The Year I Memorized My Library Card Number

Happy New Year! It’s time to see how my “50 Book Challenge” went…

Fourth quarter books: The Book of Phoenix (Nnedi Okorafor), Because of Sex (Gillian Thomas), The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood), Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen), Good Christian Sex (Bromleigh McCleneghan), The Improbability of Love (Hannah Rothschild), Men Explain Things to Me (Rebecca Solnit), Murder on the Orient Express (Agatha Christie), 12 Years A Slave (Solomon Northup), Gospel According to the Klan (Kelly J. Baker), The Fate of the Tearling (Erika Johansen), Like Water for Chocolate (Laura Esquivel), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (J.K. Rowling/John Tiffany/Jack Thorne), Code Talker (Joseph Bruchac)

Here’s a reminder of what my rules were for this challenge: 1) no more than half the books be re-reads, 2) at least half be by women, and 3) at least a quarter be by people of color. So how did the numbers turn out?

Fourth quarter

Re-reads: 0/14

Women: 11.5/14

POC: 4/14

(Year-to-date)

Re-reads: 11/44 or 25%

Women: 34.5/44 or 78%

POC: 13/44 or 29%

I knew that attempting to read 50 books in a year would be a challenge. For the coming year, I’m going to amend that number to the more attainable “two books per month” (or 24 within the year).

Should I set myself parameters like last time? I’ve decided yes, but just one: I want at least half the books to be by people of color. It wasn’t difficult to hit my goals for re-reads or books by women, but my list of authors still looks pretty white. Like I said a year ago, “Telling stories about and from diverse perspectives matters; this is how you come to know and understand people who are different from yourself.”

So in celebration of the New Year…Cheers to libraries. Cheers to diverse perspectives. and Cheers to the power of story-telling.

“They’re good, these stories,” Mace continued, his cheeks stained with light color. “They teach the pain of others.”

“Empathy. Carlin always said it was the great value of fiction, to put us inside the minds of strangers.”

(p. 358, The Fate of the Tearling)

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