2020 in Reading
by Cam N. Coulter
Posted on January 7, 2021 reading
Here’s most all the books I read in 2020:
- Our Super Canadian Adventure: An Our Super Adventure Travelogue by Sarah Graley and Stef Purenins (comics)
- Uncanny Magazine Issue 31 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
- Unicorn of Many Hats: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson (comics)
- The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
- Phoebe and Her Unicorn in Unicorn Theatre by Dana Simpson (comics)
- Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change: 3rd Edition by William Bridges
- The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
- Unicorn Bowling: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson (comics)
- The Unicorn Whisperer: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson (comics)
- Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life is a Noisy World by Cal Newport
- Saga: Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (comics)
- Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
- Secretly, I’ve Been Suffering About Being Sexless by Togame translated by Alexandra McCullough-Garcia (manga)
- Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
- Saga: Volume Two by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (comics)
- Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather
- Prosper’s Demon by K.J. Parker
- Uncanny Magazine Issue 32 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
- Finna by Nino Cipri
- Saga: Volume Three by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (comics)
- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (audiobook)
- Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
- How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell (audiobook)
- The Deep by Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes
- Gods of Risk by James S. A. Corey (audiobook)
- After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
- Accessibility for Everyone by Laura Kalbag
- Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo (graphic novel)
- A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (audiobook)
- Uncanny Magazine Issue 33 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
- Camping with Unicorns: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson (comics)
- Design for Real Life by Eric Meyer and Sara Wachter-Boettcher
- Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers (audiobook)
- Dwarf Stars 2020 edited by Robin Mayhall (poetry)
- The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore
- Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong (audiobook)
- Uncanny Magazine Issue 34 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
- The Ghosts of Sherwood by Carrie Vaughn
- The Heirs of Locksley by Carrie Vaughn
- Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America by Conor Dougherty (audiobook)
- Uncanny Magazine Issue 35 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
- To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers (audiobook)
- Virtual Unicorn Experience: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson (comics)
- HTML5 For Web Designers Jeremy Keith and Rachel Andrew
- CSS3 for Web Designers by Dan Cederholm
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
- Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo (graphic novel)
- The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik (audiobook)
- Kim Reaper: Grim Beginnings by Sarah Graley (comics)
- Kim Reaper: Vampire Island by Sarah Graley (comics)
- Pepper & Carrot Book 1: The Potion of Flight by David Revoy (comics)
- Our Super Adventure by Sarah Graley (comics)
- The City in The Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
- Over the Anvil We Stretch by Anis Mojgani (poetry)
- On Web Typography by Jason Santa Maria
- Pepper & Carrot Book 2: The Witches of Chaosah by David Revoy (comics)
- Pepper & Carrot Book 3: The Butterfly Effect by David Revoy (comics)
- Webfont Handbook by Bram Stein
- Provenance by Ann Leckie (audiobook)
- Our Super Adventure: Video Games and Pizza Parties by Sarah Graley & Stef Purenins (comics)
- Uncanny Magazine Issue 36 edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
- The Art of Pepper & Carrot by David Revoy (comics)
- Cute! An Our Super Adventure Comic Collection by Sarah Graley and Stef Purenis (comics)
- Flexible Typesetting by Tim Brown
That’s the long list; now let’s shout out the highlights. By “highlights,” I mean the reads that I enjoyed the most and that were the most impactful for me personally.
Two series really rocked my world in 2020.
First, I loved N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky. These novels are phenomenal, and Jemisin totally deserved her unprecedented Hugo Awards trifecta for these works.
Second, I read Becky Chambers’ Wayfarer series: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet; A Closed and Common Orbit; and Record of a Spaceborn Few. I think Becky Chambers is now tied with Ann Leckie as being my favorite author. These are moving character-centric novels, set in a fun and detailed space opera universe, suffused with wisdom and profound themes such as family, identity, death, and the very purpose of life.
Those two series were the highlights of my year in reading, but I also read and loved these four incredibly strong novels:
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik: a terrific fantasy story about a wizard, a witch, and a corrupted forest
- The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow: an adventure about — and in some ways a treatise on — portal fantasies
- The City in The Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders: a masterful piece of worldbuilding and ideas
- Provenance by Ann Leckie: an intelligent, cozy, science fictional coming-of-age story
I also read a host of novellas in 2020. These were my favorites:
- The Ghosts of Sherwood and The Heirs of Locksley by Carrie Vaughn: Robin Hood! Actually, even better: his children!
- Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather: nuns in space!
- Finna by Nino Cipri: a queer anti-capitalist adventure, featuring IKEA and trans-dimensional portals!
- To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers: Becky Chambers being amazing, but a little closer to home than her Wayfarers series and with a stronger focus on science (both in terms of plot and theme)
When I think about the comics I read last year, three series in particular jump out:
- Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson: an enchanting comic strip about a young girl and her best friend, a fabulous unicorn
- Pepper & Carrot by David Revoy: a gorgeous and silly webcomic about a young witch and her cat
- Kim Reaper by Sarah Graley: a fun, queer comic series about a (human) part-time grim reaper
These were my favorite nonfiction reads from 2020:
- How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell: this is a weird, unique, and wonderful book. It’s about doing nothing and resisting the attention economy. It’s also about art, protest, activism movements, nature, and ecology. Reading this book legit helped reconnect me to my own intrinsic value.
- Accessibility for Everyone by Laura Kalbag: For me, a big part of 2020 was discovering the world of accessibility. This book is a fantastic introduction to the topic.
- Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America by Conor Dougherty: fantastic narrative nonfiction about housing justice issues in America, and specifically in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, where there aren’t enough homes, and where the homes that do exist cost way too much.
For me, blogging is a part of reading. Usually, I don’t like to just read something and then move on, without pausing to grapple with it a little longer, to articulate my thoughts on it, and to then share those thoughts with others. So it feels appropriate to me to include a roundup of my book blogging alongside this yearly reading roundup.
In earlier years, I did recent reading blog posts, where I rounded up all sorts of things I had been reading, and before that, I gave most every book it’s own blog post (rather than grouping multiple books together in one post). This year I tried something new: SFF Adventures. At this point, science fiction and fantasy (SFF) is what I read most and care most about, so I decided to start a new “column” here where I shout out and share my thoughts on all the deliciously genre things that I have been reading, listening to, and watching. I’ve really enjoyed writing these posts! They let me skip to the heart of what I’m interested in, engage more deeply with the SFF community, and talk about SFF podcasts and TV shows as well as books and essays.
Here are the SFF Adventures blog posts that I wrote in 2020. In these posts, you can find my more detailed thoughts on the books I’ve shouted out above.