Would you like to know what I’ve been reading the last twelve months? I made a list.
As I have done for the past few years, in 2019 I kept a list of the books I read. Generally books I read only for fun and not for school, but sometimes they crossed over. I realized a while back I just wasn’t reading enough for pleasure, and that was making my life, well, much less pleasurable. Reading has always been a vigorous staple of what makes my life good, and doing it as often as I can is eminently worthwhile. (I know, you’re shocked.)
Anyway, once I started keeping a list of the books I was reading, I noticed I started reading a lot more. Perhaps this is the same principle that asserts the more you keep an honest food diary, the less you will eat? I know it works that way for me because I find keeping a food diary to be unbelievably annoying, and I will forego a snack just so I don’t have to write it down.
And maybe that analogy isn’t entirely fair because I love reading and have also enjoyed keeping the reading list. (For what it’s worth, I love food, too. So much, OMG. I could be really happy spending whole days just snuggled up reading and eating. I wonder if someone could hire me to do that? Like, for a livable salary? What would the healthcare benefits look like on that? But I digress.)
Here is my list of books I read in 2019, in chronological order of my finishing them; I gleefully reached the end of the last one this afternoon. Note that this list does not include any books I started but have not yet finished (or don’t intend to finish). This list also does not indicate which books I read more than once (because that is a thing I do sometimes). There are, however, a couple of books on here I reread this year that I had read quite a while ago, for whatever that’s worth.
I’m going to list the titles and the authors’ last names as well as a non-exhaustive picture of some of the books themselves. After that I’ll include a brief statistical analysis of my reading diet in 2019 and why I’m keeping track.
If you would like a review of any of these titles, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll be happy to work on that for you!
What I Read in 2019
Avengers: The Final Host (Aaron, McGuinness, Medina, Curiel)
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life vol. 1 (O’Malley)
Good Busy (O’Grady)
Time’s Convert (Harkness)
Fierce Like a Firestorm (Popović)
Priest: A Love Story (Simone)
The Frog Prince (Lothlorien)
Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance (Joudah)
The Truth About Love and Dukes (Guhrke)
What Caught Raven’s Eye (Christianson)
Romancing the Beat (Hayes)
Spinning Silver (Novik)
The Sleeper and the Spindle (Gaiman)
The Kick-Ass Writer (Wendig)
A Raisin in the Sun (Hansberry)
When I Knew (ed. Trachtenberg)
The Professional (Cole)
Calling My Name (Tamani)
Desire and the Deep Blue Sea (Dade)
Tiny House, Big Love (Dade)
The Unicorn Hunter (Kontis)
The Glass Mountain (Kontis)
Damn Fine Story (Wendig)
Just Add Mistletoe (Moore)
Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Dare)
Tales of the City (Maupin)
Red, White and Royal Blue (McQuiston)
Where will you be five years from now? (Zadra)
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (Mackesy)
Traveling with Your Octopus (Kesinger)
Till the Tide: An Anthology of Mermaid Poetry (ed. Edwards)
So, a little analysis of my reading list:
I had been concerned that my reading diet was not well balanced. My pleasure reading is and has always been, to some extent, escapist, especially now that we live in a dystopia — and I was never a big fan of dystopian fiction. I have always gravitated toward fantasy. Add to that, often when I see friends post on social media that they want to know other people’s favorite or most influential or most important or desert-island-worthy books, etc., the lists are often entirely of white male authors and white male protagonists.
That entirety irks me.
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a good long time will probably remember the Women Writers Wednesday series, wherein I invited female-identifying authors to review books by other female-identifying authors here on the blog to highlight the immense contributions women have made to literature. The series came about initially as a response to revelations in the publishing industry about the lack of gender representation in traditional publishing. The series ran just about every week here on the blog for over a year.
I have personally been making a conscious effort to broaden my reading tastes and the representation within it. I don’t think I’m anywhere near where I should be yet, but I am working on it — and I’m enjoying working on it. I think this broadening improves my reading diet but also increases my enjoyment significantly. Everyone should do it.
I’m relieved to report that when I tallied up the categories and genres I’ve been reading, I found that my reading diet wasn’t nearly as narrow as I’d feared it was. Because I write fantasy and poetry, there’s definitely some of that on there. I love to read in the genres I love to write. (Do people normally express that the other way around? That works for me too.) I have also significantly increased my intake of category romance (the whole spectrum of it), by the way, because I’m considering writing in that category. (More on that, I’m sure, when and if such a circumstance materializes.) Otherwise here’s how the genres for this year’s reading list break down:
plays — 3
general fiction — 5
comics — 3
poetry collections — 3
fantasy — 6
romance — 10
non-fiction — 6
(It’s also worth noting that in this tally I’ve relegated each title to only one category, although some of these books straddle the line between two.)
So…what will I be reading in 2020? Oh my goodness, SO MUCH, I hope! My TBR list is literally an entire bookcase full. I’d take a picture of it but the spines would be too small for you to read many of them. I won’t make it through everything — I never do, hence that shoot-your-shot job question above — but I’m going to really enjoy trying. So you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out how it goes over the coming year.
And in the meantime, remember, if you want a review of any of the titles listed above, just let me know, and I’ll be happy to oblige.
I’m also curious: have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?
Want to read more of my writing that’s already published? Click here for poetry, click here for urban fantasy, and click here for realistic flash fiction. You can also buy my books in Houston at Blue Willow Bookshop, and I hope you will! 🙂
17 thoughts on “2019 Reading Year in Review”
Literally, one (Macbeth). That’s a very interesting list…I’ll look some of them up. You analyzed your thoughts…what about your feelings about your list? Did you ,ake any new discoveries or find a new favorite author? Did you consciously go outside your comfort zone and did it work? Just curious!
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Great questions! Yes, there were some interesting discoveries along the way, in fact.
I don’t usually read a lot of non-fiction, although I really enjoyed what of it I did read this past year. Several of those were craft-related books about writing, and I found them to be excellent and informative, even if they weren’t necessarily teaching me anything new. Well, not precisely new to me: I have a degree in Creative Writing and have been writing and teaching it for over twenty years. 🙂 But I find that engaging in professional development periodically can really help me grow and understand things in a new or deeper way, and these books did that for me.
I also came to the romance genre later in life than many people do, I think, and when I got there, I found myself addicted to the HEA. I branched out considerably in that genre this year, reading about more POC characters and orientations different from mine, and that was a really excellent experience. I think I had at least one title at every point on the heat-level spectrum in the genre, too, which helped solidify where I think my own writing will land.
I also read some protagonists with various presentations of anxiety disorder, which I really appreciated, since I suffer from a form of it myself and am currently writing some characters with it.
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I loved Spinning Silver – it’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.
I’d like to get a review from you regarding the romance novels; could you do a ranking of the books you read this year on the heat-level spectrum? 🙂
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Ooh, yes, what a great idea! Watch for it here on the blog. 😉
I second the heat-level ranking! 😻
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That post will be coming later this week. 🙂
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Holy mollusks! I’m going to find myself a copy of the mermaid poetry collection asap! Also, I added Tales from the City to my TBR list when I heard about it on The Great American Read. It was, as far as I could tell, the ONLY LGBT work featured in the countdown. I was especially bummed there weren’t any LGBT stories included in the romance episode. Like, seriously, no Annie On My Mind?
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A friend gifted me the entire TALES FROM THE CITY series, as far as I could tell. I’ve only read the first one so far; it goes quickly because it’s episodic with an ensemble cast, and the chapters are really short.
I’ve read a few LGBT titles in romance so far and am enjoying the branch-out from my old reading diet. One of the best books I read this year is on this list!
Oh, and also? The mermaid poetry anthology was put out by Sundress. 🙂
I haven’t heard of them! I just ebay’d myself a copy.
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I don’t pick my favorite books based on the author’s gender or race. I look at the content of the book and whether or not it moves me. White men should not be made to feel guilty for writing.
As a female writer, I absolutely detest when people place a focus exclusively on ‘women writers.’ I never want to be on a list of women writers. I want to compete and be considered alongside men. Doing anything else otherizes women and places too much focus on gender. It’s also just a crappy way to treat male authors. I’d be terrified to be a male writer alive today.
I think your intentions are good, but you should re-examine the negative consequences of being so wholly controlled by ideology of identity politics.
We are all more alike than we are different.
I think you’ve missed the point of this post, but you do you. Best of luck to you in your writing and reading! 🙂 Cheers.
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