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End of Year Stats: CWILA Self-audit

All in, all done at 115 books and chapbooks. (19 were chapbooks.)

I read 17,000 pages, with an average book length of 145 pages.

1/4 of the books finished were 5/5.

4% I completed even tho they were a slog all the way. (Some things don’t get better with time and effort.)

My 2016 goal to read more written in the deeper past fell by the wayside. Only 2 titles were before mid-century. 66 titles were new in 2017 or 2016. POC and GLBTQ2+ was more prioritized with GLBTQ2+ [Or QUILTBAG: Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer] authors comprising 23% of the titles completed.

My goal was to read more widely. More or less tilted that way. 69:47 Poetry: Not Poetry. Of the non-poetry, novels, memoirs and science topped the list with 39%, 29% and  19% with a few books of essays thrown in.

48% of books competed were by a female, 36% by a male and the remainder by multiple people, or non-binary folks. Unlike 2016, I didn’t rank books by males as better than all all other demographics. It was pretty tight race, but titles by males were the lowest rated and multiple the highest.

Where did most of the books come from 1. Direct from author 2. Library 3. Used Bookstore 4. New from Bookstore. Less commonly,  Review Copies, Gifts, Little Free Library, Prizes, Festivals, Online or Borrowed from friend.

Some years I’ve done a blurb on each and hyperlinked. These are the top 20% standouts, in alphabetical order:

  1. According to Loon Bay by Hannah Main-Van der Kamp (St Thomas, 2004) [Twisting of the biblical stories into modern context of urbanism and ecology. Lyrically dense and inquiring, curious spirit]
  2. Acquired Community by Jane Byers (Caitlin, 2016) [A history of the AIDs epidemic told sometimes in dialogue, sometimes in anecdote. Compelling and vivid read.]
  3. Certain Details: The Poetry of Nelson Ball (WLU, 2017) [A scooping up of the some of the best of the best of the minimalist gems.]
  4. Class Proof by Deonte Osayande (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2017) [Strikingly alert and cutting thru the clutter to consider social class and teaching under the lens. The weight is more an anchor than lead shoes depression. There’s aspiration in there and advocacy.]
  5. dark ecologies by Natalie Hanna (above/ground, 2017) [Tho not in svo, the lateral leaps of words are more powerful and articulate than discursive essays would be.]
  6. Diamond Star by Catherine Asaro (Baen, 2009) [This in the series follows one character. A sort of coming of age of an empath in the music industry.]
  7. The Hidden Life of Trees: What Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben, trns by Jane Billinghurst (Greystone books, 2015) [More has been known for decades than is common knowledge of how trees are aware and sharing in a cross-species community.]
  8. In that Old City by the Sea by David Blaikie (Éditions des petits nuages, 2017) [A sense of place, pace and song of Eastern Canada.]
  9. I Have to Live by Aisha Sasha John (Penguin random house, 2017) [Reconciling that so much is messed up and screams for personal agency but at the same time, there is this now and there’s a need for the concrete daily moment.]
  10. Invisible 2:  Essays & poems on representation in SF/F  (Amazon, 2015) [Perspectives of people sidelined by narratives, people who are not reflected in scifi in an aspect, whether, Jewish, indigenous, living with disability, have metamours, are old, or asian, puerto rican not hispanic, are fat, are non-binary, or, or. There are 3 in this essay series. I’d recommend them all.]
  11. Listen, Partisan! And other Stumbling Haibun by Chris Johnson (Frog Hollow Press, 2016) [I always look forward to new work by Johnson because of the lively yet accepting spirit in it, and this travelogue is no exception.]
  12. the lithium body by Sarah MacDonnell (In/Words, 2017) [This blew me away in the live reading, and in each subsequent reading of the text. It’s the music, how words come together, intercut, and the contents.]
  13. Little Wildheart by Micheline Maylor (UofA, 2017) [Gave me new hope for poetry when I was in a crummy run of not “feeling” any of it. This serious play resonated.]
  14. Metaphysical Dictionary by Svetlana Lilova, ill by Graham Falk (Dumagrad Books, 2016) [This off-kilter yet dead on daffynition is cutting and true.]
  15. North by Marilyn Irwin (above/ground, 2017) [Women self-portray a narrow wounded self but this opens up from sketch to competency and struggles mixed with the rest of life yet does so succinctly and with power.]
  16. One Good Turn: A natural history of the screwdriver and the screw by Witold Rybczynski (PerennialCanada, 2000) [Read this entire thing aloud. What a twisted path everyday objects have. Some have long provenance and some surprisingly short.]
  17. Rhinocerous by Yoko’s Dogs (Devil’s Whim Press, 2016) [This renga of many minds shows the art of the graceful leap. It can’t be rushed.]
  18. She’s Having a Doris Day by Jeff Kirby, (k | f | b, 2017) [The rich fuel mix of having important things to say and to be not too precious to say it simply.]
  19. She Don’t Mean a Thing if She Ain’t Got that Swing by Guy Simser (Catkin Press, 2016) [We read this one three times. A memoir in haibun, it is a fascinating life trip.]
  20. Silence by Nora Parker Cox, illus., Anna Bongiovanni (Hucklenut Press, 2016) [Breathtaking. There is a self-examination in how the self forms the self, and reaching into the dark.]
  21. Thirty-seven Small Songs & Thirteen Silences by Jan Zwicky (Gaspereau Press, 2005) [I needed a time away and this could slow my mental pace like a seaside walk.]
  22. Thirty-Three by Geoffrey Young (above/ground, 2017) [The sort of chapbook that makes me say, who? Can I get everything he’s ever done?]
  23. What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (2016) [This is what each person should know about individual fish. The intelligence, learning, cultures, personalities, responses to harm or threat. They aren’t as different as they appear.]
  24. Whatever, Iceberg by Tara-Michelle Zunuik (Mansfield Press, 2017) [This was shaken in the face of a few friends. It resonated enough I needed to take breaks.]
  25. The Unworn Necklace by Roberta Beary (Snapshot Press, 2007) [The book is a wonder where not a piece is out of place and each element had it own life and publication around the world but adds up to a new whole.]

On Thursday on CKCU Literary Landscape I’ll pick up half a dozen to go into with samples and maybe reasons why.

Related posts:

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  2. 95Books CWILA Self-Audit Alright, I admit I’m bogged. I have a couple dozen books left to summarize from last year and the year is getting on. I don’t know if I can pare...
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