Reading year in review 2016

My 2016 reading challenge had three items:

  1. Read 50 books
  2. Read at least one of the Canada Reads contenders
  3. Read at least one of the books on the Scotiabank Giller prize shortlist

I may not have completed goals number 2 or 3, but I logged about 200* items, which his pretty impressive for me. Here’s the rough break down:

2016 reading breakdown

  • 100-ish comics or graphic novels
  • about a dozen kids’ books (picture books)
  • about a dozen books that I did not finish (dnf)
  • about 80 that were a mix of novels, poetry, art books, and so forth
Edit: these stats don’t match what’s listed in my Goodreads account anymore. I decided to remove the serial comics and picture books from my account. This left me with a total of 133 read in 2016. About 40 where graphic novels (one-ofs or short serials).

I’m quite happy with this breakdown. I was sure that at least two-thirds to three-quarters of what I’d read were just comics. Not that there’s anything wrong with comics. It’s just that I’m a slow reader, so I’m always more impressed with myself when I read novels versus comics.

Along with my three criteria, I had also made a few promises to myself:

  1. Try to read all of the Canada Reads contenders
  2. Read some of my to-be-read pile (books I already owned, not books I want to read – so, books on my shelf and on my Kobo)
  3. Allow myself to review and, if needed, weed my to-be-read pile at least once
  4. Continue to allow myself to quit books I’m not enjoying, but also to continue to be honest about what I quit and why

I’m really glad I made these promises. Numbers 2 and 3 were particularly important for me this year. I’d been dragging around a bunch of old books that I thought I treasured and a number of old mass market paperbacks that were falling apart. I kept many of them because they were some of the first “adult” books I read and really enjoyed. They were the books that helped me to realize that I was a reader (as previously discussed, I had a difficult relationship with books when I in my early teens). So, I’ve been hoarding these books all these years. But, then I decided to move to a smaller space.

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but I finally made it happen this year. And, it required a really long, hard review of all my things because I didn’t want my new space to be cluttered. The books? They’re gone. I only kept books I used (ex: reference books), wanted to read, truly cherished, or that would be hard to replace (ex: from indie publishers, poets, etc.).

I’ll be honest – it was hard tossing out my old Bradbury’s and Atwood’s. But, after the initial struggle of getting them out my door, I was really happy with my decision. I now have a lot more room for new treasures and other things. Also, I’ve still got a lot of books, many of which are special to me in other ways.

I’m also happy to report that I’ve continued to be honest about quitting books. I logged them on Goodreads. I wasn’t sure if noting why I’d quit them would be useful to me, but now that I’m reviewing my list, I’m glad I took the time to write something. It was a mix of awful books and books that I simply couldn’t get into at the time. I even may return to some of them in the future because I’m still interested in reading them.

So, I didn’t complete all my goals. That’s OK, because I read a tonne and I found some great books in the process. I’ve also been adding to my poetry collection with some really great work. And, there’s only one book I regret not keeping, And, the birds rained down. I think I want to read it again.

I hope you had a great reading year, as well, whether you read a dozen or a few hundred.


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