2020 Reading Diary Part 1


Book 1: The year 2020 came into being with me exactly 31% into Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas (1987), the first in a series of nine novels and one short story collection set in his Culture universe. Aside from being the first in a series, it is also my first Banks book. I’m enjoying it so far. It’s quite a rollicking romp through a future galaxy in a state of war. My progress was pretty slow due to a winter English camp starting on January 6, but I enjoyed the rest of the book and it’s rather exciting finish. I finished it 13 days after starting it on Saturday afternoon, January 11. I’ll certainly read more books by Iain Banks, but not just yet. (Read between Dec. 28, 2019 and Jan. 11)

Book 2: Next up is Northern Lights  (1995). Published as The Golden Compass in America,  it is the first book of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and the source material for a new TV show. I was reluctant to start a new series of books because I have lost count of the number of series I’m in the middle of, but strong recommendations from my office mate and Miranda as well as a peak at the first episode of the TV show sealed the deal. Another connection is the fact that Alexandra Desplat, one of my favorite composers, wrote the music for the 2007 film adaption of the first book. By Monday morning, I was at the 20% mark. This is simply a beautiful book. It took me longer than expected, and I finally finished it on Tuesday Jan. 21 over an omelette pancake breakfast. I’ll read the sequel sooner or later. (Read between Jan. 11 and Jan. 21)

Book 3: I’m part-way through a few trilogies and series of novels (the above is the latest), so one reading goal this year is to finish some of those. With that goal in mind, I began The Nano Flower (1995) ,the third novel in Peter F. Hamilton’s Greg Mandel trilogy. Then, all that’s left to read about the adventures of Greg Mandel are a novella and a short story. It’s now February 1, and I’m 57% through it. January, for some reason or reasons I can’t quite pin down, was a very slow reading month. It took me until February 9 to finish it. I did enjoy it though, and I finished the last 15% on that final day. (Read between Jan. 21 and Feb. 9)

Book 4: And now for something completely different: A Very Stable Genius (2020) by Pulitzer Prize winners Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig. I sped through the first half, finding the book much more readable and fascinating that I expected. My reading had been slow since late last year, but I’m racing through this. I finished it after work on Wednesday, February 12. Well, the authors had to stop writing at some point, and that must have been difficult with crazy headlines almost a daily occurrence. A Very Stable Genius ends just as the Ukraine scandal begins. I am sure hoping for a sequel. (Read between Feb. 9 and Feb. 12 )

Book 5: I then began Ancillary Mercy (2015), the final book in Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy. I read the first two books back to back late last year and had always intended to read the final book pretty soon. I’m enjoying it but being home for the past work has surprisingly left me with little time to read. It’s Feb. 23, and I’m only about a third of the way through it. A week later and I’m only at the 55% mark. Alas, the slow pace continues, but I don’t blame it on book, nor do I blame it on the boogie. I finally finished on a lazy mid-March afternoon. Again, I did enjoy it, but reading at such a slow pace resulted in me sometimes confusing characters. (Read between Feb. 12 and March 11)

Book 6: Another science fiction sequel is next in the form of Alexandra Monir’s Life Below (2020), the sequel to The Final Six (2018). This should be a quick and enjoyable read regardless of what happens in the world. It took longer than I expected due to the disruptions at work caused by the Corona virus. I did enjoy it though, and it was another book that I flew through once the halfway point was reached. (Read between March 11 and March 22)

Book 7: The Inner Life of Animals (2017) by Peter Wohlleben sure looks interesting, and I think that’s enough science fiction for now. My slower reading pace continues because of work and all that’s going on in the world. This book did provide some heartwarming and fascinating anecdotes. (Read between March 22 and April 2)

Book 8: I decided to return to unfinished science fiction series with God Emperor of Dune(1981). I don’t really expect my reading speed to return to normal, so this one could take a while. (Read between April 3 and … )

Book 9: