The last four years I’ve made a personal goal to finish an average of a book a week (52 books a year). I’ve accomplished that goal, if only just barely, every year, nearly doubling that number in 2015. I decided to not set a goal for 2016 and just finish books at whatever pace I finish them. I have several Neal Stephenson and Doris Kearns Goodwin books on my shelf that I want to read, so not putting a time constraint on myself seemed like a good idea.
Well, five months into the year with no target and I’ve already surpassed my old yearly goal. Looking back its crazy to see the amount of books I’ve been able to finish. I’m not trying to brag either, I’m more just really excited that I was able to accomplish this without having to force myself. The whole reason I started setting goals in the first place was because I was going through a reading slump, so not having a certain amount I’m trying to read and still cruising through books makes me very happy.
Admittedly, the first few months of the year are always more book heavy for me due to the dark short days and long nights of Seattle winters. In fact, I’ve already noticed my pace slowing as the weather warms and different interests start to pull my attention. I also had my office move much closer to my place allowing me to switch from driving an hour a day to bussing maybe 30-40 minutes total. My stress levels have plummeted, but so has my audiobook consumption.
Riding the bus does have its benefits though (other than being better for the environment, helping traffic, and building up my immunity to diseases), especially when it comes to ebook reading. I work at a computer all day which has dissuaded me from using ebooks in the past. I would much rather give my eyes a break from staring at pixelated screens by reading a physical book instead. I did finally see the artificial light and benefits of ebooks with the realization that they are the perfect alternative to scrolling through social media as I wait for the bus. They also give me an excuse not to make eye contact with the street kids and the assortment of feral animals they always seem to have when riding to my destinations.
Anyway, that’s my long way of saying that I’ve managed to read way more than I thought I would at this point in the year. On to the actual books lists!
I have a love/hate relationship with ranking media I consume.
The cons to ranking media:
- It’s nearly impossible to compare non-fiction and fiction. I feel like a dick ranking a snarky fiction book about magicians above a heartfelt non-fiction book about race, but that’s exactly what I did.
- It’s very hard to judge a book so close after I read it. Most of the way through The Traitor Baru Cormorant I was very bored, but the last few pages temporarily changed my mind making me rate it 4 stars on Goodreads instead of 3. Having given it more time I can barely remember what happened and now I have no problem knocking it down to the lowest area I rank most books (not bad).
- I compare books by authors against each other more than to other books resulting in some wonky rankings. I highly enjoyed the Brandon Sanderson Mistborn and Reckoners books I finished this year, but I just can’t rank them as favorites when I’ve read the Stormlight Archive series and know how damn good they are. Same with Ta-Nehisi Coates The Beautiful Struggle. I enjoyed (probably the wrong word for how I felt) the book, but after Between The World and Me it just doesn’t compare.
- I also enjoy most things I read. If I’m really disliking a book I’ll stop and move on to something I do want to read. Trying to finish every book I start is was what made me fall into my book slump in the first place. Because of this, I end up ranking almost all of the books on various scales of enjoyment.
The pros to ranking media:
- I fucking love to do it. I will guiltily read any list people put out where they rank books or movies or any media really. I love it so much that I actually started a book website dedicated to gathering best-of lists.
|A Canticle for Leibowitz
by Walter M. Miller Jr.
|A Darker Shade of Magic
by V.E. Schwab
|Binti by Nnedi Okorafor||Made to Kill by Adam Christopher|
|Neuromancer by William Gibson||The Traitor Baru Cormorant
by Seth Dickinson
|Walden by Henry David Thoreau|