2023 Readings: A Review

It’s anti-climatic to get to the end. The project didn’t start out as 52 books in one year, but once I saw my pace, it was hard to shake. Even as my available time to read shrank, I still found a way to get some audiobooks in or finish books that had been half-started and forgotten for a long time. The desire to keep moving, to keep completing, was the pay off. Having gotten to the end and finished the books, there is only relief.

I do think I met my goal, which at the start was to interact with the literary fantastic and build up my knowledge of foundational books. I also feel great about the number of Canadian or female/non-binary authors I got on the list. I only dabbled into the oeuvre of authors of colour, but considering how many classic books I read, I’ll give myself a pass and do better next year.

I now have to ask myself, did I learn anything? I feel like I can speak more confidently about genre ideas and trends, I also enjoyed seeing the origins of so many tropes and concepts, but ultimately the pace ended up being the main thing, not leaving any space for rumination or reflection.

My take aways in soundbite form:

  • Robert Heinlein is not interesting and needs no further revisiting.
  • Ursula K. LeGuin is transporting and I will likely re-read her books many more times.
  • Parable of the Sower was bleak and not satisfying, won’t be returning.
  • Brandon Sanderson is frustratingly good at plotting and action, but I’m tiring of his flimsy characters.
  • Connie Willis forever.
  • I enjoy both Hard and Soft Sci Fi and fail to see a reason to elevate one over the other. The hard stuff tries to be right, but the longer the distance in time, the more likely it is to be comically wrong; the soft waves its hands more, but tends to focus more on humanity, which has a longevity close to infinite.
  • Before YA was a thing there was a lot of YA going on in SF/Fantasy, it was just harder to spot from the back of the book description.

By the numbers

Books Read: 52
Total Words: 4.2M
Paper Books: 24
eBooks: 6
Audiobooks: 22
SF/Fantasy: 61%
Canadian Authors by books: 25%
Canadian Authors by words: 24%
Female Authors by books: 59%
Female Authors by words: 56%
Authors of Colour: 17%