At the beginning of 2019 I made a goal of 45 books to read in 2020 because I had been crushing and overshooting my goals for the last couple of years. And the only reason I did so again this year is because of manga and comics. Which counts.
My goal this year was to read books I already owned. These were books I brought back from Korea that I hadn’t finished and books I had had on my shelves since high school and college that I hadn’t gotten to. There were 46 books from pre-Korea that needed to be read and of those I read about 18. You can check out the whole list here. Even though there are cookbooks on that list and resources I didn’t include those in my overall total.
Young Adult/possibly older kids books
I always love the books by Rick Riordan. While Demigods and Magicians wasn’t my favorite The Trials of Apollo that I managed to read was great. I’m looking forward to finding the rest of the series at my local library. I also enjoyed The Land of Stories a lot more than I expected I would and am curious how the rest of the series goes. I own the rest of (or most of) The Secrets of the Immortal Flamel and I’m going to read them but I’m not excited about it. I found a lot of the YA/older kids books I had at home that I read this year just weren’t compelling to me as they might’ve been when I was younger. And with Unicorns vs Zombies while excited and loving the design I found that I can’t really stomach zombie stories in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.
My venture into Classics wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped. Ulysses was the longest book I read this year and as challenging as people claim. I had to read it with a guide. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame really got Disney-fied and I found the original source material at first kind of fun and then just depressing. The Maltese Falcon is the father of the hard-boiled detective genre and it just wasn’t my cup of tea, neither was The Catcher in the Rye.
Fantasy and Science Fiction
One of my friends sent me Every Heart a Doorway as a welcome home gift. I loved it. The Earthsea Trilogy was wholesome and calming and The Ocean at the End of the Lane was interesting and a quick read. Procession of the Dead I was expecting to be in a similar vain as the other Darren Shan novels I’d read as a teen and disapointed myself with that type of expectation. Can’t say I’m a fan of the author for Ender’s Game and the novel was okay, but I think I missed the boat since I didn’t read it as a kid to enjoy it. And Another Thing reminded me how much fun The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy can be, even if I don’t fully remember what happened last time. Despite being super excited when I got it because of the soldier on a unicorn After the Fall was probably the furthest from my cup of tea as anything I read this year and possibly the biggest disappointment. Though if I’d looked closer I’d have realized it was a nazi on the cover or too close to one and wouldn’t have bought it. But I was distracted by the unicorn.
Some of these I enjoyed more than I expected, What You Don’t Know About Men was a fun collection of short stories, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette made me want to visit Antarctica. The writing of Push pulled me in and kept me turning the pages despite the difficult subject matter while Hush Girls had me flipping back and forth feeling like I’d been given a fun puzzle to solve and Where the Rainbow Touches The Ground shocked me in the fun it had. The only book I did not like in this section was Holidays on Ice it’s just not might type of humor.
I read non-fictin this year? Who am I? The Ray Bradbury Interviews was interesting as a time capsule of an era of America and Hollywood from before my time as well as from a literary and creative perspective. However, I did not want to know the locations he’d had sex with his wife. Lost in Space on the other hand just wasn’t for me. I’m not a father and there’s a lot within the collection of essays that because they’re based on real people make me uncomfortable in a similar vein.
Comics and Manga
As the year headed to an end I destroyed my reading goal by marathoning manga. I’d been wanting to read Gokushufudō: The Way of the Househusband for awhile. It’s a slice of life novel about a yakuza who settles down and marries and his daily life looking gruff and scary but fighting housewives for the best deals at the grocery store or making the prettiest bento box. It’s hilarious and I loved it. I love The Adventure Zone so reading the newest volume was a no-brainer, and Monsterkind seems to be on hiatus, so I’m kind of bummed because it’s a lot of fun and I’d love to see where the story goes. As a teen, I loved Fruits Basket but never managed to finish the series. So I re-read to where I’d dropped off as a teen which is about issues 11. I’m hoping to finish the series in 2021. I also decided to read My Hero Academy for a job. (I didn’t get the job) But in about two days I got about halfway through the series up to volume 13. And while I hate Minoru, the occasional similarly creepy vibe the artist gives in the artists’ comments, and occasional character portrayal into I’m super hooked on the story, so I do plan to finish reading it. I also read a short comic that apparently counted on Goodreads by Noelle Stevenson about her recent surgery and thoughts on her own personal gender journey, it’s called “the weight of them”. Even though it’s only 35 pages I figure it evens out since Hush Girls isn’t on Goodreads.
*65 books read.
For 2021 I’ve set my goal to 40 books, to be a little gentler with myself. But seeing as I’m still working my way through manga and have already read 20 or so of them I may change it.