Monday 24 November 2014

Bookmark Three

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.

It’s been especially awkward since the summer: you’ll have no doubt noticed something of a slow-down round these parts of late (and if not, WHY NOT DAMNIT); you’ll also have noticed that pretty much every book I’ve read in the last few months has been selected primarily for length (seriously, let’s not pretend that my reading habits as catalogued here aren’t the most fascinating thing in your life right now). There’s just no point picking up something which is supposed to be immersive when I know full well I’ll get little opportunity to immerse, so instead we fall back on things where that’s less of a factor: novellas, short stories, non-fiction.

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-


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.

(“Glacial science-minge”)
(“Nate fricking Sixkiller”)
(“A chaotic, flawed, vivid mess of a novel”)
(“The wrong side of history”)
(“Pious bible-fucking wanker”)
(“Let it go”)
(“Gracefully imaginative”)
(“Not the future we were sold”)


  1. Happy Year Three! Sorry you've had some slow downs this year. Totally understand that, having done so myself. And I too have had moments this year where story length dictated my reading choices because I knew starting anything large would mean just one more book not finished.

    1. Thanks. The good news is that all the major deadlines passed at the end of November and everything got done that needed to get done. The bad news is that this last week I've had absolutely no (well, relatively little) pressures on my time and I haven't got a clue what to do with it. Too many options, almost. It's a tough life...

  2. well, you just blew up my TBR list. :D

    i've spent the last few weeks with no pressure on my time, and with little clue of what to do with it. Bit of an enforced vacation until the next job starts in January. anyways, I am happy to tell you it is completely possible to waste upwards of 4 hours a day goofing off on the internet.

    1. I'm shocked, SHOCKED, to hear that the internet facilitates procrastination. Is nothing sacred? Won't someone thing of the children? etc etc.

      Anyway, always happy to help with the TBR. Heaven forfend the thing ever actually gets smaller.


  3. Wow, I like the way you've really looked into your reading! I was thinking when I made my top 10 that it's frankly a bit scarce on female authors. But, that's just the way it is this year.
    Happy New Year to you and happy reading for 2015.
    Lynn :D

    1. Happy 2015 to you too. Thanks for commenting, and sorry it's taken so shamefully long to reply. Hope your reading year has been good so far :)