2020 Reading Challenges

It’s going to be a big year for change with a new human and a new place to update.

GoodReads Goal

I’m setting it to 52 books. There will be a lot of children’s books because I plan on reading to little man a lot but I’m hoping to knock out some adult books as well.

I’ll probably devote more time to ebooks (one-handed) and YA since those go by quickly. I might dabble in romance since that’s been getting a resurgence.

Casual Challenges

The casual challenges I’ll be participating in this year:

If I finish any of them? Great! If I don’t, no big deal. There is some overlap between some challenges and my own goals so that’s helpful.

Personal 20

Since it’s 2020, my personal challenge will be to check off a book from each of the following categories:

  • Author is a person of color
  • Author is LGBT+
  • Author is a woman
  • Celebrity memoir
  • Children’s book
  • Christmas
  • Collecting dust
  • Cover
  • Fiction
  • Graphic novel
  • Halloween
  • Library book
  • Motherhood/parenting
  • Movie or TV show
  • Mythology or fairytale
  • Nonfiction
  • Part of a series
  • Reread
  • Star Wars
  • YA

I’ve enjoyed doing a deeper dive into the new Star Wars EU via the books and would like to do more of that. Dust is a book I’ve had a long time and cover is what you think.

According to the Freakonomics documentary, being the kind of parent who buys parenting books means you’ll probably do OK. Imagine how good I could be if I read them!

2020 Shortlist?

I’m considering creating a shortlist of 20 books I want to get to in 2020. The list isn’t yet done and I’m not sure how good of an idea this really is. I may scrap it. We’ll see.

Christmas Reads

This media Monday brings you books I’ve read and enjoyed or am interested in reading. Because there’s so many books and so little time, I’m sorting them accordingly.

I’m skipping anything that is too schmaltzy or is deep in a series. There is no cozy Christmas mystery that isn’t #42 in the series. I’ve only found one that is the first in a series and it’s definitely not a cozy mystery.

Some people think 3 stars can go either way. In this case, I liked it but didn’t love it enough to rate it high. Not bad but not my favorite but you may like it so it’s included.

Have Read

Krampus by Brom

A singer-songwriter trying to save his relationship gets dragged into the battle between Krampus and Santa Claus. 4/5

Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox

A standard rom-com of a book but this one has dogs. 3.5/5

A Little Fruitcake: A Childhood Told in Holidays by David Valdes Greenwood

A collection of essays. 3/5

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Entertaining and interesting but a little dated. I feel like people skipping Christmas is more believable now. 3/5

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

A Christmas Carol plays out every year at Project Scrooge with Holly, a failed Scrooge, as the ghost of Christmas past. A brilliant and emotional YA story about loss, love, and the human condition. 5/5

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe by Charlaine Harris

A fun anthology that does what it says on the tin. 4/5

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

This book does and doesn’t take place at Christmas. There is a powerful and evil man who takes children to Christmasland. Vic is the only one to escape him and this makes things more complicated when he comes for her son. 4/5

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

This novel has enough ridiculous coincidences that it could feel unbelievable but they’re handled with enough awkwardness and seriousness that it works. 3/5

Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb

A story about a young man’s Christmas in 1964. 3.5/5

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

A little boy makes a wish that a very dumb angel gets very wrong. Hijinks ensue. 4/5

The North Pole Employee Handbook by James Napoli

For those of you with a black sense of humor. Entertaining if a little derivative. 3/5

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler

A collection of stories that take place at the same Manhattan bookshop at the same time of year. 4/5

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

An enjoyable YA anthology of Christmas stories. 4/5

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts

A novel about what happens when women stop doing all the work for Christmas 4/5

Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson

A beautiful book and excellent collection. Some spoke to me more than others but that’s how these usually work. 4/5

Krampusnacht edited by Kate Wolford

A fun indie anthology about the dark lord of Christmas. Some of the stories here took some very interesting turns. 4/5

To Read

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison-Allen

A town discovers a little Christmas magic.

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

The tale of a Just No family at the holidays.

Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen

A woman gets kidnapped for Christmas.

Wandering Stars edited by Jack Dann

A Hanukkah anthology

When Elves Attack: A Joyous Christmas Greeting from the Criminal Nutbars of the Sunshine State by Tim Dorsey

They had me at “The perfect antidote for all those sappy feel-good holiday novellas” and kept me at “The righteous serial killer Serge A. Storms and his drug-addled sidekick Coleman return to wreak havoc on Christmas”

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden

A horror anthology that got a lot of positive buzz last year. I can’t believe I didn’t get to it.

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith

A creative retelling of the wise men.

The Dark Side of the Road by Simon R. Green

A dark mystery on a blessed day.

Season of Wonder edited by Paula Guran

An anthology of fantastical Christmas stories.

Christmas Magic edited by David Hartwell

Another collection of fantastical Christmas stories

Hiddensee by Greogry Maguire

The man who gave the Wicked Witch a deeper story now grants one to the famous nutcracker.

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

A Christmas tale for the Discworld universe.

The Twelve Doctors of Christmas edited by Jacqueline Rayner

Started but not finished this Doctor Who anthology. I need to fix this.

The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers

I imagine it does what it says on the tin

Anna and the Apocalypse by Katharine Turner

Angtsy teen drama around Christmas turns into a fight to survive zombies. Inspired the movie musical.

A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis

A sci-fi collection of short stories.

November Wrap-Up and December TBR

I started November with Stephen King’s latest book but managed to finish it in time to get in on Nonfiction November a little bit.

November Wrap-Up

The Institute by Stephen King

Psychic kids at a secret government facility. It hovers between horror and sci-fi but since it’s King, it goes in horror. Very compelling 5/5

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

A fantastic piece of nonfiction. I hope we have many more years of Farrow’s journalism to come. 5/5

The Handbook to Lazy Parenting by Guy Delisle

Silly comics about being an underwhelming parent. 4/5

I read a bit of What to Expect and Heading Home with Your Newborn

December TBR

Heading Home with Your Newborn by Dr. Laura Jana & Dr. Jennifer Shu

I started it and I should finish it since he’s due in January

What to Expect when Your Expecting by Heidi Murkoff & Sharon Mazel

Forget winter. Childbirth is coming and I’ve got reading to do.

Hark the Herald Angels Scream exited by Christopher Golden

A Christmas horror anthology? Yes please!