One of my 2020 goals was to read 50 books. I didn’t think it was all that realistic, so I’m not beating myself up for coming up short. But I did read 29 books, or about two and a half books per month!

Highlights include N. K. Jemison’s The Broken Earth trilogy, which is so good I’m taking my time between books because I don’t want it to be over.

R. F. Kuang’s The Poppy War was also so, so good.

Disappointments include the Witcher novels. Almost nothing happened in The Tower of Swallows. I think Sapowski was just writing it for the paycheck. I was so bored it took me over a month to finish it, and I lost all interest in the characters by the end.

Somehow I was even slower to read Nick Hornby’s Slam. I don’t think I’ve read anything else by Hornby, and it just didn’t do it for me.

But the worst books of the year were definitely Jack Vance’s classic science fantasy novels. I like pulp sci-fi and fantasy (obviously), but those were just awful.

Here are all the books I finished in 2020, including the date I finished each one. Books with an asterisk are books I’ve read before.

  1. Mythos (audiobook), by Stephen Fry, on January 2nd
  2. This Naked Mind, by Annie Grace, on January 7th
  3. Abaddon’s Gate, by James S. A. Corey, on January 7th
  4. America, Compromised (audiobook), by Lawrence Lessig, on January 11th
  5. The Time of Contempt, by Andrzej Sapkowski, on January 12th
  6. The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin, on February 9th
  7. The Aeronaut’s Windlass, by Jim Butcher, on February 13th
  8. The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester, on February 22nd
  9. Benjamin Franklin (audiobook), by Walter Isaacson, on February 29th
  10. The Dying Earth, by Jack Vance, on February 29th
  11. White Fragility (audiobook), by Robin DiAngelo, on March 9th
  12. The Eyes of the Overworld, by Jack Vance, on March 9th
  13. Cugel’s Saga, by Jack Vance, on March 21st
  14. Rhialto the Marvelous, by Jack Vance, on March 28th
  15. Small Favor, by Jim Butcher, on April 11th
  16. Talking to Strangers (audiobook), by Malcolm Gladwell, on May 22nd
  17. The Soldier, by Neal Asher, on June 15th
  18. Let My People Go Surfing (audiobook), by Yvon Chouinard, on June 22nd
  19. Notorious RBG (audiobook), by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik, on June 29th
  20. The Book of Gutsy Women, by Hillary Rodham Clinton & Chelsea Clinton, on July 11th
  21. The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemison, on July 25th
  22. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman, on July 29th*
  23. Baptism of Fire, by Andrzej Sapkowski, on August 1st
  24. The Warship, by Neal Asher, on August 4th
  25. All Systems Red, by Martha Wells, on August 9th
  26. The Tower of Swallows, by Andrzej Sapkowski, on September 17th
  27. The Poppy War, by R. F. Kuang, on September 28th
  28. Slam, by Nick Hornby, on November 10th
  29. The Dervish House, by Ian McDonald, on December 25th*

For 2021 I’m setting a more reasonable goal of 30 books. If you’ve got recommendations, I’d love to hear them on Twitter.

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