Tuesday, December 31, 2019

My 2019 In Books

According to the Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge, I read 54 books this year. Six more than my goal of 48. One goal was to clear out my backlog of physical books. I made some progress. Several of these are actually short stories, novellas or graphic novels. Audio books helped, too. Here are some highlights:
  1. Non-fiction. I gravitate toward fiction. But I also managed to keep it real:
    1. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow - Lin Manuel Miranda's inspiration for the musical. I started this in late 2018 and took almost six months to finish, but it was worth it.
    2. Why We Sleep - informative and highly recommended!
    3. Factfulness - also informative and highly recommended! And surprising! This will challenge how you think about the world, and your neighbors.

  2. Novellas. These have been a way of keeping up the overall book count without investing large amounts of time. A couple of series were very enjoyable:
    1. Binti, Binti: Home, Binti: The Night Masquerade - highly readable science fiction about cultures that are both foreign and alien to me
    2. Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, Exit Strategy - further adventures (that starts in All Systems Red) of a self-aware SecUnit 'droid calling itself "Murderbot" that's really good at its job and doesn't actually murder

  3. Netgalley. I limited myself to previewing 5 titles on Netgalley this year. All authors I already read. I still owe a few reviews. The best:
    1. The Eighth Sister - darn good spy/legal novel from Robert Dugoni
    2. A Cold Trail - another spot-on crime thriller from Robert Dugoni
    3. The Last Good Guy - third book in a series by T. Jefferson Parker. Now I have to go read the first couple.
Some other treats this year:
  1. Motherless Brooklyn is a mystery story told from a quirky point of view character. Now a movie.
  2. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett was languishing on my reading list. I finally read it before I watched the off-beat television series.
  3. Stumptown - the graphic novel inspiration for the new television series about a low-rent PI in Portland. The same, but different.
  4. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (audio book). I wish I'd read/heard this while he was still alive. It sheds a different light on who he was and how restaurants work.
My Goodreads.com 2019 wrap-up is at https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2019/3195690

I'll have a slightly different strategy in 2020. I still want to clear off my TBR shelf. I'll set my Goodreads.com 2020 Reading Challenge at 48 books (4/month). But I also want to…
  1. Read more current titles. I don't want to be stuck in the past, in constant catch-up mode. I want to read at least six books published in 2020 that aren't just the latest by authors I already enjoy.
  2. Read more actual non-fiction. I should move beyond biographies and how-to books about writing.
Keep reading! And share a book with a friend.

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