I feel like the time for reviews of last year is past, but in lieu of that here are my December reads with a few observations about gaps and possible things to address in my 2019 choices..
I read 6 books in December, entirely using the Kindle app on my phone whilst breastfeeding. 3 of them were by Black authors and 3 caucasian, 4 female and 1 male (but 2 of his books). 5 were fiction and 1 non fiction, 4 for middle grade or young adult readers and 2 for adults. This haul brings my yearly total up to 56 (or 64 including re-reads).
As usual at this time of year I’ve seen a few derisive and even angry tweets aimed at people who mark the number of books read across 12 months as if this is to the detriment of slower readers / means the books were not ‘properly’ enjoyed, somehow. It’s been interesting for me to make a list each month because it’s made me keep an eye on the type of stuff I’ve been reading and reminded me to try and get outside my comfort zone a little. And to be honest I do also see reading 6 whole books in a month whilst looking after a tiny baby as a wee badge of honour, not sorry about it.
Whilst looking over what I read in 2018 I can also start to see where some of the gaps are and present this in a statistical sort of way. Of the 64 books there were 53 different authors or editors. If I broke it down more, The Good Journal, various books of fairytales, Angela Carter’s Book of Wayward Girls and Wicked Women and The Things I Would Tell You all had multiple contributors so I’ve actually read a lot more writers than that.
Sadly I really don’t really have a lot of time at the moment to delve into the data properly (it has taken me a fortnight to get this far) but by skimming I can see that somewhere around 77% of the authors and editors on my reading pile identified as female and the rest male. I know that at least 4 (7%) of the authors/editors identify as lesbian (some also queer), 1 as bisexual, and I think 2 as trans – but that’s not great LGBTQ representation. Where are the gay dudes?! In addition I think around 30% of the writers are Black, 9% Asian and the rest white so the list is weighted towards my straight white experience, although again there are a few multi-authored books where I’ve referred to editors not contributors for speed. I don’t think I’ve read anything in translation, and all the writers and their stories have been able bodied. So, whilst in 2018 I moved away from the dominant force in publishing (straight white dudes) and fulfilled last year’s goal of reading more non fiction, there are still a lot of areas I’ve not looked at.
I’m not sure how far I’ll be able to go towards addressing this in 2019, year of my firstborn turning 1. I gather there’s a world more physical and mental exhaustion coming my way, and most of the mums of slightly older children I know haven’t managed to finish a book in yonks. I was given several books of essays for Christmas which will be good to dip in and out of but I’ve not looked to see what the author makeup is like (other than – shockingly! – feminist)
I wrote one blog post and very little else in December. I blame Christmas – there was a lot of shiny stuff around to distract me.
I ate twice my own body weight in lebkuchen in December. I missed several social engagements due to a combination of car trouble and the baby refusing to entertain the notion of a bottle.
I went to my parents for Christmas I got a cracking book haul for Christmas, lots of things I can dip in and out of when the small one is napping.
Books I listened to on Audible
I didn’t finish any! But I started both Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes…
Books I read with my eyes
My Name Is Leon – Kit De Waal
Dear Scarlett – Fleur Hitchcock
Dear Ijeawele (or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions) – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Frank L Baum
The Marvelous Land of Oz – Frank L Baum
What are your reading resolutions for 2019? If you’ve got any recommendations I’m always interested to hear them!