2020 Reading Review

Well, that was quite in crazy year, huh? Despite staying home for 11 of the 12 months this year, my reading productivity took a large dip compared to 2019. This was largely due to being a parent, not commuting (audiobooks), and switching from audiobook to actually reading books this year. The year is not quite done yet, and I am hoping to add a book or two to my completed list for 2020, but for now I wanted to post my review of the reading/audiobook listening I have done this year.

It’s not hard to see the revolution in my media consumption that came with my subscription to audible. From 2012-2015 I was in the world of podcasts and graduate school, so my actual book completion was conspicuously low. With the rise of a business commute, and real income I began to ravenously listen to audio-books. Long drives, commutes, or TV-muted late-night-FIFA sessions are great for listening to audio-books — and I took full advantage. Without much of those things in 2020, and with a new desire to actually read, my audio book consumption dropped. I’m happy with this as I push to finish more real books, and my To Read only grows larger every day.

TitleAuthorMediaGenreMy RatingAverage Rating
The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)Tolkien, J.R.R.AudibleFantasy54.44
GermaniaTacitusAudibleAncient History43.96
New Spring (The Wheel of Time, #0)Jordan, RobertAudibleFantasy 54.03
King Darius the Great: The Life and Legacy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire’s Ruler during the First Invasion of GreeceEditors, Charles RiverAudibleAncient History23.4
The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating ReadersBird, MattAudible/Paperback Writing54.42
Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)Lawrence, MarkAudibleFantasy44.34
Norse MythologyGaiman, NeilAudible AudioMythology54.08
Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1)Sullivan, Michael J.Audible AudioFantasy- Epic34.24
DragonslayerHamilton, Duncan M.Audible AudioFantasy- Epic33.95
Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of DiscoveryDuncan, DaytonAudible AudioAmerican History44.13
The Hod King (The Books of Babel, #3)Bancroft, JosiahAudible AudioFantasy54.52
Beggar’s Rebellion (Resonant #1)Jacobs, LeviebookFantasy- Epic33.89
We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire Book 1)Madson, DevinebookFantasy- Epic44.03
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever NeedBrody, JessicaAudible AudioWriting44.54
Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala SiouxNeihardt, John G.Audible AudioAmerian History54.1
They Mostly Come Out at Night (Yarnsworld, #1)Patrick, BenedictebookFantasy- Folklore23.65
The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1)Kuang, R.F.ebookFantasy- Epic44.01
The Unbreakable Arrow: Wulfric the WandererMoffat, CharlesebookFantasy – Sword and Sorcery22
In Shadows We FallMadson, DevinebookFantasy- Epic34.05
Alaric the Goth: An Outsider’s History of the Fall of RomeBoin, DouglasAudible AudioAncient History43.75
The Skald’s Black Verse (Dreadbound Ode #1)Short, Jordan Loyal
Fantasy- Folklore
The Scythians: Nomad Warriors of the SteppeCunliffe, Barry W.Audible AudioAncient History44.25
All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1)Wells, MarthaebookScience FictionAlmost Done!

We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire Book 1)

I’ve written about We Ride the Storm before in my Mongolian Mythology blog entry, but want to highlight it again. This was a book I found on reddit when searching for Mongolian inspired themes in Fantasy and I loved it. Devin Madson, an Australian author, writes expansive cultures in We Ride the Storm, primarily based on Japanese and Roman cultures. It’s a fun story that has light magic elements and heavy combat, court intrigue and assassination elements.

Alaric the Goth: An Outsider’s History of the Fall of Rome

Alaric the Goth sacked Rome in 410. His name lives in legend because of it, but this book dives into how he rose to power within the roman empire, and some of what Alaric’s childhood was like in the Black Sea frontier at a time when Roman influence was waning. We know a surprising amount about Alaric, and this book was a wonderful deep dive into a historical character.

Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

I continue to work on my native american inspired cultures, and to do so I need to learn a lot more about those cultures themselves. To do this, I began reading Black Elk Speaks, a first hand account of a Sioux medicine man that fought with Crazyhorse. He details many spiritual rituals, as well as the slow, inexorable displacement of the Sioux by Americans. This book culminates in a first hand retelling of the Massacre at Wounded Knee.
I would encourage any American interested in learning about how ‘winning the west’ happened to read this book. Especially in 2020 – as the movements for social equality finally began receiving the platform they deserve- learning what happened, and continues to happen, to the Native peoples of North America is gut wrenching.

Coming in 2021

TitleAuthorRelease Year
The Fall of Babel (The Books of Babel, #4)Bancroft, Josiah2021
The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost, #1)Clark, C.L.2021
The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)Lawrence, Mark2020
The Thorn of Emberlain (Gentleman Bastard, #4)Lynch, Scott202X
We Lie With Death (The Reborn Empire, #2)Madson, Devin2021
The Winds of Winter (A Song of Ice and Fire, #6)Martin, George R.R.203X
The Fires of Vengeance (The Burning, #2)Winter, Evan2020

There are so many books I am looking forward to reading next year. These are in no particular order. A few of these like Fires of Vengeance and the Girl and the Stars I have sitting on my shelf, others are pre-orders (The Unbroken and We Lie with Death). Others like The Thorn of Emberlain and The Winds of Winter are still on my radar though I have no expectations of completion in 2021. One can hope!

I hope everyone has a safe and healthy holiday season and that 2021 is decidedly better than 2020!



Published by writerlarkin

Neuroscience and Research Project Manager background; deep passion for all things fantasy and writing and mythology!

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