Last year I read 63 books. Here are the 25 I read for “leisure” (as opposed to “somebody paid me to edit, copy edit, or proofread”), in order of when I finished them:
Brenchley, Chaz: Bitter Waters
Tarr, Judith: Devil’s Bargain
Sedia, Ekaterina: The House of Discarded Dreams*
O’Malley, Daniel: The Rook
Barnhardt, Wilton: Gospel
Connolly, Tina: Copperhead
Priest, Cherie: Maplecroft
Powers, Tim: Hide Me Among the Graves
Stephenson, Neal et al: The Mongoliad Book One
Leckie, Ann: Ancillary Sword
Martin, George R. R.: A Feast for Crows
Smale, Alan: Clash of Eagles
Stephenson, Neal: Seveneves
Liu, Cixin (Ken Liu tr.): The Three-Body Problem
VanderMeer, Jeff: Acceptance
Bennett, Robert Jackson: City of Stairs
Cherryh, C. J.: Fortress in the Eye of Time
St. John Mandel, Emily: Station Eleven
Cherryh, C. J.: Fortress of Eagles
Bear, Elizabeth: Karen Memory
Cherryh, C. J.: Fortress of Owls
Cherryh, C. J.: Fortress of Dragons
Bellet, Annie: Justice Calling
Leckie, Ann: Ancillary Mercy
Wecker, Helene: The Golem and the Jinni
*Note: did not finish this one.
My leisure-reading goes down every year, as my work-reading goes up. I have a hard time feeling unhappy about that, because reading is basically my favorite thing to do, AND NOW I GET PAID TO DO IT. I wish I could tell you about so many of the books I read for work last year; but the copy editor’s place is behind the scenes, quiet and invisible. Sometimes books are not yet announced. (Though if you ask me privately, I may be able to point you in directions to look…there’s some amazing stuff coming out this year!)
As for the books above: Eight of them were for my book group; the rest I chose myself.
Particular favorites were: the Cherryh books; Seveneves; City of Stairs; and The Golem and the Jinni. Though even naming a few favorites makes me want to reassure the rest of them: I loved you too!
I almost never fail to finish a book, but I confess, the Sedia thwarted me. I had really loved a previous book of hers, but could not engage this one.
Looking at this list and thinking about reading…my life looks so different now than it used to, even just five or six years ago. I used to experience this thing called “weekends;” I can actually remember spending entire Sundays on the couch, reading. Now, I work at reading and writing all day, and hold the household together as best I can. Leisure reading is saved for bedtime, when–shockingly!–I’m often sleepy, and don’t get more than a few pages read.
My to-be-read pile is now an entire bookcase, plus a long shelf along a tabletop. And that bookcase is also piled high with books on top, outside the shelves. Our book group is reading Seveneves this month, which I’m so excited to discuss; I was hoping to reread it before the meeting, but hahaha, no. I’ll be lucky to get a chance to glance through it for a few minutes…
And one more thought. I have at least met twelve of the authors listed above; I count several of them friends, even dear ones (including my Best Person at my wedding!). I’m Facebook friends with several more of them. I remember a time when even catching a glimpse of a published author was an astonishing, unreal thing…
Yes, my life is different now. I like it.