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Month in review

Reviews
The Amazing World of Gumball Vol. 1: Fairy Tale Trouble by Ben Bocquelet
The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Curse of the Arctic Star by Carolyn Keene
Demon Book 1 by Jason Shiga
The Dragon That Lived Under Manhattan by E.W. Hildick
The Drowning Spool by Monica Ferris
Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe
Ghostbusters International by Erik Burnham
Graveyard Slot by Michelle Schusterman
Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 by Ed Piskor
How to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora
Imagine a World by Rob Gonsalves
It's a Tiger by David La Rochelle
Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown
The Lost Compass by Joel N. Ross
The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long
The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell
Pouncing on Murder by Laurie Cass
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
The Soprano's Last Song by Irene Adler
Stealing the Game by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
The Underdogs by Sara Hammel

Miscellaneous
November reading and looking towards the last month
Reading goals for 2017

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



November reading and looking towards the last month: 11/30/16

November reading and looking towards the last month

Last week I posted my plans for reading in 2017 which includes a whole bunch of what if contingency plans based on the very likely possibly that I will be moving to Canada. Now it's time to reflect on what I accomplished in November.

I must admit that blogging wise this month I've been pretty much on autopilot. First it was because of the sheer amount of focus first round CYBILs requires. Second though was the election results and with it the news that I'm now probably moving to Canada. I say probably because we've gone through these almost big moves before and only once out of four previous ones have we actually moved.

The point though is I've not been in a very good metal space right now. Usually in the last month of year I'm cramming to finish everything I've meant to read but haven't gotten to or haven't finished — those books I've been lingering over for months. This time I'm looking more at a blank slate. The CYBILs reading for me is pretty much done except for re-reading key passages of books that come up for short list discussion. I don't really have much else out from the library and won't be getting more since the last two weeks of the month will be travel — to Canada (though not to where we might be moving). This is normal Canada stuff — seeing relatives, being tourists and experiencing both Vancouvers (the city and the island).

Now looking back at a completed reviewing goal of 52 books published this year I see the silliness of it. Memory is so fickle. My memory of what I've read lasts for about a year. So I have a fairly good picture of what I've read this year and how I felt disappointed about what I'd accomplished last year. But I keep lists and have been tracking the currency of my reviews since 2008. Three of those eight years i accomplished this year's goal. Two of those years I came very close to doing so, meaning that in more than half of those years I was reviewing at least one currently published book a week.

bar graph showing reviews by current year published from 2008-2016

Looking at the first year I started tracking books reviewed by year published, I see my last full year of reviewing ARCs. It was a year when I was running giveaways and scheduling two or three ARC reviews every week. I was basically saying yes to everything because I felt like I should. By December I was burned out, but it took me until mid 2009 to finally realize I didn't have to rely on ARCs for content.

My lowest number comes in 2011, when I was burned out by scheduling my reading and my reviewing. Yes, I'd stopped taking ARCs except for NetGalley (and even that I no longer accept). I had a ton of reviews written and a ton more to write and there was such a back log of things to talk about that there was no wiggly room to react to current events or even my current mood. So I went with the complete opposite approach — randomizing what I posted from the list of things I had already written. Totally random doesn't make for coherent or engaging content either but it was what I needed to push through a slump.

Bar graph of reviews to post by year read

Looking at the other part of the puzzle — the making sure reviews don't stagnate before I get the posted, I'm down to two reviews to post from 2013: Catty Jane Who Hated the Rain by Valeri Gorbachev and Pippi Moves In by Astrid Lindgren; these are both scheduled for December. I have nine books read in 2014 that still need reviews posted. The remainder are from 2015 and 2016.

Pie chart of reviews to post by year read

With 182 books read in 2015 and 2016 to review and only 31 more days to post in this year most of these will be still waiting for posting going into 2017. Of those books, I have twenty-two books published this year that I've read. At least ten of those reviews will make it into December's posts but now I'm coming to the point of having to decide which ones to highlight now and which to save until next year.

And finally, reading inclusively. I can say that the CYBILs nominees are more diverse than I've seen in previous years. Reading wise, then I've had one of my best months, with two-thirds of my reading being about someone other than a male able bodied cis-het protagonist.

Diversity pie charts
Pie chart showing the percentage of books with diverse characters for books read in November Pie chart showing the percentage of books with diverse characters for books reviewed in November

Reviews, though, fell short. Only 19% (or seven reviews out of thirty) were of inclusive books. Part of this is a result of trying to get through my backlog of reviews. Part of it though was being on autopilot.

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