Some mid-year book stats and favorite books read (so far) in 2017

So far this year I’ve read 31 books. Technically, I haven’t finished that 31st book, yet, but I’m anticipating that I’ll finish it by the end of the month, so I’m counting it here. Even if I didn’t count it, I can still safely say that I’m comfortably past the halfway mark to my goal of reading at least 50 books/year.

I’d given myself a few fun challenges at the start of the year. For one, I wanted to actually complete the Read Harder Challenge this year (2017). I’ve participated the last few years (every year they’ve had one), but I’ve never actually finished all 24 tasks before the end of the year. I think the closest I came was in the first year (2015) when I completed 21 of 24 tasks. This year, I’m on track but a bit behind schedule. So far I’ve completed 10 of 24 tasks, which is exactly how many I completed in all of last year (2016). I think I’m going to be able to catch up and complete all the tasks, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a nail biter, up to the last minute, sort of affair.

I also wanted to “bust my backlist” of Kindle ebooks. I have over 100 unread books on my Kindle. Some were free, others I got deeply discounted, and a handful (my “hotlist”) were purchased full price but I still haven’t read them. I put myself on a backlist book buying ban this year, meaning no buying new books unless they are new releases and I intended to read them right away. For any other books, I needed to leverage my library’s extensive ebook collection. This has definitely cut back on my book purchases, but I’ve leveraged my library a bit more that I’d initially anticipated. So, I’ve only managed to read 10 books off my backlist so far. Not bad, but not great considering that’s less than a third of the total books I’ve read so far this year.

Since I’m starting a new BuJo in July, I made this cool spread to keep track of my reading challenges:

The top section is for tracking my Read Harder Challenge tasks and the bottom section is for checking off books on my “hotlist” because those are the most guilt-inducing of my backlist of purchased books. My goal is to read at least 8 before the end of the year. As you can see, so far I’ve read 3.

If I haven’t put much of a dent in my hotlist (or backlist, for that matter), what have I been reading? Well, I’ve definitely been reading a LOT of new releases. 13 of the 31 books I’ve read were published in 2017. The rest were either books I borrowed from the library, comics, or writing craft books.

In general, my reading has been pretty evenly spread between YA (58%) and adult books (42%). As usual it’s been pretty heavily weighted toward fiction (90%) vs. non-fiction (10%). The genre split shows that almost half of what I’ve read so far have been fantasy novels (unsurprising). But the full breakdown is:

  • 45% fantasy (14 books)
  • 19% realistic (6 books, 3 fiction and 3 non-fiction)
  • 16% sci-fi (5 books)
  • 6% comics (2 trade volumes)
  • 6% writing craft (2 books)
  • 3% romance (1 book)
  • 3% health (1 book)

Out of the 31 books I’ve read so far, these have been my favorites:

Oddly enough, all but one are new releases. More surprising (to me, at least) is that 3 of these 6 (HALF!) are contemporary YA books, not sci-fi or fantasy! I guess this has been a good year for contemporary YA…or, more likely, I’m just finally finding ones that I like to read.

If forced to stack rank them, I’d put them in this order (links go to Goodreads):

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — contemporary YA fiction with one of the best narrative voices I’ve read
  2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor — YA fantasy with a strong “gods or monsters” theme
  3. The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin — strong second/middle book in an excellent and unique adult sci-fi/fantasy series
  4. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi — adult space opera done exactly the way I like it
  5. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy — contemporary YA fiction with characters that leap off the page and into your heart
  6. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon — possibly the cutest contemporary YA romance I’ve read in… well, ever

We’ll see how they stick with me and hold up against whatever books I read in the rest of this year, but I definitely think at least a few of these will make my “top 5” end of year list.

How are you doing on your reading goals for this year? What have been your favorite reads so far? Anything I should definitely add to my TBR?

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