Reflecting on 2020: Reading

2020 wasn’t a great year, but there were some positive moments and my reading was one of them. Although I suffered from bouts of reading slumps, especially at the beginning of the year, I managed to read a lot more than I anticipated.

To go easy on myself, I set my Goodreads goal at a manageable 50 books, just as I did back in 2019. But because I was stuck at home like many others with little else to distract me, I managed to read more than I expected and ended the year having read a combination of 94 books, comics, mangas, and picture books. That’s 16 more things than I read last year. I was hoping to hit the 100 mark (which I hope for every year), but that didn’t work out. Maybe I’ll do so this year, 2021.

I began 2020 in a reading slump that didn’t get much better as the year wore on. Sometimes I’d escape the slumpiness only to plunge back into it weeks later either because I took on too many reading events and engagements or because what was going on in the world affected my mood and reading experiences. Still, I managed to read some good books and even binged on a genre I hardly ever read — romance. I also managed to partake in some great readalongs and buddy-reads too.

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2020 End of Year Book Survey

It’s that time again for the very long, very detailed book survey created by Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner. I enjoy doing this each year. It’s just a fun way to reflect on one’s reading. There are a lot of questions, so I’ll most likely skip some of them (and you’ll most likely not read all of them, lol).

2020 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 94

Books: 44
Audio: 22
E-books: 28

Number of books reread: 24

Number of books I Did Not Finish: 4

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

Best book I read in 2020:

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

It’s a children’s picture book that has no pictures in it, and it’s the best book I read in 2020 because it was light and simple and the best companion to have during such a tumultuous year.

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Book Recs: 20 Picture Books by Black Authors

The uproar in response to police brutality against Black people has strengthened the Black Lives Matter movement and has forced everyone to (again) recognize and admit how ingrained systematic racism is in our society and the many areas that lack diversity.

An area where this discussion is also happening is book publishing, which is known for its lack of diversity among authors, the types of books published, and even among the professionals who work in this sector — editors, designers, publicists, agents, etc. Recently, the hashtag #PublishingPaidMe popped up on Twitter to discuss the disparity between how much authors of color are paid in contrast to White authors, who more often receive large advances for their books. In this New York Times article, renown author Jesmyn Ward talks about fighting for a higher advance despite winning several awards for her books.

We all need to work harder to stop and prevent racism in our society. To help, many people have turned to books to learn more, which has caused books about racism and Black experiences to now flood the best-seller lists. To encourage more people to read and engage with content by Black creators, media outlets, social media, bloggers, and booktubers are all recommending books by and about Black people and Black experiences.

While I am grateful to see these recommendation lists, they often solely contain adult books. I want to contribute a list of recommendations, but instead of adult books, I’ve decided to feature children’s picture books. Racism affects all facets of society. To combat it, we must also encourage more diverse children’s literature, including picture books.

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Reflecting on 2019: Reading

And now, here’s my last reading wrap up for 2019.

I did pretty good in 2019. I set my Goodreads reading goal for 50 books (10 more than last year’s goal) and ended up reading 78 books (that’s 14 more books than I read last year). As always, I was secretly striving for 100. I really want to hit that number one of these years, but with so many responsibilities, distractions, and work, I wonder if it’s possible for me to do so.

2019 got off on a great start, reading-wise, and I knocked out some great books at the beginning of the year. A few ended up on my favorite books list (City of Dragons, The Little Red Wolf) while others made my list of memorable reads (Bad Blood, Dopesick). But although I read a number of great books in 2019, it was too easy to choose my favorites. I don’t like when that happens. I prefer when I struggle to minimize my list of favorites. It makes creating the list more tense and fun, and makes me laugh at myself more. 🙂 The easy selection made me feel as if I didn’t have a good reading year. I instead struggled more to minimize my selection of favorite TV shows and movies watched in 2019.

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2019 End of Year Book Survey

Hey y’all!! 😀 It’s that time of year again when I do the End of Year Book Survey. It’s long. It takes forever to do and to read, but I love doing it and reading other bloggers’ responses. So shout out to Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner, for creating it and updating it every year!

2019 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 78

Books: 47
Audio: 15
Comics/graphic novels: 13
E-books: 3

Number of books reread: 11

Number of books I did not finish: 4

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

Best book I read in 2019:

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

Unlike the past two years, it was pretty easy to choose a favorite for 2019. The books I read didn’t appeal so strongly that the decision would be hard, so The Secret Lives of Color was an easy selection. It’s probably the first that I’ve chosen a nonfiction book as my ultimate favorite read for a year.

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Comics Roundup #29: Zodiac Starforce | Elves | Monstress

Sadly, I’ve fallen so far behind on reviews that I’m still writing reviews of books I completed in April now. Today I have for you comic book reviews.

The first one, Zodiac Starforce, #1, I read for the O.W.L. Magical Readathon that was held in April. This review should have already been up, but no. I procrastinated, and now I’m posting it a month before the follow up readathon — N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon — begins. The other two — Elves, Vol. 1 and Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood — were both read for the Wyrd & Wonder readathon, which is a month-long readathon in May of all things fantasy.

Anyway, my intention this week is to clear out my review queue; so fingers crossed that I’ll actually achieve this.


Zodiac Starforce, #1 by Kevin Panetta, illus. by Paulina Ganucheau with colors by Savanna Ganucheau

Genre:

YA Fantasy

Series:

Zodiac Starforce, issue 1

Pubbed:

August 2015

Quick summary:

The series is about a group of teenage girls who possess magical powers and use them to protect their planet from dark creatures. This issue opens with the group disbanded and one of the members, Kim, hoping to get everyone back together again. While doing so, she’s also investigating a student’s disappearance and later learns, along with her group of superpower friends, that one of the group members is infected with dark energy. (Goodreads)

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Book Recs: Dragons!

Here’s another prompt for #WyrdandWonder, a month-long celebration of all things fantasy. Click here to see the other prompts.

ten books featuring dragons

The prompt is actually “top ten dragons,” but I haven’t read that many fantasy books to do a decent post listing my top ten dragons. Instead, in this post I’ll list five books I’ve read that feature dragons I like and five books I’d like to read that feature dragons.

Five books about dragons I like

In Search of Lost Dragons by Elian Black’mor (illus.) and Carine-M (illus.)

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Book Recs: Amazing Magical Systems

I’m so mad at myself. It’s already mid-May and I’ve yet to do one of these #WyrdandWonder prompts… until now. Initially, my plan was to post every day but that quickly got pushed aside as life got busy. But finally I’m able to post a prompt. Today I’ll feature

my top 10 magical systems

But it’ll be seven instead because I couldn’t think of any more to include.

By the way, #WyrdandWonder is a month-long celebration of all things fantasy. Click here to see the other prompts.

bending

Avatar: The Last Airbender by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino (illus.)

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Weekend Reads #93: Week 2 — O.W.L. Progress Report

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend. However instead of a topic, I’ll instead share with you my progress on my O.W.L.s (Ordinary Wizarding Levels).

The O.W.L. Magical Readathon is in session. It began on April 1st and I’m sharing my weekly reading progress reports as I work toward becoming an Aurologist — someone who reads and studies auras.

I was doing well until last week when I took a road trip and forgot to carry the books I intended to read. Has that ever happened to you? I was close to finishing one book and, not wanting to be on a trip without a book, I packed a few others that I thought would would interest me and would apply to this reading challenge.

I threw in my bag Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which I’ve been reading on and off since last year. It’s slow reading. Though some parts interest me because of the tension and gothic atmosphere of certain scenes, the majority of the story so far has been boring, so I take long breaks from the book. I would DNF it, but I have my mind intent on completing the book. I enjoy reading horror stories about vampires and other parasitic monsters that hunt humans, so I’d like to finally complete this classic that has inspired such stories. So yeah, that’s why it was in my bag for this trip. I could only read a few paragraphs at a time because I tended to start snoozing after every third paragraph.

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Weekend Reads #92: Week 1 — O.W.L. Progress Report

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend. However instead of a topic, I’ll instead share with you my progress on my O.W.L.s (Ordinary Wizarding Levels).

The O.W.L. Magical Readathon is in session. It began on April 1st, but because I’ve been so busy lately, I wasn’t able to start my reading until this week. Since it’s a month-long readathon, I’ve decided to share my progress at the end of each week so you all can see if I past my subjects to become Aurologist — someone who reads and studies auras.

Aurology is an esoteric subject, quite like divination, and so far I’ve done a great job reading books that fit it. By the way, I’ve already deviated from my TBR for this readathon. If you’re familiar with my blog, that’s probably not surprising to you. I hardly ever follow those things although I enjoy creating them.

The first book took me on a wild, stream-of-conciousness ride filled with drugs, random hookups, and many bad decisions. I didn’t like it. It was disconcerting and I couldn’t make sense of anything, though there were brief moments of clarity. It totally fucked with my aura reading, and I’m sure many straight-laced professors would disagree with dabbling in such a book. Although, if one is to be an aurologist, one can’t be too uptight and the book did show a possible, though chemical-inducing, way of transcending reality.

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