2021 in Books

Another year, another reading challenge attempted. By lowering the bar for myself, I am back in the good graces of my Goodreads challenge! I actually got to start commuting to work for a few days this year, but unfortunately I was stuck on slower-paced non-fiction books so it didn’t help with my reading pace much.

Reading just always takes a backseat, so I’m going to think really hard about how I can set aside dedicated “hobbies” time and to make sure some of that time goes to reading for fun.

Anyway, here are the books I read this year:

Covers of books I read in 2021
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2020 in Books

Quarantine led many people to read more books than they’ve read in a long, long time, with so much time freed up and a re-dedication to supporting local bookstores. Book clubs were a big thing this year for staying social, too, as reading became a lot more trendy in the social media circles I follow.

Well, for me… my commute remains my primary dedicated reading time and space, so when I stopped having a commute in March, I stopped reading for a long time, too.

Needless to say, it was another year of falling disappointingly short of my books goal, coming up shorter on my Goodreads challenge than ever before. It stings a bit to think of the years that I far surpassed the number of books I aimed to read, and that those numbers far exceed how many I got through this year. But I’m not too beat up about it, I know how difficult this year was and the only reason I read as much as I even did was because of many bouts of stressed and anxious insomnia. Probably half of my reading was done between 2-6am this year, hours that I am usually not awake for at all.

Here was 2020 in books completed:

Collage of covers for books read in 2020
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2019 in Books

2019 was a great reading year for me in that I didn’t feel like I read too many painful books. However, I am disappointed that I didn’t complete my Goodreads reading challenge, breaking my streak of exceeding my challenge 3 years in a row. Last year, I read 29 books and thought that, with my past pattern of exceeding my reading goal by a few books, I would be able to get to 30 this year. It seems that I may have plateaued at 29 for the time being, however, so I’ll need to re-evaluate how much reading time I have to achieve these goals.

Here are the books I read in 2019!

2019inBooks.jpg

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2018 in Books

As I’ve done the past few years, I participated in Goodreads’s annual reading challenge. Having exceeded last year’s goal and finishing at 19, I set my 2018 book goal at 20 books.

I wound up reading almost 30, coming in just short at 29 books.

A few quick reflections on my reading challenge this year:

  • I felt a lot faster finishing books this year, in large part because I was not reading the A Song of Fire and Ice series this year, having finished that last year. It took me weeks to finish each of those books with the scant amount of reading time I had, so the quantity of books I read last year took a toll because I read several 1,000+ page books.
    • The longest book I read last year was 1,177 pages, whereas the longest book I read this year was 818 pages.
  • That being said, I sped through my first five books and then really felt my decrease in velocity when I hit that 818-pager.
    • It typically takes me a few days to about 3 weeks to finish a book, given that I read almost exclusively on my commute to and from work. It took me almost 3 months to finish this year’s behemoth.
  • I enjoyed reading a lot more mindfully this year. There were days when I would steal away for a quick walk outside to clear my head during the workday, or take lunch by myself on a nearby bench, with my Kindle in tow to get some sunshine and reading done.
  • I much preferred the mindful reading to what I find myself doing often, which is walking to and from the subway while reading. This is, admittedly, not a very safe practice.
    • But! While doing this in DC one day, I walked past a friend who was doing the exact same thing! She was the one who looked up from her book to recognize me, but I felt so validated seeing her with her open Kindle in hand, too.
  • With the end of the Blogging for Books program, I didn’t feel as much of the obligation getting through books I didn’t enjoy but was reading for review this year.

Here are the books I finished reading in 2018:

Collage of book covers
The covers of the 29 books I read in 2018

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The Tsar of Love and Techno (2015)

After reading Christine’s glowing review for Anthony Marra‘s latest, The Tsar of Love and Techno, I immediately requested my own copy to read.

tl;dr Anthony Marra has written some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve ever read, and he has used it to craft a stunningly beautiful story. 

Book cover: The Tsar of Love and Techno | Anthony Marra | New York Times Bestselling Author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Henceforth also to be referred to as TLT for brevity.

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