Year Three in the blogosphere and, while no one yet suspects I am a dog, this was the year the realities of juggling work, study, and family really started to bite. Woof.
Blah blah blah, me me me. I’ve got it pretty good, all considered, so we shouldn’t overplay the self-absorbed pity angle, but as I write this it’s ten past six on a Sunday morning (SUNDAY) and I know I can’t take too long because one or other of the boys is likely to wake up soon. That being so, let’s cut to the chase shall we? Numbers first, then awards, as is now traditional.
Seventy-one books read this year, so 11 down from last year, of which: 23 were by women; 5 were anthologies; 13 were comics; and 9 were non-fiction. Those gender numbers are skewed by the Culture reread (which is still ongoing, by the way, but with all I’ve said above you can see why the time hasn’t exactly been right for the 600+ pages of Surface Detail) and the comic series. This is starting to come across as a fairly regular excuse, I realise. Fully open to female-authored suggestions on this score, and I’m not counting webcomics such as Nimona and Strong Female Protagonist which I read, and recommend you do to.
Anyway, if we count different authors instead of books, things are a little more balanced (29 men / 23 women / 5 multiple/other), but the headline figure here is the White Patriarchy Count (TM Two Dudes): the balance between English speaking white men and, well, everyone else. In terms of books those numbers are 36/30, but I’m doing better with the authors, with a ratio of 22/30. Obviously that’s still a ridiculous figure given the actual proportion of white male anglophones in comparison to everyone else in the world, but it’s shifting in the right direction. I’d also point out that ‘better’ isn’t solely used in a parity/fairness sense either; it’s largely a personal term and this diverse reading project is primarily a selfish thing. I want to read better and more interesting books, and sticking to the same groups speaking with the same voices isn’t the best way of achieving that. On which note-
BOOK OF THE YEAR
You want the voices of marginalized groups? That’s exactly what you get here, and they are phenomenal. I’ve read some very, very good stuff this year, but nothing holds a candle to this. That said, honorable mentions also go to-
Seriously. So much good stuff. Buddha was nailed on to top spot pretty much from the moment I finished it, but on another day at another time (i.e. when I’m more awake and have had more coffee) I could easily stick quite a few different books in the runners-up places there and feel well content with things.
And speaking of contentment, I still derive a lot of pleasure from writing about these books (time constraints permitting, obviously), so to wrap things up here are some other book posts I feel especially smug about. It’s been a pleasure having you all along for the ride and hopefully we can do this all again next year.
(“Nate fricking Sixkiller”)
(“A chaotic, flawed, vivid mess of a novel”)
(“The wrong side of history”)
(“Pious bible-fucking wanker”)
(“Let it go”)
(“Not the future we were sold”)