Thursday, December 24, 2020

I Read 75 Books This Year!

IKR? Guess all that extra time at home had me scrambling for travel via literature. Each year, I set a goal of 52 books a year, averaging out to one per week. I include in that paper reads, digital reads, and audiobooks, but not the unpublished beta reads I do. 

More and more of my reading these days leans to the audiobook format. Of the 75 books I read this year (Goodreads says 80, but it looks like it counted some books more than once), about 40 were audiobooks, 12 were e-books, 15 were paper (the other 8, I honestly can't remember). 

I read a lot fewer e-books this year than is usual for me, probably due to my zoom life. When it was time to read, I just didn't want to spent yet more time on screen. But audiobooks were great for my nervous energy in that I could read while I matched socks and handled the mundanities of life. 

I've fallen into a comfortable pattern in my reading, reading some things for book clubs, some things because I'm curious about the buzz surrounding them, some things because I know the authors, and some just because they caught my interest.

For my classics books club this year, I read ten books. (There was an 11th selection I didn't manage to fit in). 

Of these, I'd read three before: Wide Sargasso Sea, The Hobbit, and And Then There Were None. It's always interesting to read something again, and see how the experience changes for you over time. 

The rest were new to me. I got impatient with some of them--too much slow storytelling, outdated attitudes, etc.--but I loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I wish Anne Brontë had lived longer and had the opportunity to continue to grow as a writer. She would have earned her spot beside her more famous sisters. Reading classic literature is a sideways view into history--teaching you as much about the context the author created in as about the stories themselves. 

Looking back over the rest of my list, here are some standouts: 

I found Lydia Kang at the end of the year. I fell hard for the mixture of romance and mystery, with historical settings and exploring social classes. She's likely to stay on my watch list as a favorite author. 

Earlier this year, I fell equally hard for Cherie Priest's Borden Dispatches. Yes, that Borden, alongside Lovecraftian cosmic horror. Looks like my sweet spot as a reader this year intermixed violence and history, with a touch of romance.

In that vein, I also loved these four books. 

Captured by the Alien Vampire Highlander is an unapologetic romp through romance tropes and a delightful confection. Perfect if you need an escape. 

The Sixth Gun series of graphic novels fits firmly in the "weird wild west" subgenre, following six mystical guns that grant special abilities to those who carry them. 

Chasing the Dragon takes place in the Sherlock Holmes universe, creating a romance that fits in the holes left in the original work. Alexandra Christian is GENIUS with this era, and brings such spark and humor to her dialogue. 

Kill Three Birds created an original speculative fiction world, featuring bird-people in a wonderful tight little mystery story. I'm looking forward to more in this series. 

I also continued some series and genres I'd been reading in the past few years: 

Carmilla is a classic vampire novel I had missed hearing about until recently--it predates Stoker's more famous work Dracula, and it's easy to see the influences on that story in this one. I listened to it as a wonderfully produced Audible original and was enthralled throughout. Highly recommended for fans of classic European vampires (if you want edgier, less familiar vampires, try Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire. I have a retelling of the Passover story in there that will startle you, and the other stories are blowing me away!). 

In An Absent Dream is part of Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series, which follows children who find portals into magical worlds. Though I recommend that entire series, it's not necessary to read the others to enjoy this one thoroughly. Of all I've read so far, this one is my favorite. 

The Relentless Moon continues Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut series, following a secondary character from previous books into a locked room mystery set on a fledgling moon colony. Satisfyingly thorough realistic science seen through very human stories. I love this series so much!

Record of a Spaceborn Few is part of Becky Chambers's Wayfarer series, an optimistic vision of the future, exploring inter-species relations through aliens and AI characters, alongside humans. I continue to love the way Chambers explores epic sagas by focusing on small, slice-of-life stories. Not quite as tense and exciting as the previous entries in the series, but still moving and well worth the read. 

I could talk for days about good books, but I'll stop there. I'm happy that I found so many good reads this year, and I'm grateful to all the authors who provided me comfort, escape, and inspiration during a very hard year.  Art is so important when times are hard. 

I'd love to hear about what books you read and loved this year, so hit me up in the comments! And if you like my reviews, you can follow me on Goodreads or check out my year in books there to see what else I read.  


  1. According to Goodreads I've read 10 books in 2020. Which is much, much, much less than the actual number. Unfortunately, Goodreads doesn't count books you've re-read. Sigh, it'd be nice if they did, then even thought I know the number is wrong, I wouldn't feel a bit bad about it.

    1. I think you *can* count re-reads there. I know I've done it before.