Janus 2016/2017

​Apart from being a year of great tragedies - on a personal level and also on a more general cultural level - 2016 was my first year as a published writer. Yay! I think I'll do a blog post on what I learned in these last few months soon. But I want to close the year and begin the new one in a role I feel a lot more comfortable in: a reader. 

Brought on by my personal devastating Year in Books report on Goodreads (3 books, Goodreads? Huh. That only shows all YOU know)​, I took some time today to make a list of all the books I actually have read in 2016. In grand total: 95.

Three columns over three (!) pages in my bullet journal are: Fantasy, Re-reads, Non-fiction, also Other, and my favorite column Started but not finished...

Say whaaaaaat? I know. I was a bit shocked myself. ​Statistically that means I read nearly 2 books a week (1.8 actually)! Go me!

I read 55 fantasy titles. This sounds like a lot but I read a number of series and trilogies which quickly added up, like Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire (reviewed here) and Red Queen trilogies (6 books!), or Lindsey Buroker's Emperor's Edge series (totals 9 books), Sapkowksi's Witcher series (up to Der Schwalbenturm - yes I read it in German because the translation from Polish into German reads great, so there!), and also Craig Schaefer's Revanche cycle (which I mentioned wanting to pick up here). And I read a lot of non-fiction surprisingly (24 books). Mostly a lot of indie publishers giving advice on how to write faster -must have been my subconsciousness working ...

Highlights were:

  • In Fantasy
    1. Mark Lawrence. Both trilogies. I find that I prefer Jorg over Jalan, but The Wheel of Osheim delivered oh so hard.
    2. V.E. Schwab. This Savage Song. This was a surprise. I bought it as part of Amazon's 12 day Kindle deal, and I enjoyed it so much, I grabbed Schwab's Darker Shade of Magic, too. 
    3. Josiah Bancroft. Senlin Ascends. Ok, I really wanted to not like this book. I really thought it to be one of those stupid books about lost girls/wives that predominantly feature male agency - as if we really needed more of those books -  and boy, did Bancroft prove me wrong. There are many female figures in this book besides Senlin's missing wife, and she and they are all ... real women. And that's great. We need more of those books.
    4. Benedict Patrick. Where the Waters Turn Black. This is the second book in the same world Patrick's SPFBO entry They Mostly Come Out at Night features, and while I liked the first one, I read the second in a day because it was just so good. Again an excellent example of a female protagonist well written. 
  • In Non-Fiction
    1. Max Brooks. The Zombie Survival Guide. I've been meaning to read this for ages. I'm not at all into zombies and I nearly peed myself watching a playthrough of The Last of Us for all the psycho drama around the zombpocalypse (which of course LoU doesn't even feature. At all. Theinfected are 'Shroom people, not zombies. At all.) But this was a perfect balance between prepper mentality and fictional instruction manual.
    2. Chuck Wendig. 500 Ways to Tell a Better Story. Sings: When I find myself in trouble/ Mother Wendig comes to me/ whispering words of wisdom/... Fucking finish your shit.
    3. Kameron Hurley. Geek Feminist Revolution. For clear sighted focus.
    4. Timandra Harkness. Big Data. Does Size Matter? Ok, I picked this up because she's called Timandra too. But this Timandra's also very smart and her book is a great primer for people who have heard a lot about Netflix's Stranger Things Big Data and want to know what it's all about ...
  • In Other
    1. Lidia Yuknavitch. Dora. A Headcase. I got this because Lidia Yuknavitch is sometimes called the female Chuck Palahniuk. Whose minimalist and gutsy writing style I love. And he wrote the foreword for this. And it's so, so, so good. All the themes... The style ... Words still fail me.

The Started but not finished list was relatively short: 12 books. Some I dropped quickly because I just wasn't into them. But some I just haven't managed yet, unfortunately, like: ​Phil Tucker's The Black Shriving, Josiah Bancroft's Arm of the Sphinx, and Michael R Fletcher's Beyond Redemption which hurt my bilingual brain so much switching from English to German in every sentence that I got myself the German translation. ... It's not as funny. And the names are all different - which has taken some getting used to ... Oh well. Started, not finished. Yet.

However, what I took from listing all the titles was the realization that maybe I read a bit too much Fantasy. And non-fiction. And OMG I didn't do my yearly reading of the Silmarillion? So that segues nicely into me setting myself a reading challenge for next year that doesn't follow someone else's list, and doesn't include a specific number of books in total​. (I stole that idea from this excellent blog post on Litreactor ...)

Here's what my list looks like (and also my fingers, and my attempt at writing neatly):​

So ok, a few numbers ... but it is supposed to be challenging. And the good thing is, in theory, all 25 books could encompass the other categories too ...

​Nyahaha, so you want a detailed list right? 

  • I ordered Laura M Hughes Danse Macabre - counting it as Creepy Stuff​
  • I have an audiobook version of Shelley's Frankenstein ​read  by the fantastic German actress Katharina Thalbach - Creepy and Classic 🙂
  • I own the Complete Works of Rilke (in German obviously) - Poetry​
  • And Walt Whitman. Leaves of Grass. Technically this would be a re-read too, but it's been so long ago, ​I don't remember anything - Poetry
  • I've got a copy of Ginsberg's Howl that I've been meaning to read - counts as Poetry too, right?​

I also got some great book tips from readers on my email list that I look forward to reading, too. So, if you have any books you'd like to recommend, sign up and tell me directly 😉 

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