There’s a beautiful blanket of snow outside, so it’s a good time to review how the year went.
I read thirteen books this year, though “read” is a loosely based concept now. A large part of my reading nowadays is graphic novels, audiobooks, and web novellas.
But I do consider all of this reading. It’s the transmission of ideas based on the written word, even if it’s accompanied by pictures (or largely based on them) or read by someone into my ear. So, I’ve read thirteen books this year.
Of these, only two were print – Earthlings, and Incredible Doom vol 1.
Nine were digital – The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, “Teen Titans: Raven”, Cyclopedia Exotica, Turtles All the Way Down, Wallace the Brave, Bloom, Big Mushy Happy Lump, The Tea Dragon Society, and The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse. Of these, The Tea Dragon Society was in webcomic form while the rest were eBooks from the Seattle Public Library.
I also got in two audiobooks – My Year of Rest and Relaxation and Figuring
Not bad considering this is also the year my Little One was born and who is right now scurrying across the floor of our apartment, looking for things to attack!
I read most of the graphic novels in the middle of the year and in Fall, when my reading seemed to have slowed down to a snails pace. Getting a few small or quick reads under my belt made me feel better and allowed me to begin reading some larger works, which I’m still working through.
Right now I’m reading the web novel Worm and listening to Rousseau and Revolution, and these are both long enough that I’ll not be done any time soon. I’m halfway through Rousseau… and Worm… well, by the author’s own admission, Worm is “roughly 1,680,000 words; roughly 26 typical novels in length (or 10-11 very thick novels)”, so I’m a ways away from closing that book. Perhaps these will be added to my finished list next year.
This year, I depended a lot on Seattle Public Library. I loved discovering audiobooks, graphic novels, and eBooks from them. Whatever I really wanted to read and wasn’t available immediately there, I found on audible or Thriftbooks.
I own a physical copy of Figuring. But the book is massive and the writing dense. It really gave itself to being an audiobook in a perfect way. The ideas that came from it though… I wish I could bookmark every page of the book! Figuring deals heavily with the Transcendentalists and women authors, philosophers, and scientists, and introduced me to the concept of Salons. The book wanes with the works of Rachel Carson, chiefly Silent Spring, and ends with the tragic death of Margaret Fuller in a shipwreck off the coast of New York.
From there, I tried to read Silent Spring, but lost interest very quickly. The writing is interesting, but I was already being pulled in other directions. I’ve learnt a new term this year – DNF – Did Not Finish. People seem to use it like “I DNF’d this book”.
So, here’s a list of books I DNF’d this year –
- Silent Spring
- Braiding Sweetgrass
- All the Sad Young Literary Men
- Under the Sea Wind
- Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar
- Philosophy – a Visual Encyclopedia
- The World of Edena
- Representative Men
- Thus Spoke Zarathustra
- Thank You for Arguing
- Enola Holmes Graphic Novel, Book 1
- Accidentally Wes Anderson
- The Map of Knowledge
- Abstract City
- Irish Fairy Tales
- All the Names They Used for God
Let me know if you, dear reader, would like links to any of the above. Since I didn’t finish them, I didn’t bother linking to them.
All of these were from Seattle Public Library, and more specifically, from the Overdrive/Libby catalog. There are yet others in my Kindle app and iBooks app which are waiting to be read, but I didn’t include them here as they’re just, sort of, suspended in animation, waiting to see if I pick them up again. Perhaps I will. There’s one of definite interest to me – Gödel, Escher, Bach : an eternal golden braid – but it’s very likely that I won’t read it, because it’s in a format that’s not easy to consume on my iPhone and there doesn’t seem to be an audiobook for it. So perhaps I’ll add it to next year’s DNF list. Let’s see.
So that was it – my year in reading. It was a good year. I peaked (in tracked reading) in 2017, (though I’m sure I read a lot more in my childhood, but who doesn’t?) and this year has come in second in number of books. Though, moving to graphic novels means that my overall page count is lower. But does it matter? I don’t think it does. It’s the quality of ideas that matters. I’ve got a lot more out of small books like A Room of One’s Own, Siddhartha, and The Last Question than any normal length novel. What I’ve got out of massive tomes like War and Peace and Figuring is a different thing, since it’s more of learning an entire way of life than one or two ideas. Graphic novels like Wallace The Brave, Bloom and Big Mushy Happy Lump are fun reads, and it’s important to just relax and enjoy a story too. Incredible Doom and Cyclopedia Exotica challenge your assumptions but in an easy way and I can’t thank the authors enough for the effort they’ve put into these worlds.
Data Courtesy TheStoryGraph