2019 Book Review

This year I set a goal of 30 books on my Goodreads challenge. That felt ambitious, yet doable and I’m proud to say that I’ve surpassed that number by a few books–and the year is not over yet!

I read too much non-fiction. I don’t really know why, except I surround myself with people (via Twitter, mostly) who recommend non-fiction way more than fiction which is how I’ve read Atomic Habits twice but never The Nightingale.

A quick count tells me 40% of my books read this year were fiction. I consider that a grand achievement. (Side note: Does Goodreads provide analytics on this? I had to count by hand but would love to see data around genre, length, etc.)

I don’t really have a rhyme or reason for reading the books that I do. About 50% of my books are read via Kindle while the other half is dead tree checked out from the local library. I had to carry around Steve Jobs for 2 weeks and that is a book I had wished I had read on Kindle.

I read a few obscure sci-fi books such as The Amber Project which was a post-apocalyptic series about people being driven underground because of a weird gas that took over Earth. The series follows a bunch of kids that have been genetically modified to resist the gas. This was one of the Amazon Lending Library book offerings which are always lesser known and of dubious quality. But! Fiction is fiction and it helped me towards my goal so I’m pleased.

My reading philosophy is that life is too short to suffer through a book you don’t like–so put it down if you’re not enjoying it. I usually have half a dozen books going at once and I’ll stop and start them without much guilt.
For example, I’m about halfway through The Ego is the Enemy but that’s not really a book you just tear through in a couple days. It’s been sitting on my Kindle for the past 2 weeks unread but I think I’m ready to pick it up again. Same with The Courage to be Disliked.

I devoured Sally Rooney’s two books–Conversations with Friends and Normal People but I don’t know if I’d recommend them. They left me sort of sad and hollow inside. It bummed me out to think that young people would read these books and imagine relationships had to be this way–overly complicated and full of drama.

For 2020 I might up the ante to 40 books and shoot for 50% to be fiction. If you have any fiction book recs–please let me know!


  1. A newsletter linked to your Some Thoughts on Working More Effectively post. Great post. I then saw a decent amount of overlap on your books post so thought I’d comment to say thanks for the working post and recommend Iain M Bank’s Culture series if you like syfi. I thoroughly enjoyed these and see references to them periodically, which is interesting.


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