Last 2020 retrospective that I’ve got for you this week. Happy new year!
Over the last couple of years, I’ve kept a running thread on Twitter of the books I read, part of my effort to keep myself on track with a reading goal of roughly a book a week. In 2018, I blew past my goal with 74 books, but last year, I missed my goal (42 of 52), but still read a lot of great books. This year, I didn’t quite hit the goal either, but I did better than I did last year.
An easy reason for that is that I didn’t set enough time to read. When asked, I tell people that my goal is to set aside 30-40 minutes a day of dedicated reading time, and that my time was first thing in the morning, before I booted up email, Slack, and Feedly. I’ve also found that as I did a lot of driving, I listened to more audiobooks (usually alongside the print edition)
The last couple of years, I’ve slipped a bit out of that habit — the COVID-19 pandemic certainly hasn’t helped this year, given that for most of the spring, my infant daughter was here, along with my son, who was doing remote learning: some of my time got eaten up simply by more parenting time. That eased off this summer a bit as they both went to daycare and school, and I was able to snatch time away in the afternoons after they left or when work slowed down a bit.
I tend to read mostly science fiction and fantasy, and I’ve been trying to read more outside of the genre: literary-ish fiction, nonfiction, and so forth. It also pushes me to read stuff that I might not otherwise pick up, and to focus on reading more authors of colors and from marginalized backgrounds. I think I succeeded there, and in doing so, I found some new authors and titles that really blew me away, exposing me to new perspectives and imparted new insights into the world. Looking at the final count, they comprised more than half of my reading this year, which I’m pretty happy with, although there’s always more to do.
So, here’s what I’ve read in the last 12 months:
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgshig Rice
Westside by W.M. Akers
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
Finna by Nino Cipri
Delta-V by Daniel Suarez
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Vagrant Queen by Magdalene Visaggio and Jason Smith
Republic Commando: Hard Contact by Karen Traviss
Ms. Marvel: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
Tales from the Loop by Simon Stålenhag
Gravity of a Distant Sun by R.E. Searns
Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole
The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
The Lost Book of Asana Moreau by Michael Zapata
Hearts of Oak by Eddie Robson
Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang / Ken Liu
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Andromeda Evolution by Daniel Wilson
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Burn-In by Peter W. Singer and August Cole
Department of Mindblowing Theories by Tom Gauld
Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett
Red Dust by Yoss
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
Mexican Gothic by Siliva Moreno-Garcia
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Failed State by Christopher Brown
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Ring Shout by P. Djéli Clark
Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay
A Wealth of Pigeons by Harry Bliss and Steve Martin
Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell
The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon
Serpentine by Philip Pullman
The Salvage Crew by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
Archeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past by Sarah Parck
Madi: Once Upon a Time in the Future by Duncan Jones and Alex de Campi
What didn’t I finish? I’ve got a huge stack of books here in my workspace — books stacked into various priority stacks — stuff to read right away, books to get to for various projects, and titles that I’ll keep around as a reminder that I’d like to get to when the mood strikes me.
So, time to reset the count, and start again tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll hit my goal in the next 12 months. What’s on your list to read, and how are you approaching reading in 2021?