I really love these posts personally because it makes me so excited for other’s & my TBR. But – latst time I did this it took closer to ten months for me to get around to reading all the books. It will hopefully be a lot sooner this time, as I made the list shorter. I already have a lot of these books on my shelf as well, so they’ll stare at me as a constant reminder.
The Hidden Girl & Other Stories by Ken Liu: I loved “The Paper Menagerie & other stories” by the same author, but it’s been years since I read the collection of short stories for the first time. It’s just stories that live in my head now. Just the day I remembered so I found this new release and then happened to walk right past it by accident in the (norwegian) library – my luck! I snatched it so fast. This collection is of sixteen fantasy & sci-fi short stories and a novelette.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas: The cover is awesome, but so is the description of “a trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave”. Trying to find a murderer, queer & trans people, cool ghosts! Brujos! I’ve seen both very positive and slighly let-down reviews, so I’m still a bit nervous because I’m so ready to love it.
Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel: I’ve somewhat started reading this already, on a very scenic train-ride, before forgetting it in my pile of physics textbooks. So I already know that it’s such a good writing and narrative about how we think about math, and felt very approchable to both the math student (young and older) and the ones that are just interested. I rally loved the points on reconfiguring how kids learn about math, like introducing category theory eariler, because it’s just boxes we put math things in, but gives the first step to the why’s that seem to rarely get answered in learning kids math.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong: Ocean Vuong’s writing is already stunning and gets deep under your skin, that I know. I can’t imagine this debut novel – about being an immigrant, trauma, queer, family dynamics and love – being any less than his poetry.
Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe (web comic link): I’ve always loved mythology and gods being modernized or otherwise rewritten, and I just got back into web comics so this very much loved web comic on greek gods seem like the perfect next one for me.
Last year, 2019, I made a TBR for the whole year, with very varying results as I did not take enough into account the fact that I was going to university for the first time, hahha. I knew I would have less time, but the actual time I did have to myself, let alone to read for fun, was still so much less than expected.
This year I’ve only made two smaller TBR lists; Spring TBR! & Queer TBR of June for #PrideLibrary20. I want to make a summary update of this years TBR posts at the end of the year as well, but before that – why don’t I make another TBR with the books I might read between now and next semester start in early january? Take into account that it’s exam season, but it finished up early for me this year. So I don’t think any of these books will get started before 10th of December, at the very least. I’ll probably need even more downtime to recover, as I expect the time until exams to be extra dramatic this covid-riddled year.
The End of Year TBR
We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria by Wendy Pearlman (memoir, nonfiction; history, war, politics)
We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai (nonfiction; memoir, feminism, politics)
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (poetry, YA contemporary, lgbt; queer girls)
Poetry & graphic novels
Sweetdark by Savannah Brown (poetry)
Paper Girls vol. 3 – 6 (graphic novel)
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden (graphic novel, lgbt; f/f, sci-fi)
The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go From Here by Hope Jahren (science; climate change)
Love and Math by Edward Frenkel (science; math)
Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (science; physics)
Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction by David C. Catling (science)
The Body in Pain by Elaine Scarry (was also on 2019 TBR oops, philosophy; disability)
Fantasy & sci-fi
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (fantasy)
The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust #2) by Philip Pullman (fantasy)
Dune by Frank Herbert (read for bookclub, a classic sci-fi)
Kant: A Very Short Introduction by Roger Scruton (nonfiction; philosophy – preparing for obligatory philosophy class in spring)
The Trial by Franz Kafka (reread for bookclub, classic)
A norwegian collection of debut poets – Signaler 2019
Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman (politics)
A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver (nonfiction; poetry writing)
I’ve got a currently-reading shelf on goodreads that always contains too many books that I picked up and never really finished or stopped reading. And then I made a post all about my excuses and what I liked or didn’t like about them, which got way to long and this is the second part of that. Here’s part one.
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
When I started reading the book: September 2019
Have I picked it up since? No
I listened to Edward Snowden’s voice in the audiobook go through every aspect of how he turned out a whistle-blower, about mass surveillance, how intelligence agencies work, how his experiences has made him into an expert the last six years. It’s about growing up online, morality and that’s how far I got. I think I found some pieces truly interesting, but was a bit bored by the background of the person that is Edward Snowden (it is part memoir after all) just because I’m less interested in that than what he thinks about the digital now and future. Which I’m sure he would’ve gotten to eventually.
Why am I not reading it? I don’t quite know? But it’s that type of book that you want to dive into and do your own research as well, and it’s a bit thought and time consuming, which I’m not up for right now.
Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku
When I started reading the book: December 2019
Have I picked it up since? No
I truly can’t say much about this book as I got 50 pages into a 300 page book and hadn’t made up my mind quite. It’s supposed to be about the science needed to mmake impossible things like death rays or force fields or invisibility cloaks real.
Why am I not reading it? I don’t know why I never got back to it
A collection of norwegian debut poems
When I started reading the book: February 2020
Have I picked it up since? No
Here I am trying to become a better person by reading more norwegian – my first language – which I haven’t done much of the last decade and only because of being forced to through high school.
Why am I not reading it? have you ever borrowed a book from the library and then … left town leaving it there? It’s somewhat of a pain to have to extend the return date for half a year (blaming corona again). I would just get a new copy of this one, the problem being that it’s a bit difficult to get my hands on. Poetry and ebooks aren’t always a thing, I’ve recently come to learn.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
When I started reading the book: February 2020
Have I picked it up since? No
I read Ocean’s poetry and felt a strong need to read his newer fiction as well. It’s as strikingly beautiful and vulnerable, but I picked it up at a highly-anxious time and found that it wasn’t the mindset I wanted to be in reading this book. It’s synopsis explains it truly well actually; “Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.”
Why am I not reading it? too powerful in its pain and violence in a time where I unfortunately wasn’t up for that
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept by Elizabeth Smart
When I started reading the book: March 2020
Have I picked it up since? No
I truly am mad about not finishing this book because it’s only 128 pages. It’s not that complex, to be real, even if it is a good story. And I was about to finish it in one sitting, as I was literally sitting on the floor in front of the oven waiting for my food to cook. And into the empty kitchen comes one of the many people I live with and comments on it in a way that left a bad taste in my mouth. As if I was sitting there crossed-legged and disheveled reading an old book for the quirky ~aesthetic~ of it, even though no one else was there. I don’t even know now why it made me so suddenly furious, but it was a generally bad time for me, on the verge of deciding whether to leave town because of corona and being very sick from migraines. Simply put, if commenting on what someone is reading, don’t be an asshole about it.
It is a pretty cute, worn edicition though, I picked it up form an Edinburgh used book shop extremely cheap.
Why am I not reading it? I can still feel the ghost of the fury I felt every time I try to finish it
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
When I started reading the book: June 2020
Have I picked it up since? Yes
Why am I not reading it? Each summer I seem to bring with me one ‘heavy’ physical book absolutely everywhere, and never get to it until my patience runs out and I just sit down and get through it, finding myself enjoying it a lot. I think this is this years book, as I do truly like Woolf’s writing, even if her style is what makes this particular book ‘heavy’, while last year it was the physics of ‘Six Easy Pieces’ by Richard Feynman.
So I’ve got a currently-reading shelf on goodreads that always contains too many books that I picked up and never really finished or stopped reading? Like sometimes I dive into them again, sometimes there’s good reasons, sometimes I’ve just forgotten to read the last two chapters. This happens way more with nonfiction, but also poetry collections and classics. So here’s those books, from ‘oldest to newest’ in when I first picked them up, so that maybe I will guilt myself into starting the new school year with a empty currently reading shelf and less loose threads in my head.
Einstein biography by Walter Isaacson
When I started reading the book: June 2017
Have I picked it up since? yes, I read about half and then read some more in 2018, so I think I’ve only got a few chapters left I just never finished it
You think you know Einstein’s life, but if you haven’t read an in-depth account of his life – you don’t. I truly love this biography, but it was heavy for two years younger me and I was constantly searching up things to learn more. It’s got so many highlights and notes in it by now.
Why am I not reading it? Truly just because I’m separated from my physical copy bc of corona
We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson
When I started reading the book: January 2018
Have I picked it up since? Yes, several times
This book is truly trying to learn you everything you want about what we know and don’t know about the cosmos through funny and original graphs and cute illustrations (!!!). Mostly quarks, black holes, gravitational waves, whatever dark energy and dark matter is and why it’s dark. It’s meant to be humorous and peak your interest. I got at least 25% in, I guess. Some of my problem was the balance of skimming what I did know already, but then not wanting to miss out on the rest. Would be fun to see how much more different I would approach it now, one year into a physics degree. But it’s really appropriate for someone without much knowledge on the matter (haha) already as well.
Why am I not reading it? I forgot I guess???
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
When I started reading the book: March 2018
Have I picked it up since? Yes, I read poems here and there for about a year. Got 50% through it.
Big poetry collections of a particular poet are strange because you might like on era of their poetry more than another, and that takes time to figure out. Especially with a 200 pages ebook filled to the brim with classical short poems. Thankfully most of them are pretty understandable without a knowledge of the time or much of Dickinson’s life.
Why am I not reading it? I truly forgot I liked individual poems this much, even though the collection itself left me confused often
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
When I started reading the book: April 2019
Have I picked it up since? Yes, I’ve continually gotten back to it
I didn’t know it had been that long since I first started it. 2. I don’t know why I wanted to read it in the first place or what I expected. 3. It’s never … well, bad or uninteresting, it just never cuts to the chase of what’s going on.
Why am I not reading it? I always think I’m reading it occassionally, but then I’m also only 35% into a 270 page book so who knows what’s happening there
Alex’s Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos
When I started reading the book: July 2019
Have I picked it up since? Yes, to read a single other chapter.
With a mind-blowing first two chapters I really liked this book all about how we use maths. That might sound boring or strange, but I strikingly remember the author writing about how different groups of humans count differently depending on their need, and too a much higher degree so do animals. Like the difference between immediately recognizing the size of a herd compared to babies being able to recognize when a number change in number of objects, or something like that. And also cultural differences in how we learn children to count. Fascinating stuff, only problem was that I then started a math-heavy physics degree and then there was little interest in reading non-fiction books for a while, which I’m warning you is a theme here.
Why am I not reading it? separated from my physical copy by corona as well, but mostly lack of will to read more maths on freetime when I’ve just finished math lectures
This is way too many books, especially for someone who have a pretty full-packed June at the moment, but things might change and I might make a dent in this list. First off, I have to let the graphic novels be because I’m travelling and can’t order them to me, while preferring to read physical graphic novels so much more than digital. Heartstopper vol. 3 and Mooncakes – I’ll read them this fall instead.
When we were magic by Sarah Gailey: queer female witches
Sawkill girls by Claire Legrand: horror-ish fantasy with enemies to lovers and queer girls
Out of salem by Hal Schrieve: nonbinary mc, lesbian mc, queer side characters and also lots of zombies. I don’t know how that works out either, going to find out I guess.
Every heart a doorway by Seanan McGuire: asexual mc and children diseappearing into magical lands
Wilder girls by Rory Power: a horror book set at an all girl’s school and a queer mc that i can’t quite figure out more about without potentially spoiling myself. This book review says; “feminist horror” and “hella gay”, so we’ll go with that.
Felix ever after by Kacen Callender: transgender mc, dealing with self-discovery and falling in love for the first time.
Brave face by Shaun David Hutchinson: memoir by a gay author.
Wolfsong by T. J. Klune: m/m romance, contains werewolves.
The last true poets of the sea by Julia Drake: my thought-process seeing this book was “hey look at that interesting title, wonder if it’s mermaids” then I investigated further and realized it’s a more serious story dealing with mental illness and the aftermath of a suicide attempt in the family, along with the mystery of uncovering a shipwreck and a f/f relationship.
Magic for liars by Sarah Gailey: urban fantasy/murder mystery standalone with bisexual love interest, a magical witchy school and lots of blood and violence and other questionable things.
Ship of smoke and steel by Django Wexler: a YA fantasy book with a bisexual mc that’s more of an anti-heroine, and also on a mission to steal a legendary ghost ships. I mean – bi pirates, basically.
The library of the unwritten by A. J. Hackwith: pansexual mc, also a former anti-heroine/badass who’s now settled down into being the Head Librarian of a “neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside” (from the synopsis). I have to love this, I mean – “power struggle between Heaven and Hell” sounds delightful.
Mask of shadows by Linsey Miller: genderfluid mc, also a badass thief. Fantasy with assassins and royalty and vicious circus acrobats apparently.
Poetry collections by queer girls
Aphrodite made me do it by Trista Mateer
Please don’t go before I get better by Madison Kuhn
I didn’t think I would create a TBR because who knows when I’d get time to read because of university. And then it all went to hell and I need more structure in my life so here we gooo – a Spring TBR it is.
By grand central station I sat down and wept by Elizabeth Smart
I made a TBR for the whole of 2019 at the beginning of the year, thinking it would be the thing that finally made me follow a TBR. My big problem is that I usually don’t work with planning things out. I can have a general direction or options, but if it’s dinner, books or anything in between, I never respond well to a strict plan.
GOALS – to read more widely with science books, poetry,books about writing, new YA releases and some classics, along with the fantasy books I love. I also had a very personal goal of reading about physical pain, which I find very difficult to describe, and wanted different authors’ take on it. That last bit just didn’t happen at all, let’s start with pointing that out.
Books I read from the TBR:
I read 15 out of 47 books on my 2019 TBR … and 48 other books not on it. 63 books in total, which I’m really happy with considering the last four months of the year was very unproductive in reading-sense because of starting university.
Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson was a dnf/kind of read. It’s built on “letters to a young poet” and was interesting at times, but also dated and dry.
Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman (review) was a great intro read, as Feynman explains physics concepts very well. I didn’t like his six not-so-easy pieces as much.
Alex’s Adventures in Numberland is a book I’ve kind of paused, because I didn’t finish it before summer vacation ended and now I’m surrounded by math, but it was really promising.
Branches by Rhiannon McGavin was the only of the TBR poetry collections I got to and it’s amazing.
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson I just picked up this christmas, but he’s one of my fav authors.
Women in Science (review) is one of the best books I’ve read this year. So cute illustrations, so many brilliant women. Can be gifted to any age.
The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown (review) was a great book. I had my issues with The Wicked King by Holly Black (review). These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling (review) was not everything I hoped for, but nearly.
Heartstopper vol. 1 by Alice Oseman (review) was stunning and queer and great. I also read vol. 2. I recently devoured The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson, the sequel to Truly Devious, and liked it. Solitaire by Alice Oseman (review) was the let-down of the year – I love the author, but it’s obvious it was written by a teenager.
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren was my ultimate favourite book this year! Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (review) was another let-down. Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard (review) was a refreshing YA book.
Did I achieve my goals?
I read enough books this year. And I had a period of reading more poetry, even if it was mostly not the ones on the list. I definitely read more science books as well, and most of the new YA releases I wanted to get to. Where I failed hard was books about writing, partly also because I’ve been writing less than expected. I regret not reading the classics I wanted either. Thing is, this big TBR and goals worked a lot better than they seemed to. During September and October I read zero fiction books, which is rare for me. In November I read only two. About 30% of the books on my TBR was read this year, but everything considered – it wasn’t terrible.
The biggest surprise and win of this year of blogging was the June Pride Library 2019 Challenge (all the posts I did here), which I suddenly decided to join amidst exams and also made me do A LOT more investigation into which types of queer books were out there.
Yay! Considering how hella busy June has been for me, I’m really happy with the amount of posts I made. I mean – I finished my last exams and packed everything for moving at the same time. That I started out the month writing a lot of posts saved me.
I also made a bi-weekly update talking briefly about how I came out as bisexual to mom as the first in my family this month, which I’m really proud that I went throught with. I didn’t feel relieved as much as I felt that the life I live now and the one I want to have is one step closer together, which is comforting. As for right now I’m visiting extended family and that’s always — sigh. Let’s not go there.
The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz: read & review coming, five out of five stars!
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan: still to be read, but I’ve finally gotten it in the mail at least.
Running With Lions by Julian Winters: read & review coming, I loved how different it is from what I normally would pick up with its sports. four out of five stars!
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore: currently reading, I’m 15% in and it’s promising.
Karamo Brown’s Memoir: still not read, I started it and then realized I wasn’t in the headspace of anything too heavy emotionally, so I’m going to save it for a time I am
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee: still to be read, it’s probably going to be a while before I get around to it tbh
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: read & reviewed, 3.5 out of five stars
Other queer books I’ve read
Heartstopper vol. 1 (and then the rest online): five out of five stars. review.
Fence vol. 1-3 by C. S. Pacat: three, three and two stars out of five.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.
My Summer TBR doesn’t have a lot of summer books this year? So I’m going to write another post with summer recommendations to give you all the fun & warm vibes of it, and not the university-preparing, trying-to-get-better-at-writing, learn-to-cook reality that this TBR turned out to be, haha! Some of the science books, like “physics of the impossible” and “alex’s adventures in numberland” was recommended by physics youtuber Simon Clark (here’s the link to the other books he recommended as well!)
A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking
Yes, I’ve read other books by Hawking like “The grand design“, no I’ve never gotten to read this one. Why? Don’t know, it’s a disgrace that I have to change quickly.
The body in pain by Elaine Scarry
Alex’s adventures in numberland by Alex Bellos
Physics of the impossible by Michio Kaku
Six not so easy pieces by Richard Feynman
I read and absolutely loved how “Six easy pieces” (review here), the easier first book of this type, explained concepts and hoping to watch a lot of Feynman’s lectures this summer as well.
Frida’s fiesta by Marie-Pierre Colle and Guadalupe Rivera
Guadalupe Rivera was Diego Rivera’s daughter and because of that has a close connection to Frida Kahlo, so I’m so excited to see what kind of cookbook this is.
Salt fat acid heatby Samin Nosrat
Ilustrated cookbook! I need it! Also heard a lot of great things about it and Nosrat seems like a person that knows her stuff when I heard from her at the Reply All podcast, hosting another very limited podcast. Ah I love how much effort went into that joke and episode.
It’s also a Netflix show by the same/similar name, which I have yet to watch.
I love how Nosrat love salt. That speaks to my heart. I’ve read a couple pages of this book, all of the different types of salt there are, beautifully illustrated. SALT! Ok, let’s move on now –
The vanishing stair by Maureen Johnson
The sequel to Truly Devious (review here), which I loved.
A part of my 5 star predictions post, so I’ll have to read it to find out, don’t I?
The serpent king by Jeff Zentner
Another of the 5 star predictions post
A poetry handbook by Mary Oliver
I don’t write poetry. I’m going to read it anyway, she’s my fav poet and I’ve got a feeling it could help me write and compose stories in general.
On writing by Stephen King
Here’s a secret – I’ve never read a Stephen King book. I don’t know why! I have no explanation. I started reading this one more than a year ago and found the perspective very helpful, but I didn’t have time for doing the writing practices he proposes so I’ll go back now this summer when I have time to really delve into it and commit.
After predicting Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro would be a five out of five stars and ending up being a disappointment, I looked at my TBR and what other books I think will be new favorites.
Hopefully I’ll revisit this in not too long and see if I predicted right! (And I might have already read some of the books when this is posted because a couple posts were postponed because they clashed with posts for the Pride Library challenge.)
Heartstopper vol. 1 by Alice Oseman: I’ve heard such great things, actually only great things, about this graphic novel and already know the art style is right in my alley! I love the colors so much, and Oseman is a great storyteller.
The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson: The previous book, Truly Devious, was one of my favourites last year, with boarding school & mystery it was probably one of my all-time fav YA books. So I have high hopes for this one as well, Maureen Johnson is a great author overall.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: This book has a great synopsis with queer witches that seem badass and I just hope I love this new release.
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner: Also a book I’ve heard great things about, with a close friendgroup and the main character (as me) looking at graduation with mixed feelings. It’s also another debut novel.
Fence vol. 1 by C. S. Pacat: I’ve seen so many book blogs love on these graphic novels as well. I’ve fallen in love with queer sports teams before, and fencing shouldn’t seem to be an exception? Also I’ve had mixed feelings about C. S. Pacat’s books before, but to me it’s no doubt that she has talent in making catchy characters.