The Books of 2019

Goodreads Challenge: 20
Books Finished: 20
Books DNF: 5

I lowered my challenge from 50 books to 20 in 2019, and I think this was a good idea.  I’m keeping that same energy in 2020, plus it goes with the number.  I still have book reviews from 2018 to write, so the lower number theoretically helps bring that down, too (not…really).

Because I only read 20 books, I’m going to list them all here in no particular order at first then the Top 10 after.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Classic)

You really have to keep your present sensibilities in check in order to garner what Fitzgerald was after.  It’s not a bad message about how we treat the very young vs. the very old, but it comes with a whole bunch of yikes.

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare (Classic)

The question of Cleopatra’s betrayal is still up in the air, and the ruminations on the concept are far more fascinating than the answer.

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (Classic)

Oh my fucking god, this was almost laughably bad in so many ways.  I’m glad I read it, but it was dry and plodding for so many chapters.  The most interesting parts involved the Persian who doesn’t even get a name.  Raoul’s character as well as Eric’s were greatly improved by Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical, which greatly improved upon many aspects of Leroux’s work.

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The State of the Reader: 12/4/19

<–The State of the Reader: 10/23/19         The State of the Reader: 12/18/19–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 7


Books Finished: 1

Title: Vita Nostra
Series: Метаморфозы (Metamorphoses)
Author: Marina & Sergey Dyachenko
Date Added: December 22, 2018
Date Started: September 23, 2019
Date Finished: November 20, 2019

Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergey DyachenkoMedia: eBook/Kindle

Most of my notes for this are in my Kindle copy, but this book was fantastic.  It’s described as similar to Harry Potter, but the only similarity is that both books are about going away to school.  While Rowling’s series certainly has its positives (and negatives, mostly due to the author not knowing when to just stop), Vita Nostra is an existential masterpiece that shares more paradigms with time loop narratives than HP, but I hesitate to compare it fully to any of those either.  It really is unique and shows why it’s so important to experience media from different cultures.  I’m sad none of the other books in the series have been translated, and I really hope that happens soon.

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The State of the Reader: 10/23/19

<–The State of the Reader: 10/9/19         The State of the Reader: 12/4/19–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 1


Books Finished: 1

Title: Kushiel’s Dart
Series Title: Phèdre’s Trilogy
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Date Added: February 21, 2012
Date Started: August 23, 2019

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline CareyMedia: Hardback (Library)

Well I did it.  I finished a book I shelved as DNF years ago, and I’m glad I did.  I wound up using my last library renewal, though I managed to finish before the 21st.  I still didn’t return it because I worked from home that day, so.  I also bought this book AND the second one, because I loved it.  Whatever issue I had prior didn’t bother me now, and while it does have a long denouement, it makes sense for the scale of the story.

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The State of the Reader: 10/9/19

<–The State of the Reader: 9/25/19         The State of the Reader: 10/23/19–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 2


Currently Reading

Title: Faust
Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: September 1, 2019

Faust by GoetheMedia: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 33%

Mephistopheles has finally shown up.  Now things are going to get interesting.

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The State of the Reader: 9/25/19

<–The State of the Reader: 9/11/19         The State of the Reader: 10/9/19–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 2


Books Finished: 1

Title: Traitor’s Blades
Series Title: Greatcoats
Author: Sebastien de Castell
Date Added: March 5, 2017
Date Started: August 26, 2019
Date Finished: September 25, 2019

Traitor's Blades by Sebastien de CastellMedia: eBook/Kindle

This story might have the most brutal twist of any I’ve ever read.  It was fucking fantastic, and I can’t wait to continue the series.


Currently Reading

Title: Faust
Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: September 1, 2019

Faust by GoetheMedia: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 25%

I did not know this was written in (sort of) rhyming verse, but I’m not upset.  It gives it a nice flow.

Title: Kushiel’s Dart
Series Title: Phèdre’s Trilogy
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Date Added: February 21, 2012
Date Started: August 23, 2019

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline CareyMedia: Hardback (Library)
Progress: 26%

This novel is like ASOIAF but less graphic and also told from one point of view.  A character literally talks verbatim about the “game of thrones” in reference to court politics.  There’s a reason for the dramatis personae in the beginning as well as the map; both of which I constantly refer to in order to keep up with who’s who and where’s where.

Title: The Hero With a Thousand Faces
Author: Joseph Campbell
Date Added: April 24, 2014
Date Started: December 3, 2018

The Hero With a Thousand FacesMedia: Hardback
Progress: 66%

“Society lapses into mistake and disaster.  The Little Ego has usurped the judgment seat of the Self.”  Campbell was a prognosticator.


I’m been drinking cider mimosas (apple cider and champagne).  It’s the perfect autumn contemporary to pumpkin spice as well as an alternative to regular OJ mimosas.  I’m kind of disappointed because I can’t find my favorite Halloween candy, mellowcreme pumpkins, in stores.  So I bought some from Amazon, and I don’t like them.  They’re Jelly Belly brand, and you’d think a company famous for its jellybeans would know how to make other candy (or…not?).  They kind of taste like orange slices (the candy) but with the consistency of the pumpkins, and I am not a fan.  The funny thing is Amazon had Brach’s brand available, but fancy TSN had to go with the more prestigious brand.  Live and learn I suppose.

What is your favorite Halloween candy?


<–The State of the Reader: 9/11/19         The State of the Reader: 10/9/19–>