My Year in Reading

I did two reading challenges during 2019, the Book Riot Read Harder challenge (I also did this last year) and my local library system’s 10 to Try. While I didn’t complete the Read Harder challenge, I came closer than last year and only missed 5 of the tasks. (Quick glossary: YA= young adult, MG= middle grade, AOC= author of color)

Read Harder 2019:

A epistolary or collection of letters: 84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff

An alternate history novel: Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland

A book by a woman and/or AOC that won a literary award in 2018: The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo

A humor book: Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

A book by a journalist or about journalism: Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann

A book by an AOC set in or about space: Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor

An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America: Did not complete

An #ownvoices book set in Oceania: Did not complete

A book published prior to Jan. 1, 2019 with fewer than 100 reviews on goodreads: Why Indigenous Literatures Matter, by Daniel Heath Justice

A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman: Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare, Vol. 1, by Yuhki Kamatani, trans. by Jocelyne Allen

A book of manga: Yakitate!! Japan, Vol. 1, by Takashi Hashiguchi

A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a POV character: The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse: Did not complete

A cozy mystery: By Book or By Crook, by Eva Gates

A book of mythology or folklore: Empress of All Seasons, by Emiko Jean

An historical romance by an AOC: Did not complete

A business book: Bad Blood: Secrets & Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou

A novel by a trans or nonbinary author: This is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp

A book of nonviolent true crime: Billion Dollar Whale: The Mano Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World, by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope

A book written in prison: Did not complete

A comic by an LGBTQ+ creator: Bingo Love, by Tee Franklin

A children’s or MG (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009: The Parker Inheritance, by Varian Johnson

A self-published book: Swordheart, by T. Kingfisher

A collection of poetry published since 2014: blud, by Rachel McKibbens

KCLS 10toTry Badge

(Image description: Small green button of a person wearing glasses reading a book that says 10 to Try Reading Challenge Finisher 2019) Because yes, I did pick up my finisher badge at the library 🙂

KCLS 10 to Try 2019:

A book about history: The Making of Asian America: A History, by Erika Lee

A children’s book: The Parker Inheritance, by Varian Johnson

A book about a subject that can be difficult to discuss: Practical Equality: Forging Justice in a Divided Nation, by Robert L. Tsai

A book of poetry: The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo

A book by a journalist: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann

A book recommended by KCLS staff: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

A book by an LGBTQ            + author: This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp

A book about a crime: Bad Blood: Secrets & Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou

A book about family: Merci Suarez Changes Gears, by Meg Medina

A book by an immigrant author: Internment, by Samira Ahmed

I didn’t double dip for Read Harder as my goals were to read a separate book for each task, and for each to be a new read not a re-read. If I had, then maybe I would’ve gotten to tasks that I didn’t complete. Then again, I also read 120+ books this year, and many of those would’ve counted as repeats in some of the tasks. So, in 2020 I’m going to try and be more focused on completing the challenge list. I really like the list for next year and have nearly all the tasks planned out. KCLS is also doing 10 to Try again next year!

One thing I really like about doing these reading challenges is that it’s made me diversify my reading list. I started tracking my books read in 2017 where I read 55 books and almost entirely speculative fiction. In 2018 I started doing reading challenges. I finished the year with 108 books read, and while still a lot of speculative fiction (I love my fantasy), I also added a lot more nonfiction, other genres, and comics. That trend appears to have continued in 2019. I read a lot more nonfiction, comics/graphic novels, and middle grade than previous years. Also, a lot of contemporary YA this year. And, since utilizing my library more in the last two years I’ve started reading a ton of current releases. Out of over 120 books read this year, only 34 were published before 2018.

A couple personal reading goals for next year are to complete the Read Harder 2020 challenge without using a book written by a white male author, and to read more short fiction. I have a couple of years of back issues for several speculative fiction magazines waiting on my e-reader.

And, to read more of my collections/anthologies. I’ve acquired quite a few through various kickstarters and fundraisers and plain old buying from the bookstore. It’s kind of embarrassing how few of them I’ve actually read!

Non-reading goals are to continue with the Bob Noble Photography Challenge, which is a bi-weekly challenge I’ve been participating in for the last couple of years. It’s a small but friendly group, and I’m so happy that a new pair of photographers have stepped up to keep it running in 2020.

Tied into that, I know that I say every year that I’m going to be more active/consistent in blog posting (Ha!). But maybe I actually will be? I like the idea of posting more photography here, but I’m also super lazy when it comes to processing photos and posting them ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Happy New Year!

The Post of Everything Reading

First off, in case you missed it, my short story “Earn Your Breath,” is a staff pick of 2018 at Cast of Wonders and has been re-released with a new intro/outro by community manager, Dani Daly. You can listen to/read it here. My happily child-free heart is very fond of this story and I’m grateful to Dani and Cast of Wonders for bringing it to the forefront again.

Also—the Hugo Awards nomination period is now open, and this story is eligible in the short story category. I am also eligible for the Campbell.

Next up, my 2018 reading challenge results. I didn’t quite make it on either the Book Riot Read Harder challenge or the Badass Reading Challenge, though I did get close. For 2019, I’m paring it down somewhat and going with the Book Riot Read Harder challenge because I’m really drawn to this year’s list. I was going to keep it to one challenge, but then the King County Library System announced their 10 to Try challenge, and it almost entirely coincides with the Book Riot one so I figured, why not?

Here’s the list of what I read for each of the challenges in 2018:

Badass Reading Challenge:

  1. A book about a problem facing society today: Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
  2. Author with the same first or last name as you: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, by Jane Mayer
  3. A book with your favorite color in the title: Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery
  4. A book written by a local author: The Cold Eye, by Laura Anne Gilman
  5. A book about nature: Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, by Paul Greenberg
  6. A book written by a person of a different ethnicity than yourself: Unexpected Stories, by Octavia E. Butler
  7. A celebrity memoir: The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher
  8. A book about or has a character with a mental illness: Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
  9. A book about time travel: Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson
  10. A book about a villain or antihero: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, by Julie C. Dao
  11. A book tied to your ethnicity: Invisible Asians: Korean American Adoptees, Asian American Experiences, & Racial Exceptionalism (Asian American Studies Today), by Kim Park Nelson
  12. A book recommended by someone else in this challenge: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, by Jessica Townsend
  13. A book from a viewpoint of a nonhuman: The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard
  14. A book with a song lyric in the title: The Way You Make Me Feel, by Maurene Goo
  15. A book written by a male author the same age as you: Red Rising, by Pierce Brown
  16. A book of poetry written in the last ten years: Citizen, by Claudia Rankine
  17. A book set on another planet: The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi
  18. A book that become a movie: The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
  19. A book published in 2018: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays, by Alexander Chee

 

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge:

A book published posthumously: Unexpected Stories, by Octavia E. Butler

A book of true crime: The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession, by Susan Orlean

A comic written and illustrated by the same person: Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson

A book about nature: Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, by Paul Greenberg

A western: The Cold Eye, by Laura Anne Gilman

A comic written or illustrated by a person of color: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Vol. 2, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A romance novel by or about a person of color: A Bollywood Affair, by Sonali Dev

A children’s classic published before 1990: Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery

A celebrity memoir: The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher

An Oprah Book Club selection: Becoming, by Michelle Obama

A book of social science: Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande

A one-sitting book: Deer Woman: An Anthology, ed. by Elizabeth LaPensee and Weshoyot Alvitre

The first book in a new-to-you YA or MG series: So You Want to Be a Wizard, by Diane Duane

A scifi novel with a female protagonist by a female author: Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty

A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image: March: Book One, by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

A book of genre fiction in translation: Memoirs of a Polar Bear, by Yoko Tawada, trans. by Susan Bernofsky

A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ author: Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley

An essay anthology: All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism, ed. by Lydia X. Z. Brown, E. Ashkenazy, and Morenike Giwa Onaiwu

A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60: A Finely Knit Murder, by Sally Goldenbaum

I like the reading challenges because they push me to read outside my comfort zone, and am looking forward to nailing it for 2019. I read 108 books in 2018, and honestly, I’d like to scale that back a bit. My tentative goal is 75 for this year. I read hardly any short fiction in 2018 and have a huge backlog of e-mags to catch up on. Not sure if I’m going to count those in my reading log or not. Feels like I should since most of them are longer than the graphic novels and some novellas I counted last year.

Read harder, friends.

May Reading Challenge or, #AsianLitBingo

For May I’m planning to participate in Lit CelebrAsian’s Asian Lit Bingo reading challenge. The full post can be found here, but a quick recap is that in the US the month of May is Asian American Heritage Month and in honor of that Lit CelebrAsian has put together a reading challenge bingo card.

ETA: May is Asian Pacific Amercian Heritage Month, but I realize some readers here won’t click over to Lit CelebrAsian’s page to see their reason for keeping this Asian American specific. From the website: “*May is technically designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. However, a number of Pasifika activists and friends have stated that lumping together Asian Americans with Pacific Islanders results in the erasure and co-opting of PIs and that they want to have their own spaces to discuss their issues. We are respecting that and keeping the two separate for this challenge.”

Asian Lit Bingo 2018 - vers.2

They’ve also compiled an amazing (though by no means complete) list of book recommendations for every category on the bingo card, which can be found here.

I’m planning on tackling the leftmost vertical row (if you’re interested in going for prizes, the contest doesn’t require that you get 5 in a row to be eligible). My planned reads are:

East Asian MC: Rebel Seoul, by Axie Oh or Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, by Julie C. Dao or The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco or How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays, by Alexander Chee or Invisible Asians: Korean American Adoptees, Asian American Experiences, and Racial Exceptionalism, by Kim Park Nelson, or…I have so many that fit here. I’m leaning toward Rebel Seoul and Invisible Asians for May.

Rebel SeoulForest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1)How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: EssaysInvisible Asians: Korean American Adoptees, Asian American Experiences, and Racial Exceptionalism (Asian American Studies Today)

LGBTQ+ Asian MC: A Line in the Dark, by Malinda Lo or No More Heroes, by Michelle Kan

A Line in the DarkNo More Heroes (No More Heroes, #1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

SFF with Asian MC: The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard or Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee or Jade City, by Fonda Lee or…I have so many that fit here too, including ones from the first category. I’m reading Tea Master as part of a buddy read already for May, and Raven Stratagem fits with my plan to get through as much of the Hugo noms as I can, so those two are where I’m leaning.

The Tea Master and the Detective (Xuya Universe)Raven Stratagem (The Machineries of Empire, #2)Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1)

Graphic Novel with Asian MC: Totally Awesome Hulk series by Greg Pak. I have the first three volumes, though I’ll probably only read the first one for this particular challenge. I wish Monstress Vol. 3 was out but it’s not due until August.

The Totally Awesome Hulk Vol. 1: Cho Time

Southeast Asian MC: Not Your Sidekick, by C.B. Lee. This series has been on my radar for a while so I’m using #AsianLitBingo as the kick in the pants to get it to the top of the TBR pile. Already placed my hold through the library so there’s no going back, haha.

Not Your Sidekick

I have so many more books on my gigantic TBR pile that would fit here and in the other categories on the bingo card, but the ones listed are ones that I really am hoping to get to this year.