I’m not one for statistics: I hate competition, even with myself. I find it eventually becomes about the numbers, and not about process and that just doesn’t work for me at all. I did set a goal this past year because I wasn’t sure GR would tally books and I did want to be able to say something slightly more specific than “a lot” when people ask, “how much do you read?” In 2020, I plan to aim much lower.
I read a number of great novellas in 2019, finding that the shorter form seems to be where authors are willing to push themselves and their readers. The shorter format also seems to work nicely for my concentration these days; I generally dislike putting books down and picking them up again, because I lose my sense of the world and have to spend time re-reading to re-immerse. A novella works well for the time chunks I have available. The Murderbot series, The Haunting of Tram Car 015, Laurie, and Sisters of the Vast Black were my favorites.
I also read more short stories this year. I’d love to tell you what they were, but one of the most annoying things at Goodreads* is that GR Librarians have decided to take short stories that I can read on the web all by themselves, for free, and combine them into magazine editions that don’t list a table of contents. So I have numerous magazines listed in my ‘books read’ this year, and I sure as hell didn’t read all of them. My willingness to share my frustration on this issue was undoubtedly one of the strongest refrains of my ‘2019 on Goodreads.’**
In novels, I tended to delight in the genre-benders. Winter Tide and Deep Roots were pleasant discoveries as was A Memory Called Empire. Jasper’s Early Riser was a pleasure. The Size of the Truth was probably the one that surprised me the most with all the truths it snuck into its YA story.
I read a bit of non-fiction as usual, and The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World was the most powerful non-fiction book I read last year, although How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America comes close for professional reasons.
I did more buddy reads, and while I definitely enjoyed them, perhaps our books didn’t always work out. Does more eyes equal more critiques? Someday we’ll find that golden ticket, fellow buddy readers. Thanks for nerding out on books with me. 💕
My own concentration was derailed in July after we discovered blood clots in my lungs, followed by my dog dying of cancer, followed by prolonged process of my dad being diagnosed with a type of blood pre-cancer. Yes, my life was a shitty country song. Needless to say, my ability to sustain interest in Adrian Tchaikovsky‘s works only extended to the very short Walking to Aldebaran. I sustained myself with a number of re-reads (A Night in the Lonesome October, A Madness of Angels, Afterparty) and a few series follow-ups (John Connolly). In a more positive turn, we adopted a stray puppy in November, so time and concentration continue to be derailed (“Emma! No!”)
I rounded out the year with A Gentleman in Moscow, really only because a long-lost friend and I agreed on it as a buddy read. It took me three months, but I finished. Beautiful, extravagant and somewhat like a Faberge egg. Incidentally, she still hasn’t finished it.
My last little ‘2019 on Goodreads’ refrain surrounded whether or not to close comments to people I wasn’t friends with. At this point, I’m Not Amused by trolls, but I’m working at trying to be an optimistic person and being open to the idea that some people might want to contribute thoughtful or thankful remarks, even if I don’t know them. So far, it’s in favor of the optimists, 60-40.
2020! Get a move on and let’s get going. That TBR isn’t going to read itself.
*Besides the proliferation of fake accounts selling voodoo or whatever.
**Note: some of the Librarians are my friends, and this is not universally agreed among Librarians. The fact that there is no more forum to debate these things is one of the ways that GR has become less content-maker friendly.