Reading Year in Review, 2019

I read 80 books this year according to Goodreads, and it will be 81 assuming I finish Circe in the next few days. This is a lot more than usual. I don’t think my reading habits changed all that much this year; mostly I think the count is due to reading a lot of comic book volumes, which don’t take very long to read. I did also spend some “extra” reading time reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality because I found it so compulsively readable. The count also doesn’t include 4 Ursula Le Guin “Earthsea” books that I read, because they are part of a single illustrated volume that I still haven’t finished.

By raw count, I achieved my goal of reading 50% works by women authors: 39 by men and 39 by women (counting Circe), with 3 neutral because of having basically balanced co-authorship. I would guess page count/reading time was also roughly balanced; although a lot of my male-authored books were comic book volumes, there was also HPMOR, which is like 2000 pages long.

There were 8 books that I rated 5-stars: - The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
- The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
- The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
- Exhalation by Ted Chiang
- How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
- Always Coming Home by Ursula Le Guin
- Ironheart Vol. 1 by Eve Ewing
- Cinderella Liberator by Rebecca Solnit

There were a few major projects that took up a lot of my reading this year: a bunch of Brian Michael Bendis Miles Morales Spider-Man comic collections I read after watching Into the Spider-Verse, Always Coming Home, and the aforementioned HPMOR and “Earthsea” volume. In addition to these, there were a few authors that I read more than one book by: Marjorie Liu (“Monstress” comics series), Octavia Butler, Rebecca Solnit, and Becky Chambers. A lot of crossover with my 5-star list, for obvious reasons.

I also started allowing myself to put down books that didn’t grab me, and started a “did not finish” shelf on Goodreads for the first time. There were 5 books that I started and didn’t finish this year (not included in the above counts). I probably didn’t read more than 50 pages of each of them.

Finally, although I remain a huge library user, I started feeling a little more willing to buy books, mostly as a way to support some small bookstores that I like. I’ve started to appreciate them a lot more since moving to Hartford, which doesn’t have great bookstores the way New York does. I still try to pass them on once I’ve finished, but have enjoyed doing this. My rule is to buy a book from a bookstore if I encounter something interesting browsing that I don’t think I’d have found otherwise. This year, this included How Long Til Black Future Month (The Strand, NYC), Intruders (Book Lounge, Cape Town), Knowledge and Pacification (Arkipelago Books, San Francisco), Ironheart Vol. 1 (bought as single comics at Galaxy Comics, NYC), Trick Mirror (Greenlight Books, NYC), Payback (Books are Magic, NYC), and Ghost Wall (Longfellow Books, Portland ME).