshelves for awhile now. I had never heard of Beukes until Doctor Who scribe Paul Cornell mentioned her online. He was impressed by her, I was impressed by him, so it seemed natural to check out her work.
None of this is meant to trash the people who embark on these missions. Far from it. All the more power to them to expand their horizons. For me, the main mission has been, and still is, getting my to be read pile more manageable. For the first time in forever.
And if I am fortunate enough to expand the diversity of what I read along all the way, all the better.
…is currently reading Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller