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