I’ve been trying to compose a retrospective post about 2019, despite it being three whole days into the new year, when old things are passed away and, largely, forgotten in the mists.
So whilst my mind sorts that out, I thought I’d follow a collection of prompts to tell y’all about this year’s reading. Do share your own reading experiences as you like!! Here’s to further work on our respective TBR piles throughout 2020.
- How many books did you read this year? 33!
- Did you reread anything? What? Curse of the Pharaohs (as I hope to continue the Amelia Peabody series, and had forgotten how this story went), As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (ditto, but re: the Flavia de Luce series), Good Omens (before watching the Amazon show’s depiction of it).
- What were your top five books of the year? Persuasion, A Gentleman in Moscow, The Stature of Waiting, Good Omens, and Thoughts on Creating Strong Towns. The first 3 were beautiful, beneficial to the soul, and felt classic. Good Omens remained hilarious, if blasphemous. Strong Towns was so thought-provoking that I think it’s given me a bit of a paradigm shift in how I think about communities.
- Did you discover any new authors that you love this year? I definitely enjoyed Ted Chiang, what I’ve read of Amor Towles, and WH Vanstone.
- What genre did you read the most of? Mysteries – 7 of them (2 Amelia Peabody, 4 Flavia de Luce, 1 Sherlock pastiche).
- Was there anything you meant to read, but never got to? Oh, always. Kristin Lavransdattir, Crazy Rich Asians, some things other friends lent me. Still haven’t finished Benedict Option or A Gathering of Ravens. At one point I had three copies of The Ode Less Traveled, but I had trouble on Exercise 4 so I haven’t finished the exercises therein yet.
- What was your average Goodreads rating? Does it seem accurate? 3.7, I guess, which sounds fair. Just as I try not to go overboard on standing ovations, I try to save 1- or 2-star reviews for the truly terrible, and 4- or 5-star reviews for the truly edifying or life-changing.
- Did you meet any of your reading goals? Which ones? I read 30 books, which was my main goal. There will always be a TBR pile, though. I tried giving up fanfiction, which would work for a month tops before I returned to old habits.
- Did you get into any new genres? No, I guess not, unless you count “Spanish baby books” as a genre.
- What was your favorite new release of the year? The only new release I read was, apparently, The Golden Tresses of the Dead. So I guess that wins.
- What was your favorite book that has been out for a while, but you just now read? The Stature of Waiting was originally published in 1982; A Month in the Country, 1980. Oh, and Persuasion! 1818. I’d seen the movie but hadn’t read it before.
- Any books that disappointed you? A Study in Sherlock. It’s an anthology written in homage of Doyle’s canon, but several of the entries seemed to say “Look how much I’m into memorabilia and name-dropping!!” instead of “Hey, look, a well-composed story.”
- What were your least favorite books of the year? Hmm. Robinson’s Housekeeping was strange to me. Olive Kitteridge was delicately written but so godless! So depressing. Bright Bazaar was a book I checked out in hopes that it could give me decorating ideas, but instead it just infuriated me – apparently bright colors are only possible for wealthy homeowners who are aggressive minimalists. Ugh.
- What books do you want to finish before the year is over? I squeezed The Stature of Waiting in, and got started rereading The Buried Giant, which I haven’t finished yet.
- Did you read any books that were nominated for or won awards this year (Booker, Women’s Prize, National Book Award, Pulitzer, Hugo, etc.)? What did you think of them? …okay, possibly I did? But also, who knows. I don’t care enough to go look it up.
- What is the most over-hyped book you read this year? I dunno about ‘overhyped,’ but – I read 3 books by Jason Fung (The Obesity Code, The Complete Guide to Fasting, The Diabetes Code) and they could have/should have been edited down into one book. I’m also surprised that Olive Kitteridge has been made into a show; it was so depressing that I’m not interested in learning more about the characters in it.
- Did any books surprise you with how good they were? The Stature of Waiting did. It was also surprising in terms of content – I don’t know that I’ve ever read a gloss of the Passion narrative like this.
- How many books did you buy? Seven, I think – 4 as gifts, 3 for me. And I received at least 2 as gifts in return.
- Did you use your library? Oh, for sure. This is part of why I’m an irresponsible reader: I check out everything that catches my eye, and then it sits and waits for me for ages.
- What was your most anticipated release? Did it meet your expectations? Probably Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang? Which. I wanted to read it because Arrival made me cry a lot. It was both what I expected and…not at all what I could have expected.
- Did you participate in or watch any booklr, booktube, or book twitter drama? Nope. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
- What’s the longest book you read? A Gentleman in Moscow, apparently – 396 pages.
- What’s the fastest time it took you to read a book? Probably an hour or two for a shorter book.
- Did you DNF anything? Why? I didn’t finish The Story of a Soul because someone else requested it from the library. I didn’t finish Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story because it Just Wasn’t What I Expected; I honestly thought it was a story, not a philosophical enterprise. Lastly, I checked out several Spanish children’s books in the expectation that they would suit my level of Spanish vocabulary. Some (Nariz, Naricita; Besos for Baby; Los Sueños) were feasible; some (Cómo Esconder un León a la Abuela; El Príncipe de los Enredos; Rooster; Los Arboles Están Colgando del Cielo) were beyond me.
- What reading goals do you have for next year? To start with, I want to read at least 35 books. I hope to read through my current library checkouts and not get out more than I can get through (even during the Summer Game)! I want to finish The Ode Less Traveled and Studies in Words so I can, at long last, remove them from my “Currently Reading” tab. I want to reread The Lord of the Rings. I want to read all of Shakespeare’s plays, or at least, all those I haven’t read or watched before.
Tell me about your 2019 reading, or what you look forward to reading in 2020!