books

Books of 2021

It’s about time I finally started this post. Here are all the books I read this year. My main reading goal for this year is to focus on my Read the World Project and hopefully finish it but not sure how that’s going to go as I have a bit of reading slump going on. You can find out more about what I’m reading on my Twitter and Goodreads.

Without further ado, here’s what I read in 2021! Any titles with asterisks are rereads and if it has a link, that goes to my review.

January:
The Equestrienne – Uršuľa Kovalyk
The End of the Dark Era – Tseveendorjin Oidov

February:
To Best the Boys – Mary Weber
In Praise of Love and Children – Beryl Gilroy
Selfie and Other Stories – Nora Nadjarian

March:
The Ladies are Upstairs – Merle Collins
Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising – Leigh Bardugo
We Are the Ocean – Epeli Hauʻofa

April:
– Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo*
In The Name Of The Father (& of the Son) – Immanuel Mifsud
Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo
The Good Life Elsewhere – Vladimir Lorchenkov

May:
The Tale of Aypi – Ak Welsapar
The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad under Stalin – Mukhamet Shayakhmetov
– Mother’s Beloved: Stories from Laos – Outhine Bounyavong

Currently reading:
The Unwomanly Face of War – Svetlana Alexievich

Books read: 17/52
Books reviewed: 15/26

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Books I’ve Recently Taken Off my TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week is a “Spring Cleaning Freebie”. Some of the suggestions for that vague theme were books you’re planning to get rid of for whatever reason, book’s you’d like to clean off your TBR by either reading them or deciding you’re not interested, books that feel fresh and clean to you after winter is over.

As I recently went through my books (again) and was very harsh with myself over what books I actually still want to read and what ones I want to keep because I liked them a lot – I cut down my seven boxes of books, graphic novels, comics and uni textbooks to just three boxes. I was very impressed with myself. Here are ten of those many books that I decided that I’m no longer interested in reading and have taken them off my TBR, ready to take to a charity shop when they open again.

Sekret by Lindsy Smith
I tried this, only read a chapter or two, couldn’t get into it so put it down and just don’t want to give it another go.

Nevernight by Jay Krstoff
This is another book that I DNF’d a long time ago and have finally decided that I’m not interested in it.

The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
I bought a collection of classics maybe eight years ago and this was one of them. I think I read two or three of them but I was finally honest with myself that I’m not going to read any of the others, including this one.

Fractured and Shattered by Teri Terry
I read Slated way back in 2016. I enjoyed it then so I bought the next two books in the trilogy but then never continued on with the series. It’s been so long since I read Slated that I’d have to reread that in order to read the rest of the trilogy and I’m just no longer interested in it.

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox
I had a phase when I was a teenager of collecting and reading autobiographies. This Michael J. Fox one is one I bought then, and I just never read it.

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva
I can’t remember the reason why I bought this book; I must’ve liked the sound of it when I bought it but now I’m no longer interested.

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
I love the original Bourne movie trilogy, so I thought I’d try the book. Think I bought it when I was in university so that’s almost ten years ago and I’ve never even picked it up, so it was time to give up on that idea.

Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead
This is the last book in a Robin Hood retelling trilogy where I read the first two, Hood and Scarlet, but never got around to finishing the series. This is another case where it’s been so long since I’ve read them that I’d have to reread the first two, and I don’t have copies of the first two books anymore so that’s just not going to happen.

Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon
Another sort of spy/crime thriller that I bought for some reason and have then never really wanted to read.

Are there any books you plan to spring clean off your TBR?

My reading in 2020 and my bookish goals for 2021

It’s the start of a new year so it’s time to look back at what I read last year, if I met my goals and what my reading aspirations are for 2021. My reading in 2020 started off well and even though for me personally all the terrible things happened in March (my gran, dad and uncle all died in the space of three weeks – none of them covid-related) I actually kept my reading up and had a steady amount of reviews. I think films and books definitely were a big distraction for me in the Spring. It’s towards the end of the year, November/December, time that I got into a big reading slump and just didn’t really want to read anything and struggled with the books I did pick up.

Still, my aim in 2020 was to read 60 books and I read 59. I’m a bit bummed that I just missed that total, especially as I had just over 100 pages of a book to read. That book is The Good Girls by Sara Shepard which I was enjoying but then a character has decided to hide a body when really they probably should’ve called the police (or even just left it there) and it all just seems like it’s just too unbelievable now. Anyway! 59 books is the least amount of books I’ve read in a year for a while now but it’s not surprising when I didn’t really touch a book over the past few months. I reviewed 42 of them while my aim was 30 so that’s good. I’ve got a full list of what I read in 2020 and I’ve already shared my ten favourite books of the year.

Now onto my reading goals. I didn’t sign up for any challenges and instead kept it simple. I did put £1 in a jar for every book I read, but then the world shutdown so I wasn’t going anywhere or spending cash so that didn’t really happen after March. I continued with my Read the World Project and 36 of the books I read were for that, so over half which is good, but I definitely have some catching up to do if I want to meet my original aim of the challenge. I said I’d try again to get my TBR down to 50 books, but I really didn’t try that hard. I did have a big clear out and donated about 20 unread books from my shelves, but I’d also been acquiring a lot of books (mostly for the Read the World Project) so while I started the year with 85 books on my TBR, I’ve ended 2020 with 88 books on my TBR. I don’t think that’s too terrible!

I always try to keep an equal split of male/female authors – or if I do read more then have it be women and I succeeded in that with over 60% of the books I read being by women, and almost 12% were written by both men and women. I said I wanted to have at least 30% of the books I read to be by people of colour and I smashed that target! Over half of the books I read were people of colour and I think the Read the World Project definitely helped with that as I read more books by African and Caribbean authors in 2020.

Now for my 2021 reading goals.

With everything that happened last year, and still is happening this year, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I will be continuing with my Read the World Project and making that a priority. The goal of this project was to read a book from every country in the world before I turned 30 – that happens at the end of September this year and I have 70 books/countries to read and only have 16 books/countries on my TBR. If I’m being honest, I think there’s no way I’m going to read 70 books between now and September and there’s the fact I still need to find/acquire books for over 50 countries still. I think my new goal will be to complete the Read the World Project while I’m still 30 so that does give me an extra 12 months and I hope that’s doable. If you have any suggestions for international authors/books please do let me know. I’m keeping track of all the countries I’ve read so far here.

I’m going to set my Goodreads goal at 52 books, and I’ll aim to review at least half of them. I continue to want to read diversely, and it’d be nice to get my TBR down but I think at the moment with my Read the World Project it’s not realistic to set my TBR goal as 50 books, so instead I’ll put it at 75 – we shall see what happens.

Those are my reading goals for 2021. Very nice and simple ones that will hopefully mean I’m not getting stressed by reading and I hope to get out of my reading slump soon. Do you have any reading goals for 2021? I’d love to hear them.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Favourite Books of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. It’s that time of year again, 2020 – which often seemed to last forever – is coming to an end. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump over the past month or so but I have read almost 60 books this year and some of them were pretty great.

Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble by Graham Hunter
This may be my favourite books of the year. It was such a fun trip down memory lane, reliving all the highs of Spain’s Euros and World Cup, there were anecdotes and facts and while some things I knew or remembered from watching the matches, there was a lot I didn’t.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
I didn’t write a review for Clap When You Land but I did do an Instagram post on it because it really knocked me for six. This is the first book I’d ever read in verse and it was fantastic.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker
This was a sad and frustrating graphic memoir but one that I think was really interesting and important.

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 1: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire
I read all three volumes of Hawkeye: Kate Bishop this year so this really counts as the whole series. It’s fun seeing Kate try and become a private investigator and all her new friends were nice additions.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
I’m a wuss so I very rarely read or watch horror stories, but I ended up liking Dread Nation far more than I thought I would. It’s action-packed and how it twists history.

Love in No Man’s Land by Duo Ji Zhuo Ga
This is one of my Read the World Project reads of the year. I thought it was a very descriptive and beautiful story about people who are so different to myself.

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
This was a very quick read about a prank got wrong and murder and girls standing up for one another. I’m still reading the sequel, The Good Girls, and I’m looking forward to how it all turns out.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
This is a book I had for ages and I’m equal parts pleased I finally got around to reading it and annoyed it took me so long because I really did love it. I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic, and I plan to read the rest of the series that way.

The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
I think this was the saddest book I read this year and it really hit me in the emotions like a gut punch.

West Coast Avengers Vol. 1: Best Coast by Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli and Triona Farrell
I read both volumes of this in 2020 and it’s such a fun series with larger-than-life characters and great relationships between them all.

What are some of your favourite books you’ve read this year?

My TBR: 2020 Edition

It has been a long time since I’ve done this, almost five years in fact. I last shared all the physical books on my TBR in January 2016, the time before that was April 2014 – so really this is long overdue. Please don’t go and compare my TBR now to my TBR in 2016 or 2014 as I’m sure there’s going to be books here that were on my previous TBR’s and that’s just embarrassing.

This time I’m going to share the physical and digital books, whether that’s on audio or my kindle, I have in my possession. I have to say earlier this year I did go through my bookshelves and unhauled over twenty books so this TBR could’ve been worse! Though I’ve also had my birthday since then and was gifted more books, so it probably evens out.

Before I start I just wanted to flag I’ve currently got a giveaway of boxes of bookish stuff happening on my Twitter, it closes on 22 November so check it out if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

This list is split into four sections; audiobooks, books I have with me in my flat, kindle books, and books that are at my mum’s place. I do not have room for all my books, so my mum is kind enough for me to keep the majority with her. Every now and then I take the books I’ve read but want to keep to hers and then pick up more books I’ve yet to read to bring back with me.

Any books with an asterisk * symbol are books for my Read the World Project.

Audio:
I do get audiobooks from my library, either via RBdigital or BorrowBox, but these three are via Audible as I do sometimes get a subscription/extra tokens if there’s a good deal on and then stock up there.
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell* – I’m currently reading this
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (more…)

Sci-Fi Month 2020

ARTWORK by Tithi Luadthong from 123RF.com. QUOTE from Seven Devils by Elizabeth May & Laura Lam.

Even though 2020 seems to be dragging on forever, we are getting closer to the end of the year and November brings Sci-Fi Month, hosted by Lisa and Imyril.

As the name suggests, Sci-Fi Month is all about celebrating all things sci-fi, whether that’s books, films, TV show, games or podcasts. It’s the chance to focus on the sci-fi stuff you’ve been putting on the backburner, whether it’s speculative fiction, epic space operas, time travel adventures or parallel worlds.

There’s a couple of readathons happening during the month if that’s your kind of thing. Jorie Loves a Story is hosting a readathon of Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott while Imyril is hosting a readathon of Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle.

While there’s the readathons and some challenges still to be announced, there’s no requirements or goals to take part in Sci-Fi Month, the main point is to consume some sci-fi, a little or a lot, and have some fun. See imyril’s blog for more information and to sign up to Sci-Fi Month and follow @SciFiMonth on Twitter and use the hashtag #SciFiMonth to take part in all the chats or when sharing your posts.

While I like sci-fi books, I don’t currently have a lot of them on their TBR, in fact I only have two: Brilliance by Marcus Sakey and Gemina Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’ll try and read them both in November but Gemina will be the priority as that chonky book has been on my shelf for far too long.

I also plan to watch and review a lot of sci-fi films next month. I’ve had a look through what sci-fi films I’ve got in my Netflix and Prime watchlists and pulled together a selection of what it’d like to watch. There’s a whole load of different types of sci-fi, superpowers, aliens, and AI, and from different countries too. Here’s some of the films I’ll hopefully be watching next month – any thoughts or recommendations based on this list would, as always, be much appreciated:

What are some of your favourite sci-fi media? I’m always looking for sci-fi book and film recommendations. My favourite kind of sci-fi (or sometimes it’s science-fact) is when people are really competent at their jobs e.g. The Martian, Apollo 13 and Hidden Figures.

N.E.W.T.’s Magical Readathon 2020

The N.E.W.T.’s Magical Readathon is the brainchild of Gi at BookRoast on YouTube. The N.E.W.T.’s are the next exams/readathon after the O.W.L.’s which took place a few months ago.

This readathon is inspired by the exams in the Harry Potter books. While J.K. Rowling has been problematic in the past, over the past few months her blatant transphobia has reached a new level of awful and harmful. Gi posted a video showing how she was torn about separating the art from the artist, how she felt about the future of the Magical Readathon and this edition of the NEWTs. She decided to give out the prompts for this readathon so people can complete their exams for their chosen careers but the readathon won’t be hosted on Twitter and the Magical Readathon will change next year – becoming something that doesn’t have close links to the world of Harry Potter.

I agree with and understand Gi’s decision. This is only the second year I’ve taken part in the Magical Readathon, but I like how inventive it is and how many books it encourages me to read in a month. I’ve decided that I will take part in the NEWTs in August. This is in part because I’m a bit of a completist but also because I’ve struggled a bit to read any books this past month and I hope this readathon will get me reading again.

After taking part in the O.W.L.’s readathon in April and successfully reading all the books/completing all the exams I need to be a Mage of Visual Arts and to learn to operate locomotive trains aka the Hogwarts Express, I now need to achieve Acceptable in two subjects – Astronomy and History of Magic – and achieve Acceptable and Exceeded Expectations in Divination and Muggle Studies. That means if I want to be qualified for my magical career, I need to read six books during the readathon which is doable for me.

I’ve looked through my bookshelves and while the below books are for the exams I need, I’ve also found books that will fit most of the other prompts if I read more or feel inspired. Because in real life my career has taken varied paths, I like to keep my options open even when it comes to fictional careers, so if I do get back into reading I’ll be trying to complete as many exams as possible in order to give me more career options and skills.

Astronomy: Acceptable – Star on the cover/in the title
A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldweel
Think this is one of the only books I own that has stars on the cover and they are there! They are just very very small.

Divination: Acceptable – Read a book with red on the cover
Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl OR Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble by Graham Hunter OR How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis
All these books have various amounts of red on the cover and I’m not sure which one I’m going to go with yet. I’m leaning towards Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble as it’s ten years since Spain won the World Cup and I’ve been big into my nostalgia feels about that recently, but it is one of the larger books at over 400 pages. We shall see how I feel.

Divination: Exceed Expectations – First unread book you look at
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 3: Family Reunion by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire
Bit odd to mention the third volume before the second but that’s what happens when you list your TBR in alphabetical order by subjects. I was looking at my unread comics and it was either this or West Coast Avengers, and as I’d like to finish this series before starting another one, I went with this.

History of Magic: Acceptable – Read a historical fiction
She Would be King by Wayétu Moore
I’ll be listening to this on audiobook and it’s nine and a half hours long which will take me about two weeks to read. She Would be King is a mixture of historical fiction and magical realism and follows three characters who share a bond.

Muggle Studies: Acceptable – Read a comic
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 2: Masks by Kelly Thompson, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Gang Hyuk Lim and Moy R.
I read the first volume of this series during the Reading Rush this past week so thought this would be a good time to continue with it.

Muggle Studies: Exceeded Expectations – Read a book written by an author of a different race than yourself
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Because of my Read the World Project I have a few books that’d fit this prompt, but I decided to go with a contemporary story as I can usually read them very quickly and it’s one I only got at the beginning of this month.

That’s my TBR for what will be the last N.E.W.T.’s. Usually I keep track of my reading on Twitter, partly to share my progress in the readathon and partly to hold myself accountable, but not sure if I will this time due to the kind of dark cloud over the readathon but we shall see what happens. Will you be taking part in the N.E.W.T.’s this year?

O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon 2020

The O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon returns next month! This month-long readathon is the brainchild of Gi at Book Roast on YouTube and it’s the third year it’s happened. Last year was the first year I took part and after successfully completing my O.W.L.’s and N.E.W.T.’s I qualified to be a Ministry Worker in the Department of International Magical Cooperation.

The challenge is based on the Hogwarts examinations in the world of Harry Potter, but you don’t need to know a lot about it or be a Harry Potter fan to take part in the challenge. The basic premise is that each Hogwarts subject has its own prompt, you read a book that fits that prompt and then you’ve achieved an O.W.L. in that subject. This readathon lasts the entirety of April so it gives you plenty of time to try and cram in as many O.W.L.’s aka books as possible. For more information on the readathon see Gi’s announcement video. It’s clear she puts in a lot of work into this challenge, she makes study guides and a career guide that has information on lots of magical careers and the subjects you need to study in order to be able to progress in that career.

This year there’s some new careers and bonus courses, seminars and training if you want to challenge yourself. I’ve decided that my chosen career this year is Mage of Visual Arts. This sounds like a fun career as you make the pictures and portraits move and it’s the most like the muggle world of film. The O.W.L.’s I need to earn are in Astronomy, Charms, Divination, and History of Magic. That’s four books I need to read but I would also like to push myself and do an extra training course. I would like to learn to operate locomotive trains aka the Hogwarts Express. I love driving cars, so as there’s no course on learning how to drive a flying car (yet!) it’d be fun to learn how to drive a train. The O.W.L.’s I need for that are Defence Against the Dark Arts and Muggle Studies. So, the total number of books I need to read in April is six. That’s doable for me.

I’ve had a look at my bookshelves and below are the books I plan to read to get my O.W.L.’s to become a Mage of Visual Arts. I’ve also got books for the other O.W.L.’s in case I do better than expected and can fit in a couple more books during the month.

Ancient Runes – Heart rune: heart on the cover or in the title
A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney
I’m reaching a bit here, but it has the word “heart” and a heart shaped key on the cover, so I think it counts. I read A Blade So Black last year for my N.E.W.T.’s so it’d be cool to read the sequel for my O.W.L.’s.

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: balance/opposites – read something outside your favourite genre
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I’m not even sure what my favourite genre is anymore (I’m going to probably do a blog post about that at some point) but a genre I don’t read that often is sci-fi so that’s the reason I’ve chosen Gemina.

Astronomy – Night classes: read majority of this book when it’s dark outside
Three Summers by Margarita Liberaki
This book is relatively short at 240 pages and is about sisters growing up in the countryside in Athens before the Second World War.

Care of Magical Creatures – Hippogriffs: creature with a beak on the cover
Infinite Son by Adam Silvera
After going through all my books because I really wasn’t sure if I had a book that had creature with a beak, I found one!

Charms – Lumos Maxima: white cover
The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan or The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak
The Bloodprint is a book I bought just because the cover was super pretty and all I know is it’s a fantasy. The Architect’s Apprentice is a historical fiction and is set during the Ottoman Empire. Both have white covers.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Grindylows: book set at the sea/coast
Viper by Bex Hogan or The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan
Both books take place on islands and heavily involve the sea. I think Viper is more of a pirate book while The Gloaming is more of a mermaid/fairy tale book – I think!

Divination – Third eye: assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read
Hawkeye: Avenging Archer by Jim McCann, David Lopez, Duane Swierczynski, Manuel Garcia and Paco Diaz
Putting together all the unread books I have on my kindle, on audio and in my flat (there’s more unread books at my mum’s) I had 47 books for the random number generator to choose from. It picked number 17 which was Hawkeye: Avenging Archer which I couldn’t have picked better myself as comics/graphic novels are always a good idea in a readathon.

Herbology – Mimbulus mimbletonia: title starts with an M
Mama Hissa’s Mice by Saud Alsanousi
Turns out I have one book that has a title that begins with the letter M so I guess I’m going to be reading Mama Hissa’s Mice.

History of Magic – Witch hunts: book featuring witches/wizards
Angel Mage by Garth Nix or Truthwitch by Susan Dennard or mystery book
This one was surprisingly difficult. I’m not sure if Angel Mage has witches or wizards in it but there is magic. Based on the title and the premise I’m pretty sure Truthwitch features witches. Or the last witchy-book I could read for this prompt is one I don’t have yet. I’ve ordered April’s Wildest Dreams book box and the book apparently has “Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels” so that could work too.

Muggle Studies – Book from a perspective of a muggle (contemporary)
The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
This looks like it’s a sad contemporary about a relationship that’s ending and it’s potentially wasn’t a healthy relationship either.

Potions – Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages
A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
I’ve got A Small Place on audiobook and according to Goodreads it is 81 pages long so definitely works for this challenge.

Transfiguration – Animagus lecture: book/series that includes shapeshifting
Downfall by Rob Thurman or The Invasion by K.A. Applegate
This subject was hard to find a book for as I don’t really read many books with shapeshifting in them and I don’t think any of my unread books have it in either. After looking at my bookshelves, the only book I could find that would fit was Downfall. It’s an urban fantasy and I remember earlier on in the series there were werewolves so that’d count. The other option is the fact I recently learnt that apparently all the Animorphs books are available online for free. Animorphs isn’t a series I read as a child but I have vague memories of the TV show, and as they’re children’s books they’re likely to be short and easy to read (which is always a good thing for a readathon) so I could pick up the first book in the series.

That’s my TBR for this years’ O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon. Are you taking part in the readathon and what career are you aiming for? In August there’s the N.E.W.T.’s which can be even more challenging and will be the final hurdle for achieving your chosen career. Wish me luck!

Books of 2020

Here are all the books I read this year. My main reading goal for this year is to focus on my Read the World Project as I have over 100 books to read (and review) in less than two years if I want to meet my self-imposed goal. You can find out more about what I’m reading on my Twitter and Goodreads.

Without further ado, here’s what I read in 2020! Any titles with asterisks are rereads and if it has a link, that goes to my review.

January:
Only God Can Make a Tree – Bertram Roach
– The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
They Called Us Enemy – George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker
Night, Again edited – Linh Dinh

February:
The Wife’s Tale: A Personal History – Aida Edemariam
The Conspiracy – Israel Centeno
Love in No Man’s Land – Duo Ji Zhuo Ga
The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

March:
Notes of a Crocodile – Qiu Miaojin
Transparent City – Ondjaki

April:
The Eighth Life – Nino Haratischwili
The Door – Magda Szabó
The Architect’s Apprentice – Elif Shafak
– Hawkeye: Avenging Archer – Jim McCann, David Lopez, Duane Swierczynski, Manuel Garcia and Paco Diaz
– Truthwitch – Susan Dennard
The Naked Woman – Armonía Somers
Woman Take Two – Telcine Turner
A Girl Called Eel – Ali Zamir
The Places I’ve Cried in Public – Holly Bourne
Difficult Fruit – Lauren K. Alleyne
– Downfall – Rob Thurman
– A Dream So Dark – L.L. McKinney

May:
Passage of Tears – Abdourahman A. Waberi
Dread Nation – Justina Ireland
A Small Place – Jamaica Kincaid

June:
– Black Panther: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 – Christopher Priest, Mark Texeira, Vince Evans, Joe Jusko, Mike Manley, Mark Bright and Sal Velluto
Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex – Oskana Zabuzhko
Deathless Divide – Justina Ireland
Life for Each – Daisy Zamora
13 Colors of the Honduran Resistance – Melissa Cardoza
Cultural Refugees: Anthology of Poems – Julie Mota
United States of Banana – Giannina Braschi

July:
First They Killed My Father – Loung Ung
The Matter of Desire – Edmundo Paz Soldán
– Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 1: Achor Points – Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire
– The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker
Bhutanese Tales of the Yeti – Kunzang Choden

August:
Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble – Graham Hunter
– Hawkeye: Kate Bishop: Vol. 2: Masks – Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire
– Hawkeye: Kate Bishop: Vol. 3: Family Reunion – Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire
Beneath the Blue Sky – Frederick Yamusangie
The Restless – Gerty Dambury
She Would Be King – Wayétu Moore
– A Phoenix First Must Burn – Patrice Caldwell
– Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo
– West Coast Avengers Vol. 1: Best Coast – Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli and Triona Farrell
– West Coast Avengers Vol. 2: City of Evil – Kelly Thompson, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Gang Hyuk Lim and Moy R.

September:
Behold the Dreamers – Imbolo Mbue
– How to be a Heroine (Or, what I’ve learned from reading too much) – Samantha Ellis
Thirteen Months of Sunrise – Rania Mamoun
A Land Without Jasmine – Wajdi Al-Ahdal

October:
The Screaming of the Innocent – Unity Dow
The Last Brother – Nathacha Appanah
– The Perfectionists – Sara Shepard
Three Summers – Margarita Liberaki
– The Black Kids – Christina Hammonds Reed

November:
Jamilia – Chingiz Aïtmatov
My Urohs – Emelihter Kihleng

December:
The Old Drift – Namwali Serpell

Currently reading:
– The Good Girls – Sara Shepard

Books read: 59/60
Books reviewed: 42/30

My Reading in 2019 and my Bookish Goals for 2020

It’s the start of a new year which means it’s time to look back at the past one. Today I’m looking at what I read last year, if I met my goals and what my reading plans are for this year. In 2019 I read 72 books (bang on the same amount as 2018 funnily enough) which beat my Goodreads goal of 52 books, and I reviewed 46 of them which beat my goal of reviewing 26. You can find a full list of what I read here (the links go to the reviews) and I shared what are my top ten favourite books of the year earlier this week. The OWLs and the NEWTs readathons certainly helped me have good reading months, and in June I was on holiday where I read 8 books in 10 days.

I didn’t really have reading challenges or goals for 2019 – especially compared to 2018 when I had like three things I signed up for! In 2019 I continued to put £1 in a pot for every book I read meaning I had £72 to put in the bank. I’m sure I’ll use that money to buy more books. I continued with the Read the World Project and almost half of all the books I read in 2019 counted towards that project. I read 35 from different countries. Once again, I tried to get my TBR down to 50 books from 100 books and after Christmas gifts, my TBR now stands at 85 books. So at least it went down!

I always try to keep an equal split of male/female authors that I read and I succeeded at that in 2019. In fact, it was more female heavy which is fine by me. In 2019 I also kept track of whether the books I was reading were by white authors or authors of colour. In my goals last year I said I wanted at least 25% of the books I read to be by people of colour. I’m happy to say I achieved that and 40% of the books I read (which makes 29 of them) were by people of colour. I think my Read the World project definitely helps with this.

Now for my reading goals of 2020.

My reading goals aren’t that different to what they’ve been the last few years to be honest. I’m going to continue to put a £1 in a jar for every book I read, and I’m going to increase my Goodreads challenge goal a bit and want to read at least 60 books and to review at least 30 of them. I also want to continue to read books from at least an equal split of men and women authors, and to have at least 30% of the books I read are by people of colour. I’ll also say (once again) that I’d like to get my TBR down to 50 books. I did make some headway with my TBR in 2019 so I hope I can continue that trend, or at least be more open to unhauling books I have no interest in anymore. I’m not signing up to any year-long challenges but I think I will join many readathons throughout the year to give me that extra push to read.

In 2019 I hit 100 countries read for my Read the World Project! I’m so happy with that number but I do have 122 countries to read in the next 21 months if I want to meet myself imposed deadline. I own books for 6 more countries, but I have many more on my radar so reading books for my Read the World project will definitely be a priority this year. Really, I need to read at least 60 books for this challenge to make my deadline of reading a book from every country in the world before my 30th birthday. I’m not sure if that’ll happen but I hope it will. If you have any suggestions for books from around the world, I’d love to hear them! You can see what countries I’ve already read here.

Those are my reading goals for 2020. Do you have any reading goals for the year? I’m always interested in the reading goals people set themselves and if they have any tips or tricks to help them achieve them.