Well I AM SORRY, but look! Here I am to sum up all the reading I've done this year, cool thing to do, huh? I turned my computer on all ready to do Jamie's end of year survey (which is an excellent thing to do if you need, like, inspiration for talking about books) but then realised that so many of the questions don't really relate to how I read anymore so Imma just do my own thing, that cool?
But first, life.
2016 has been a shitty one for the world, almost universally, and whilst it's hard to not get bogged down in all the shit that's happening on a wider scale (and indeed, getting bogged down in all that shit is important and the only way to even begin to take steps to try and make things better), I can at least recognise that on a personal level, 2016 sucks less than 2015 cause I haven't lost any of my most beloved people. I probably shouldn't have just said that considering that I'm writing this on Boxing Day and there are still 6 days of this terrible fucking year left, but fingerscrossedtouchwoodalltheluckythings that is going to remain a fact.
But things! They happened this year! Let's see... I got a new job! Which has been, and remains, an adjustment in thinking and managing tiredness and actually working full time like a real human for the first time in my life. It has been a long time coming, and I'm actually more or less usually enjoying myself, so I'm pretty glad for this change (and like, I have a pension, and sick pay, and much more holiday and basically everything is the best). I also had some fairly crippling pain for a vast majority of the year, which I got magically fixed by modern medicine in October, and even if I now only have a partial left ovary, I do have a fair superior life, so that is pretty nifty.
If anything, I think this year has mostly been about friends. It freaks me out that practically every weekend I have had things to do and people to see, but only in the very best way. This has been exacerbated by having left my old job but actually having made real, true, and lasting friends there, and just by generally saying yes to many and most things where old Laura might have said 'nah, I want to stay home and not do anything'. This is not to say that there isn't joy in staying home and (obviously) reading, but I have been finding so much joy in people this year that I just feel really pleased to have collected such an excellent group of folk into my life.
So really, 2016 hasn't been so bad in that sense. It's also been half a year of Pokemon Go, a couple of months of trying to eat well and move more (literally for my health) and of trying to be less dumb about boys, the last of which I think I'm finally starting to succeed at. It has, I think pretty obviously, not been a stellar year for blogging, and I'm just about fine with basically being an occasional blogger at this point. I'm not going to make any promises or plans about any kind of blogging schedule, but I will just say that 1) I really enjoy writing monthly wrap ups of things I've read so I'm pretty sure that will continue, and 2) Basically my only New Year's Resolution is to write more. I don't know whether to call that writing something every day, or just more than basically nothing, but more in a manageable, life-fitting-in way. Since this right here is a blog which, y'know, is made up of words, there's a good chance I could write more things here, but mostly my plan involves having a notebook with me at all times and generally trying to chase some of the vaguely interesting ideas that go through my head sometimes.
But enough about me. Books, innit! I have read some this year and they have been great (the end.) But hey, let's start with this thing: remember how way back at the start of the year I decided to do Read My Own Damn Books? (no, of course you don't) Well fortunately, I DID remember, and I have been reasonably successful. Let's talk about this:
Because I knew I was consciously concentrating on reading the books I already owned, I actually did really really well with this. Let's look at this stat: I read 75 books this year (wut wut!), and a whopping 50 of them (yeah that's right, FIFTY, bitches) were books I already owned. Of these, only 8 were re-reads, meaning I read 42 books I had previously owned but hadn't read before. Pretty proud, you guys.
Along with this, I got rid of a fair few books that I just wasn't interested in anymore, and in terms of removing books from my house, I've done a pretty good job. However. I've also done a pretty good job of acquiring more, so the number of books I still haven't read is still not pretty. I'm slightly annoyed with myself for not writing the literal exact number of unread books I owned at the start of this year, but I said 360-ish so let's go with that. At this moment, I have 332 (which, actually, doesn't include Christmas presents... edit: 338 with Christmas books)- not an insignificant reduction, but not nearly enough of one to have made a real difference to the state of my bedroom, and also slightly disappointing in terms of haivng made a real effort to read my own damn books this year.
I think, then, this is it. This is the thing. The thing that I am very much not going to do this year is buy new books, EXCEPT at bookshop crawls, and y'know, I'm probably going to get some for my birthday, let's be real. I have actually managed to pretty much break my bad charity shop habit which is excellent, so I think this is a pretty achievable goal, and I'm pretty much trying to think of the money I'll save just by 'buying' off my own shelves. The especially excellent thing about this is that all the books I've just gotten for Christmas and some of the books I've put off reading this year because I acquired them, y'know, this year, are now fair game, and I am all about that.
I'm realising that this post is obnoxiously long already (this is what happens when you don't talk to your friends for ages, GOD Laura) so let's do some stats and stuff and try to wrap it up (y'know, maybe)
2016 Book Stats
Books Read: 75
Pages Read: 20,900
First Reads vs Re-Reads: 67/8
Fiction vs Non-Fiction: 59/16
Women vs Men: 34/41 (dammit, Stephen King)
White vs Non-White: 60/15 (ugh, embarrassing af)
Translated vs Not: 9/66
Digital vs Physical: 3/72 (lol why do I even buy kindle books?)
I am, if I'm honest, not too terribly upset with those stats. Sure I want to read more women and men, and definitely less white people, but in terms of having read the books I already own, those are probably fairly representative of the books that were on my shelves. I also read 17 comic books out of all those books (thanks, Scott Pilgrim!) which has been a bit of a change for me (over the past few years so not really...) but omgggg I love them.
I don't really want to go through favourite characters and favourite books of the year, because I think that's basically what I talk about in my monthly posts now. Just going through the spreadsheet of books I've read this year, it's interesting to see books I've pretty much forgotten and books which have become a part of me now, plus all the stuff in between. For instance, I read Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant way back in January, and now I think incredibly fondly of Anne Tyler, whereas I barely even remember reading Armada. The one Emma Donoghue book I read this year (Landing) still feels so vivid I can't believe I read it in May, whereas The Heart Goes Last (finished last month) was basically instantly forgettable (sorry, Margaret). Time is a funny old thing, I guess.
I do have a favourite book for this year, now I come to think of it, and that is Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman. These teeny essays literally touched all my buttons in terms of abstract thinking and lessons about humanity and really of truth within fiction, and this was an all round pretty excellent book that I'm still trying my mostest to get everyone to read. This has also been the year I started Game of Thrones, the year I recommitted to Stephen King (damn man stats...) and the year my commute gave me so much more time to read, for which I am oh so very grateful.
So yeah. In those ways, it's been a pretty good year, all things considered. I hope 2017 is even better for you and yours.