The 2021 Reading List: December

Since one of my writing goals was to read more, I thought it would help to keep track of what I knocked off Mount Tsundoku. Here’s as good a place as any to post what I’ve read to keep me honest, and what I thought of each book immediately after finishing.

Back in 2020 I decided to be a little more systematic about my reading plans. I started putting an actual to-read pile to stack on the nightstand and limited the stack to five books, which seemed doable for the month. Occasionally comics and graphic novels or roleplaying games jump the queue, but I typically tried to get through the pile in the order I stacked them. I also used this strategy to try and diversify my reading. The goal was 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.

Creating the piles is getting a little trickier, as I’m having a bit of trouble filling all of my criteria from stack to stack from my own shelves, and I’m never sure when a library book will arrive. Despite all of the library reading I’ve been doing I still plan on trying to read through the books on my own shelves as much as possible.

December started with finishing up last month’s reading list, and trying to finish off one more to-read pile before the new year hits. (And I almost made it!)

When Sorrows Come by Seanan McGuire: The latest October Daye novel. Toby and Tybalt get married (finally). Some good payoff for some series-long subplots in this one. While McGuire is great at reminding readers of what came before, this is probably incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t read the rest of the series (which you really should if you like great urban fantasy). Also includes a novella from Toby’s POV.

The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror edited by Stephen Jones: A pretty solid anthology. I enjoyed the modern tales more than any of the classics. Neither M.R. James, Arthur Machen, or the Lovecraft stories included really grabbed me. Of those three, I had already read Lovecraft’s “The Hound” so it held up better, maybe out of nostalgia. I did, however, enjoy Algernon Blackwood’s “Ancient Lights.” The standout stories for me were Alison Littlewood’s “Jenny Greenteeth”, Michael Marshall Smith’s “The Offering,” and Maura McHugh’s “Gravedirt Mouth.” Other notables were “Sticks” by Karl Edward Wagner, and Simon Strantzas’ “The King of Stones.”

Gather by Richard Van Camp: On the joy of storytelling. A fantastic read full of advice on being a storyteller. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear Richard speak at several events, and was also lucky enough to interview him for an article, so while reading the book I could practically hear his voice saying the words.

The Canadian Werewolf Chronicle by Sean Cummings: Read from an advance reading copy so I could provide an introduction. I really enjoyed this! It brought back memories of all the fun werewolf shows I’ve watched over the years. Will probably speak on it more when the book officially releases.

Black Widow Vol.2: I Am the Black Widow by Kelly Thompson, Rafael De Latorre, Elena Casagrande: Another fine volume. Nice to see Yelena turn up. Kate Bishop too.

A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts by Ying Chang Compestine: I didn’t finish this one. It wasn’t poorly written, but I didn’t really connect with it. Conceptually really interesting though, glad I gave it a try.

My final to-read stack of 2021:

Raccoon Sky Pirates by Hectic Electron, Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott, The Bjorkan Sagas by Harold R. Johnson, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, Grave Reservations by Cherie Priest.

Raccoon Sky Pirates by Hectic Electron: A DELIGHT. Picked up on a whim and cannot wait to get it to the table.

Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott: The first book in the Beyond the Page series. Took me a bit to get into, but once I got some momentum behind me, I really enjoyed it. I’ll probably read more in this series.

Star Wars Darth Vader Vol.2 Into the Fire by Greg Pak, Raffaele Ienco, Neeraj Menon: Still enjoying the latest run of the Vader comic.

Grave Reservations by Cherie Priest: Another delight. There’s a followup coming, I hear, which is very exciting. I hope this becomes a long running series.

Once & Future Vol.3 The Parliament of Magpies by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, Tamra Bonvillain: Another beautifully illustrated volume of what’s becoming my favourite recent bit of Arthuriana. Can’t wait to see where the series goes after volume 3’s huge cliffhanger ending.

A small year end library to-read stack:

Once Removed by Andrew Unger, Once & Future Vol.3: The Parliament of Magpies, Star Wars Darth Vader Vol.2 Into the Fire.

There were also lots of comics reread in December, consumed in individual issues: I finished the Fraction/Aja Hawkeye run, the 90s Power of the Atom, Duane Swierczynski’s Birds of Prey run, Chris Claremont’s take on Fantastic Four, a few Uncanny X-Men Annuals, and Gail Simone’s Domino run.

Sadly, I didn’t finish everything on the to-read stack as hoped, so I won’t be starting fresh in January, but that’s okay. I’m looking forward to reading them all the same, and still haven’t settled on how I want to shape my to-read stacks in the new year anyway.

Here’s what I read in January.

Here’s what I read in February

Here’s what I read in March.

Here’s what I read in April.

Here’s what I read in May.

Here’s what I read in June.

Here’s what I read in July.

Here’s what I read in August.

Here’s what I read in September.

Here’s what I read in October.

Here’s what I read in November.

Also, check out the roundup of my 2020 reading here.

1 thought on “The 2021 Reading List: December

  1. Pingback: My 2021 in Books (and Stories) | Chadwick Ginther

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