In the last few years, I’ve stepped up my reading. There was a time in my life when I read as many as 150 books per year. Those days are gone, consigned to my life before children and real career, and probably won’t come back unless I ever manage to retire (which isn’t in the cards for a lot of members of my generation). But I do have a little more time, and there are options beyond paper these days, so I should be able consume more books than I did when the kids were smaller. In 2017 my official count is 88. My Goodreads count is a little higher, but not everything I posted a review for actually qualifies as a book in my mind.
I break things into categories every year, and this year is no exception. Targets are:
Historical Award Winners Quest: 22. I’m on a long term quest to attempt all of the novel category winners of the Hugos, Nebulas, WFA, and Auroras, chronologically give or take and giving myself the freedom to say no or not finish a book. Putting this at 22 will take me to the end of 1990, with 2 I’m skipping this year for reasons.
Last Year’s Award Winners: 6. There are 8 major English-language awards in speculative fiction, if I leave out Horror, which I do. I try to hit the 4 biggest every year (Hugo, Nebula, WFA, Aurora), and at least 2 of the others.
Cultural Breadth: 6. Because there’s more to the world than just the English speaking world, I look to broaden my experience in the genre and find interesting things in translation.
Friends’ Books: 2. So far as I’m aware right now, I have two friends who have a published novel in the last year or so and I haven’t read them yet. Time to take care of these before they publish more.
Anthologies: 6. I still love short fiction and this will help me keep reading it, new and old. There are quite a few in the house waiting to be picked up.
Non-Fiction: 15. This goal seems to grow a bit each year, and is spread across 8 different subject areas. More of the world interests me.
Martial Arts: 6. Separated out from the rest of my non-fiction reading, to further the intellectual side of my martial studies, I’d like to read a book every two months here. And the books already on this reading list will keep me busy for the next seven or eight years at that rate.
Other Fiction: 17. This looks like kind of an arbitrary number, but it’s designed to take the overall total to 80. These are books I already have or might buy just because they look like I’ll enjoy them. I never let having too many books to read stop me from bringing home more. It’s not hoarding if it’s books.
So, 80, as I clearly telegraphed under “Other Fiction”, is the target for this year, and I’m well on track so far. Of course, we’re barely half-way through January.
Be well, everyone.
And happy reading.by