2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge Roundup!

I typically do a pretty big round-up post every year, but I think I'll cut this one a bit short. Frankly, I'm just not in the mood to go through an analytical examination of the Year That Was and count up books per genre, page counts, and all the rest. It feels overly complicated at the moment, and I'd rather be watching Netflix. 

Besides which, 2016 was a shit year and for plenty of reasons, chiefly due to my mother's sudden passing, a number of high-profile celebrity deaths, and Trump's (presumably apocalyptic) presidential victory. This is the kind of year that I just don't particularly want to look back on and reflect upon, and doing so is only likely to depress me and piss me off. Thankfully, my wife, son, and books were still there for me and provided a much-needed escape route from the grim grind of day-to-day life. And due to Trump's victory and his stockpiling of white supremacists, kooks, crazies, and ne'er-do-wells within the White House, books will be even more critical over the next four years to help provide some sanity-saving escapism. Well, presuming, in our race to the bottom, that we don't start burning books en masse, anyway. Yeah, again, 2016 was shit and has soured my attitude pretty throughly. Anyway. I've already begun formulating my list of titles for the first few weeks of the New Year, and I hope that 2017 is just as book-friendly as 2016. I will be taking part in the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, and will likely set my aim a bit higher than my standard 50-book challenge. One hundred books certainly seems doable! 

2015 was a high-water mark in terms of titles read (118!). 2016, while still a very strong year for me, came in just a little bit below that mark. I still found more time to read than I had expected to, especially given that this was my first full-year as a father, but my hope to out-do last year's results fell short. So, let's dig in.

THE STATS

  • Number of books read: 112
  • Number of pages read: 21,020
  • Longest Book read: The Fireman by Joe Hill
  • Shortest book read: The Approach by Chris Holm
  • Audiobooks listened to: 21

THE RATINGS

  • 5-star reads: 33
  • 4-star reads: 54
  • 3-star reads: 16
  • 2-star reads: 7
  • 1-star reads: 1
  • Did Not Finish (DNF): 1

A note on those ratings: some of these reads were borderline and would have garnered a lower half-star rating. Since Goodreads doesn't provide a metric for half-star ratings, I rounded up. So, some of those 5- and 4-star reads should more accurately be reflected as 4.5 and 3.5, respectively. Ditto the lower ratings, as well. But, again, Goodreads does not make such allowances and I typically erred on the side of generosity. 

OUTLOOK

Keeping within my typical reading habits, horror and science fiction were the most-read genres this year. Audiobooks have become a regular fixture in my story consumption diet, as well, and I was surprised to find I had listened to so many! 

Audiobooks will certainly be front-and-center in 2017. I've had a long-standing reading resolution for several years now to incorporate more non-fiction titles into my active reading pile. Thus far, I have not been remarkably successful in this effort... Yet, I will continue to persist in this challenge and am planning on streghtening the resolution as follows: In 2017, I will read and/or listen to at least 12 non-fiction titles. That's one per month, if you're calendar savvy. I did manage to consume three non-fiction titles in 2016, all on audio, and I have plenty more already downloaded to my Audible app, with even more non-fiction ebooks on my Kindle. Really, I don't have any excuse to not follow this plan, and making it the focus of my audiobook listening should make this entirely achievable.  

And speaking of that active reading pile... One of my plans for 2017, and this may be more difficult for me to achieve, is to focus more on the unread books I already own. I need to cut back on ARC titles and lessen my use of NetGalley, as awesome a service as it is, and really go after the books piling up in both the digital and physical realms. I'm way behind on series reads, like Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and Tom Clancy titles, and I want to get back into those author's realms for a little bit. I'd be foolish to think ARCs will not continue to be a staple of my reading habits (in fact, I expect the first two months of 2017 to consist almost entirely of ebook ARCs, starting off with Kameron Hurley's upcoming The Stars Are Legion), but I at least have to try and catch up a little bit. I also need to make greater use of my local library (a terrific resources we probably all need to embrace quite a bit more), and I have a list of titles to check out as we get a bit deeper into the New Year. Some of which are even non-fiction! Huzzah! 

So that's the plan for 2017. More non-fiction, less ARCs, and make headway into titles already bought and paid for. What are your reading resolutions? 

Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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