Reading in Review: 2019

Reading, with coffee
Reading, with coffee.

Greetings, Programs!

The last few years I’ve adopted a self-challenge on Goodreads to keep my reading on track: 52 books a year. And I’ve been successful, so, yay, me! Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. It’s fuel for stories, as much as food is for life. Writers who don’t read are kidding themselves.

Anyway, if you want to see the roster of everything I read in 2019, feel free to peruse my Goodreads shelf for 2019. It was a good year for reading, and I didn’t suffer through too many slumps last year, which was nice. “Reader’s Block” can be a deeply frustrating thing. Fortunately, that never happened to me in 2019. I was quite consistent.

You may note that almost every book has a rating of four stars or higher. The absolute lowest rating I will almost ever give a book is three stars, and that’s for a book that’s perfectly fine and unobjectionable. My reason for this is simple. No, I don’t love every book I read, but I only finish books I love and I only rate books I’ve finished. The books that I either dislike, or decide aren’t my cup of tea, or that I simply peter out on…these get set aside in favor of something else, and not rated. Many times I’ve “bounced off” a book at one time only to read it sometime later and have it become a beloved favorite, so I am generally loath to genuinely pan a book. It’s something I just don’t do very often.

Likewise, on Goodreads I often won’t even list a book under “Currently Reading” until I’m sure I’m going to finish it. This isn’t for appearances’ sake, since I use Goodreads mainly to track the books I’ve finished. Filling it up with all my various DNF’s doesn’t seem useful to me.

Finally, here are the cream of the crop, the very best books I read last year. I recommend each of these very highly! (Links are to my Goodreads reviews.)


The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin.

A Brightness Long Ago, Guy Gavriel Kay.

The Night Circus, Erin Morganstern.

The Serpent of Venice, Christopher Moore.

On a Sunbeam, Tillie Walden.


A Gentle Madness, Nicholas Basbanes.

These Truths: A History of the United States, Jill Lepore.

Shakespeare’s Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects, Neil MacGregor

Maestros and Their Music, John Mauceri.

These are just the books that stand out in my mind from 2019. In truth it was a wonderful year for my reading life, and if 2020 is half so good it will be a great year too. If you read anything really wonderful last year, by all means, let me know!


See you ’round the galaxy,


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