Content Note: With covid-related restrictions changing on the fly, the library information I provide within this blog is date-sensitive. Please read the current restrictions in your community before visiting your local library.
With the latest COVID restrictions in my province, the libraries are once again closed to walk-in traffic. Thankfully, they have instigated a “Take Out” service. Library patrons can continue to put books and other material on hold at some local branches. When the materials are available, go to the branch, call them up & give them your library card #. They bring the materials out to you. I went on a Saturday morning, and it was busy. It took 3 to 4 tries to get through on the phone, and in the 5 to 10 minutes I was there, I saw about 7 people use the service.
This is a perfect time to remind all of my lovely readers to use all of your extra reserves of patience and kindness right now with all of our service workers. The Edmonton Public Library laid off 500 employees at the start of the pandemic, and I think they are still adjusting to this new normal. Thanks Pals!
Okay, let’s get to the books! This is a 4th quarter updated, and covers October to December (today) 2020. In the past I have done a full year recap, but the quarterly reviews are very pleasing to me! You can find my other 2020 quarterly reviews here:
I read 18 books this quarter AND I found a great way to track them! (Remember my last book update, and how I said I was struggling with tracking?) I mean, it’s just a google sheet, but it has great potential and it was super easy to update. There were a lot of great titles, mostly great in fact, so choosing one favourite appears to be impossible this time. I blasted through my goal of 60 books, and achieved all of my mini (reading) goals as well.
I did choose two favourites this time, a non-fiction and a fiction. The non-fiction is up first, and is an essay compilation from a variety of disabled writers. But it is also so much more than just a few essays. There are blog posts, a lovely eulogy, a testimony to congress, and some original works. I learned a hell of a lot about disabled folks (did you know there is a difference between Deaf and deaf), and was inspired to seek out more titles - both fiction and no - about the disabled experience.
My favourite non-fiction this quarter was actually a trilogy of books. I love the adventure stories when the good guys are actually sort of bad, but they swing for the underdogs. I cannot properly describe the plot of this series, suffice it to say it is full of space adventures, a huge conspiracy, love and lust, magic, friendship, and a middle aged, surly lady that I adore with my whole heart.
2020 GOAL SUMMARY
In addition to my overall goal to read 60 books, I created some “mini goals'' for myself as well. I like having these smaller goals because they helped me achieve some life stuff I was working on, and they definitely help direct and diversify my reading when I feel like I’m in a rut.
GOAL: Read 60 Books
ACHIEVED: I have read 72 books as of today!
GOAL: Read 5 short story or essay collections
ACHIEVED: I read 16 so far!
GOAL: Read 18 non-fiction books
ACHIEVED: 22 as of this writing, which feels really huge for me
GOAL: 9 of those non-fiction books by women or POC
ACHIEVED: The majority of the NF books I read this year were by POC or women, for a total of 17
GOAL: Read 25 books by POC or LGBT2S authors
ACHIEVED: Looking at my books there are 23 POC and 11 LGBT2S authors. Some are both. There were a few story collections that were authored solely by POC and LGBT folks.
GOAL: Read 1 book of poetry
ACHIEVED: I achieved this goal in the 1st quarter, and then never read any more poems for the rest of the year! Oops!
I genuinely LOLd when I finished counting the short story collection total. I had to count it three times to be sure. Noticing I was way behind a few months ago, I started looking specifically for story and essay collections at the library. There are some stellar spooky titles in here, and a few amazing LGBT2S “own voices” collections as well. That is why I create these mini goals. They force me to stretch myself out of my comfort zone a bit, and I end up reading some amazing titles I might not have otherwise.
TBR & 2021 BOOK GOALS
Working on my 2021 goals is something that I really enjoy doing, whether they are reading goals or otherwise. Usually I start thinking about them in mid-December, but with transitioning to my new job the time and energy just isn’t there for me right now. Thankfully, November-Lisa was thinking ahead and started jotting down some ideas.
Read 70 books
Read 20 Non fiction (½ women, ½ POC)
Read 5 short story or essay collections
Read 10 books by Canadian Authors
Read 10 books by Indigenous Authors
Read 1 book of poetry
So far, the division of my TBR into three main categories has been going well - work on me, learn about the world, for fun - and it will continue into the new year for as long as it’s serving me. Tracking all of this on a Google Sheet is looking to be my best option, and I have already started building that out. And finally, I have some ideas about blogs, vlogs, and Instagram posts to track my progress, and encourage other folks to think critically about what (and who) are in their TBR lists. To be honest, I am mostly sick of reading books by straight white men. Their perspective and analysis pervades every facet of life, and I can at least control this one area of my life to limit that perspective and expand my knowledge of others. Disability Visibility left me feeling so challenged and invigorated, something I haven't felt after reading a book in a long time.
What was your favourite book of the year? How many books did you read? Did you set any reading goals? (Maybe I will get the members section of my site set up next year so you will actually be able to answer that in the comments!)
Libraries are community builders. Libraries are safe, welcoming spaces to all folks. Libraries are a key to a vibrant, inclusive city. And libraries provide much more than books to borrow. I cannot give enough praise to EPL’s Take Out Program. It's too bad they keep getting their funding cut.
Do you need some help getting your reading lists kicked into gear for 2021? Book Riot has some great ideas here.