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.

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 , 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 Tokarczuk 📖 (See my )
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Faust: A Tragedy by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by Martin Greenberg (See my )
  • 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 )
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Cros
  • Primeval and Other Times by Olga Tokarczuk
  • 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


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 Britains 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 . 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”


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.