2018 Annual Reading Challenge
A reflection on some of last year’s reading.
This is the first year I didn’t complete my annual book challenge since I started doing one. I did Book Riot’s 2017 Challenge. Alas, my personal life suffered some upheaval—so it goes. I did read some fantastic books, though!
History rec: Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms—Full disclosure: I didn’t quite finish this one, but man is it incredible to read about modern-day religions that are older than out country (or the Reformation, or even Christianity). RUNNER UP: White King and Red Queen—I grew up during the end of the Cold War and it has always held some fascination for me. This book’s entire tone will take you right back to the Reagan years, even though it was published in 2008 and takes narrative well beyond 1989. It will not leave you with much hope for Russia, though.
Queer rec: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel—An amazing collection of essays by Alexander Chee, or as he put it: a collection of teacups against a river of his life. So much good stuff for writers to read, so much good stuff period. RUNNER UP: Out of Step—This is some fine creative non-fiction, by a queer soldier during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Moll delivers a personal journey that feels familiar when I reflect on my own interest in the military after 9/11 and how I’ve changed politically since then.
Non-fiction rec: Hidden Figures—A lot of my non-fiction reads are also history (or queer, or both), but this one is also sciencey and bigger than period it references. You may have already seen the movie, which was a lovely fictional adaptation of the history, but the book deserves your attention! These incredible hidden figures deserve your attention!
Short story collection rec: Sixth Months, Three Days, Five Others—This little collection is an absolute delight! The stories are clever, and well-paced. Levar Burton read one of them live and Charlie Jane Anders joined him on stage at the end—I also recommend listening to that!
Comics rec: The Old Guard and Goldie Vance—Completely different books! The Old Guard is about a group of immortal mercenaries forced to confront what life means when it is unending—and your best skillset is war. (I should also point out that I will read any indie-Greg Rucka comic.) Goldie Vance is a queer, POC-centered, Nancy Drew comic that is delightful and entertaining.
Books mentioned in this post:
White King and Red Queen by Daniel Johnson
Hidden Figures by Margaret Lee Shetterly
The Old Guard by Greg Rucka