While I will always write these posts for myself, I figured no one was actually waiting on tenterhooks to see what I read last year, and that it would be no big deal if I didn’t get around to writing my 2022 reading recap for a while. Then I got a text from a friend saying that she was checking my blog every few days waiting for “2022 in Books” to go up, which warmed my heart so much, so, hi A! This post is for you!
(For the few of you who still follow my blog but don’t follow me on social media or Substack and have been wondering what I’m up to, I do owe you a “what I’ve been up to” update post at some point. For now, please see this Substack post which summarizes a bunch of the things I’ve been doing/preparing for.)
After two somewhat driftless years of focusing on just making it through a global pandemic, 2022 for me was “the year a ton of stuff happened*” which felt extra intense given that I hadn’t been used to running at full speed in a while. That is my explanation for why, after reading 102 and 100 books in the two previous years, I squeaked out of 2022 only having finished 65 books.
*Stuff that happened: I jumped back into performing after several years of a pandemic-forced hiatus, the concerto project picked back up, I continued to write professionally, I got married and went on my honeymoon, etc.
I am aware 65 is a perfectly respectable number of books to read in a year, but I feel a little sheepish about it given that “girl who reads a lot” sort of became my personality; at multiple points throughout the year, friends would introduce me to new people by saying something like “This is Sharon, she reads a lot.” Such an introduction usually prompts people to ask the same questions (I mean, what else do you ask someone who you’re told reads a lot?) so, an FAQ:
Somehow, without really meaning to, I read 102 new books in 2021. (As always, I only count books in English that are new to me, so re-reads don’t count, my stumbling through children’s books in other languages doesn’t count, and I only count books I’ve finished. I have a very generous “if you truly hate the book you don’t have to finish it” rule for myself.)
Quick aside: ever since I started logging my reading, I’ve been dying to run a bunch of nerdy data analysis; I think it would be interesting to track my ratio of, say, fiction to non-fiction, and to analyze what percentage of my reading is by writers of color, women and nonbinary folks, etc. I also casually noticed that this year, I was sometimes blowing through 10+ books a month, but nearly came to a stop as soon as the Animal Crossing: New Horizons update dropped. (I just think that would be a super funny graph.)
However, I am so tired (we are still in a pandemic) and it was hard enough for me to grit my teeth and make this post, so alas, no graphs and charts for me.
Although I am, at this point, really dragging, unable to get back to any emails in a reasonable amount of time, and needing to lie down multiple times a day, I am gritting my teeth and making myself write this post, because it is February 2021 and if I don’t get around to this now, I never will.
2020 was a real [obscene hand gesture] of a year—I won’t bore you with details because, well, it communally sucked for everyone, didn’t it? If you’re interested, I wrote a whole piece over on Substack that is my best attempt at describing the suspended state of despair I think we were all in, and specifically describes the futility of making music in that state.
If you missed it, I also put together a blog post in August summarizing the things I had managed to accomplish; for the highlights of what else I was able to do after that, kindly see the press page on my website.
My reading goal in 2020 was to read more new books than I had the year before; since I finished 64 new books in 2019, my goal for 2020 was 65. I ended up blowing past that number in August, and by the end of December had finished a nice round 100. I have no idea what my reading goal is for this year, if any, since a goal of 100+ gets you into the realm of reading for the sake of reading, which goes against everything I stand for, so for now I’m just 🤷🏻♀️ about my reading goal for this year.
Before I get into my list, several observations I took away from a year of reading: