One of my goals for 2020, and really the only one I wholly succeeded in, was to read more than I had in 2019. I thought it would help to keep track of what I knocked off Mount Tsundoku (and it did!).
Being a little more systematic about my reading plans certainly helped. Now I’m pulling out an actual to-read pile to stack on the nightstand. I’m limiting the stack to five books (usually), which seems doable for the month, even though odds are I won’t get through them all each month. Occasionally comics and graphic novels or roleplaying games jump the queue, but I’m trying to get through the pile in the order I stack them. For my first reading stack, I grabbed the first five shinys to catch my eye, but since then I’ve added criteria to diversify my reading a bit. My intention is for each to-read pile to contain at least one book by a BIPOC or LGBTQ2S+ author, one book by a woman, one non-fiction book, and one book by an author I know personally (I’ve accumulated a lot of these over the years, and I’ve been a bit slower to get to many of them than I’d like. Sorry, friends!).
Since I had success with my 2020 reading plan, I made a spreadsheet to track my reading more in depth, and see if there’s anything I can do to tweak it and make even more out of my 2021 reading year. I might add a new-to-me category to my tracking this year as well.
Here’s how 2020 went:
I cracked open 90 books, and finished 89 of them. I honestly thought I would’ve abandoned more books than that, but I’m still pretty stubborn about finishing what I start, book-wise. 30 of my books were rereads, and 36 were graphic novels, which inflates the number a bit, but I’m still totally counting them (especially during the trashfire that was 2020).
I read 10 books by BIPOC authors and 7 by authors I know to be LGBTQ2S+. I’d like to improve both of those numbers in 2021, but am still pretty happy that everything I read came off of my shelves and I spent most of a year hitting my to-read stack goals without having to order a new book or visit the library to make my stacks. I will likely have to prop up the home shelves with some new additions by the end of 2021 to keep this category going.
Only 29 of my books were by women, which doesn’t surprise me given the amount of old graphic novel rereads that were on the list. The ratio is a bit better when compared to my new reads for the year, but I’d hoped for closer to 50-50 parity, and will be aiming for an equal mix again in 2021.
I caught up on 8 books written by friends. Sorry it took me so long!
Only 5 non-fiction books were finished in 2020. I tend to read non-fiction much more slowly than fiction, as I often make notes to myself of things I’d like to remember, or things that give me story ideas, but I’d still hoped for more. At least this should be an easy goal to beat this year.
I read 12 roleplaying game handbooks in 2020, which means I probably read more RPGs than I played in game sessions. It was not a good year for gaming for me. What games I played were fun, but pandemic brain definitely caused me to step back from actual game sessions (and as good as Roll20 is at what it does, I vastly prefer to have my gaming take place in person).
Of the 90 books I cracked open in 2020, I liked 70 of them enough to recommend to others, and there were no real stinkers. Even the book I set down had some pretty admirable qualities, it just wasn’t for me.
Top Fiction Reads
- Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw
- The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
- Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
- The Bone Mother by David Demchuk
- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
- Revenge by Yoko Ogawa
- Armed in Her Fashion by Kate Heartfield
Top Non-Fiction Reads:
- Story Genius by Lisa Cron
- The Skeleton Crew by Deborah Halber
Top Graphic Novel Reads:
- Heathen Vol. 1 by Natasha Alterici
- Criminal: Bad Weekend by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
- Criminal: Cruel Summer by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Top RPG Reads:
- Spectaculars by Scratchpad Publishing
- Vaesen by Free League
Everything I read in 2020:
Here’s what I read in January.
Here’s what I read in February.
Here’s what I read in September.
Here’s what I read in October.
Here’s what I read in November.
Here’s what I read in December.
And my first to-read stack of 2021:
I’ve already broken my five books rule! After choosing my first five for 2021, I remembered that I’d planned to kick off the year reading Hungover, and didn’t want to bounce anything off the list.
Here’s to a great year of reading in 2021! What’s on your nightstand, friends?