Overall, I read 94 books this year.
I started this year with a goal of finally finishing a Sirens Reading Challenge but I didn’t finish. I was doing reasonably well till late spring and then I was getting bogged down and not reading because I wasn’t in the mood to read the books in my TBR pile. So, I threw any sort of reading goal out for the rest of the year and just read books. I didn’t even attempt to read the Hugo Award nominations1 or purposely read Hugo-eligible works for next year. However, that’s ok. I needed fluffier books and I appreciate that these books existed when I needed them.
Probably one of the biggest shifts, both this year and last compared to previous years, is the number of ebooks I’ve read. If you give me an ideal reading environment, I still prefer physical books. However, I found it easier to browse for new books via Overdrive instead of first finding books that sounded interesting and then hoping that the library had it. My current public library is the smallest of my adult life2 and so the selection is smaller than I’m use to. Mind you, if I run across a book that sounds particularly interesting that the library doesn’t own, I do request the library buy it and, so far, they have approved every purchase request I have submitted. They’re a good library. It’s just obvious they have finite resources and need to prioritize books they know will check out.
This was a pretty good audio book year for me. 41% of the books I read were in audio format. This is the first year that I’ve been driving with Julian daily, during which we listen to audiobooks, and it looks like that increased my audio reading a little bit. Though, probably the biggest change is that Jaeger and I swapped evening duties back in 2020. I now do the dishes, while he puts Julian to bed, which allows quite a bit more listening time than in the past. I’ve also reduced the number of podcasts I listen to. I use to be a faithful Marketplace listener but I’ve had less energy recently to deal with the news3.
Favorites Books read in 2021:
- The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews – I haven’t finished this series yet. So far, I’ve read novels 1-9.
- Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – After I read this book, I felt like everything would be ok after all.
- The Last Watch by J. S. Dewes
- Brilliant by Marne Davis Kellogg – I have no idea why but I find this book weirdly calming and bought the audio version for my night time listing.
- Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher – I love Kingfisher and own this book as a physical book, an ebook, and an audio book.
- Paladin’s Hope by T. Kingfisher – I own both the physical and ebook versions of this book, the audio version isn’t available yet.
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
- Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia
Books from the Sirens Reading Challenge:
- Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
- We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
- Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Brooke A Allen, Grace Ellis, Noelle Steveson, and Shannon Watters
- Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
- Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper
- The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison – I’ve owned this book for years and finally the reading challenge made me start it. It’s a very good book but since it features a pandemic, I think it was more surreal to read now than when it first came out.
- The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley
- Burnout: the Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
- Whipping Girl by Julia Serano — this one I did not finish before we moved. However, the sections I read gave me a lot to think about.
- A Feast of Sorrows by Angela Slatter
- The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
In a completely different vein, I’ve also been thumbing through a lot of interior design/home books to get ideas for our house. I didn’t include all of these in my reading count because I didn’t read some of them cover to cover. However, my favorite house-related books were:
- House Lessons by Erica Bauermeister (really more a memoir)
- Jungalow: Decorate Wild: The Life and Style Guide by Justina Blakeney — I am so happy design books aren’t just full of gray these days. I was getting so tired of the colorless look. This probably verges on too colorful for my own home but it was still very refreshing to see.
- Elle decor : the height of style : inspiring ideas from the world’s chicest rooms by Michael Boodro and Infrid Abramovitch
- Elements of Family Style by Erin Gates
- The Interior Design Handbook by Frida Ramstedt
- Sarah Style by Sarah Richardson
- Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith
I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to try any reading challenges this year. For now, I’ll just take it one day at a time.
- Unlike Jaeger who read most of the main categories. ↩
- Well, the smallest that I regularly got books from. Longmont was smaller but that was when I was working at High Plains and so I had access to their excellent collection. ↩
- The podcast I currently listen to the most is Fated Mates which is all about romance books. I don’t read a lot of romance at the moment but I love listening to people talk about it. Some of their Trailblazer episodes are particularly fascinating. ↩