Books I Read in 2018: A Review in Statistics

The nine books I read in 2018 are solidly in the 4 and 5-star camps, which I’m pleased silly about. These days, as a working mom to a toddler who increasingly demands that his playtime involve my participation, I’m all about quality, not quantity. And considering the fact I acquired a couple of my new all-time favorite reads in 2018, I’d say it was a satisfying reading year.

Here’s the list of the books I read, in chronological order:

The Wind-Up Bird Chronciles by Haruki Murakami – 5
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer5
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown4
Dawn (Lillith’s Brood #1) by Octavia Butler– 5
Adulthood Rites (Lillith’s Brood #2) by Octavia Butler – 5
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – 4
Imago (Lillith’s Brood #3) by Octavia Butler – 5
Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari – 5
Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – 5

If you’re new here, here’s a quick background info on the annual book reviews I do: A few years ago, I decided to try something to give myself a bird’s eye view of the type of material I was reading and by who and from where. I derived some hard data based on: genre, publishing decade, book setting, author nationality, author gender, author race, protagonist gender, and protagonist race. This experiment began after I realized it was important for me to pay attention to what I was being influenced by (I wrote about it here).

Since then, it’s become something of a tradition. It’s always pretty cool to be able to see how my reading habits have evolved, or stayed the same. It’s that time of the year again, so here we go!

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The kind of mom

In mid-November of last year, I wrote in my journal, “I thought that being a mother would make me the kind of person to break out the holiday decor, but it didn’t.” 

Halloween had passed and Thanksgiving was on the brink of the nose; not a lick of sign of either in my house. I want to say that it was nearly Christmas when the tree and ornaments finally went up, but my memory fails me. Oh wait, there’s a thing for that! 

Scrolling up my photo library, I’m surprised. The tree makes its debut on November 23rd. On Thanksgiving day, actually. 

Maybe just writing that in my journal, uttering my own despairs out loud (as loud as paper can be at least), made them lose their power. I say this because I came here to write about how I am that mom now. 

Last weekend, I prodded K to get the tree out of the attic and carefully separated each branch. When I realized a string of lights was no longer working, I made a speedy trip to Target. The tree went up and lit up a couple days after Thanksgiving this year. Granted, it’s nothing impressive when you consider the hardcore group who is in the camp that does this as soon as Halloween is over. 

But people, it’s all about the attitude. I also proposed we get eggnog and rum, which K happily agreed to, and was a good sport when K asked to play board games… for the third night in a row. I’ve got the holiday cheer, it seems. 

And it’s a heartwarming feeling, because it reminds me to trust the process. Last year was the first year of holidays with Baby, and I rather half-assed them. But now, a whole year has passed–a year of watching Baby grow, getting to know him, teaching him new things, seeing him understand more every day… and it feels different this time. The Christmas spirit has a deeper meaning now. 

Turns out being the kind of mom that breaks out the holiday decor is more fun than I thought. 

Us in 2017.

Hello, old friend

It’s you and me again, the dark, dark world blanketing my windows. Somewhere outside my home, there surely is activity of various kinds. But, as far as I’m concerned, you and I are the only ones awake.

Why does this firefly energy draw me so? Pounding away at my keyboard, hour after hour throughout the years of my life… It’s a strange thing, if you think about it. I don’t want to say that it was hard, because to me it isn’t, or that it has been unrewarding, because the feeling I get when I’m lost in writing is a gift in itself. Writing simply feels right. 

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Yesterday, I turned 29 years old

Entering the first day of the last year in my 20s, I feel somewhat of a spark igniting somewhere inside of me.  I have received signs in the past week telling me that I need to return to my first love: writing. 

Earlier this year, I made a rather drastic change to my lifestyle–I started waking up at 5am. At first, I loved it. I had a sense of purpose burning inside me, whether it was a monumental project at work or scheduled workouts that started my day off with a bang, and 5am gave me newfound time to accomplish the things that were driving me. 

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yesterday i, today you

yesterday i accidentally tripped you. we were walking down the baltimore waterfront and you were going off in the wrong direction. in my attempt to swerve you, i instead sent you stumbling on the pavement. today, i let you lead the way. we are taking a neighborhood stroll after the rain. it is a wet, bright gray and it feels like we are the only ones out in the world. yesterday you were mr. independent, pushing dad and my hands out of the way. today you are close again, holding onto my fingers the entire time.

yesterday i was in a hurry. today i slow down.

yesterday i was sick. we had miles to drive and hours to fly and your todderlisms to endure. the usual nurse-before-flight method didn’t work and you were wide awake the first hour. dad and i took turns holding you in a hundred different positions. today i am healing. we have resting to do. and that’s all we have to do today.

yesterday i swear you seemed to grow an inch taller. today i see it still.

we have today is all we have today.


Books I Read in 2017: A Review in Statistics

Consider this my interlude: This is so not my favorite reading year. I gave birth to a little human in the beginning of 2017, is why.

(See my 2016 books review here, which is probably my best one yet.)

So, I read six books in 2017. And I didn’t even finish one of them. So, 5 1/4 is more like it. But I will say that two of these were absolute gems–I’m going to hold these close to my heart for the rest of my life, or until my memory gives.

Here goes what (hopefully) will be my shortest yearly book review, starting with my highest to lowest rated books of 2017:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihira – 5
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Jim Kay, and Siobhan Dowd– 5
Sandman (v.1-6) by Neil Gaiman – 4
Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo – 4
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – 4
The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney – 1

And now, here’s a breakdown of the statistics I was most interested in.

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Books I Read in 2016: A Review in Statistics

When I realized that it was the end of February already, I told myself I couldn’t keep putting off my yearly book review. Imagine my surprise when I sat down and perused my bookshelf via Goodreads for my 2017 books and realized that I had completely forgotten to review my 2016 books! Well, it did make perfect sense, considering I had recently birthed a new human being at the very start of 2017 and spent the rest of the year adjusting to that lifestyle.

I briefly considering skipping over 2016, but that was–I had the pleasure of remembering–a damn good reading year. I was pregnant for nine months of that year, which meant that my extracurricular activities had narrowed considerably, and my reading time shot up.

On the flip side, I had ceased to be pregnant in 2017 and that human I was growing suddenly became an entity outside my body that I had to look after. Therefore, as you can imagine, my reading time took a nose-dive last year.

Comparing the quantity (and quality!) of my 2016 and 2017 books, it would honestly be a tragedy if I only did a review of my 2017 books. So, this post is focused on my 2016 books. Click here for a separate review of my 2017 books.

Without further ado, starting with 2016, here are the books I read, from my highest rated to least:

Hyperion by Dan Simmons – 5
Claymore by Norihiro Yagi – 5
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick – 5
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace – 5
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson – 5
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli – 5
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo – 5
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin – 5
Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England and Rob Horowitz – 5
The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne – 4
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – 4
Room by Emma Donoghue – 4
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin – 4
Cut, Stapled, and Mended: When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean by Roanna Rosewood – 4
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin – 4
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri – 4
My Friend Dahmer by Perf Backderf – 4
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami – 4
Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai – 4
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – 3
American Gods by Neil Gaiman – 3
Branding Is Sex: Get Your Customers Laid and Sell the Hell Out of Anything by Deb Gabor – 3
Serpentine by Cindy Pon – 3
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne – 2

And now, here’s a breakdown of the statistics I was most interested in.

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