bloggish resolutions

This year I made myself some non-specific, qualitative-rather-than-quantitative resolutions that will probably become clear as I continue blogging. But as far as this blog is concerned, I plan to focus it more and have more consistent “columns” and themes. I’ll continue doing my informal research updates on biracial literature, but I’ll also be using that reading for actual academic research that I hope to present at a conference or two and then turn into a paper. I’ll write here more consistently, but not at the expense of the stuff I should be writing–namely school stuff and the novel(s). Finally, I’ll keep better track of my reading not just numerically but qualitatively, writing more, privately and publicly, about what I’m reading, why I chose to read it, what it’s meaning to me, and how it relates to my schooling, my creative projects, my intellectual pursuits, or just my general enjoyment/interest. Like Nick Hornby did in The Believer, I also want to keep track monthly of books I buy, books I borrow/check out from the library, and books I read, as well as magazines and journal articles that I read, and do a beginning and end of month roundup of those things.

Also, more extra media stuff. I’m trying to remember how to have a vocabulary for discussing music, another important part of my life, in the same way I discuss literature. Should be interesting, not to mention relevant to one of my novel(s).

BUT, since it’s always fun to be a little quantitative when you can rub your awesomeness in other people’s faces, I did decide to make an infographic of what I read this year.

My goal was to read 150 not counting stuff I read for school. I came in under that goal, but I still read a total of 162 books, so I can’t exactly call myself a failure. Here are the biggest genres/styles/themes in what I read this year, infographically, and then textually. You can click on it to view a bigger version.

Wordle: books i read this year

Out of those 162, 29 were for school. Fifteen related to food, nutrition, or cooking. Thirteen I would call memoir or biography. I only read a paltry nine books of poetry, and just eight picture books. Since I read an overwhelming amount of fiction, I divided between short fiction and novels and found that I read 96 novels and seven works of short fiction, either by one author or multiple ones. I would say that 10 of the books I read could be called essays or manifestoes. Then I decided to see how many authors of color or Latin@ descent I read. If I could not discern the author’s race from their biography or photo, or if a work contained multiple authors and wasn’t thematically related to race or ethnicity, I did not include that book in the count. Authors are counted for every book of theirs I read, so the number represents a great number of authors who have written multiple books. But I think that it ended up being 41.

What this says about my reading plans for next year: I decided a couple weeks ago that my main goal in terms of reading in 2012 would actually be to read less and write more. That still stands. But I’d also like to read a little bit more in nonfiction, more classic and historical works, and more biographies and memoirs. In fiction, since I know I’ll read a ton of it, I’d also like to beef up my reading of non white writers, read more speculative fiction, and read more literary realism. I’m going to request fewer books to review for BookReporter, TeenReads, and KidsReads unless those books really fit into my goals and interests. There’s just so much to read, and so little time.

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