Happy New Year! I hope those of you celebrating had wonderful holidays. I could have used a little more reading, but had a wonderful time with family.
This is usually the part where I look back over my reading stats for the past year, but I have decided to forego the navel-gazing this time. There were a couple of trends I’ll note, all of which were related to COVID-19. The major lockdown period for my hometown ran from March until the end of May (we have been very lucky). During those months, I read more than average and the books I read were largely sourced from my existing TBR pile. Library loans for 2020 were significantly down on previous years, due to the closure of the library.
Mt TBR Status
Mt TBR @ 1 January 2020: 427
Mt TBR @ 30 November 2020: 420
Mt TBR @ 31 December 2020: 424
161. The Mysterious Study of Doctor Sex by Tamsyn Muir. Science fiction short story in the Locked Tomb series. The academics of the Sixth house unseal the study of one of their most notorious members and find themselves with a mystery on their hands. A fun, though somewhat bittersweet look back at the childhood of some of the side characters from Gideon the Ninth.
162. Good Neighbours by Stephanie Burgis. Fantasy short story. Hoping for some peace and quiet, a grumpy inventor moves next door to a spooky castle. A charming meetcute. I’m looking forward to reading more.
163. One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London. Contemporary romance. A plus-sized fashion blogger is offered the chance to star in her favourite reality TV show. I found this one a little difficult going for the way that it digs into fatphobia, but I also appreciated it all the more for that. I wasn’t wholly sold on the end, since it felt like it remembered at the last minute that it was supposed to be a romance novel. And, indeed, it doesn’t feel much like a traditional romance novel but something more akin to women’s fiction.
165. Critical Role: Vox Machina – Origins, Vol. 1 by Matthew Mercer, Matthew Colville and Olivia Samson. Six would-be heroes find themselves drawn together as they investigate dark happenings in a swamp-side town. I’m not familiar with the oeuvre of Critical Role, but I am a D&D player, and I found the story accessible enough. It shows the influence of its original medium in the kinds of characters and the wordiness of many of the panels. Not exactly deep, and a little dark in places, but an enjoyable read.
166. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Classic fiction. A young, naive woman travels to Bath for the first time, where she makes a number of friends of varying quality. I can see why this is not one of Austen’s more popular novels; the hero in particular felt a little flat to me. However, the parts satirising Gothic novels were very entertaining.
167. Crossroads by Moira Rogers. Paranormal romance. Second in the Southern Arcana series. After yearning for each other for years, a recently-turned werewolf hooks up with the princess of the US werewolves. Unfortunately, their union is cut short when the princess’s twin sister arrives, in fear for her life. As I have said before, Moira Rogers is another pseudonym Kit Rocha used for some of their earlier work and it shows. It has much of the same feelings of community and found family, but this has a lot less of the polish.
168. Death at the Blue Elephant by Janeen Webb. A collection of short sci-fi and fantasy stories. It leans a little too horror for my taste, but all well written.
Silk and Steel edited by Janine A. Southard
The Pearl by Tiffany Reisz
The Councillor by E.J. Beaton
Rebuilding Tomorrow by Tsana Dolichva
Curse of Bronze by Tansy Rayner Roberts
Mythos by Stephen Fry
Heroes by Stephen Fry
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
Tales from the Folly by Ben Aaronovitch
Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian
My reading goals for 2020 were fairly modest. I set my Goodreads goal for 150 books and made 159. I also aimed to read or get rid of the ten oldest books on my TBR pile and got through seven of those.
Since these goals served me reasonably well, I have decided to repeat them for 2021. For the ten oldest books, I shall carry over the three from last year that I didn’t get to and add seven more to fill out the number. I’ve also cheated a little with the titles to avoid tackling too many tomes in one year. The titles are:
The Birthday of the World by Ursula K. Le Guin
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Choosing Happiness by Stephanie Dowrick
The Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
A Contemplation Upon Flowers by Bobby K. Ward
The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker
The Illiad by Homer
Carpentaria by Alexis Wright
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Wish me luck! In the meantime, if you have reading goals for the year, I’d love to hear them.