Welcome to 2020! That means it’s time for my annual reading wrap-up and goals post. (I read through December 31st. What’s with all the best of the year stuff coming out at the beginning of December?) I refuse to participate in Best-Of-The Decade
This year was…long. Some of these books I look at and think, was that really this year? I finished up essentially all of my college classes–I just have student teaching left–and both semesters were…something. They weren’t bad! It was just a lot of work, and I had a rather irregular class schedule I didn’t like. It’s hard to believe some of my best friends now I only met properly in January!
This year I also started a podcast with one of my best friends, Tay, where we talk about all kinds of pop culture. The genesis for that was actually when we both read Dig. by A.S. King this year (probably my favorite book of 2019) and couldn’t stop texting each other about it. We did an End-of-The-Year podcast there where I talk about a bunch of books I loved (although I may have missed one or two) this year, which is currently on our Patreon and will be released to everyone this Wednesday. We love this little project A LOT.
Note: I won’t be talking about every individual book, so here’s my Goodreads Year in Review which has them all.
- Books Read: …80, sort of. This gets complicated.
- I mark textbooks or collections where I’ve read most of the text, since I read plenty of other stuff that doesn’t get counted.
- On Goodreads it’s 81 because I did mark a textbook that I read less of, but I had some comments I wanted to make about it.
- I did not finish (DNF) two books…one was an ARC of Brief History of Another Stupid Heartbreak, which I genuinely wanted to read but it just needed something shorter at the time, and the other was the audiobook of Hold Still by Nina LaCour, where I really liked the writing but it was too emotionally heavy for me to listen to at the time.
- I also read one unpublished manuscript!
- Pages read: 18,070
- Audiobook time: 3 days, 8hrs, 26 mins (hours
- Average Days Per Book: 14 (definitely reading more than once at a time)
- Average Pages Per Day: 49.37
- Average Books Per Month: 6.67
Last year I read 74 books and 15, 258 pages. My average days per book was lower (12), but I read slightly fewer pages per day (42). I did not make a “books read for school,” but I counted, and it’s 15 books mostly in their entirety (not including the textbook I marked on Goodreads that I read considerably less of), and then I read 1 book for the #ClearTheAir professional development book club, 2 that the students were reading in an English class I had field experience in, 1 picture book read aloud to me in a class, and I re-read Hamlet because I was assistant dramaturg for the university’s production. So that is 20 books I did not completely choose to read myself, which is 25%, compared to 29% last year. It probably helped the only literature class I took spring semester was a poetry survey!
First of all, the “purchased” section includes all the texts I read for class. The “borrowed” books were the four picture books we had for students to pick up at an event I was involved with, and when it got slow, we read. The “other” is the picture book one of my instructors read to a literacy education class I was in. Otherwise…I’m happy with the ratio, but I do want to read more backlist books I own.
I’m pretty pleased with this on paper, but I think if you took out the books I had to read for class, it would be a bit more even. And I didn’t even get to a lot of new releases I’m excited about! Next year, though, I want to focus more on backlist.
Genres and Forms
This is like a full 10% more nonfiction than last year, yay!
This is hard to compare to last year because last year didn’t have any “nonfiction prose” or “novella” categories. Last year I read more plays, though (mostly because of my Shakespeare class).
I like this ratio, but I also wish I read more middle grade…I didn’t read any until the summer, I think!
First, let me explain the “magical realism” section, whose full title (cut off here) is “Magical Realism/Fabulism/Surrealism,” which are related but not quite the same, and some of these are contemporary books where the reality is altered because of the main character’s mental state (The Whispers, Jesus’ Son, How It Feels to Float). Okay, so anyway…I like that this is quite diverse. Most of the sci-fi and fantasy book were either Discworld books (satire) or comics, though, so I didn’t read many traditional novels in that genre. Contemporary continues to be my focus, though. The “current affairs” includes politics and social science, and that was where I put a lot of the Baldwin and White Rage. I created the education category because it just fits what I was reading for school and for my own professional development the best. The one classic was revisiting Hamlet because I was working on a production of it.
Reading Demographics & Diversity
First of all, I read 0 books in translation this year. I didn’t save the graph because it’s just a circle. Welp.
The “multiple genders” section refers to books with more than one author where those authors did not all share the same gender, like anthologies. I’m glad to have a growing nonbinary section made up of multiple authors, which was only one author last year.
I really want this to be more 50/50. Last year I actually read 39% by authors of color, although that was helped by my Modern Japanese Literature class. So this is an L for me.
This gets complicated in nonfiction…I marked White Rage as main character because it’s ultimately about African-American history in America, but I marked Being the Change as only the author because even though she talks about herself, it’s a teaching strategies book, so there isn’t really a character? But, yeah, I tend to look for #ownvoices books but some books
This is always a big ? because it is not always easy to find how authors identify. Also, this is really the number of books with queer authors, not the authors total–several of them are James Baldwin, and there’s two Shaun David Hutchinsons and two Ashley Herring Blakes in there.
Again, I almost always look for #ownvocies books, but I’m not always sure.
I read a LOT of books I recommend this year, but these are the ones that absolutely stand out because of their content, reading experience, and my own personal reaction and relation to the text. These are also in the order I read them because I refuse to rank. Links are to reviews where possible.
- White Rage by Carol Anderson
- Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
- The Backstagers and the Theatre of the Ancients by Andy Mientus
- Dig by A.S. King
- Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson
- Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
- Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley
- Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
- I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
- Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
- The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake
- Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
- On a Sunbeam by Tilly Walden
- With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo
- The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller
- Giovanni’s Room (a reread), If Beale Street Could Talk, The Fire Next Time, and No Name in the Street by James Baldwin
- Guts by Raina Telgemeier
- The Year We Fell From Space by Amy Sarig King
- Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
- How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox
- Mort and Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Did I meet my goals from last year?
Here are the goals I made last year that I basically forgot I made…
- Read 100 books (I think I can??)
- I actually was “on track” by the end of the summer but then…spring semester hit.
- Read more nonfiction, especially non-memoir
- This was accomplished, if only because of my James Baldwin class and my education reading. I also read more nonfiction overall.
- Read at least 50% books by/about POC
- I genuinely forgot about this and was not thinking about it consciously this year so it needs a do-over. My ARC reading was skewed pretty white, since I don’t quite feel like I should be the one reviewing books about (at least) characters of color.
- Read even more queer books!
- I definitely increased this from 20% queer authors to 34.5% this year, and from 28.4% queer main characters to 38.8% this year (of course this is sort of just based on what I know about the
- Read more sci-fi/fantasy novels
- I did read four Discworld books this year! Which is like a fantasy satire pastiche and probably not what I meant, but…hey.
- Read more books by/about Asian-Americans
- Yeah, compared to last year when I had my Modern Japanese Literature class, I feel like I failed, but I think I read more books in this category on my own this year? #Ownvoices books I did read were Darius the Great is Not Okay, Like a Love Story, Tell Me How You Really Feel, The Leavers, and more of the Ms. Marvel comics. The Sun Is Also a Star features a Korean-American main character perhaps based on the author’s huband. In nonfiction I read Being the Change and Naturally Tan.
- Read more books I already own from my Kindle
- I read The Sun Is Also a Star and Another Country (although that one was for class)! I also bought and read Red, White & Royal Blue, which doesn’t quite count, and Jesus’ Son, but that one was for class and just on a Kindle sale. Everything else was either an ARC or a library loan, oops.
- Read more contemporary literary fiction
- Ummm aside from class reading, I read The Leavers and Less.
2020 Reading Goals
- Read more middle grade!
- Read more from my Kindle library (shouldn’t be too hard as I’m going to be traveling)
- Read more science fiction
- Read more adult literary fiction
- Read fewer 2020 releases: there are several I’m really excited about, but I’m still catching up on 2019 releases–not to mention all the years before that! I want to scale back my Netgalley use and focus.
- Since I’m not stuck with a lot of predetermined reading for class, I want to read 50% or more by authors of color.
- More audiobooks–I have a commute so that should be easier.
- More rereads? Perhaps on audio?
- READ MORE PLAYS
- Read more books set around the world…not necessarily translated, but there are some great adult and middle grade novels I have or am interested in set in other countries (historical or the present).