If you’ve been with me in all three seconds of this blog’s existence, you will remember the very first Reading Update and the shameful admission that followed. ‘Tis true, I suck at planning and adhering to plans once I make them. BUT! Things happen — ARCs, and Cons, and I-Saw-Something-Else-In-A-Bookstore-And-Had-To-Read-That-Instead. Anyway, I am happy to report that despite my many failures as a human being, I have now covered half of the books I set out to read back in that first post, despite the process being interrupted by reading a ton of other stuff. This blog has already fulfilled one of its purposes, which is to keep me accountable. Even if I end up being the only one reading the account.
It may have already become evident from the Reading Updates so far, that I tend to change plans mid-stride. My reading habits are not entirely chaotic, and if anything, the act of putting them down on this blog has helped tremendously in keeping me on track. But sometimes one encounters extenuating circumstances. Getting ARCs of books I’ve been anticipating, is one such. Another, are conventions. Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (or C2E2) is happening soon, and there are several panels with science fiction and fantasy writers. Some of them I have never heard of. A few have been on my to-read list for a while.
And a couple have changed my life and inspired me to pursue writing as a career.
But either way, this means catching up on some books I had not planned to read yet. Not that I am complaining, it’s always great to become acquainted with a new author. Now I only have to find the balance between excitement at specific titles, guilt from not not following my plans, and the urgency of reading books before the convention comes, so I am not a total idiot if I interact with people I admire.
In the end, I get to read a ton. So I still win ^_^
I visited my boyfriend in Berkeley, CA this past week. As it turns out, this town is an orgy of bookstores that cater to every possible variety of reader, and I was not ready for this! The end result was a pile of books that I had to lug back to Chicago, because, as the title of this post hints at, I have zero impulse control. In my defense, those are all books I have wanted to read/own for a while. But the simple fact is, I acted like a puppy that was suddenly let off the leash in the dog park, and I feel not even the tiniest bit of shame…
No, but seriously. I have raved about Tamsyn Muir’s debut science fiction/baroque necromantic lesbian punk Gideon the Ninth ever since the book came out and I gorged myself on it last September. It was one of the most unique and original works I had read in a year of quality books, and I was having micro nervous breakdowns about having to wait until June for the second part of the trilogy.
Except, now I don’t have to! Because ARCs! So I am just gonna put my other reading plans on a quick hold, and squeal myself into reading this now, thank you very much.
Not much to report since last time (except, stay tuned for a review of Seanan McGuire’s Come Tumbling Down soon) , so instead, I wanted to talk about my New Year’s resolutions in terms of reading. And yes, I recognize that the very notion of “New Year’s resolutions” smells of giving up at the gym around January 20th, but I promise this is slightly less sad!
First of all, last year I decided to set myself the goal of 52 books. It was a nice number, a book a week, except I didn’t set it until about September. The unexpected result of that was my falling in love with the novella, but I digress. My first resolution is to repeat this number, and if possible — to surpass it. Goodreads says I am 5 books ahead of my goal, but with a wedding coming up in the summer, and a potential move to another state, things might grow dicey in the second half of the year.
Goal #1: Read at least 52 books (no cheating with comic TPBs!).
Next goal: short stories. I have always struggled with those. It’s embarrassing for an aspiring writer of speculative fiction, considering not only the origins of these genres, but also what used to be the traditional path to publishing in the era of print magazines. With that said, I just can’t make myself read short form. Some silly mental block prevents me from starting a story, and when I do finish one, I’m thoroughly unmotivated to begin another. Which sucks, because there are a ton of authors I want to read, many of whom thrive in this medium. So:
Goal #2: Read at least 3 short story collections, be they by one author, or anthologies.
Last, and certainly not least, it is 2020 (yeah, hi. I have mastered the calendar!). I am a foreigner on a path to citizenship. The world is on fire. American political structures are on fire. The US constitution is on fire. Even if I wanted to stay away, I know too much about current politics to do so. Which brings me to my third goal. Political non-fiction to me has always been like Yoga, in that I have never done Yoga, but I like to think of myself as someone who would do Yoga. Well, that might not be in the cards for this year, but I want to finally read some of the books by the people who I listen to on podcasts.
Goal #3: Read at least 3 non-fiction books on current politics.
It is all doable, I am already on it, and I am using this platform to keep myself accountable. Hopefully, you stick around for it all!
This year, I’ve decided, is to be space opera-themed. Which is mostly code for “finally started The Expanse, several years after everyone else”, but I have other titles in mind as well. After finishing Leviathan Wakes in one (very long transatlantic flight) sitting, I started Caliban’s War, which is about as much word count as I can take from any one author (ok, in this case two) before needing a change of pace.
Meanwhile, this is the eclectic pile I am currently thinking of as “to read soon”. My obsession with Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series is boundless, and I have been waiting for Come Tumbling Down for months. Before and After the Book Deal is on the list because of a recommendation from Jane Friedman, whose book The Business of Being a Writer was transformative to my understanding of the field. Fangirl caught my attention with the meta aspects of spawning an in-world fantasy series, as well as, yunno, everyone raving about Rainbow Rowell.
Adam SIlvera’s Infinity Son is on the pile, courtesy of my need for more gay male SFF. Not to diss other queer fiction (I think about half of the books I read in 2019 were written by and featuring various types of queer women), but for some reason it seems gay male stories written by gay male authors are pretty sparse in the speculative genres. And Killing Gravity just sounds. So. Effin. Awesome! I don’t know what a “voidwitch” is yet, but I desperately want to be one!