As I walked to the train this afternoon for my evening commute home, I started to think about my reading over the last year.
(And yes, I’m sorry, this is another year-in-review post to join the swell spilling over the edge of the bathtub and filling the internet as we approach the end of December.)
So, as I was saying, as I stood in the cold twilight I realized a few things:
I achieved and surpassed my reading goal this year.
In January, I decided to track my reading. I joined the 50 Book Pledge to give myself a goal and provide a visual tool. I had no idea if reading 50 books in a year was feasible for me. I haven’t tracked my reading for a few years and decided to try again because I want to be able to look back and remind myself which books I’ve read.
I’ve completed 61 books so far in 2015. I’m proud of myself. That’s a solid number.
I haven’t written quite as much as I hoped, but I enjoyed a lot of great stories and met some interesting people. I took book recommendations. I gave recommendations. I bought books, and I used my library a ton too.
I read across genre lines.
If you take a look at my 50 Book Pledge read shelf, you’ll see a variety of books and genres. From children’s books to mysteries to YA to romance to comic books to literary fiction and more. I know a lot of readers who like one thing, mystery or thriller or fantasy, contemporary or historical. I’m not one of those people. I never thought I was. This year’s reading history demonstrates that clearly. I like that.
But I’ve also got reading trends.
Look closely at my bookshelf and you’ll see some similarities between books.
The first is very obvious, I love fiction. Even most of the non-fiction on my shelf is about writing fiction.
The next obvious trend, I read a lot of YA this year. I might not be a teenager, but I enjoy the honesty found in young adult fiction. It’s full of angst and drama and, so often, truth about experience and memory and self-esteem and friendship.
I also read a lot of historical fiction and fantasy. I’ve always loved historical fiction. I love discovering history and how people may have lived or what they experienced. I also enjoy fantasy. The idea of other worlds and magic is exciting and just plain fun.
And, most importantly, looking at this year’s reading, I’ve realized the type of story I like best. I love novels about women overcoming fear and discovering their own power, confidence, or passion.
Dumplin’, All the Light We Cannot See, The Kiss of Deception, Grave Mercy, Mortal Heart, Dark Triumph, Ms. Marvel, The Invention of Wings, Cinder, Scarlett, Cress, Fangirl, The Perfume Collector, Chase the Dark, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Prodigal Summer, The Help.
All of these books focus on female characters who go through real struggles that women around the world experience. Body image issues, fear, inability, discrimination or bullying, friendship breakups, crushes and heartbreaks. These women develop and grow and learn to be who they are and to accept themselves. They learn what they can do. They learn how to be a friend. They learn what to tolerate and how to stand up for themselves. They learn what is important.
I think one of the reasons I like these stories so much is because as a woman I have often felt the things these characters feel. I was incredibly shy growing up. I was insecure, and still am insecure about some things. I connect with these characters. I also dream with them.
Lastly, I’ve got likes and dislikes and I’m okay with that.
There were a number of books that I started and when I realized I wasn’t enjoying them, I put them down and returned them to the library. And you know what? I’m perfectly content with that fact.
I’m going to track my reading again next year.
I don’t know what will happen in the next 12 months. I’m going to stick with a goal of 50 books again, I think. I’m intrigued to see what trends appear in next year’s reading list. Will they be these same ones? Or will they morph as my life changes? It’s exciting to look forward to the stories, authors, and experiences that are in store.
I’ve decided to try using Goodreads more. It has so many neat features that I haven’t explored. If you’re on Goodreads, let’s connect!