Happy Hogmanay! It’s the last day of 2015 and so, of course, I’m leaping on the bandwagon and doing a wrap-up of my reading over the past year, as well as looking ahead to what I want my reading to look like in 2016.
I set myself a goal of reading 100 books this year and, as of around half an hour ago when I finished my re-read of Strange and Ever After, I’ve read 103. Of those, 16 were re-reads, 14 were diverse reads, 10 were wider reads, 90 were published in the last 5 years, and 21 were books I read without a preceding recommendation (eg unknowns that caught my eye on the library shelf or that I picked up after stumbling on the author’s blog).
For 2016, I’m making it a goal to read 104 books, or 2 a week. Of those 104 books, I’d like an eighth, or 13 books, to be from my ‘wider reads’ shelf on Goodreads, the broad category of books that fall outside my general comfort zone: classics, literary fiction, poetry, romance, basically anything that doesn’t feature vampires or totalitarian futures. These are the books I add to my TBR because they look interesting, they’re the books I tend to enjoy once I get started and I’m glad to have read them, but when I’m sitting around deciding what to read next, they tend not to be the books I reach for. Similarly, all but the four Discworld classics I read this year have been published in the last decade (mostly since 2010), and I’ve predominantly read books on recommendation (an excellent way to find good books, but I’m finding it’s making me more hesitant to pick up unknown books). I don’t have any specific goals here, just a general sense that I’d like to make some time for the books that get overlooked in favour of the ones that everybody’s talking about.
I’d like a further 13 books to be books by authors of colour. The 14 books I’ve qualified as diverse this year were either written by or had as the protagonist a POC, LGBT+ individual or a person with disabilities. I’m focussing on authors of colour this year for two reasons. Firstly, I’m focussing on authors rather than characters (or both) because I don’t want to contribute to a trend where, regardless of the quality of the representation, white people who write POC receive more acclaim than POC authors. Secondly, I’m focussing on authors of colour (rather than including authors from other marginalised backgrounds) simply because diversity is such a massive topic that if I lump it all together I’ll either get a very superficial overview of diversity or, and I think this is more likely, I’ll gravitate towards a particular subset of diversity but by calling it broadly ‘diverse’ I’ll be under the false impression that my reading is truly diverse, rather than mostly straight and able-bodied but with racial diversity. In future years I expect I’ll shift my focus so that my reading can truly reflect the world we live in in all its vast, multifaceted glory.
Overall, I’m aiming for a quarter of my reading to fall outside the white-authored SFF mould. I love fantasy, and I love a lot of white authors, so I’m not ditching those books, but I hope that by the end of 2016 they’re joined by plenty of POC fantasy authors and books from all kinds of other genres.
Anyone else setting reading goals for 2016?