2019 in Reading

by Cam N. Coulter


Posted on January 10, 2020 reading


A colorful stack of books

Here’s all the books that I read in 2019:

  • Walkaway by Cory Doctorow
  • Zen to Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System by Leo Babauta
  • Uncanny Magazine Issue 26 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Dreams & Nightmares 110 edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel (poetry)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
  • Dreams & Nightmares 111 edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel (poetry)
  • Born to the Blade: Season 1 by Michael R. Underwood, Marie Brennan, Malka Older, Cassandra Khaw
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  • Acadie by Dave Hutchinson
  • The Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj
  • A People’s Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams
  • The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy
  • Vulture Bones Issue 4 edited by B R Sanders
  • Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation translated and edited by Ken Liu
  • If This Goes On edited by Cat Rambo
  • The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
  • Miranda in Milan by Katharine Duckett
  • Uncanny Magazine Issue 27 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Legalizing LGBT Families: How the Law Shapes Parenthood by Amanda K. Baumle and D’Lane R. Compton
  • Radicalized by Cory Doctorow
  • Rocket Fuel: Some of the Best from Tor.com Non-Fiction edited by Bridget McGovern and Chris Lough
  • The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
  • Do Not Go Quietly edited by Jason Sizemore & Lesley Conner
  • A Whirlwind Tour of Python by Jake VanderPlas
  • Uncanny Magazine Issue 28 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Plays by Roswitha of Gandersheim
  • Free Software Free Society (Third Edition) by Richard Stallman
  • Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century by Geoffrey R. Stone
  • The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
  • Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley
  • The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang
  • The 2019 Rhysling Anthology edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel (poetry)
  • Our Super Adventure: Video Games and Pizza Parties by Sarah Graley & Stef Purenins (comics)
  • Uncanny Magazine Issue 29 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
  • So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
  • The Wild Dead by Carrie Vaughn
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein (skim read & took notes)
  • Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
  • Algorithmic Shapeshifting by Bogi Takács (poetry)
  • Uncanny Magazine Issue 30: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy! edited by Katharine Duckett, Nicolette Barischoff, and Lisa M. Bradley
  • The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  • The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  • Unicorn on a Roll: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson (comics)
  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  • Unicorn vs. Goblins: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson (comics)
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  • Unicorn Crossing: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson (comics)
  • Phoebe and Her Unicorn in The Magic Storm by Dana Simpson (comics)

I also read a good chunk of short fiction. I’ll have another post coming soon in which I shout out my favorite short stories originally published in 2019. But for now, let’s review the highlights of the books that I read last year.

Born to the Blade: Season 1

This was my first venture into the world of Serial Box. I really enjoyed this story. I feel a little burned on Serial Box now, though, because this season ended on a cliffhanger, and it looks like there’s not going to be a season 2. I would like to read The Vela from Serial Box, but I don’t want to start it until I know it gets some sort of resolution.

Favorite Novels

  • Walkaway by Cory Doctorow: a fun and fascinating novel about the end of capitalism and the end of death. I absolutely loved it.
  • The Grace of Kings and The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu: Just wow. These books are stunning achievements. I’m dying to read book three in this series. More of my thoughts here.
  • The Wild Dead by Carrie Vaugh: a tremendously fun and smart post-apocalyptic murder mystery. It’s a sequel to Bannerless, which I also loved.
  • The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie: This is Ann Leckie’s new book. Therefore, it is superb.
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: I now understand why this series won all the Hugos. I am really looking forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy.

Favorite Novellas

Two standout novellas that I read last year were In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire and The Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj.

In an Absent Dream is the latest book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series. This book was wonderful. The series is phenomenal. Here are my thoughts on the first three books in the series: Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and Beneath the Sugar Sky.

The Stars Change is amazing. Check here for my thoughts on it.

Comics!

Our Super Adventure: Video Games and Pizza Parties by Sarah Graley & Stef Purenins was delightful. If you’re unfamiliar with their cute, geeky diary comic Our Super Adventure, you should definitely check it out.

I’ve also been reading Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and Her Unicorn books. Again, if you haven’t read these, you gotta check them out. This comic series rivals (and honestly I enjoy more than) Calvin and Hobbes and The Peanuts. I particularly loved Phoebe and Her Unicorn in The Magic Storm, which was a graphic novel rather than a collection of individual strips.

Related, you should also definitely be following Pepper & Carrot, a gorgeous and funny web comic about a young witch and her cat.

Nonfiction Hits

Here are my favorite nonfiction reads from 2019:

  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn: the critical view of US American history that they don’t teach you (but should) in school
  • Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century by Geoffrey R. Stone: an engaging, deeply informative, and actually really fun read all about sex, contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, censorship, obscenity, morality, religion, and law in the US
  • The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks: a thoughtful and persuasive book in which David Brooks argues that lives of meaning and purpose are rooted in commitments to a spouse and a family, to a vocation, to a philosophy or faith, and to a local community.
  • So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport: an easy, interesting, and persuasive read. Somewhat counter-intuitive. Newport argues that rather than following your preexisting passions, you should instead cultivate rare and valuable skills in order to have a successful career that you enjoy.
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear: an engaging, informative, and easy read all about habits. If you want to cultivate good habits, start here.

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash


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year in review