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Posts from January 2021

Reading More and Connecting More in 2021

HappyNewYear2021JenHeadshotNew Year's Greetings to any of you who are still following my sorely neglected blog. December 17th marked the blog's 15th birthday. I had hopes of doing a post to celebrate that, but today will have to do. I am still here, and grateful for my years of blogging and reviewing books. Sadly, however, juggling work and family responsibilities in this pandemic year has caused blogging to fall off my plate. 

I popped in today to share two things: my "one word" for 2021 and my list of books read in 2020. 

Last year, my "one word" was LESS. I intended that to mean spending less time on things I wasn't enthusiastic about, and more time on things like reading. But, as with many people's plans in 2020, that is not how things turned out. I ended up with LESS reading and much less blogging time instead. 

I read 75 books in 2020 (see below), of which 41 were audiobooks. My normal pace, through 2018, was about 150 books a year. I slowed down some in 2019 (to 123) because I was reading a greater percentage of adult books. This year, though, I think the decline was more about 2020's challenges and my own inability to focus on reading. I also listened to quite a few podcasts, which cut down on my audiobook listening time. I hope to be able to read more in 2021, but there's no telling. I intend to accept that as it comes. 

2020 also ended up meaning LESS travel to see family, and LESS time with other people closer to home. A silver lining for me of the year was how very much I came to appreciate the people that we did see in person and the people that we connected with in other ways. One of my favorite reads of the year was Vivek Murthy's Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. I closed out the year with Kate Murphy's You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters.

I've gone back and forth between choosing CONNECT and LISTEN for 2021's one word. Ultimately, I chose CONNECT. If there's one thing I learned this year it's how critically important genuine human connection is to well being. I think LISTEN is more of a skill to help me strengthen my connection to people, though it's one I intend to actively work on. But my real goal is nurturing stronger connections with the people who matter to me. What that's going to mean in terms of my blogging, I can't say. 

My wish for all of you is more human connection in 2021 AND more time for reading and listening and taking care of yourselves. Happy New Year! And thank you for listening. 

Jen's 2020 Reading List

Middle Grade Books

  1. Janet Tashjian: My Life As A Gamer. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed January 9, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter from library copy.
  2. Janet Tashjian: My Life As A Ninja. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed January 22, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter from library copy.
  3. Janet Tashjian: My Life As A Youtuber. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed February 5, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter from library copy.
  4. Janet Tashjian: My Life As A Meme. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed February 28, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter from library copy.
  5. Kenneth Oppel: Bloom (The Overthrow, Book 1). Knopf Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade Speculative Fiction. Completed March 8, 2020. 
  6. Julia Nobel: The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane Sourcebooks. Middle Grade Mystery. Completed March 21, 2020, on Kindle.
  7. Chris Grabenstein: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. Random House. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed April 11, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter.
  8. Amy McCulloch: Jinxed. Sourcebooks. Middle Grade Speculative Fiction. Completed May 9, 2020, on Kindle.
  9. Janet Tashjian: My Life As A Coder. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed May 13, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter.
  10. Lawrence Yep: The Earth Dragon Awakes. Harper Collins Children's Books. Middle Grade Historical Fiction. Completed May 14, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter for school.
  11. Julia Nobel: The Secret of White Stone Gate. Sourcebooks. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed June 6, 2020, on Kindle.
  12. Elizabeth Enright: Gone-Away Lake. HMH Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed June 8 2020, personal copy.
  13. Elizabeth Enright: Return to Gone-Away. HMH Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed June 11, 2020, personal copy.
  14. Kazu Kibuishi: Amulet (Book 1). Scholastic. Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed August 26, 2020, my daughter's personal copy.
  15. Kazu Kibuishi: Amulet (Book 2). Scholastic. Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed August 30, 2020, my daughter's personal copy.
  16. James Ponti: City Spies. Aladdin. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed September 18, 2020, my daughter's personal copy.
  17. James Ponti: Framed. Aladdin. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed September 26, 2020, on Kindle.
  18. James Ponti: Vanished (Book 2). Aladdin. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed September 27, 2020, on Kindle.
  19. James Ponti: Trapped (Book 3). Aladdin. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed October 6, 2020, on Kindle.
  20. Jennifer Chambliss Bertman: Book Scavenger. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed October 16, 2020, on Kindle.

Young Adult Books

  1. Elizabeth Eulberg: Past Perfect Life. Bloomsbury YA. Young Adult Fiction. Completed January 7, 2020, personal copy.
  2. David Yoon: Frankly in Love. G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. Young Adult Fiction. Completed January 16, 2020, on MP3.
  3. Adriana Mather: Killing November. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Young Adult Mystery/Thriller. Completed February 7, 2020, on Kindle.
  4. Maureen Johnson: The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, Book 3). Katherine Tegen Books. Young Adult Mystery. Completed February 20, 2020, on Kindle.
  5. Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Deadly Little Scandals (Debutantes, Book 2). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Young Adult Mystery. Completed February 25, 2020, on Kindle.
  6. Karen McManus: One of Us Is Next (sequel to One Of Us Is Lying). Delacorte Press. Young Adult Mystery. Completed March 5, 2020, on Kindle.
  7. Rebecca Hanover: The Similars. Sourcebooks. Young Adult Speculative Fiction. Completed August 14, 2020.
  8. Rebecca Hanover: The Pretenders (Similars 2). Sourcebooks. Young Adult Speculative Fiction. Completed September 5, 2020.
  9. Jennifer Lynn Barnes: The Inheritance Games. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Young Adult Fiction. Completed September 10, 2020, on Kindle.
  10. Adriana Mather: Hunting November. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Young Adult Fiction. Completed September 27, 2020, on Kindle.
  11. John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle: Let It Snow. Young Adult Fiction. Speak. Completed December 20, 2020, on MP3.
  12. Karen McManus: The Cousins. Delacorte Press. Young Adult Mystery. Completed December 21, 2020, on Kindle.

Adult Books

  1. Eve Rodsky: Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live). G.P. Putnam's Sons. Adult Nonfiction. Completed January 3, 2020, on Kindle.
  2. Janet Evanovich: Twisted Twenty-Six. G. P. Putnam's Sons. Adult Mystery. Completed January 3, 2020, on MP3.
  3. BJ Fogg: Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Adult Nonfiction. Completed January 22, 2020, on Kindle.
  4. Tom DeMarco + Tim Lister: Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams. Addison-Wesley. Adult Nonfiction. Completed January 25, 2020, personal copy.
  5. Michael McGarrity: Tularosa (Kevin Kerney, No. 1). W. W. Norton & Company. Adult Mystery. Completed February 8, 2020, on MP3. The fact that this series uses the same narrator as the Walt Longmire books bothered me at first, but I soon got past that.
  6. David L. Bahnsen: Elizabeth Warren: How Her Presidency Would Destroy the Middle Class and the American Dream. Post Hill Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed February 13, 2020, on Kindle.
  7. Taylor Stevens: Liar's Paradox (Jack and Jill, Book 1). Pinnacle. Adult Thriller. Completed February 15, 2020, on Kindle.
  8. Michael McGarrity: Tularosa (Kevin Kerney, No. 2). W. W. Norton & Company. Adult Mystery. Completed March 1, 2020, on MP3.
  9. Michael McGarrity: Serpent's Gate (Kevin Kerney, No. 3). W. W. Norton & Company. Adult Mystery. Completed March 9, 2020, on MP3.
  10. Gytha Lodge: Watching from the Dark Random House. Adult Mystery. Completed March 14, 2020, on Kindle.
  11. P.J. Tracy: The Guilty Dead. Penguin Random House. Adult Mystery. Completed April 11, 2020, on Kindle.
  12. Suzanne Redfearn: In an Instant. Lake Union Publishing. Adult Fiction. Completed April 12, 2020, on Kindle and MP3.
  13. Julia Spencer-Fleming: Hid from Our Eyes (Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne). Minotaur Books. Adult Mystery. Completed April 19, 2020, on Kindle.s
  14. P.J. Tracy: Ice Cold Heart. Crooked Lane Books. Adult Mystery. Completed May 2, 2020, on Kindle.
  15. Michael McGarrity: Hermit's Peak (Kevin Kerney, No. 4). W. W. Norton & Company. Adult Mystery. Completed May 4, 2020, on MP3.
  16. Iona Whishaw: A Killer in King's Cove. Touchwood Editions. Adult Mystery. Completed May 16, 2020, on Kindle.
  17. Graham Norton: A Keeper. Atria Books. Adult Mystery. Completed May 18, 2020, on MP3.
  18. Michael McGarrity: The Judas Judge (Kevin Kerney, No. 5). W. W. Norton & Company. Adult Mystery. Completed May 4, 2020, on Kindle.
  19. Harlan Coben: The Boy from the Woods. Grand Central Publishing. Adult Mystery. Completed May 25, 2020, on MP3.
  20. Mark Greaney: The Gray Man (Court Gentry, Book 1). Berkley. Adult Thriller. Completed June 17, 2020, on MP3.
  21. Madeline Levine: Ready or Not: Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World. Harper. Adult Nonfiction. Completed June 4, 2020, on Kindle.
  22. Victoria Thompson: Murder on Pleasant Avenue (Gaslight Mysteries, No. 23). Penguin Group. Adult Mystery. Completed June 7, 2020, on MP3.
  23. D.E. Stevenson: Listening Valley. Sourcebooks. Adult Fiction. Completed June 20, 2020, personal copy.
  24. Iona Whishaw: Death in a Darkening Mist. Touchwood Editions. Adult Mystery. Completed July 3, 2020, on Kindle.
  25. Joy Ellis: Hidden on the Fens (Nikki Galena, No. 11). Joffe Books. Adult Mystery. Completed July 7, 2020, on MP3.
  26. Iona Whishaw: An Old, Cold Grave (Lane Winslow, No. 3). Touchwood Editions. Adult Mystery. Completed July 12, 2020, on Kindle.
  27. Iona Whishaw: It Begins in Betrayal (Lane Winslow, No. 4). Touchwood Editions. Adult Mystery. Completed July 21, 2020, on Kindle.
  28. Paul Doiron: One Last Lie (Mike Bowditch, No. 11). Minotaur Books. Adult Mystery. Completed July 21, 2020, on MP3.
  29. Iona Whishaw: A Sorrowful Sanctuary (Lane Winslow, No. 5). Touchwood Editions. Adult Mystery. Completed July 26, 2020, on Kindle.
  30. Iona Whishaw: A Deceptive Devotion (Lane Winslow, No. 6). Touchwood Editions. Adult Mystery. Completed August 2, 2020, on Kindle.
  31. Elly Griffiths: The Lantern Men. Recorded Books. Adult Mystery. Completed August 3, 2020, on MP3.s
  32. Michael McGarrity: The Big Gamble (Kevin Kerney, No. 7). W. W. Norton & Company. Adult Mystery. Completed August 24, 2020, on MP3.
  33. Jen Fulweiler: Your Blue Flame. ZOndervan. Adult Nonfiction. Completed August 28, 2020, on Kindle.
  34. Vivek Murthy: Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. Harper Wave. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 5, 2020, on Kindle. 
  35. Keith McCafferty: The Royal Wulff Murders (Sean Stranahan, Book 1). Adult Mystery. Completed September 8, 2020, on MP3.s
  36. Louise Penny: All the Devils Are Here (Gamache, No. 16). Adult Mystery. Minotaur Books. Completed September 27, 2020, on MP3.
  37. Margaret Mizushima: Hanging Falls (Timber Creek K-9, Book 6). Adult Mystery. Completed October 7, 2020, on MP3.
  38. Tana French: The Searcher. Adult Mystery. Viking. Completed November 2, 2020, on MP3.
  39. D.E. Stevenson: Spring Magic. Adult Fiction. Dean Street Press. Completed November 8, 2020, on Kindle.
  40. Janet Evanovich: Fortune and Glory (Stephanie Plum, No. 27). Adult Fiction. Atria Books. Completed November 14, 2020, on MP3.
  41. Keith McCafferty: The Gray Ghost Murders (Sean Stranahan, No. 2). Adult Mystery. Penguin Books. Completed December 1, 2020, on MP3.
  42. Michael C. Grumley: The Last Monument. Adult Speculative Fiction. Audible. Completed December 31, 2020, on MP3.
  43. Kate Murphy: You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters. Adult Nonfiction. Celadon Books. Completed December 31, 2020, on Kindle.

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