After looking back through my 2020 Reading List, and I noticed a few things.

  • It was a bit of a slow start, but once March (and the pandemic hit), I pretty much averaged four or more books each month.
  • I ended up with fewer books than in 2019, but I also didn’t set specific reading goals for 2020. I just tried to read a little bit (which sometimes turned into a lot) each day.
  • Looking at this list, certain books bring me back to significant events that happened over the past twelve months. Obviously, the pandemic. But also transitioning to working from home, cooking more, buying a house, moving to a more remote area, and learning to manage new sources of stress and anxiety. Big changes affect your habits and decisions – including your reading habits and choices.
  • I read more audiobooks this year compared to 2019 and 2018. I also ran more this year than I have in the past three or four years. Those two things are definitely related.

notable reads

Here are a few of the books and reading highlights that stood out to me:

Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens)

This was a just a great book to start the year with.

The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)

Probably the best audiobook I’ve read so far. There’s a reason why the library hold time was so high.

Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

I re-read this one right before seeing the movie. (And, I think that was the last time I was in a movie theatre.)

Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng)

I loved the Hulu series as much as the book, and I wasn’t expecting that. The book and the series aren’t identical, but the differences are intentional and complement both the page and the screen.

The Stand (Stephen King)

By far the longest book I’ve ever read. Even in the middle of a pandemic, I had to finally satisfy my curiosity and experience for myself how scary this book really is. I’d say it’s manageable, but the storyline probably isn’t for everyone at this time.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School (Kathleen Flinn)

This book brings cooking down to earth. I loved listening to the transformation of these home cooks.

The House in the Cerulean Sea (TJ Klune)

A story that just makes you feel good.

Breath (James Nestor)

This was probably one of the more science-based books I’ve read since grad school. I”m glad I chose the audio version otherwise I might’ve given up on it.

I’ve been keeping a list of books read on this blog and on Goodreads for three years. In 2018, it was a simple numbered list. In 2019, I added a short blurb for each book and did the same thing in 2020. But for 2021, I’m mixing things up.

changes to my 2021 reading list

For 2021, I’m including three-word book descriptions, as well as what I’m calling a “cross-training” opportunity. This cross-training opportunity might be a similar book to read, an article to check out, a podcast, a product to try, a recipe, or even a swim workout. Something that forms some type of connection to each book. I’m trying this out as a new way to get more out what I read. We’ll see what happens…

I’m also adding a new category to the counter at the top of the reading list to track fiction and nonfiction books. (I can’t believe I haven’t done this yet.) I’m not trying to read a certain number of either type, but I am curious to find out how the number of fiction vs. nonfiction books play out throughout the coming year.

up first in 2021

I’ve got two books already going that I wasn’t able to finish before the end of 2020.

  1. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – this book is much longer than I thought!
  2. The Thursday Murder Club – on audio, and it’s cracking me up.

I’ll take the new 2021 tracking format for a spin with these first two books very soon (I hope)!

What will be your first read of 2021? Follow @thebookishathlete for updates on what I’ve been reading lately. Book recommendations are always appreciated, and I’m happy to throw out some ideas as well!