2017 Reading Update 3

My third quarter reading update is coming almost directly after reading update number 2 because the second one was so late, but I'm glad to say I'm back on track with this update.

I can't believe that three quarters of the year have gone by, and I'm already starting to think about 2018 reading. 

 Some of my to-read books, not entirely related to the content of this post.

Some of my to-read books, not entirely related to the content of this post.

First, because I am a huge nerd, some stats (as of October 1, 2017):

Total number of books read: 107

  • Adult Novels: 28
  • Young Adult Novels: 7
  • Children's Novels: 2
  • Short Story Collections: 8.5 (one book was part short stories, part essays, hence the .5)
  • Nonfiction Books: 8.5 (one book was part short stories, part essays, hence the .5)
  • Graphic Novels: 12
  • Graphic Trades: 23
  • Poetry Collections: 11
  • Audio Books: 5

Number of books read in Q3 (July, August, September): 27 

  • Adult Novels: 10
  • Young Adult Novels: 1
  • Short Story Collections: 1
  • Nonfiction Books: 5
  • Graphic Novels: 2
  • Graphic Trades: 2
  • Poetry Collections: 1
  • Audio Books: 5

Where I got books from this quarter:

  • From the library: 70%
  • Gifts (including gift cards): 11%
  • Bought myself: 15%
  • Borrowed From Friends and Family: 4%

Total number of books I acquired in the first three quarters of 2017: 58

  • Percentage of those books that I have read so far: 52% (not great, but not awful!)

I knew my reading this quarter would slow down a lot. I was moving and traveling and generally didn't have a lot of time for reading. Because I was away from my beloved library (and from my bookshelves) I did a lot of my reading digitally. The Overdrive app became my best friend and I downloaded a bunch of books onto my iPad, and even listened to some audio books on my cross country drive. Although I still prefer to read physical books, I love having the ability to check them out electronically and am a little bit addicted to the instant gratification of it all. I read fewer graphic novels and poetry collections though, because I pretty much only want to read those in print. 

My reading picked up in a big way in September, once I was settled and reunited with the library, when I finished more books than in July and August combined. I also stepped up my book acquiring this quarter, bringing in way more books in this quarter than I have in any other. To be fair, as I mentioned, I did quite a bit of traveling during that time, which meant lots of visits to faraway bookstores, and my birthday happened in this quarter. I'm doing pretty well on reading the books that I bring in, but I'm hoping to have a higher percentage of them finished by the end of 2017.

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Notable books I read this quarter (in the order that I read them):

Nothing Lasts Forever by Sina Grace

This is a graphic memoir, full of short vignettes and sketches from Grace's life. Nothing Lasts Forever touches on sexuality, dealing with depression, being an artist, and anxiety about a surgery he underwent. I adore the sketchy, unfinished style of Grace's artwork and found the writing touching and heartwarming. I am a new fan of his work. 

The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz

The Queue is a work of dystopian fiction set in modern day Egypt. Following a failed popular uprising, a central authority called the Gate has risen to power, requiring citizens to get permission to do just about anything. Except, the Gate never opens, so the queue of people waiting in front of it grows longer and longer and develops its own society and cultural norms. The book follows the story of Yehia who was shot during the popular uprising and needs permission from the gate to remove the bullet still lodged in his body. Yet the Gate denies that there was ever any gunfire and still does not open. The story that unfolds terrifying, but also not unimaginable and I found it to be such a powerful, thought provoking read. 

Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu 

I absolutely loved this novel. It follows the story of Lucky who is a lesbian and a daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants who, after a disastrous attempt at coming out to her family, decided to marry her gay best friend in order to be accepted by her family and community. At the same time that Lucky moves back home to help out her ailing grandmother, her first love and high school best friend returns to Lucky's life and announces that she is engaged to a man. Lucky grapples with all of this in such a real way. The book never feels completely despondent, but also isn't overly saccharine or sentimental. I loved being in Lucky's head.

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

This is another one of my favorite books of this year. The Prey of Gods is a wild sci-fi/fantasy tale set in a 2050s South Africa. There are gods and robots and viruses and all kinds of great, weird stuff. The number one word I heard used to describe this book is "weird," which is accurate, but that doesn't mean that the writing is difficult to get into or hard to follow. On the contrary, I found myself zipping through this book. It is written in several different points of view, and I found myself interested and emotionally invested in all of them (which doesn't always happen with multiple POVs). I just wanted to know what was going to happen next, and the threads of the story are all woven together so well. If you like sci-fi or fantasy at all then be sure to try this one.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, by Lindy West

This is kind of cheating, because this is a reread. I have mentioned this book multiple times before, including as a favorite book of 2016, but I listened to the audio version of Shrill in September, so I will take the opportunity to mention it again. Shrill is West's memoir featuring tons of feminism. There is so much to think and laugh about in here and West both comforts me and makes me want to be a better person when I read her work. The audio version is fantastic and is narrated by West herself (though you will want a print version as well, so you can highlight so many things.) 

In The Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

This is another memoir, written by Guerrero, also known as Maritza of Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin. When Guerrero was just 14, her parents were deported and she was left on her own in the U.S. This book details Guerrero's experience as an American child of undocumented immigrants, both before and after her parents' deportation, and her journey to success in acting. The book is heartbreaking, as you can imagine, but Guerrero's honesty and her voice really shine through. 

I can't believe there is only one quarter left this year! Right now, I'm really excited for seasonal reading. I don't usually really think about the seasons or the weather when I'm reading, but for some reason I have been curating a list of books that seem like they'll give me some autumn, cozy vibes and I can't wait to get through them. I'm also planning on participating in Nonfiction November, when I hope to read way more (if not exclusively) nonfiction. So, those are my reading plans for most of the rest of the year. I'm also hoping to read more of the books I've purchased this year (my big goal would be to get that number up to 75%, but I'm not sure if that's realistic at this point). 

And then I'm starting to think about reading goals and challenges for 2018! I have no idea what I want to do with any of that, so do let me know if you're planning on participating in any reading challenges or have any exciting year-long reading goals. 

If you want an up-to-date account of what I've been reading, check out my Instagram stories, where I talk about/review the books I have finished on a weekly-ish basis. Otherwise, stay tuned next quarter for my 2017 reading wrap up!