Books I Read (or Started to Read) in 2019

A black young woman sits perched on a village ledge. Her hand extends outward to a hovering red bird.
The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games” by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas.

update: I read these books in 2019 not 2018 as the original title stated.

In 2019, I completed reading twenty-two books. This feels inadequate. The feeling is akin to improperly packing for a trip. I can make due when it gets colder than I thought or when I discover that I didn’t pack enough pairs of socks. It’s not quite that feeling either. Its as though I thought I’d be on a road trip with a friend for seven days, but it turned out to be five days and throughout those days we spent significant chunks of time staring at our smartphones.

I previously wrote about reading challenges, and this year I didn’t have an explicit one.

Below I list the books that I read (completed or not). I don’t count reading of role-playing game systems nor sourcebooks. So my complete read of “Eberron: Rising from the Last War” is not listed below.

Books Completed in 2019

  • “The Crimson Talisman” by Adrian Cole
  • “Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling” by Phillip Pullman
  • “The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games” by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas
  • “Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead” by Olga Tokarcyuk (See my review)
  • “Dune” by Frank Herbert
  • “Faust: A Tragedy” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by Martin Greenberg (See my response)
  • “The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • “The Hobbit: Annotated and Expanded” by J.R.R. Tolkien, annotated by Douglas A. Anderson
  • “How to be a Stoic” by Massimo Pigliucci
  • “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” by Italo Colvino
  • “The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap” by Wendy Welch
  • “The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion” by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull
  • “The Lost Art of Reading: Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time” by David L. Ulin (See my review)
  • “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern
  • “A Philosophy of Walking” by Frédéric Cros
  • “Primeval and Other Times” by Olga Tokarcyuk
  • “The Return of the King” by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • “The Stoic Challenge” by William Irvine
  • “Swords against Wizardry” by Fritz Leiber
  • “Swords in the Mist” by Fritz Leiber
  • “This Land is Our Land” by Jedediah Purdy
  • “Tragedy, The Greeks, and Us” by Simon Critchley
  • “The Two Towers” by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • “Walking: One Step at a Time” by Erling Kagge

Books Started but not Finished in 2019

These two books sit in a halted state. Something else has gathered my attention.

  • “The Arabian Nights”
  • “The Golden Compass” by Phillip Pullman
  • “The Prague Cemetery” by Umberto Eco
  • “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy

Books That I Read Bit by Bit in 2019

update: Looking through piles of books, I forgot to include “The Book of Taliesin.” I picked this up from Fanfare Books in Stratford Ontario. It is one of several books that I forgot to record reading in my journal.

These are books that I reference or read as the mood strikes. Books of poetry, essays, or compilations.

  • “The Book of Taliesin: Poems of Heroism and Magic in Another Britain” by Rowan Williams and Gwyneth Lewis
  • “Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History” by Michael Witwer
  • “Figuring” by Maria Popovic
  • “The Origins of Dislike” by Amit Chaudhuri
  • “Poems and Prophecies” by William Blake
  • “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth” by Catherine McIlwaine

Books Abandoned in 2019

For some reason, or other, I abandoned these books. I wrote about my visceral response to interstitial cut sceens. Both “The Killing Moon” and “A Darker Shade of Magic” triggered that response. I plan to revisit “The Killing Moon” now that I’ve had time to reflect and have begun to internalize Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’s “The Dark Fantastic”

update: Reading through various quotes that I wrote down, I unearthed another book that I had abandoned: “Packing My Library” by Alberto Manguel.

  • “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy
  • “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” by Marlon James
  • “The City of Brass” by S.A. Chakraborty
  • “A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab
  • “Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s the Hobbit” by Cory Olsen
  • “The Killing Moon” by N.K. Jamisin
  • “Packing My Library” by Alberto Manguel

And for 2020

For 2020, I’m committing to reading at least 10 fantasy/sci-fi books written by persons of color. Octavia Butler leaps to mind.

I’ll continue reading Jorge Luis Borges short stories. I may dive back into Gaiman’s Sandman series.