A few years ago, the end of 2018 to be precise, I thought I would have an easier time reading and finishing many of the many, many books in my To Be Read pile. The reason was, I was no longer a full-time employee anywhere, but freelance, and given my lazy approach to finding work I thought this would mean more time to knit, more time to read, more time to Do Things that were not directly employment related. For example, I finished writing a second novel, and kept working on my third and fourth! And started cleaning out our crowded apartment of superfluous things. And pampering my plants.
As for more time to read? Once upon a time I read short stories voraciously, subscribed to all the SFF mags and bought collections and anthologies. But my tastes shifted over the years, and I began craving longer and longer stories practically to the exclusion of true short stories. The quality of available reading material had nothing to do with it. Just personal taste.
Things didn’t happen quite the way I imagined. During 2018, when I still commuted an hour each day by bus, and often spent lunch time at my desk, and we flew on lengthy trips several times, I read a lot of books. Seventy two! Same as 2017! And back in 2016 I read 77, perhaps an all-time personal best. I’ll write about those books some other time. (And yes, I’m using Goodreads to track all that.)
In 2019, I made the same modest goal of reading 50 books that I had for years past. And read 55! I blamed it on shorter bus rides, not traveling by air as much, and having generally more stuff to do.
Then…pandemic. Surely, even the distraction of having Spouse home all day working from home could not prevent me from continuing to tackle my book-reading goals head on. Surely I’d get lots of knitting done, lots of reading done. I once again set a goal of 50 books, which seemed eminently doable.
But I read only 39 full books in 2020. Many were but novellas, or even shorter. Graphic novels, with not much dialogue. I know now, that between pandemic and politics I wasn’t alone in struggling to concentrate enough to get through some very anxious periods. I thoroughly enjoyed what I read. But I worried about my aging brain, and set the same goal of 50 books for 2021. Which I missed. By a lot.
(I will report that thankfully neither I nor Spouse actually contracted Covid that year. Nor since, so far.)
2020 books included:
The Death of the Necromancer, by Martha Wells
Rogue Protocol, and Exit Strategy, and Network Effect, by Martha Wells
The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders
Paladin’s Grace, and A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, by T. Kingfisher
Life of David Hockney, by Catherine Cusset
Stormsong, and Midnight Bargain by CL Polk
Gideon the Ninth, and Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir
The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow
Beneath the Rising, by Premee Mohamed
The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djeli Clark
Color, by Victoria Finlay
The Raven Tower, by Ann Leckie
Blackfish City, by Sam J. Miller
The Empire of Gold, by SA Chakraborty
The Vinyl Detective: Low Action, by Andrew Cartmel
Rag and Bone, and Slippery Creatures, by KJ Charles
Storm of Locusts, by Rebecca Roanhorse
The House of Sundering Flames, and Of Dragons Feasts and Murders, by Aliette de Bodard
Solutions and Other Problems, by Allie Brosh
A Pocketful of Lodestones, by Elizabeth Crowens
The Morning of the Magicians, by Louis Pauwels
Daemon Voices, by Philip Pullman
The Physicians of Vilnoc, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Girl Genius: Queens and Pirates, by Phil & Kaja Foglio
(I am omitting several things I read mostly for research purposes for my own writing.)
TO BE CONTINUED...