Saturday, January 30, 2016

Best of the Bunch: January 2016

Today I'm sharing the best book I read in January.

Of the 8 books I read this month, only one earned a 5-star review:

The Giver was a reread from a long ago time when I didn't appreciate what was so great about it. I knew it was a book other people loved, but I never really understood why until I reread it. This deceptively quick read about a "utopian" future illustrates the trade-offs we make in society between safety, predictability, organization, etc. and freedom, diversity, and a richness of everyday experience that comes from the unexpected. It's an important lesson to keep in mind whenever we shrink back from the chaos of life or bemoan the dysfunctionality of relationships between certain groups in our country or world. Orderliness and peace comes at a cost. Ignorance can be bliss, but if no one in the whole community understands context and history, then the community is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

What is the best book you read this month? Let me know in comments, or write your own post and link up below!

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Top Ten Books That Were Better as Movies (or Musicals)

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Inspired by a recent Modern Mrs. Darcy post, I'm using this week's freebie to share my picks for the ten books I liked better on screen or stage. Let's face it — the book is almost always better. Here are a few times when that's not the case.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I know everyone loves this book to pieces, but I've read it twice and the writing just got in the way of the story for me. Even though a lot of details were changed in the movie, I was able to experience the heart of the story so much better on the screen.

2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
This is not to say that the book's not enjoyable, because it certainly is, but you simply can't capture the magic of Gene Wilder's facial expressions on paper.

3. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
The movie did a much better job of showing Andy slowly getting sucked into the world of her job, whereas in the book she just suddenly becomes a different person overnight.

4. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
This is one of my husband's favorite movies, and while it wasn't nearly as memorable for me, it was definitely better than the book. The plot of the movie is just a small part of the book, which consisted mostly of a lot of whining and talking about sex.

5. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
The original book is pretty weird, and there isn't really a coherent story arc — it's just a series of other-worldly adventures, some of which don't even involve the Banks children. The movie is much sweeter and more rewarding as a story.

6. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
It took me literally years to get through this book, as I kept putting it down. I am a huge fan of the musical, which takes a so-so plot and dresses it up with amazing music and wonderful special effects.

7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The movie captured everything that was good about the book and cut out the less interesting parts. I particularly couldn't stand how much of the book was devoted to author's commentary that took the blending of fact and fiction way too far for my taste.

8. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
A plot and characters that fell flat in the novel came to life in the actors on screen. The small changes that were made for the movie (Jamie gifts Landon her mother's journal rather than a Bible) were well chosen and made the story much more realistic.

9. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
This is my favorite musical ever, and I couldn't believe how awful the source material was. All of the clever wordplay and sly links to the original story are absent in the book, which drops a bunch of obscure hints but manages never to answer any of its own questions.

10. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Although much of the movie comes from the book, there are plenty of parts that were altered or not included, and for good reason. The book gets quite dark and complex at times, whereas the movie manages to stay lighthearted even though the scarier moments.

Which movies or musicals do you like better than their original books?

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR List

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

As I mentioned recently, I've locked down my TBR list pretty tightly in the last year. I'm being more intentional about what I add to the list so that it doesn't get unmanageably long. I want to keep it in a range where I could realistically read everything on the list in the next five years, which for me is under 350 books. (I read about 120 books a year, but some of those are book club selections or other books that don't come from my TBR list.)

With that preface, here are the last 10 books I added to my Goodreads "to read" list.

1. 10% Happier by Dan Harris
I've already read a lot of books in this vein, especially when I was doing my own happiness project back in 2011, but Modern Mrs. Darcy named this one of her favorite nonfiction books of 2015 and has continued to recommend it, so I added it to the list. I trust her recommendations — she was the one who pointed me to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up!

2. Citizen by Claudia Rankine
I read an article about the woman who was caught on camera reading this during a Trump rally, and so I looked up the book to see what it was about. It's one of those books that I might have passed over in the past, but with my new standards for broadening my reading, I decided to add it to my list.

3. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
I had not heard of this book until it was emphatically recommended on Goodreads by one of my friends. Then I saw an article about it somewhere (can't find it now) and decided it was worth a read.

4. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
I loved Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson's first book, but when this one came out I thought, well, it's probably similar to the first, and there are so many other books out there to read. But I kept hearing about it and then there was a great quote from it in my Reader's Digest this month, so I decided I was depriving myself by not putting it on my TBR list.

5. George by Alex Gino
For some reason, I thought this was a picture book when I kept hearing about it, maybe because the main character is in elementary school. I requested it on PaperBackSwap because I'm building my son's collection of diverse picture books, but then it arrived and I realized it was a normal-sized book aimed at slightly older kids. I'm looking forward to reading it.

6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I heard a lot of mixed reviews of this book and specifically heard it didn't live up to the hype, but that's not always a reason not to read something. When a good friend told me how much she enjoyed it, I decided to put it next in the queue for my "audiobooks I'm only allowed to listen to at the gym," as it's supposed to be the kind of book that's hard to put down. Hopefully my expectations are sufficiently low going in for me to enjoy it.

7. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
After I finished Twelve Years a Slave and complained that it was too detached and impersonal, a Goodreads friend suggested this book, which is also a true first-person account of slavery. Maybe this one will talk more about people's experiences than about the mechanics of a fish-catching machine.

8. It's OK Not to Share by Heather Shumaker
This book has been recommended a number of times on a mothers' Facebook group I'm part of, so I added it to my list. I think one of my reading goals for next year will be to catch up on the parenting books on my TBR list, and also reread my favorites, as I will have a 2-year-old this time next year!

9. The Rig Veda (holy text)
As part of my long-term goal to read more holy texts from a range of religions, I thought I should tackle the Vedas, or at least the first one.

10. Ugly by Robert Hoge
I read this great article about how we talk to kids about physical attractiveness (probably shared on the above-mentioned mothers' group), which specifically mentioned Hoge and his experiences. I saw he was an author, so I looked up his book and added it to my list. Wonder was the first book I'd read that specifically addressed facial deformities, but I want to read this first-person account written by someone who has the perspective of years behind him to reflect on.

What are the most recent adds to your to-read list?

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Friday, January 15, 2016

What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit to bring you some short and sweet reviews of what I've read in the past month. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.

I spent a big chunk of December and early January making my way through two long books (Middlemarch and the Qur'an), so this past month has been a light one in terms of book count. Here's what I've been reading.

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why by Amanda Ripley: Ripley manages to strike a necessary balance between frightening and empowering in this book on human behavior during disasters. This is an excellent overview of how people behave during crises, and what those in charge should be doing differently as a result, and it's definitely worth a read.

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd: This was a cute book, and I can imagine someone 10 or 11 really loving it, with the fun words and magic and themes about love and family and home. For me as an adult reader, I enjoyed the story for what it was, but on the whole it fell a little flat for me.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young: I used this as a daily devotional for 2015 and liked it a lot. There is a strong, repetitive theme throughout about laying down worry and anxiety and finding peace through trust in God, which is definitely something I needed and continue to need repeated. There were only a few spots where I felt the readings got a little more theologically heavy handed than I was comfortable with. I'll be reading it again in 2016 as a way to start each day, as it seems more designed for that than each night before bed.

Middlemarch by George Eliot: I found this very slow to get into as not much drives the plot for the first half or so, but I ended up really enjoying it. Questions about marriage, money, duty, reputation, and love are all tightly intertwined as one character's actions have multiple and often unintended consequences for themselves and others. If you pick this one up, have patience with the meandering nature of the first half and enjoy getting to know the people of Middlemarch. You'll be rewarded by your investment in the drama of the latter chapters.

The Qur'an, translated by Talal Itani: I was surprised at how mind-numbingly repetitive this ended up being. It was honestly more of a slog to get through the Qur'an than the Bible, because at least every book of the Bible is different, whereas this just says the same things over and over and over again. (Basically: Believers go to Heaven, non-believers go to Hell, and you should believe the Prophet because when people didn't believe God's messengers before, bad things happened to them.) I'm glad that I now have an understanding of what's in this oft-discussed holy book, but wow was it difficult and boring to get through.

The Song Celestial or Bhagavad-Gita, translated by Edwin Arnold: This is part of a larger Hindu text about a war, but this portion of it is a conversation between a prince and Lord Krishna, in which Krishna basically tells him how to live a righteous life. I found on reading this that I didn't really know a lot about Hinduism. It was interesting, though I think the translator was overly concerned with capturing the "flowery-ness" of the Sanskrit so that the English is unnecessarily hard to follow at times.

The Giver by Lois Lowry: I read this book a long time ago, maybe in middle school, and it didn't make the impression on me that it clearly had on so many people. Rereading it now, as an adult and a mother whose son is around Gabe's age at the end of the book, this hit me much harder. It's a deceptively quick read that contains so many lessons about history, society, and what makes life worth living, and I appreciated it so much more this time around.

What have you been reading this month? Share over at Modern Mrs. Darcy!

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

If you read my goals for 2016 last week, you may remember that I did a pretty abysmal job of reading 2015 releases during 2015, so that I ended up having read only a single book out of the 2015 Goodreads nominations. One of my goals for 2016 is to read 2016 releases before the end of the year, and another goal is to catch up on the 2014 and 2015 releases that I didn't get to.

There are more than 10 books published in 2015 on my to-read list, so here are the ones I've heard about the most. I try to avoid finding out too much about books before I read them (I add them to my to-read list based on frequency of positive recommendations), so I can't tell you anything about these except that I plan to read them!

1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

2. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

3. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

4. George by Alex Gino

5. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

6. I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

7. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

8. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

9. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

10. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

What 2015 releases are on your to-read list?

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Why Making a Public Commitment to Read Diversely Isn't a Bad Thing

I've been thinking about a recent article from the often-controversial Jezebel titled (sarcastically), "Damn, You're Not Reading Any Books by White Men This Year? That's So Freakin Brave and Cool." I can't promise that this post isn't at least partially a defensive response in light of my year of intentionally reading diversely (2014). But it got me thinking more generally about why we read, why we set goals, and why we talk about our goals, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

The writer makes two main points, as I understand it. The first point is that while there is a definite problem in the publishing world of things skewing white and male (and straight and able-bodied and so on), these resolutions tend to be more about the person making them and how they as an individual will be changed by the experience. The second point is that when you do things that are good for you, you should not publicize them. In other words, you should privately start reading a more diverse selection of books, and then simply let that inform the range of books you mention, recommend, etc.

To the first point, I say, yes, that is true. Resolutions are about the person making them. But... is that a problem? There is definitely a need to push back against the norms of publishing, such as by supporting organizations like We Need Diverse Books. But the major way an individual pushes back is in the books they choose to read, buy, and recommend. If that comes about only a consequence of more people making a personal commitment to broaden the scope of their reading... I'm not sure I'm seeing the part where this is a bad thing.

And maybe it is just about the reader personally feeling more educated and open-minded as a result of reading these books. Isn't that much of the reason we read, period? Certainly there is an element of engagement and entertainment, but a reading diet that includes at least a handful of "literary" type books is going to challenge and educate the reader. There's a reason researchers often tout the benefits of what fiction does to your brain, such as improving empathy. We as readers want to be stretched and to glimpse what it's like to be in someone else's head, and we can then go out and be better friends, spouses, neighbors, parents, coworkers, and citizens.

But what if you find that you — yes, you personally — have been limited in the fictional (or autobiographical) heads you've explored? That was the case for me in 2013, when I undertook an extensive project to categorize the gender, race, and nationality of the authors and main characters from every book I'd ever read (excluding most picture and chapter books I read as a kid for sheer number and lack of records). I found that, as I expected, they skewed very far white American, and more male than female.

So I spent 2014 not just trying to regain some kind of balance but also learning about my own tendencies that led to this skewing in the first place, which — as much as I would like to lay it at the feet of the publishing industry — had as much to do with my own habits and thought processes as anything else. I discovered that certain past experiences (like having to read The House on Mango Street in school twice, and disliking it both times) had implanted in my subconscious brain the idea that I "didn't like" Latin@ literature, something I only discovered by consciously pushing up against it.

Although I didn't announce my goal at the outset (simply because my blog didn't exist yet), I did write a reflection post on the year, which brings me to this article's second point. It would be wonderful if we lived in the kind of idealistic world the writer depicts, wherein we read books for their own sake and they just happen to fall across a diverse spectrum of topics and demographics. But until we live in that world, why not talk about how we don't? Why not admit that you are making a conscious effort to diversify your reading because you've recognized that, on your own, that doesn't happen?

I understand the point that resolutions don't always pan out and that it's crappy to make these kinds of public resolutions if you're just doing it in an attempt to show how "social justice-minded" you are or what a good "ally" you are. I get that. But it seems like most of the people she's calling out are people who already have platforms and audiences and write things about themselves, so why avoid mentioning this specific thing?

For the past two years I've shared my reading goals for the year (2015 goals, 2016 goals). Is there something permissible about saying I want to read more graphic novels or books about World War I that does not extend to wanting to read fewer books by white Americans?

The reasons for sharing the resolutions are the same: First and foremost, I want to hold myself accountable by publicly sharing my goals (and then, later, reflecting on whether I accomplished them). And secondly, I want to challenge other people to be self-reflective about their own reading habits and whether they've been intentionally or unintentionally avoiding books in certain genres or, more uncomfortably, by authors of certain ethnicities or nationalities.

This goes above and beyond just recommending books from my own diverse(r) reading selections, as the article suggests. As I said above, before I intentionally set out on a journey to broaden my reading, I wasn't aware that I was discounting particular book recommendations as "books I wouldn't be interested in." Sometimes someone else's personal challenge, made public, can inspire others to — if not do the same — turn a critical eye on their own thoughts and behaviors.

Two final thoughts:

I saw some responses to the Jezebel article that said simply, "Read what you want!" Which, to me, just underscores why it's so important to have these conversations, not just about what we're reading, but why. I don't think people realize the origins of what they "want" to read until they stop and think about them. As my own to-read list ballooned to 300+, I started being more mindful of what I added to the list, and why. Before a book gets added to my list now, I generally have to see it recommended multiple times in multiple places by people or publications I trust, and check with myself that I really do want to read it. However, if a book falls outside my own "default reading scope" (i.e., the books I naturally gravitate to), I am more likely to add it to my list after just a few recommendations. This is my own way of ensuring that the books I read continue to expand my mind rather than keep it running in its existing, well-worn circles.

Secondly, if you are considering your own resolution to read more diversely, I would point out that there's a reason my personal tracking system (which I continue to use for my own accountability) looks only at author and main character demographics. I cringe a little bit when I see book reviews that celebrate "diversity" on a surface level, as in, "This book is so diverse! There is a black character and a gay character and someone uses a wheelchair!" Google "tokenism" and read about the tendency to relegate non-white, non-straight, non-ablebodied characters to the role of "best friend" or "classmate." If you're a white person and your goal is to break out of your whitewashed reading box, then read books by people of color — of all genders — where the main character is a person of color. Don't be content to tick off that a book contains "diverse" people if you never get inside the head of someone different from yourself.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you tried to intentionally broaden your own reading in this way? If so, have you made this intention known to others? Why or why not?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Top Ten Bookish Resolutions for 2016

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Last year I shared my bookish goals for 2015, and I recently shared how I did with those goals. Now it's time to think about the new year, and the folks at The Broke and the Bookish have upped the ante, so it's not just goals but resolutions for 2016! Here are mine.

1. I resolve to read all the unread books on our bookshelves.
There are a dozen books I've gotten through PaperBackSwap or as gifts that I just haven't read yet. I want to get them read this year so I can decide whether to keep them or send them on. These are Stolen, George, Faith Unraveled, Borderlands/La Frontera, The Whole Life Adoption Book, Dear Mister Rogers, Does It Ever Rain in Your Neighborhood?, East of Eden, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Discoverers, Walking on Water, Letters from a Martyred Christian, and Adoption Parenting.

2. I resolve to read all the Catholic books on my to-read list.
I am hoping to go to World Youth Day this year, so it's a good time to get caught up on these books. I want to read The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis (particularly as he's named this "The Year of Mercy" and I'm not sure I know exactly what that means); Philippine Duchesne: A Woman with the Poor, which is about the saint I chose for my confirmation name because she was French but about whom I know very little; and With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life, a recommendation from a friend.

3. I resolve to read a novel in French.
I spent 2015 doing daily French lessons on Duolingo to brush up my skills, and one of my personal goals for 2016 is to participate in regular French conversation groups. However, it's been a long time since I read a full book in French. My hope is to read Translation Is a Love Affair in the original French, as it's not a very long book and some reviews said it seems to have lost something in translation.

4. I resolve to read some highly rated books I'd never heard of.
The Goodreads list of books with a 4.2 rating or above introduced me to a number of books I'd never heard of before, but which have 1,000+ ratings that put them in the highest rated books on the site. These include The Way of Kings, Ficciones, The Winds of War, All Creatures Great and Small, and Imperium.

5. I resolve to read some classic psychology books.
I see these books pop up occasionally in discussions about people's behavior or therapy techniques, and I want to read them for myself rather than getting just the bare-bones summary from an article. The ones I have in mind are Feeling Good, Will I Ever Be Good Enough?, and Emotional Vampires.

6. I resolve to reread some Agatha Christie books.
It's always galled me that I tossed the list I made in middle school of the 60+ of her mysteries that I'd read, because now I can't remember which ones I've read and which I haven't (with a few notable exceptions, like And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express). I want to start over and read her books again, plus rate and review them.

7. I resolve to read some World War I books.
At one point I was trying to get my great-grandfather's WWI memoir published, but I got discouraged by the rejections, and I think to write a better query letter I need to be more familiar with what's already out there. On my list are Good-Bye to All That, which is a memoir, and The Guns of August, a highly rated, Pulitizer Prize-winning book about the war.

8. I resolve to read more books that require waiting for hard copies.
Although I organize my to-read list based on my current goals, I will often read something next just because it's currently available on OverDrive. Some books I want to read require making a request via our university's ILL system or even (gasp!) buying the book. I don't want those books to linger on my to-read list forever, especially as some are out of print and will become increasingly hard to track down. Books like Celebrating Silence, Friendship at the Margins, and Winter of Fire were recommended to me this past year but I didn't read them because I couldn't easily get a copy at the library.

9. I resolve to read multiple books published in 2016.
When Goodreads' 2015 awards rolled around, I'd read a measly one book in the pool, though plenty of them were on my to-read list. This year, I want to make it a priority to read books the same year they're published!

10. I resolve to read books published in 2014 and 2015.
See #9. There are too many books from the last two years that I never bothered to get my hands on, and I want to get caught up on the books everyone's been recommending.

What are your book-related resolutions for the next year?

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Review of 2015 Reading Goals

Happy New Year! The start of a new year is always a good time to set some goals, and I'll be sharing my 2016 bookish goals very soon. But first, it's important to look back at last year's goals and see how things went!

Below are the goals I set for 2015, and how I did with them.

1. Read some fun books I've put off
I read all of the fun books I'd planned on reading (Hyperbole and a Half, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Anna and the French Kiss, and Yes Please), as well as some other fun reads, like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, The Rosie Project, and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Not all of them were as enjoyable as I'd hoped, but none of them were awful, and it was a nice change of pace from the heavier stuff I tend to read.

2. Read at least 100 books again
I wasn't sure when I made my goals in late 2014 whether I'd become a parent in 2015, and how that would affect my reading. As it turned out, we got the adoption call just a few days into the new year, and I exceeded my count from 2014, reading 129 books total in 2015. This was partly due to listening to many classic children's book on audio while feeding my son; now that he's more independent, we'll see whether I can keep up the same pace in 2016!

3. Rate and review every book I read
I accomplished this, except for intentionally choosing not to rate religious texts (#7). I also wrote a brief review/explanation for books I abandoned, though I didn't rate them either.

4. Read books recommended by people I know
I got through a ton of recommended books! Anna and the French Kiss, Boxers and Saints, Me Before You, Gilead, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Crossover, The Princess Bride, The Girl with All the Gifts, Brain on Fire, The Other Wes Moore, Invisible Cities, and The Unthinkable were all reads based on recommendations! And that's not counting recommendations from people like John Green and Anne Bogel, who both recommended several of the books I read this year.

5. Finally finish the "classics" list I've been working on since high school
Complete! It took me 15 years, but I read all 88 classic books featured on my middle school English teacher's classroom border. The last four I finished this year were The Canterbury Tales, Little House on the Prairie, The Miracle Worker, and Flowers for Algernon.

6. Read more classic children's literature I've overlooked
Thanks to the plethora of audiobook options available on OverDrive from our library, my son and I listened to a ton of classic children's books I'd never read before, including The Cricket in Times Square, Ballet Shoes, All-of-a-Kind Family, A Little Princess, Heidi, Because of Winn-Dixie, Mary Poppins, George's Marvelous Medicine, The Tale of Despereaux, Betsy-Tacy, Caddie Woodlawn, and Stuart Little, as well as some newer books, like How to Train Your Dragon, Fortunately, the Milk, and A Snicker of Magic.

7. Read some other religious texts
This is one goal where I failed pretty badly. I only got through the very short Tao Te Ching in 2015. I started The Qur'an and am halfway through now. Still on my to-read list are the Book of Mormon, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita.

8. Read some graphic novels
I no longer have to say that I've never read a graphic novel! This year I read Boxers, Saints, Persepolis, Maus, and Blankets. Watchmen is still on my to-read list.

9. Reread at least one book a month
I am so averse to rereading that I couldn't quite get myself to do this, but I did use baby-feeding time to listen to some audiobooks of children's books I read in school a long time ago and remembered very little of. These were Summer of My German Soldier, Pippi Longstocking, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, Sarah, Plain and Tall, Mr. Popper's Penguins, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Number the Stars. I also reread The Glass Castle for book club. With nine books total, I didn't quite make my goal of one per month, but that was more rereading than I'd done in a long while!

10. Continue diversifying my reads
This was a pretty vague goal, but I did manage not to read only books by white Americans in 2015. (After avoiding them in 2014, I was afraid that's all I would read in 2015.) It certainly helped that one of my book clubs did a "year of reading around the world," with a book from a different country every month, so that's why I read The Garlic Ballads, The Book of Chameleons, Nervous Conditions, The Good Muslim, Death in the Andes, and On heroes, lizards and passion. Some books from other countries I read on my own were Persepolis (and Persepolis 2), Madame Bovary, A Small Place, The Death of Ivan Ilych, Annie John, and Invisible Cities. I also read a number of books by and about black Americans, including Sula, Between the World and Me, The Other Wes Moore, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, Twelve Years a Slave, Brown Girl Dreaming, and The Crossover. Certainly, though, the majority of the books I read were by white Americans, and I'm hoping to swing the pendulum back in 2016.

All in all, I think I did pretty well! My goals did what they were intended to do, which was challenge me and push me a little outside my comfort zone. I look forward to sharing my 2016 goals!

Did you accomplish your book-related goals this past year?

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