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!


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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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January Book Club – BOSS

In trying to keep with my annual resolution to read more books, I’ve decided to do a little virtual book club with Christine and Karen.

It seems that, by a happy accident, the theme of the month is BOSS. We will be reading 2 books:

#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso

Long recommended to me by fans of Lean In and my friends who are more tuned in to the fashion world is Nasty Gal founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso’s manifesto, #GIRLBOSS.

“It’s easy to get the sense, reading Lean In, that Sandberg is writing for women who’ve already made it. #GIRLBOSS is for those who haven’t, which means it is aimed at people who have nothing to lose, which makes it a much riskier and more enjoyable manifesto.”
New York Magazine / The Cut

In an age where more and more women are demanding what they are owed and what they deserve, I’m so happy to see books like Lean In and #GIRLBOSS get popular and women’s success becomes less of an anomaly and more what should be.

Bossypants – Tina Fey

I would argue that Tina Fey’s hugely successful memoir launched a wave of memoirs and other publications from our current era of TV comedians. (See: Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, BJ Novak for just a few.) We all know that Tina Fey is a fantastical human being, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about Bossypants. The only reason I haven’t read it yet is that I’ve always been #57 or higher on the waitlist at my library for this book BUT they have it on hold for me right now so I cannot wait to delve into this!

“Tina Fey’s new book Bossypants is short, messy, and impossibly funny (an apt description of the comedian herself). From her humble roots growing up in Pennsylvania to her days doing amateur improv in Chicago to her early sketches on Saturday Night Live, Fey gives us a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain of modern comedy with equal doses of wit, candor, and self-deprecation.”
Amazon Best Books of the Month April 2011 (Kevin Nguyen)


I’m really excited to read these two books. Not only are they by two great women, but it’s been nice for me to start reading non-fiction! I used to be a strictly YA fiction kind of girl, so branching out like this without it being terrible is not unpleasant!

Let us know if you decide to read along with us!
If you’ve read these books already, tell us what you thought!

I’ve Been Reading!

There is one plus side to my outrageously long commute, and that is that I can dedicate that time to reading.

I used to read almost every day before bed, but these past few years, I’ve been so exhausted after classes (or work) that I would fall asleep as soon as I snuggled under my covers. My time on the train or on the subway can be devoted entirely to reading. There are few alternative activities that can occupy that time.

Another thing that has helped me read more is my tablet. I set up borrowing eBooks from my public library a little while ago. What this has meant for me is that books where I was #143 (actual position) on the waitlist, I could get access to an electronic version of the book within a much shorter amount of time. In fact, I can have multiple books at a time, although I read one book at a time.

So far, the books I have finished on my commute, with a little bit of extra time in-between, include:

  • Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Hunger Games* – Suzanne Collins
  • The Fault in Our Stars* – John Green

And I’m working on Divergent* – Veronica Roth, while also dabbling a little bit with The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff. (An asterisk (*) denotes a book that I read on my tablet.)

As you can see, reading crazy popular young adult books is a lot easier for me to do through the eBook borrowing system than through physical books. Another benefit with reading on my tablet is just that it takes up less space than books in my bag, which has been feeling kinda full of late. My new commute has made me a little sleepier than I’d like for my commuting reading time, so I need to get myself a bit sorted.

Also, I like to try to read some news. On the DC Metro, you can read the Express. I also like reading Time magazine but I haven’t been able to do for some time. Soon!

Do you like to read/listen to books on your commute? What have you been reading lately?
If not, how do you pass your commute time if you’re not driving?