The year in books

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, and 375 pages stand between me and the conclusion of The Mirror and the Light, so I am calling it at 233 books read this year. (As always, I have included only cover-to-covers.) Here is my complete list, here are all of the posts annotating that list, and here are a few numbers:

♦ 233 books read this year
♦ 105 fiction titles (not including graphic works)
♦ 61 non-fiction titles (not including graphic works)
♦ 6 poetry selections
♦ 37 plays
♦ 24 graphic works (three of which were non-fiction selections)
♦ 34 rereads (i.e., books that I had first read sometime in the past, not this year)

As I shared here, my goals for this year were to read 100 books from my shelves (i.e., books in my collection before the end of 2019), including at least 24 non-fiction titles and at least one book from each of the following categories: Shakespeare (by, about, retold, etc.) poetry, NYRB, Kurt Vonnegut (by or about), Joyce Carol Oates, philosophy, art, and children’s / YA. I read 148 books from the shelves, 47 of which were non-fiction titles, and I met each of the category challenges:

This year, seven plays (Richard III, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, The Tempest, Measure for Measure, King Lear, and Richard II) and two works from the Hogarth Shakespeare series (Vinegar Girl (Anne Tyler; 2016) and New Boy (Tracy Chevalier; 2017)) satisfied the challenge. Next year, I will not consider it complete unless I also tackle at least one of the many non-fiction works I’ve collected.

With Aimless Love (Billy Collins; 2013) and Crow (Ted Hughes; 1970) I met the challenge, but I had also hoped to increase the amount of poetry I read this year, whether from my shelves or not. With six books, I doubled what I managed last year, but there is still much room for growth here.

Cassandra at the Wedding (Dorothy Baker; 1962)

Kurt Vonnegut
Mother Night (1961)

Joyce Carol Oates
Give Me Your Heart (2010)

How to Die: An Ancient Guide to the End of Life (Seneca; ed. James Romm; 2018)
How to Keep Your Cool: An Ancient Guide to Anger Management (Seneca; ed. James Romm; 2019)
How to Grow Old: Ancient Wisdom for the Second Half of Life (Marcus Tullius Cicero; ed. Philip Freeman; 2016)
How to Be Free: An Ancient Guide to the Stoic Life (Epictetus; ed. A.A. Long; 2018)
Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar… Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes (Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein; 2006)

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers (Deborah Heiligman; 2017)

Children’s / YA
I, Juan de Pareja (Elizabeth Barton de Treviño; 1965)
Harriet the Spy (Louise Fitzhugh; 1964)

I rose to Robin’s challenge to read three Agatha Christie titles this year: The Mousetrap (1952), Crooked House (1949), and Endless Night (1967). And I tossed in a challenge to read a book about my bird of the year, which in 2020, was the crow: Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans (John M. Marzluff; 2012).

The only goal on which I stumbled was “Read Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy,” and, gosh, I came close. In fact, I’ll return once I finish.

6 thoughts on “The year in books

  1. Well done!
    I appreciate all your lists and comments and reviews. Mostly though I appreciate your reading goals! It makes me want to read more and wider…. I already have a list of 30 books to get me started in 2021.

    Can’t wait to hear about your new goals.
    Congratulations on a year well read!


    Liked by 1 person

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