Last Sunday of 2014. It’s been a wild year, one I’m ready to wrap up. I’m going to be putting up my end-of-year survey later this week, so I don’t want to say too much today about specific books. Instead, I want to bring this year to a close by looking at the general trends of 2014.
This was a very different year for me, not least because I re-awakened The Zen Leaf. It’s been interesting writing public reviews again, and having a blog dedicated to that. I was worried, when I first began, that I would very easily get drawn into that pressure of having to post all the time again, and my reading pace would increase drastically. Other than my normal bump up during RIP season – something that happened even when I wasn’t blogging publicly – I’ve stayed very relaxed, which is comforting.
It’s not just in reading pace that I’ve stayed relaxed, but in what I read. Since mid-2011, I’ve adopted a philosophy of reading whatever feels good at the time, rather than for any obligation. While that has led to a less diverse book list (both in terms of social issues, and in terms of genre/time period/etc), it has also led to a lot of personal enjoyment for the most part. This year, over 40% of the authors I read were ones I already knew and loved. Nearly 3/4ths of my fiction was speculative, and for the first time since 2009, half of the novels I read were young adult (normally my adult percentage is twice as high as young adult).
I no longer believe that reading “whatever you want, whenever you want” is a recipe for 100% book satisfaction. No matter if you’re reading for fun, reading to challenge yourself, or reading to expand your knowledge, you’re going to come across books you love and books you don’t really enjoy. Some of the best books I’ve ever read were books I didn’t want to read in the first place, and some of the worst have been books I was dying to read. I’ve had years of reading-for-pleasure that produced no noteworthy books, and others, like this year, that has produced a myriad of them. I’ve learned to be grateful for the wonderful books that come along, because they sometimes strike in very random moments.
It’s been a really good book year for me. I discovered several new authors/series to love, revisited some old favorites (books and authors), and (for the latter half of the year) had a public place to share all these loved-books with other book-lovers. The Zen Leaf has its history of six years of reviews fully rebuilt, and 2015 will start with a completely clean slate. Here’s to more wonderful reading in the new year!