Tag Archives: 2018

2018 Reading Recap

It’s finally 2019, so I can officially say I read 105 works in 2018. I say works because a handful were short stories and some were graphic novels. If you know me, you know I have a thing for spreadsheets and tracking my reading. I have a to-be-read list in my planner and of course, my reading log on Excel. You can grab a copy of my 2019 blank reading log here if you want to track your reading too.

Anywho, so why do I do this? Well, partly to see how long it takes me to read a book, what genres I gravitate toward, and whether I’m reading more books by one group or in a certain form. You can see the entirety of my reading log below. The missing top bar (oops) should say: Title, Series Title, Series #, Author, Gender, Date Started, Date Finished, How Many Days, Page Count, Genre, Format, and Rating out of 5.

2018 reading log 12018 reading log 22018 reading log 32018 reading log 4

So let’s talk about what went down this year. I read a total of 105 books, and of those 105, I read 40 ebooks, 23 graphic novels, 17 hardcovers, 25 paperbacks (65 physical books). I was surprised by how close my physical and digital book numbers were. You still people acting as if ebooks and physical books are in some tug-o-war for readership, and I think that thought is absurd. Most people I know read both formats, and personally, I am more likely to buy a book from an author I don’t know well if it’s cheap or on sale. For the most part, ebooks are what go on sale more often, and then I read those books between classes or during gaps in my day on my phone. It’s a great way to read when you can’t lug around a hardcover or need to read on the sly. I also like that I can make my Kindle app white words on black paper which is easier on my eyes. This reading choice may also have to do with genre because many indie authors (often PoC or LGBT+) or romance authors publish as digital only because it keeps costs down.

In regards to genre, I read an eclectic mix (as always):

20 fantasy, 17 paranormal fantasy, 16 historical-fantasy, 12 historical romance, 5 paranormal romance, 5 urban fantasy, 4 magical realism, 4 nonfiction- history, 3 nonfiction- science, 3 contemporary romance, 2 anthologies (1 LGBT+ romance and 1 LGBT+ YA), 1 horror, 1 space opera, 1 political fiction, 1 Gothic fiction, 1 contemporary sports, 1 afrofuturism, 1 romantic mystery, and 1 autobiography.

When I tell my students I’ll read anything, I mean it. I lean heavily toward the fantastical because, really, who wants to read about real life? Of those works, a good chunk were written by LGBT+ and non-white authors. I’ve been making an effort to read less cis hetero white male writers, and my naturally inclination is to read works by AFAB and female authors. Why? No idea, but that is my preference.Ā  Of the 105 books, 74 were written by female authors, 12 were male, 8 were mixed genders (2 or more authors), 2 were unknown, and 9 were nonbinary. As a point of reference, if an author is transgender, I list them as the gender that aligns with their pronouns (he= male, they/xe/ze, etc.= nonbinary, she= female unless otherwise specified).

One thing I have done recently is to make a conscious effort to read more marginalized authors, especially non-white authors. The reason being is that these authors are less likely to be published by traditional publishers, so if we support them and read their work, publishers are more likely to publish more PoC authors since previous authors have a good track record. As far as I can tell, 41 of 105 were by PoC authors. In 2019, I’m hoping to read even more, especially authors who are PoC and LGBT+.

I’ll be writing up a post on my overall goals for 2019 soon, but my reading goals are: read 100 books and read more works from marginalized authors.

What are your reading goals for 2019?

 

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Good Riddance to 2018

To be blunt, 2018 was an exhausting train wreck that I am glad to see the back of.

More than anything, I try to be a positive person for my own sanity and those around me, but this year has tested my resolve. It wasn’t like I had any deaths in my family or any grave illness or anything that was an obvious issue. Bad things don’t always have to be grandiose. They can be quiet and subtle, like a voice whispering to you that you are worthless, your work is worthless, and you will get nowhere.

2018 was the year of crippling doubt and disappointment.

As you might have noticed, I haven’t finished The Wolf Witch despite starting it in 2017. I dove into writing that book before I was ready because I felt I needed to produce something even though I was creatively exhausted. That was a massive mistake that led to a mental spiral that probably could have been prevented had I waited a few months to work on it. Instead I drove myself further into the ground, wrote 50,000 words that needed to be totally rewritten, and wrecked my self-esteem and mental health. I felt horrible about myself. I couldn’t write and my draft was garbage (it truly was; it’s not just me being hard on myself). This led to cycle of not writing, then feeling bad about myself, then not writing even more. Since writing is one of my coping mechanisms, you can see how this went downhill quickly.

Apart from being a writer, I’m also an adjunct English professor, which means that I don’t have predictable work (my semesters can range from 1-4 classes) and I’m constantly applying for jobs that might give me some semblance of stability because I’m living below the poverty line and it sucks. I’ve applied for at least twenty teaching jobs and as many writing/copywriting jobs. Toward the beginning of the fall semester, I heard back from a job I really wanted because it was a way to combine my science and writing background while at the same time providing the financial stability I’ve been craving. After an interview and positive feedback, they decided they didn’t need to hire anyone. To say I was crushed is an understatement.

Somewhere along the way, I lost myself this year. I lost sight of who I am and what I want and what I do. On top of that, Anthony Bourdain’s suicide shook me. I looked up to him as someone I aspired to be like. Much like my other inspirations, Julia Child and Tim Gunn, Bourdain was passionate and well-versed on his subject while still injecting it with humor and an openness that I think is necessary for exploration and innovation. When he killed himself, I was in a low point in terms of how I saw myself, and it freaked me out. If someone as together and passionate and awesome as Anthony Bourdain could lose hope and kill himself, how did others in more precarious situations manage to stay sane? Obviously, I don’t know what demons he was fighting, but my situation felt bleak in my mind and I didn’t know how to get out of it.

But what made that easier was my students. My classes this semester were filled with bright, lovely students who made me look forward to work and reinforced that I’m in the right place doing the right thing. Their drive and kindness took the sting out of rejection and hopelessness. I had two really personable College Writing classes that took as much of an interest in me as I did in them, and those sorts of relationships where you know your students care about you and look forward to your class makes it easier to keep going even when things are difficult outside the classroom. So, thank you, guys. They know who they are and some of them stalk my social media, so I hope they see this and know the impact they made in my life.

Do I wish I received the copywriter job? Hell, yes. But do I feel as awful as I did a few weeks ago? No. My hope is still that I will be able to get a job as a creative writing professor soon and that I will continue to write and publish books as I set out to do. Going forward, I’m going to try to stay focused on my goal of publishing two books in 2019, but if I go off course, I will try to roll with the punches and do my best.

It’s all I can really expect of myself. And in the past few weeks, I feel like I’ve come out of the fog I’ve been fighting all year. I’m hoping I can maintain and progress on my book before the semester starts. All I can do is keep moving forward and doing what I can to make a better life for myself.

Here’s to a less shitty year and the people who make it infinitely better.

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