What I Read in 2020

What I Read in 2020

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:

  1. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  2. Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgshig Rice
  3. Westside by W.M. Akers
  4. Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
  5. Finna by Nino Cipri
  6. Delta-V by Daniel Suarez
  7. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  8. Vagrant Queen by Magdalene Visaggio and Jason Smith
  9. Republic Commando: Hard Contact by Karen Traviss
  10. Ms. Marvel: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson
  11. Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
  12. Tales from the Loop by Simon Stålenhag
  13. Gravity of a Distant Sun by R.E. Searns
  14. Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole
  15. The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
  16. The Lost Book of Asana Moreau by Michael Zapata
  17. Hearts of Oak by Eddie Robson
  18. Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang / Ken Liu
  19. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  20. The Andromeda Evolution by Daniel Wilson
  21. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
  22. Burn-In by Peter W. Singer and August Cole
  23. Department of Mindblowing Theories by Tom Gauld
  24. Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett
  25. Red Dust by Yoss
  26. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  27. The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
  28. Mexican Gothic by Siliva Moreno-Garcia
  29. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
  30. Failed State by Christopher Brown
  31. The Movie Art of Syd Mead, Visual Futurist, Syd Mead
  32. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
  33. Ring Shout by P. Djéli Clark
  34. Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay
  35. A Wealth of Pigeons by Harry Bliss and Steve Martin
  36. Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell
  37. The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon
  38. Serpentine by Philip Pullman
  39. Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional History of New York City by Julia Wertz
  40. The Salvage Crew by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne
  41. Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
  42. Archeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past by Sarah Parck
  43. Madi: Once Upon a Time in the Future by Duncan Jones and Alex de Campi
  44. Sourdough: Or, Lois and Her Adventures in the Underground Market by Robin Sloan

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?