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text 2018-01-20 19:19
2017 Year in Review: Stats
Shadowhouse Fall - Daniel José Older
Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee
A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) - Sherry Thomas
Food of the Gods: A Rupert Wong Novel - Cassandra Khaw
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle
The Stars Are Legion - Kameron Hurley
The Heiress Effect - Courtney Milan
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole
The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth) - N.K. Jemisin
Clean Room Vol. 3: Waiting for the Stars to Fall - Gail Simone,Jon Davis-Hunt
Did anyone else end up with a broken counter on the Goodreads stats page? I know they had an issue with the date read field earlier in the year. While that eventually worked itself out, my total for 2017 is way off. The states page claims over 100, but the list is really only 79.
My breakdown of the 79 "books" I finished in 2017:

anthologies: 0
collections: 0
Adult novels: 50
YA novels: 8
MG novels: 0
graphic novels: 1
art book: 0
comic omnibus: 15
magazine issues: 0
children's books: 2
nonfiction: 3
I make a demographics list every year as a way of giving myself the opportunity to think about who I've read and how I can do better.
Across all categories:
  Written by Women: 53 (67%, down from 72% in 2016)
  Written by POC: 29 (37%, up from 17% in 2016)
  Written by Transgender authors: 5 (6%, up from 1% in 2016) 
  Written by Non-binary authors: 2 (3%, up from 1% in 2016)
While this looks like a large improvement from last year, I should note that this is not unique authors, but total across all my reading. I went on Cassandra Khaw and Daniel José Older benders this fall that account for a lot of my non-white reading. I also went on a Courtney Milan bender in January that is helping inflate the written by women category. 
My favorite book from 2017 were really hard to select! It was a great reading year, but I narrowed it down to 10. Please don't ask me to order them as that's clearly an impossible task. They should all appear in the banner at the top, but here's a list, alphabetically:
I reviewed all 79 titles read in 2017, which is really more than I expected. Not all those reviews are great, but in terms of quantity, I beat my expectations. 
My favorite new-to-me author of 2017 is Cassandra Khaw. She's talented and her range includes (nay, celebrates!) splatterpunk. 
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review 2018-01-17 00:00
The Last Ballad
The Last Ballad - Wiley Cash The Last Ballad - Wiley Cash Good book even if it did make me angry

The country runs off the backs of the sometimes most hidden most underpaid but hardest working people. I believe this to be still mostly true today, though not as bad as the 1920's as represented in this book. I found the book very well written but hard to read because I felt angry at the very real inequality that existed back then. The characters were well written. The ending broke my heart. I enjoyed reading Wiley Cash's Book.
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review 2017-12-04 19:36
Ballad of Reading Gaol - Oscar Wilde 
Ballad of Reading Gaol - Oscar Wilde

I don't read a lot of poetry as such because my favorites rhyme and are silly; so nothing since Old Possum really. (In my defense, I pay a lot of attention to song lyrics, and enjoy a slant rhyme or an unusual rhythm, otherwise, as you may have noticed, I read a lot of children's books which meet both my criteria but aren't usually labeled "poetry"). I honestly can't remember if I read this in its entirety back in the day: there were a lot of English literature classes, and a lot of reading, only a small portion of which actually stuck, although I can usually guess the age and author within a hundred years or so, so, you know, I learned context, and that's something, right? (Please Mr. Edwards, don't feel that your teaching was in vain.)

Whatever got me thinking about Wilde got me reading up on him in Wikipedia, and got me wondering about the validity of Ellman's biography (which I dearly loved, but it's been more than 20 years, so it is a bit vague now) and from one thing to another down the rabbit hole until I read the Ballad of Reading Gaol. Despite it's complete lack of silliness I quite enjoyed it, and found it very moving. But the real shocker was how many of its lines I had seen quoted, without recognizing the source before. Woah.

Wilde was foolish to file the suit, but damn, no one deserves what he endured (he and others, so many others) for love.

personal copy


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review 2017-11-14 22:58
Okay that was good
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle

I am not a huge Lovecraft fan. I'm not a Lovecraft fan at all. I understand why he is a touchstone and all that, but yeah, he's not for me. So outside of the two characters, there are probably some Lovecraft references I missed.

This is a fine book about racism, society, and what society makes people become. LaValle gets so many points for the wonderful story arc that kicks Hollywood stories to the curb. 

Overall the writing is beautiful (though the kindle edition has at least two run-ons that jarred). This novella is a brillant work of criticism and homage to Lovecraft as well as indictment of USA past and present.

And it is a story about music too.

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review 2017-11-11 16:48
Ballad for a Mad Girl
Ballad for a Mad Girl - Vikki Wakefield

Grace Foley is a seventeen-year-old prankster and risk-taker. The only thing she's afraid of is losing. One night she accepts a challenge as part of a feud between the two local schools, but things don't go as planned. Something she can't explain happens and now she's haunted by voices and visions. She's drawn into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding a missing girl named Hannah Holt, and she's having trouble figuring out what's real and what's imagined. Grace is losing herself and she doesn't know if she's uncovering the truth or if she's going mad.


I don't know what made me request this book. Reading the blurb now it doesn't interest me at all. I found this book extremely hard to get in to. The writing was disjointed, it was hard to follow along. I did not like any of the characters. I just don't care. DNF @ 43%.


Thank you to Netgalley and Text Publishing for a copy of this book.

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