2020 Reading Wrap Up and 2021 Plans

I had planned to read 40 books in 2020, though I ended up only reading 28. I still think that’s pretty good though, considering the pandemic, stress, and finishing my degree as well as working part-time. I’ve reviewed all of the books I’ve read this year on this blog, so please feel free to read them if you haven’t already. For this post, here’s a list of the books I’ve read this year from my most to least favorite:

5-star reads:

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

by Patricia A. McKillip
The Changeling Sea
The Changeling Sea

by Patricia A. McKillip

As you can see, I’ve discovered a new favorite author, Patricia A. McKillip. I have read these two novels of hers as well as her short stories, and I am so excited to explore more of her work. Her writing is magical and the characters are deep and feel so real.

Through the Woods
Through The Woods by Emily Carroll

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1)
Every Heart a Doorway
(Wayward Children #1)
by Seanan McGuire 

The Woman in Black
The Woman in Black
by Susan Hill

The Deep
The Deep

by Rivers Solomon,
 Daveed Diggs,
 William Hutson,
 Jonathan Snipes

The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle, #1)
The Empress of Salt and Fortune
(The Singing Hills Cycle #1)
by Nghi Vo

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4-star reads:

Einstein's Dreams
Einstein’s Dreams

by Alan Lightman 

Mooncakes
Mooncakes
by Suzanne Walker,
 Wendy Xu (Artist)

The Tao of Pooh
The Tao of Pooh
(The Way, With The Enchanted Neighborhood)
by Benjamin Hoff,
 Ernest H. Shepard (illustrator)

There's Someone Inside Your House
There’s Someone Inside Your House

by Stephanie Perkins 

The Turn of the Screw
The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James

A Dark and Stormy Murder (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery, #1)
A Dark and Stormy Murder
(A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery #1)
by Julia Buckley

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

by Allie Brosh 

And the Ocean Was Our Sky
And the Ocean Was Our Sky
by Patrick Ness,
 Rovina Cai (Illustrator)

Margaret the First
Margaret the First

by Danielle Dutton

The Canterville Ghost
The Canterville Ghost

by Oscar Wilde

Gwendy's Button Box
Gwendy’s Button Box
(The Button Box #1)
by Stephen King

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3-star reads:

Those Who Run in the Sky
Those Who Run in the Sky
(Those Who Run in the Sky #1)
by Aviaq Johnston

Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things
Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things
by Lafcadio Hearn

The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories
The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories
by Ambrose Bierce

Weird Woods: Tales from the Haunted Forests of Britain
Weird Woods: Tales from the Haunted Forests of Britain
by John Miller

Death in Dark Blue (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery, #2)
Death in Dark Blue
(A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery #2)
by Julia Buckley 

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)
Down Among the Sticks and Bones
(Wayward Children #2)
by Seanan McGuire

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks
I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks
by Gina Sheridan 

The Pine Barrens' Devil
The Pine Barrens’ Devil
by Leigh Paynter

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2-star reads:

What the Dead Want
What the Dead Want
by Norah Olson
Where I Ache
Where I Ache
by Megan O’Keeffe 

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1-star reads:

None, I am happy to say!

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I am starting 2021 in a bit of a depression, partly due to the pandemic and lockdown, and so my desire for reading is a bit lower than I’d like. However, it seems that audiobooks are what my slumpy mind can take right now, and I am taking full advantage of sites lie Scribd, Audible, and others. I have many physical books on my shelves that I do hope to get to at some point this year, but for now I am focusing on my mental health, and if that means audiobooks, then audiobooks it is.

Here is what is on my Scribd TBR for this year:

The House in the Cerulean Sea
by TJ Klune

The Widow’s House: A Novel
by Carol Goodman

Long Lankin
by Lindsey Barraclough

2001: A Space Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke

The Girl With No Hands and other tales
By Angela Slatter

The Great God Pan and Other Weird Tales
by Arthur Machen

There are others on my Scribd list, but these are the ones I want to get to right away. Look out for reviews of these as I finish them! I wish everyone a good 2021 both for reading and for living.

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Did I accomplish my Fall reading plans?

So a couple months ago I made a post about my Fall reading plans. They were ambitious, as I had 6 books on my TBR. The question, now that it is nigh on Winter, is: did I accomplish my Fall TBR?

The short answer is no, for a variety of reasons.

The first reason is that I just found other books that I wanted to read more. Now, this is not to say I will never read the books on my Fall TBR. I really want to finish The Picture of Dorian Gray, and I am currently halfway through By The Pricking Of My Thumbs, which I am thoroughly enjoying. I wasn’t able to get into some of the other books, though. Taaqtumi has some good stories in it, but not enough of them kept me interested. I wasn’t in the mood for romance, so A Dark And Twisting Path was put on the back-burner.

I also discovered that I can do reviews for Reedsy Discovery, and I want to start reading some books featured there. In addition to By The Pricking Of My Thumbs, I am currently reading The Pine Barrens Devil by Leigh Paynter, which I will have a review for in the next week or so.

The second reason for not succeeding with my set Fall TBR is that this recent lockdown that we’re in here in Manitoba has had me a little discouraged, and so it’s been hard to get into things like new books and TV. Thankfully, Agatha Christie and “Call The Midwife” have been absolute saviors.

Am I a failure for not doing my Fall TBR? Absolutely not, and neither are you if you are in the same boat as me. It takes a lot of commitment to stick to a reading list, especially right now when the times are so unpredictable. But also, you don’t have to read anything you don’t want to, and it’s okay if the reading list you set for yourself a month ago doesn’t fit with your mood now. There are so many wonderful books to read and sometimes it takes some flipping and flopping to find the right one.

Speaking of finding the right book, I just signed up for Likewise, an app and website that recommends books, movies, and other forms of entertainment to you, but also connects you with other bookworms to get great recommendations. I’ve gotten lots of good recs for ghost stories, that I hope to dig into very soon! And no, this is not a sponsor, I just like them very much!

I won’t be doing a Winter TBR just because things are very unpredictable and my mood has been so up and down that I can’t settle on a book to read in the future. I am very focused on the present, and that means finishing the books I’m already reading. However, I have looked at a lot of books that seem fun both on Likewise and Reedsy, so those may make an appearance here in the next few, and very cold, months.

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Fall TBR – Spooky, cozy, mysterious!

We are fast approaching the Autumn season – where I am in Winnipeg it seems that Autumn has already arrived! It’s been 6-15 degrees C/45-60 degrees F, and the trees in my neighborhood are changing into golds and oranges.

I am definitely in the Autumn mood which means wearing sweaters, watching spooky movies, and reading Autumnal books! I have a bunch of books I want to read this Fall, some spooky, some cozy, some mysterious!

Taaqtumi: An Anthology of Arctic Horror Stories

The first book on my Autumnal TBR is Taaqtumi, a collection of Inuit and Arctic horror stories by authors like Aviaq Johnston, Richard Van Camp, and others. You all know by now that I am a big fan of horror and ghost stories, and I aim to read about ghosts from all cultures. Ghosts found in the Arctic sound absolutely thrilling to me.

Crooked House

Then we have a couple of short Agatha Christie novels: Crooked House and By The Pricking Of My Thumbs. I have only read one other Agatha Christie (Dumb Witness), but Poirot is one of my favorite shows ever and I want to read more of her works and surround myself with all the Agatha Christie murders! By The Pricking Of My Thumbs sounds especially spooky so I am very excited.

By the Pricking of My Thumbs

The Sleeper and the Spindle

Up next is The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell. I have been dying to read this book for so long, not only because it is by one of my favorite authors, but because of the illustrations AND the fact that it is based on fairy tale. I got a really cool library copy from a second hand bookstore (Nerman’s Books, if you are in Winnipeg go check it out!) and I absolutely love it.

A Dark and Twisting Path (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery, #3)

Then we have A Dark and Twisting Path by Julia Buckley, which is the third book in the Writer’s Apprentice Mystery series. These are just very cozy, light and lovely mysteries that make me feel all warm and comfy. I love to read these books in my comfy chair with a hot drink and a fuzzy blanket.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

And finally I need to finish The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I’m about halfway through this book and I must finish! Dorian is just starting his sinister shenanigans and I must find out how far he will take them. Even though I have a super cool Dover Thrift edition of this book, I might actually finish it on audio, via Scribd.

And those are my planned books for the Fall! I may change some or add some new ones, but you will hear all about that when I do my Fall book reviews.

I hope you are all having a wonderful start to your Autumn seasons, or, if it is still very much Summer, enjoy that sun!