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.

March Wrap-Up and April TBR


March Wrap-Up

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

A slave narrative on a spaceship. Representation abounds in this epic tale. I would have liked more exposition and more of a wind down at the end. So many things were building to that and it wrapped up too quickly for that. 4.5/5

Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley

A reread of her graphic memoir of finding her way back to her partner and tying the knot. 5/5

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

I won this piece of excellence in a GoodReads giveaway. I did a full review here but it got 4/5 stars.

Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley

Her graphic memoir about pregnancy, miscarriage, and giving birth. It’s interspersed with fun facts, personal struggles, and ugly realities. 5/5

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I hopped on the hype train to see a dysfunctional family in Nigeria. It was interesting and well written but not my jam. 3/5

April TBR

March was the month of the library holds. I had 4 come in inside of 72 hours. I’ve got 3 left and I triaged them by the size of the waitlist.

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

His stuff hovers between magical realism and genre fiction levels of weird. I’m a third of the way in and enjoying it very much.

Trump Sky Alpha by Mark Doten

The next in the hold triage line, it’s a post-apocalyptic parody-ish tale of our current shit show reality.

Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah

Dystopian fiction with subtle feminist vibes. There’s 2 copies and 1 person on the waitlist so I might be able to renew it when the due date calls.

Spring Time in a Broken Mirror by Mario Benedeti

I won a giveaway for an early release of this South American novel. It deals with the effects of corrupt politics on one family.

Because my TBRs regularly go the way of the dodo, I want to try something different. I’m going to pick 5 fiction books and 5 nonfiction books that I’m going to pull from


  • Springtime
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty
  • The Binding by Bridget Collins
  • Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View
  • Four Dead Queens by Astrid Schlote


  • Fear by Bob Woodward (no, I still haven’t finished it)
  • The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  • My Boyfriend Wrote a Book about Me by Hilary Winston
  • Lizz Free or Die by Lizz Winstead

Barring more surprise library holds, this should be contain my April wrap-up.

Black Friday Plans

There’s a lot of minimal criticism for Black Friday and with good reason. It’s starting even before Thanksgiving.

Australian Minimalist Reacts to pre-Black Friday

The Harsh Truth

The Minimalist Podcast

I’m trying to minimize but I lack money and need a few things. Hubs and I go to 2 places after lunch and we’re done. I have to work in the morning so I don’t want to go hard. We don’t need to.


Athletic pullover – I know the exact type, color, and size. Cartwheel has 5% off.

Maybe winter socks or a lame movie I enjoyed. Food is always a viable option.


Sneakers – I got a fantastic deal on my preferred brand last year. I’ve got a weird size so I was able to find them no problem.

Sweatpants – Winter is coming and I walk dogs. I need sweatpants in a plus size so I can layer them over leggings for warmth. I’ve got a couple already so I’m thinking 2 pairs tops.

Scarf – I got my southern SIL in the sibling secret Santa. My plan is to find a couple of good used books and wrap them in a nice fashion scarf.

I’ve got my eye on some items from Athleta which I’ll order online. Same with some Jurassic Park items from Hot Topic they recently got back in stock. Ebates and Friday discounts please.

I’ll be partaking in Small Business Saturday at my favorite bookstore. I’m toying with the idea of buying Michelle Obama’s memoir but the waitlist at the library is moving at a good clip.

That’s pretty much it. Nothing too insane since I plan on living cheaply until my next paycheck at the end of the month.

October Wrap-Up and November TBR

And so ends my favorite time of year.

October Wrap-Up

The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

This is a horror novel for people who don’t especially like horror. Fun and still spooky. 4/5

Haunted Nights exited by Ellen Datlow

A fantastic collection all about Halloween happenings. 4/5

Pork Pie Hat by Peter Straub

A novella about race and Halloween. The subtext was a little to sub IMHO. 3.5/5

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

A haunted house story unlike any other out there. Highly recommend 4.5/5

Ghosts by Raina Telgmeier

A YA graphic novel about death, change, and growing up. 5/5

I didn’t get as much spooky reading done as I wanted but I enjoyed what I read. November means it’s time for some nonfiction. I won’t be trying to actively check off the challenges for Nonfiction November but I’ll see what happens since I want to participate

November TBR

Fear by Bob Woodward

I’m curious to see what happens when a skilled journalist tells the story of this shit show of an administration.

Born Trump by Emily Jane Fox

I need to finish this dammit.

The List by Amy Siskind

A look back at our gradual descent into facism

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty First Century by Jessica Bruder

This was recommended to me because I enjoyed Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

I’ve been curious about this one for a while.

How many of these will I get to? Probably not too many because I’m tired AF after work most days but we’ll see what happens. I’m planning on doing something for Nonfiction November on my Instagram (JesseJaneReads) so please check it out.

Media Monday: Spooky Web Videos

Audio isn’t the only medium that has creepy content. These are some great places to find creepy videos

Fun Size Horror
Creepy and high quality horror shorts.

Black Box TV
A more indie style of horror shorts but very good content

BuzzFeed Unsolved True Crime & Supernatural
A believer and a skeptic investigate unsolved murders and spooky locations.

Node Haunted Mansion D&D Game
4 guys play a ridiculous game of D&D in a house of horrors. Did I mention all their characters have to lose their virginity before they can leave?

Poe Party
Edgar Allan Poe has a dinner party with other literati of the time and someone mysteriously dies. A bit on the lighter side.

Cinema Sins on horror movies
I love this series in general but watching horror movie take-downs is especially satisfying this time of year.

Haunt Me

YouTube and Legendary team-up shorts

Jon Cozart and Voctaves mash-up

Media Monday: Spooky True Podcasts

The truth is often stranger than fiction so see what happens when real life gets creepy.

The Brothers Mysterium
Brothers try to debunk the supernatural.

Jim Harold’s Campfire
Real people tell Jim Harold their spooky experiences

The Paranormal Podcast
Jim Harold’s original podcast about supernatural phenomena

The Last Podcast on the Left
I haven’t listened to this one enough to verify it so I’ll borrow this from their website: “Last Podcast on the Left laughs into the abyss that is the dark side of humanity”

Much lauded, this podcast takes a look at the history of folklore and things that heebie our jeebies

Snap Judgement Presents: Spooked
It’s the same vein as Jim Harold’s podcasts, real people recounting their supernatural experiences.

The Paracast

Realm of the Weird

Oh No Ross and Carrie

Bizarre States

The Parapod

Coast to Coast AM

Anything Ghost
Another true tales pod but this one isn’t told by the folks who experienced it.


Media Monday: Spooky Audio Dramas

Since I won’t be doing special Halloween playlists everyday, I thought I’d give you something a little different. Here are some spooky fictional podcasts to add some chill to your Halloween.

Welcome to Night Vale
Weird shit happens, a lot. A sister podcast, Alice Isn’t Dead, is said to have similar vibes.

No Sleep
Creepy horror shorts from the reddit sub of the same name.

Lia Haddock looks into the disappearance of over 300 people at a neuroscience research facility in Tennessee. Whether we’ll get more than the one season is TBD but it’s still worth listening to

The Black Tapes
A man tries to debunk the paranormal and our podcast host Alex finds something much darker than anticipated.

We’re Alive
A zombie-ish apocalypse happens. These are the folks who get to deal with it.

A sci-fi/horror podcast that takes place in the future. I don’t know much but it came highly recommended.

The Message
A short and fascinating podcast about a message received from outer space. You can finish it in a night so definitely give it a listen.

Deadly Manners
A mysterious murder, an all-star cast, and a relatively short run. What’s not to love?

The Dark Verse

Tales to Terrify

The Monster Club

Knifepoint Horror

The Wicked Library