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.
- The Late Show, by Michael Connelly (2019)
- Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
- Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty (2020 pre-pandemic) – I really liked this book. It was an interesting setup plus I loved it had a romance writer as one of the main characters.
Biography, Autobiography, Memoir
- Paris in Love, by Eloisa James (2020 pre-pandemic)
- Educated by Tara Westover – I doubt I would have made it through this audiobook if I hadn’t had so much driving time while I was listening to it. However, it was a fascinating and horrifying read. Some of the religious attitudes in Tara’s home life sounded spookily familiar even though I grew up in an entirely different denomination1.
- Whiskey in A Teacup: What Growing up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits by Reese Witherspoon (2020 pre-pandemic)
Written by an author from another country
- 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.
- Giant Days, by John Allison (2019)
- I Moved to Los Angeles and Worked in Animation, by Natalie Nourigat (2020 pre-pandemic)
- The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – Not entirely sure if this belongs in informational. It’s meant mainly for writers and other creative types. However, it reminded me that I don’t have to give up in despair just because life isn’t quite going the way I want.
- Ditch the City and Go Country: How to Master the Art of Rural Life From A Former City Dweller by Alissa Hessler (2020 pre-pandemic)
- The Simple Art of Business Etiquette by Jeffrey L. Seglin – I picked this book because I was cleaning the house and needed something to listen to but wasn’t in the mood for fiction. It was interesting to listen to and reminded me a bit of the Ask a Manager blog which I adore reading.
- Estranged, by Ethan M. Aldridge (2020 pre-pandemic)
- Neon Aliens Ate my Homework and Other Stories by Nick Cannon
- Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington’s Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away; Young Readers Edition by Erica Armstrong Dunbar (original author) and Kathleen Van Cleve (adaption)
- Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs – Fun
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi (original author) and Jason Reynolds (adaption)
- Minor Mage, by T. Kingfisher (2020 pre-pandemic)
- The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen (2019)
- 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)
- The Secret Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams
- The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison – I saw someone describe this as Sherlock Holmes fan fiction, which is fair. However, I still enjoyed it.
- Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
- Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely – I swear I saw this on a librarian list at SPL. However, now I can’t find it mentioned. In any case, I really enjoyed this book. It’s an interesting mystery from the point of view of a Black housekeeper.
- Blanche Among the Talented Tenth by Barbara Neely- This was also good. I really should read some more in this series.
- A Christmas Return by Anne Perry
- Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb – I really enjoy watching how the characters in the In Death series develop from book to book, particularly Eve and Roarke’s relationship.
- Vendetta in Death by J.D. Robb
- Golden in Death by J.D. Robb
- Love Poems for Married People by John Kenney – Wow . . . this has been a long year. I was convinced that I read this back in 2019 but apparently not. In any case, these poems are delightfully snarky.
- Love Poems for People with Children by John Kenney – I might have liked this volume even better than the first.
- The Princess Saves Herself in This One, by Amanda Lovelace (2019)
- 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
- A Very Scalzi Christmas, by John Scalzi (2019)
- The Trans Space Octopus Congregation, by Bogi Takács (2020 pre-pandemic)
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