2018 started with what I thought was the best idea ever: how to solve the conundrum of wanting to read my old books, my new books, any random book that catches my eye, and keep up with my quest to find books in which fat women are treated with dignity. I took a weekend to physically touch every book I own and catalog it into a spreadsheet, including the date on which I purchased the book (Goodreads was a big help). Then, I went through my e-book accounts — Kindle, Nook, Google Books, and some random files — and logged those too.
With my big spreadsheet, I was able to sort books by purchase date and create a second spreadsheet with four columns: my oldest book purchased, my newest book purchased, a book on my fat quest list, and a blank column. I filled in the first two columns in order by date, and picked a variety of books off my fat quest list and plugged those in. Eventually, I filled in the “freebie” column with books that grabbed me. Here’s what it looked like:
This reading plan worked so well. One book per week is doable, all four columns speak to my whims, and I never got into a slump because I knew what I needed to read next — no waffling over which book suits me in that moment. Best of all, almost every one of these books belong to me, so I really cleared out my personal TBR pile. It was satisfying to watch books go from a big pile in my home office at the beginning of the year to nothing. If I got ahead, I would read a few books by men and several theatre scripts for a committee I’m on at work. Total, I read 84 books in 2018. Here’s the breakdown:
Genre Fiction: 12
Young Adult: 6
Graphic Novel/Comic: 5
Favorite Reads in Each Genre:
Fiction: The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts
Non-Fiction: The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande
Genre Fiction: Fat Assassins by Marita Fowler
Theatre: Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks
Young Adult: Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Graphic Novel/Comic: Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal
By Author Nationality:
White American: 42
Black American: 12
*Note: I find these numbers super cringe-worthy.
By Author's Gender:
*Note: authors counted once, despite how many books of theirs I read.
By Diversity of Characters: books may appear in multiple categories
Books with LGBTQ people: 20
Books with people who have disabilities: 10
Books with fat women: 16
Where the Books Came From:
Reading Fat Women Quest: Results::
Overall, Recommend: 8
Don't Recommend: 4
*Reasons for not recommending: racism, ableism, dieting, promotes rape culture
*Note: I also find these numbers cringe-worthy. There's a 66% success rate.
*Another note: I wouldn't recommend the books I recommend 100%! [[[cringe]]]
I’m taking the same reading approach in 2019, but one column will be changed: no longer will I have a “freebie” slot each month. Instead, I’ll be doing a buddy read with Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku — the majority of the Valdemar Universe (15 books), a series written by Mercedes Lackey. In my fat question column, I’ll be reading the Corinna Chapman detective series (6 books) by Kerry Greenwood. Then, I always read books by the fellas that I don’t review here. I plan to get through the whole “Mark Renton” series by Irvine Welsh (5 books). 2019 is going to stick me in different worlds and leave me there for multiple books — quite uncommon for me. I don’t even watch TV shows that have a big narrative arc (e.g. The Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black).