Thursday, January 06, 2022

2021 Year-end Wrap up

I don't have a whole lot to say about my reading in 2021.  I am suffering from a bit of reading malaise right now and I feel it is biasing my look back at last year.  Also, as I went through the books I read, it feels like each one reminds me of different stages of dealing with covid, as it is so dominating everything these days.  I am proud that I read 74 books but it feels like somehow there was a lot of struggle.  I am not honestly sure how I read that many books as much of the time it felt like I was barely reading or pushing myself to get reading.  I guess the mantra of just getting started and keeping a book open will eventually get the books read.

I read 21 books by women (I thought it was a lot more lol).  This stat was bolstered by great female sci-fi and fantasy authors such as N.K. Jimesen and Robin Hobb (as well as some good old classic mystery authors like Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie, Charlotte Armstrong).  I also discovered Georgette Heyer this year (thanks Romance twitter) which is a gift that will keep giving.  Still just over a quarter of my reading being by women needs improvement, despite my excuse that my genre of mid-century paperbacks is male-dominated.

Only 10 books by African-American authors (and 5 of those were by N.K. Jimesen so doing double duty on my diversity goals).  Definitely needs improvement, though two strong highlights there with The Spook Who Came in from the Cold and Razorblade Tears.

In terms of paperback collecting the huge find was Where the Money Was by Willie Sutton.  The Q Document, though of no real value, was one of my favourite looking paperbacks that will get a warm welcome on my shelf.

Highlights for me for actual reading were the first two Trickster books by Eden Robinson (the only books I read by an indigenous author).  These are outstanding, a wonderful mix of shit-kicking, B.C. urban grittiness with rich and intense fantasy mythology.  Just excellent.  I also really enjoyed Razorblade Tears.  Both are examples of good old genres being injected with new life and creativity by non-white male authors who are also just damned good writers.  Their existence is heartening to me, to know that the basic tenets of the genres I love are not dependent on old cultures of white male dominance.  Also, they are just hell of fun to read.

I also finally got to some classic authors such as Rex Stout, Earle Stanley Gardner and Daphne duMaurier.  The first two were enjoyable but didn't really stay with me but duMaurier demands that I seek out her other works.

No real lowlights except that god-awful Walker Percy mess.  A workmanlike year.  My on-deck shelf overfloweth, so I must read on!

I hope all of you are well and enjoying your reading.  Here's to a better 2022.  Maybe the shitbirds in power will realize that we need long-term investment in the education, health care and the planet instead of production of consumer goods.

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