Book Summary 2020

Mpepper/ December 4, 2020/ Flashbacks

Prefer video? View my 2020 Reading Wrap-Up on YouTube.

Yes, there are still a few weeks left in the year, but the chances I will finish reading another book in that time are slim to none. So I don’t think it’s premature to look back at my year in books.

This year, I read 62 books, fewer than the 81 I read last year. BUT… last year, the only thing I wrote was one short story (“Origami of the Heart”—go read it if you haven’t, or read it again if you have, even if it is set on White Day). This year, I re-released two novels and wrote entirely—from scratch!—a third. More writing = less reading, and that seems reasonable.

So, of the 62 books, how many were manga? 31. For those not keen on math, that’s exactly half. But they still count, because it’s still reading. On top of those, 8 were Japanese “light novels.” Which are different from manga!

An additional 8 books were nonfiction. Which leaves 15 fiction titles. I’m probably splitting hairs by separating out the Japanese light novels, but they do feel like a different reading experience to me. Maybe that’s simply a cultural difference, though. Like, maybe it’s a byproduct of the translation process (or it depends on the translators)? Because certainly I’ve read other books in translation that feel… relatively normal from a Western standpoint. So I dunno. But I do feel Japanese light novels and more standard reading material—what passes for such in America, anyway—are just a wee bit different. And I mean no disrespect there; obviously I enjoy the Japanese novels, else I wouldn’t read so many.

Favorite books I read this year? Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry and Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh stand out in my mind. Piranesi, too, by Susanna Clarke… not because it was great, but because it was so strange. I feel like I liked Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke, and yet it failed to leave much of an impression because I have to think really hard about it to remember anything.

For more about things I’ve read, check out (Like! Subscribe!) my YouTube channel. I post reviews there even when I don’t write reviews here.

So what’s the plan for next year? Well, I always set a modest goal. I think I’ll aim to read 30 books and hopefully do better than that. I have an inkling for a new book I want to write, so it will depend on if that spark ignites. If it does, I’ll be devoting time to writing over reading again. Honestly, in a year spent mostly at home, you’d think I’d have read more rather than less. But everything is off this year, and very little makes sense anymore. Sure, the calendar is a construct, but I’ll say it anyway: hoping for a better 2021. If not in reading, then in every other possible way.

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