Category Archives: Reading Goals

Reading in 2020

I spent the last several months thinking I had read substantially less this year than previous years. I guess it was the expected narrative. Everyone was having trouble concentrating and I knew I had started a lot of books I hadn’t finished. It wasn’t till I reviewed my reading log that I realized it wasn’t that I had read a lot less than 2019 but I had forgotten to log most of my reading from May and June. It turns out I managed to read 78 books in 2020, only 2 less than 2019.

The other thing I completely forgot until I started to write my 2020 recap today was that I had set a reading goal for 2019/2020. Given that I had forgotten I had a reading goal, I did reasonably well. Though, there were a couple of areas I didn’t come even close to making my targets. When I made my reading goal, I knew reading 26 YA books was going to be a stretch for me. I only ended up reading 9. Though, I did start a lot more YA than I chose to finish. I read one historical fiction novel but the goal was for two. I didn’t list any in the Librarian Recommended category though I think I may have just forgotten where I got some of the recommendation from. Then there’s literature . . Apparently I just don’t naturally read straight-up literature anymore. So, if I want a stretch goal for the future, literature might be a good one.

Best Sellers
Goal: 2
Read: 3

Biography, Autobiography, Memoir
Goal: 2
Read: 3

Librarian Recommended
Goal: 2
Read: 0

Written by an author from another country
Goal: 2
Read: 3

  • My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – My favorite parts of this book involved Korede talking about cleaning. It might be weird, but I find discussions about cleaning and precision to be very relaxing. I really, really wish Home Comforts, by Cheryl Mendelson, was available as an audiobook. I’m sure it’d be the most soothing read ever.
  • The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson – This was a delightfully weird and quirky book. Little tidbits of appalling history were dropped all over the place in between the obviously fictional story.
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I really liked Gods of Jade and Shadow but started, and never finished, The Beautiful Ones. This one was kind of in the middle for me. It was interesting, and worth reading, but not really my thing.

Graphic Novels
Goal: 2
Read: 2

Historical Fiction
Goal: 2
Read 1

Informational
Goal: 2
Read: 3

Juvenile Books
Goal: 6
Read: 7

YA Books
Goal: 26
Read: 9

  • vN, by Madeline Ashby (2020 pre-pandemic)
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – This turned out to be a re-read which I didn’t realize until I was most of the way through the book.
  • The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
  • Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
  • A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
  • A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher – T. Kingfisher is delightful and I love almost all the books she writes2. What’s amazing about this book is she started writing it years ago, way before the baking/sourdough trend that exploded this year.
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – This was the most recent book I read and I really enjoyed it. Stevie is a very interesting character and I loved the description of the eclectic school. My one annoyance was it ends on a cliffhanger. However, I still liked it enough that I’m currently listening to the 2nd in the series.
  • Catfishing on Catnet, Naomi Kritzer (2020 pre-pandemic) – Delightful
  • Girls with Sharp Sticks, by Suzanne Young (2020 pre-pandemic)

Literature
Goal: 2
Read: 0

Mystery
Goal: 2
Read: 9

Poetry Anthologies
Goal: 2
Read: 3

General Fiction
Goal: 2
Read: 2

  • Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
  • Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson – I listened to this book while driving down to California. It was a hoot. This book probably falls best under magical realism but it’s shelved in general fiction.

Short Story Anthologies
Goal: 2
Read: 2

Other Books I Read

  • The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – I really enjoyed this book. I’m definitely going to read the next one.
  • Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear
  • Generation V by M. L. Brennan
  • Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs
  • Changes by Jim Butcher- Part of the Harry Dresden series. While I generally enjoy this series, one of my pet peeves has always been around Dresden’s benevolent sexism. I keep reading the series because the story is good and there are interesting strong female characters. However, usually there are multiple times in a book when I end up grinding my teeth at Dresden’s attitude. However, in this book, I didn’t notice as much teeth grinding. Hopefully that promising trend continues with the rest of the series.
  • “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom” by Ted Chiang
  • The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
  • Finna by Nino Cipri – A weird but fun novella.
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
  • Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn – A fun romance. I particularly enjoyed how it started.
  • How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K Eason
  • Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey – I had to like it for no reason other than the librarians 🙂
  • The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix – I have no idea why I picked up this book. Probably because of the whole housewives come out victorious over evil angle. It was an engrossing read. However, the husbands’ treatment of their wives bothered me way move than the ostensible monster of the novel (which is probably what the author intended, it just wasn’t what I was expecting and may have avoided if I realized that).
  • The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – This is the second romance I’ve read by Hoang, the first being The Kiss Quotient, and it was wonderful.
  • Null Set by S.L. Huang – I had a harder time getting into this book than the first one, Zero Point. However, once I finally did, I enjoyed it.
  • Blood Price by Tanya Huff – This book was originally published in 1991. However, in spite of that, it has aged remarkably well. I really enjoyed reading the book. Personally, I particularly liked that it was an urban fantasy without any romance plotline. I like romance but often prefer it not be mixed with other genres.
  • Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff – After reading Blood Price, I went back and listened to Valor’s Choice, which is the first book in a space opera series. I thought I had listened to this book before. However, I think I must have just listened to some of the ones later in the series because nothing sounded familiar. That said, it was very good.
  • Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher – Another one of my favorite reads from 2020. Kingfisher does macabre romance wonderfully well.
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune – I loved this one. It was such a nice kind book. This is another book that I bought the audiobook for as soon as I finished.
  • Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire – I’m not 100% sure I finished this one but I think I did so I’m going to count it.
  • Middlegame by Seanan McGuire – Seanan McGuire tells good stories. This one is no exception but it’s in a very different style than the other McGuire stories I’ve read.
  • Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik
  • Hunting Party by Elizabeth Moon (reread)
  • Sporting Chance by Elizabeth Moon (reread)
  • Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon (reread)
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  • Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – Hmm, still not quite sure what to think about this one. Parts were fascinating and parts I got a little bored. I reread Gideon the Ninth before this one and enjoyed it better than the first time. So, maybe this one would improve on a reread also.
  • Demonology and the Tri-Phasic Model of Trauma: An Integrative Approach by Nnm (Good Omens Fan Fic) – This might be the first fan fic I’ve ever read and it was really good. Also long (around 390 pages on my iPad mini). It was recommended on the Be the Serpent podcast. While I did immensely enjoy this story, I’ll probably wait for other recommendations before wading further into fan fc as the immense volume of stories available is very intimidating.
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – This was one of my 2020 favorites. Personally, I feel it’s a YA novel but it’s another case where it appears to be classified by others as an adult book. I waited several months to get it from the library. However, I only got 35 pages in before I bought it from Bookshop Santa Cruz. Then, I finished the book and bought the audiobook so I could listen to it at night.
  • Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk – I really enjoyed this book. It’s a regency romance but set in a fantasy world. Also, in true romance style, there was a HEA3.
  • The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai – I really loved the female protagonist being a tech entrepreneur.
  • The Last Emperox by John Scalzi – This is the conclusion to the The Interdependency series. It was over-the-top and a ton of fun.
  • Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi
  • The Deep by River Solomen
  • Starship Repo by Patrick S. Tomlinson
  • Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes – Another book I felt could fit into YA. I listened to the audio version which I thought was read really well.
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
  • A Pale Light in the Black by K. B. Wagers – A really fun book. Basically, it’s the Coast Guard in space.
  • Network Effect by Martha Wells
  1. Not from my family, mind you, but from some of the especially conservative church members I knew.
  2. The exceptions being her horror novels. I’m sure they’re good but they’re not for me.
  3. Happily Ever After

Reading Goal February, 2020 Update

I’ve been having trouble finishing books recently. I have quite a few half-read books sitting around that I think I’d like if I’d just finish them. However, T. Kingfisher’s newest book, Paladin’s Grace, was released a couple of weeks ago and it was the perfect book at the perfect time. I still like Swordheart a little better but Paladin’s Grace is my favorite for 2020 so far. I bought the ebook and will definitely buy the physical version also when it comes out.

We took a vacation last week during Calvin’s winter break. I started out with another great book, How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse1 by K. Eason, but the others I had pre-downloaded didn’t speak to me. Fortunately, I found a couple of more that were good and even filled in a couple of my goal categories.

Books I’ve finished recently:

  • Bestseller: Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty – This one was a lot of fun. There were several lines I particularly enjoyed in it including:
    Before her booking was “accepted” she had to answer a very long, rather invasive online questionnaire about her relationship status, diet, medical history, alcohol consumption in the previous weeks, and so on. She cheerfully lied her way through it. It was really none of their business.

    This is something I feel we should do more often on the internet.

  • Memoir: Whiskey in A Teacup: What Growing up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits, by Reese Witherspoon – When first envisioned this category I had meant to read/listen to hefty serious biographies. However, it turns out that’s not what I’m in the mood for these days. I have enough serious stuff going on in real life at the moment and don’t need more in my reading life. Like the James memoir, this was nice and chatty. However, it took me a long time to finish, even though it’s a fairly short audiobook.
  • Informational: Ditch the City and Go Country: How to Master the Art of Rural Life From A Former City Dweller, by Alissa Hessler – I have a dream of someday living somewhere my neighbors aren’t right next to me. This book goes a bit deeper into some areas that I’m not particularly interested in, such as raising animals. However, the first section on picking a location had lots of really good things to consider.
  • Juvenile Books: Estranged, by Ethan M. Aldridge – This is a juvenile graphic novel that I brought home for Calvin. I read it after he finished.
  • YA Books: vN, by Madeline Ashby – I found this one via a tor.com list. It was definitely gripping and I sped right through it.
  • YA Books: Girls with Sharp Sticks, by Suzanne Young – I ran across this one via The Book Smuggler’s blog. It’s been sitting on my virtual to be read pile for a while and I finally downloaded it while on vacation. This was another quick engrossing read with a twist that I feel I should have seen coming.
  • Short Story Anthology: The Trans Space Octopus Congregation, by Bogi Takács – I still have an incredibly hard time reading short stories. Each story end takes me out of the world and it’s really hard for me to go back into another world, particularly if they’re completely unrelated. However, there were several stories in this collection I found intriguing and would have liked longer versions.
  • Short Story Anthology: A Very Scalzi Christmas, by John Scalzi – Jaeger got this for me for Christmas, so it’s a really good thing I didn’t end up getting it for him . . . This one generally is a lot more lighthearted than the Takács anthology. As I mentioned, I don’t tend to like short stories. However, I read this while around Jaeger’s family so I wasn’t in an environment where I could really concentrate on a full-length novel anyway.

Current Goal Counts:

Category Goal Number Read
Best Sellers 2 2
Biography, Autobiography, Memoir 2 2
Librarian Recommended 2
Written by an author from another country 2
Graphic Novels 2 2
Historical Fiction 2
Informational 2 1
Juvenile Books 6 3
YA Books2 26 3
Literature 2
Mystery 2
Poetry Anthologies 2 1
General Fiction 2
Short Story Anthologies 2 2
Total 36 16
  1. This feels like a YA book to me. However, SPL didn’t put it in the YA section. Nor does K. Eason, as far as I can tell, consider it YA. So, it doesn’t get to go in that category. I might see if my son might like to listen to the audiobook though . . .
  2. Ok . . . I forgot I had such an ambitious goal in this category. Obviously I need to be reading more YA.

Reading Goal December, 2019 Update

Right after I made my goal I read several books within my goal categories. Then December got stressful and I reverted to comfort books and re-reads.

Books I’ve finished recently:

  • Bestseller: The Late Show, by Michael Connelly
  • Graphic Novel: I Moved to Los Angeles and Worked in Animation, by Natalie Nourigat – I’ve never wanted to work in animation (fortunately) but this was an interesting read and it was particularly fascinating to read the bits about adjusting to moving to LA.
  • Juvenile: The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen – This book was a fun, fast read.
  • YA: Catfishing on Catnet, Naomi Kritzer – This was delightful. It was uplifting and funny even while discussing scary topics.
  • Juvenile: Minor Mage, by T. Kingfisher – I bought this one on a whim because it’s by T. Kingfisher and I enjoyed the first paragraph. In the acknowledgements T. Kingfisher says she thinks it’s a juvenile novel and I agree so that’s how I’m categorizing it.
  • Memoir: Paris in Love, by Eloisa James – This book has a nice and chatty tone that I listened to while making suppers.
  • Graphic Novel: Giant Days, by John Allison – This was the start of a series and, if I remember, I’ll read more in the series.
  • Poetry: The Princess Saves Herself in This One, by Amanda Lovelace – Poetry isn’t something I naturally pick up. However, I really enjoyed this one and ended up buying a physical copy.

I’m currently in the middle of reading two short story anthologies so I might be able to cross that goal off soon. However, it’s slow reading because even if I like the individual stories, the lack of an ongoing plot means I don’t feel any urgency to continue after I finish each chapter.

Current Goal Counts:

Category Goal Number Read
Best Sellers 2 1
Biography, Autobiography, Memoir 2 1
Librarian Recommended 2
Written by an author from another country 2
Graphic Novels 2 2
Historical Fiction 2
Informational 2
Juvenile Books 6 2
YA Books 26 1
Literature 2
Mystery 2
Poetry Anthologies 2 1
General Fiction 2
Short Story Anthologies 2
Total 36

Reading Goal 2019/2020

For the past couple of years I have loved nominating and voting for The Hugo Awards. While I enjoy it, I also feel like it has consumed my reading life. Particularly in the months right before nominations open I felt like I was trying to cram the best science fiction and fantasy books of the past year. In 2019 I have already read a fair amount of excellent science fiction and fantasy. However, I’m going to take a break and branch out more. I’m still planning on nominating the books I happen to have read and loved but won’t try to be as systematic about it.

Back in 2013 I had a goal to read 36 books across a range of genres1. I’m going to something similar this year, though with minor tweaks in the categories. Here’s my current goal:

Best Sellers 2
Biography, Autobiography, Memoir 2
Librarian Recommended 2
Written by an author from another country 2
Graphic Novels 2
Historical Fiction 2
Informational 2
Juvenile Books 6
YA Books 6
Literature 2
Mystery 2
Poetry Anthologies 2
General Fiction2 2
Short Story Anthologies 2
  1. I just realized this was when Calvin was turning 4 and Julian turned 4 this year. I doubt this is coincidence.
  2. Not romance, mystery, science fiction/fantasy, etc