Wednesday, December 30, 2020

A Year in Pages

The last Unraveled Wednesday of the year seems like the perfect time to look back on the books I've read over the past 12 months and highlight some of my favorites.

I've been setting a yearly reading challenge on Goodreads since I joined back in 2015, and every year I've increased the total number of books I want to read. I've also surpassed my goal each year, and in the past two or three years, that's largely been because of ebooks, enabling me to read at work in between projects. My goal for this year, long before any thought of a pandemic, was 60 books, which I thought would be a bit of a stretch. In reality, well, I'll just let this graphic tell the story:

This is the very first year (since I've been keeping track) that I hit triple digits. Fully half of those books came from bingo, for which I did two cover-alls. It wasn't just about reading more, though -- this year was really about reading better. That meant reading things that were outside my comfort zone, things that challenged me to think differently, and things that were part of my ongoing effort to learn new things. You can see all the books I read this year here (you may need to sign in to Goodreads to view this), but I want to highlight a small number of the 100 that I thought were really exceptional. These aren't presented in any particular order or ranking; these are just books that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and that stayed with me after I finished. I've linked to their Goodreads pages, but you can also feel free to read my reviews if you want to know more details about my thoughts.

  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January
  • Apeirogon
  • Save Me the Plums
  • The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste (not technically related, but they're by the same author and in my mind complement each other very well)
  • The Exiles
  • Hamnet
  • Station Eleven 
  • The Vanishing Half

    These were all five-star reads for me. There were a handful of other books that I also rated five stars, but they were books that I felt like I was done with when I finished. Nearly all the books I read this year were rated three stars or higher; very few were stinkers. And while I didn't think to find a way to track it, I'd estimate that probably 90-95% of the books I read this year were borrowed from the library. Next year, I'll be adding a library shelf to my Goodreads account so I can keep track.

    This year I started regularly joining Kat and the Unravelers for weekly posts, and I'm so glad I did! I'm convinced that one of the main reason I read as much as I did was because of the many wonderful recommendations you all have shared. I'd love to hear about your favorite reads from this past year and what you're planning to read in the new year in the comments!


  1. CONGRATULATIONS on 100 books! I really admire that you can get a good mix of nonfiction and fiction in, and just like you, I simply love seeing what other people read! Are you upping the challenge to 100 next year? And do you have a list of books you'd like to read, or topics you'd like to read about?

  2. One hundred is quite a few more than 60 books! And I know it's not just numbers for you, but reading varied and interesting books. You read my post about my favorite books, but right now I'm reading Miss Benson's Beetle (light but interesting and amusing fiction) and Owls of the Eastern Ice (nonfiction about Blakiston's Fish Owl). They are both very good so far.

  3. You joining Unraveled Wednesdays has been so wonderful! I love your best of list! Here is to even better reading in 2021!

  4. One hundred books is quite an accomplishment. I wonder where reading will take you in 2021. There are so many good books to choose from so it is good to read about your top picks.

  5. This is a very nice summary of your 2020 reading. I also enjoyed The Ten Thousand Door of January and am looking forward to Hamnet next year (with my book group.)I appreciate your thoughts about books.

  6. What a fantastic year of books AND reading! I didn't recall that you read Ten Thousand Doors ... wasn't it amazing?! It was one of my first Modern Mrs Darcy selections and the author interview got me hooked on author interviews. I'm hoping to read her new book in 2021. we'll see!

  7. What a rich reading year! (And I have to laugh, because I have 4 of those titles in my possession right now--but holidays are a challenging time for focused reading in my house, so they'll probably be my first completeds in January). Your double cover-all was inspiring, that's for sure! Happy NYE, Sarah!

    1. Well the good news is that you'll be starting the new year off with some really good reading!

  8. What a happy reading year! I'm glad that we connected in 2020 - here's to another good year of blogging! :)