My Year in Books 2020

Spotted this on 746 Books.

Using only books you have read this year (2020), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. 

In high school I was (a) Quiet Girl in a Noisy World (Debbie Tung)

People might be surprised by Impractical Uses of Cake (Yeoh Jo-Ann)

I will never be The Lonesome Bodybuilder (Yukiko Motoya)

My life in (full) lockdown was like Camping with Unicorns (Dana Simpson)

My fantasy job is The Master Chocolatier (Benedicte Goudon)

At the end of a long day I need A Song for a New Day (Sarah Pinsker)

I hate (a) Storm of Locusts (Rebecca Roanhorse)

Wish I had Mooncakes (Suzanne Walker)

My family reunions are Hungry Hearts (Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond (eds))

At a party you’d find me with Gideon the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir)

I’ve never been to Bird Cottage (Eva Meijer)

A happy day includes Stargazing (Jen Wang)

Motto I live by I will Judge You by your Bookshelf (Grant Snider)

On my bucket list is Utopia Avenue (David Mitchell)

In my next life, I want to have A Promised Land (Barack Obama)

What about you?

How I read in 2019 (with pie charts!)

As we wrap up the last few days of 2019, here is a summing up of my reading of the year.

I’ve done these year-end summaries for a few years now, you can check out what I was up to in 2018201720162015, 2014, and 2013.

2019 total: 244

2018 total: 226
2017’s total: 216
2016’s total: 234
2015’s total: 286
2014’s total: 217
2013’s total: 223
2012’s total: 227
2011’s total: 171 

The shortest book I read was 60 pages long (Likely Stories), the longest book I read was 980 pages long (A Breath of Snow and Ashes) with The Fiery Cross a close second at 979 pages! Boy does Gabaldon like to write long books or what.

My reading has taken me around the world: Alaska, Amsterdam, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, Tahiti, Taiwan, the UK, Uruguay, and of course, many states in the US, and many made-up settings.

Material types

I was a bit surprised by this as I thought there would be a greater majority of ebooks! I have been trying to borrow more physical books from the library though!


I like how this percentage of POC authors read is slowly increasing. Last year, I was at 39%.

New-to-me authors

I always think it’s amazing that there can still be so many new-to-me authors out there.


By ‘both’, this usually refers to the team working on the comics. I am glad I am reading a majority of books by women!

Translated books

I read 19 translated books, of which 7 were comics/manga/graphic novels.

They were translated from the following languages:

Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian

I’m hoping to read more translated books in 2020.

Publication date

The oldest book (by publication date) I read was published in 1857 (The Professor by Charlotte Brontë).

1800s: 5 books

1900s: 8 books

2000- 2009: 23 books

2010-2014: 22 books

2015: 17 books

2016: 23 books

2017: 30 books

2018: 60 books

2019: 56 books


  • read more books in translation
  • continue to read more books by women and writers of colour
  • try to read more backlist books!
  • continue to borrow more books from the library but also read more from my own shelves
  • more nonfiction!

How was your 2019 reading? What are your goals for 2020?

#AsianLitBingo wrap-up

I didn’t do too badly this time! I got three bingos! I always enjoy this challenge and got to read some very beautiful books in May. Some of my favourites were the manga series Orange, Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T Lee, and Lucy and Linh by Australian writer Alice Pung.

Here’s what I read for Asian Lit Bingo:

Asian Muslim MC:Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga (own voices)

Southeast Asian MC: Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig (own voices)

South Asian MC: Don’t Let Him Know by Sandip Roy (own voices)

Asian MC with Disability: Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T Lee (own voices)

Graphic Novel with Asian MC: Orange by Ichigo Takano (own voices)

Translated Work by an Asian Author: After Dark by Haruki Murakami (own voices)

Asian Immigrant MC:  The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly (#ownvoices)

SFF with Asian MC:  The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by FC Yee #ownvoices

LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC: Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan #ownvoices

Poor or Working Class Asian MC: Girls Burn Brighter by Shobhaa Rao #ownvoices 

East Asian MC:Kinder than Solitude by Yiyun Li #ownvoices

Asian Refugee MC:Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung #ownvoices

Contemporary with Asian MC: Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

Multiracial/multiethnic Asian MC Such a Lovely Little War by Marcelino Truing #ownvoices

Summing up 2017 in books

Happy new year!

I’ve done these year-end summaries for a few years now, you can check out what I was up to in 20162015, 2014, and 2013

Total books read: 216

2016’s total: 234
2015’s total: 286
2014’s total: 217
2013’s total: 223
2012’s total: 227
2011’s total: 171 



I like this female-majority reading that I’ve been doing, and hope to continue with it.


I was surprised by this one – not expecting that many new-to-me authors.


I know that technically comics are a medium and not a “genre” but it just simplifies things to put it as such.


I’ve been trying to read more of my own books and I think I’ve done slightly better this year!


Type of reading material

This is one statistic that really surprised me. Last year, e-books made up 57% of my reads and I thought I was on track for a similar half-half statistic this year.

I realize now that it’s because last year I read a lot of comics on Scribd. I don’t use Scribd anymore so this year my comics all came from the library, as physical books (my library has a great e-book catalogue but not really much of a e-comic catalogue).



A slight improvement from last year which was 32-68. But I will continue to try to make that more equal.

Decade published

The oldest book I read was published in 1817.

I read 39 books published in 2017!


Page length

The longest book I read was Voyager by Diane Gabaldon at 870 pages. The shortest book was Locke and Key: Small World at 32 pages.

Places visited in books

Thanks to these books, I travelled to many strange imaginary lands but also some incredible real-life places like Bangladesh, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, England France, Haiti, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad, Vietnam, and also plenty of states in the US like Texas, Florida, Michigan, California.

Here’s to a wonderful reading year ahead! Despite everything else that happens, we will always have books.

Summing up 2016

Happy new year!

I’ve done these year-end summaries for a few years now, you can check out what I was up to in 2015, 2014, and 2013

Total books read: 234

2015’s total: 286
2014’s total: 217
2013’s total: 223
2012’s total: 227
2011’s total: 171 


That looks about right. It tends to be somewhat evenly split between men and women writers. I want to work on reading more books by women this year.



About half of my reads are graphic novels and comics, which is how I manage to read more than 200 books every year.

This year I want to work on more classics, more short stories.



I’m a big fan of the library but I really ought to read more books from my own library!!


This was the first year that audiobooks made some inroads in my reading life. Not very much but I hope to steadily grow that number as the years go by, as for me audiobooks means going on regular walks.



I hope to read more consciously and get the percentage of diverse reads up to 50!


I didn’t do so well with translated books this year, a slight drop from last year which was 14%.


Specifically, I read 46 books published in 2016. The oldest book I read was published in 1901.

Page length

The longest book I read was City on Fire at 944 pages (luckily it was an e-book). The shortest was Faith #0 at 32 pages.

Here’s to a wonderful reading year ahead! Despite everything else that happens, we will always have books.

February Wrap-up

I haven’t done one of these things in ages. So I’m going to try to take that up again. I won’t list all the books I’ve read in February, because I read a helluva lot of comics for Comics February! Here are my two posts so far- Comics February Week One (and a half) and Comics February part 2. And because it was Comics February, I posted two more comics-related posts:

Weekend Cooking: Comics for food nerds

Comics for young readers

Also, last month, Scribd announced that it will be limiting the number of ebooks its subscribers can read, from unlimited to 3 a month! THREE! I sometimes can read three in a day if it is comics!! So ever since the sad news, I have been devouring comics and ebooks on Scribd, as much as I can. I had paid for a yearly membership (about $48), yes they do offer it, but they just don’t shout out about it, and that lasts until August, so I will see how this whole just three books thing works.

I also took part in my first ever Book Bloggers Awareness Week! This was a series of five posts throughout one week, including an interview with a fellow blogger. It was pretty fun and I got to know lots of new-to-me bloggers.

Reading challenges-wise, I’ve done ok for the Back to the Classics Challenge, having read five books although i’ve only written about three. I haven’t done so well with #readmyowndamnbooks partly because I’ve been reading comics! And Diversity on the Shelf, well once again my problem is with writing posts about the books I read!

February was a better month health-wise. January just seemed to have thrown one bout of sickness at me after another. And you know how it is with us stay-home parents, we don’t get sick days! So I’ve started making sure I get out there every morning and walk for at least half an hour. Those of you who run several Ks a day are probably smirking at that, but eh, I really hate to run, so I just try to walk fast and hope that works. And I also try to hit that glorious 10k steps a day.

In the kitchen, I have been trying out new recipes! I made a one-pot pasta dish the other day, which I’m talking about on Weekend Cooking this weekend. I made slow-cooker pork ragu for the first time and Chinese-style sausage buns using the tangzhong method (a cooked flour or roux).

So in March, I’m keeping my goals similar.

  • Walk every day. Or at least every weekday.
  • Try out more new recipes
  • Read more of my own damn books, especially since I just bought some more from Book Outlet.
  • Also, post about the books I read, even if it’s just a paragraph!

How was your February? What are your plans for March?

Best books my kids read in 2015


My kids (aged 2 and 4) love reading, and as we are big fans of our library, and visit it nearly every week, we borrow several hundred books a year!

Here are some of our favourites last year.

Favourite series


The kids continue to love Mo Willems’ Piggie and Gerald stories. And last year, we discovered Cynthia Rylant’s Mr Putter and Tabby, a series about an old man and his old cat, and their neighbours Mrs Teaberry and her dog Zeke. It’s about ordinary things like taking a train or making soup or walking the dog, but has some funny bits and it’s just good old fun. Also, because boys will be boys, we read Thomas books nearly every day. And there are plenty of Cars (as in Pixar Cars) books too.

The Pout-Pout Fish
We loved it so much we’ve read all the Pout-pout fish books so far.

Good night, Gorilla – Peggy Rathmann
The best part, as the kids say, is in the dark.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas – Karma Wilson
Bear’s friends make him stay up for Christmas by decorating a tree, baking and more.

Noni the Pony goes to the beach – Alison Lester
Gentle simple rhymes and delightful illustrations

The fantastic flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore – William Joyce and Joe Bluhm
A must for a booklover!

wandering whale sharks
Wandering whale sharks Susumu Shingu ; translators: Ann B. Cary and Yasuko Shingu
A muted palate of blues, whites and blacks add to this non-fiction picture book about whale sharks


Mr. Postmouse’s rounds – Marianne Dubuc
Darling illustrations of animals’ homes, and a postmouse who has to deliver their mail

One Cool Friend – Toni Buzzeo; David Small
So many things work great in this book – the penguins, the very proper young boy and his father, that surprise ending. I wasn’t sure if the kids would find it as delightful but they asked for it again and again.



Pizza – Frank Asch

My two-year-old asks for this book nearly every night. Needless to say, he loves pizza.


My Humongous Hamster goes to school – Lorna Freytag

This one was the older boy’s favourite. He likes hamsters and thought it was hilarious.


Magritte’s Marvelous Hat – DB Johnson

You might know some of the famous paintings by Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte, but even if you don’t, this picture book will surely inspire you to see things differently.


Little Owl Lost – Chris Haughton

It’s a simple story. A baby owl falls from his nest and looks for his mummy, with the earnest help of Squirrel who doesn’t quite get things right. Love the bold illustrations!


Stick Man – Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheppler

Ok so I’m starting to love Julia Donaldson’s books. Great illustrations and fantastic rhymes, and that bit of whimsy, whether it’s Tabby McTat or Highway Rat. Although oddly, we have yet to read The Gruffalo. Must amend that.

“I’m Stick Man, I’m Stick Man, I’M STICK MAN, that’s me!”

There are plenty more books that I could have highlighted that I think I will have to get my act together and do a proper round-up each month of the best kids’ books we read.

What were some of your favorite picture books of last year?

Read in May 2015

That’s right. Once again, it is the end of another month and I’ve forgotten to post about the books I read in the previous month! Gah.

I hesitate, knowing that there’s so many books that I’ve not actually talked about, wondering why I don’t write about books more often.

Of course the answer is: life. Kids. Chores. Doing stuff with kids. And what is the best reason of all, reading books. And I have been reading and reading all the books, especially comics in May. Such good comics too!

Among my favourites in May were:

Love and Capes
Underwater Welder

I reread two books: The Hobbit and To Sir with Love

And read a classic children’s book that everyone else seems to have read: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler

As for non-fiction, I even read a few, mostly food-related, but hey, there was non-fiction read in May!



Love and Capes Vol 3: Wake Up Where You Are – Thomas F. Zahler
Love and Capes Vol 4: What to Expect – Thomas F. Zahler
Abelard – Renaud Dillies
Mystique: Ultimate collection – Brian K Vaughan, Jorge Lucas, Michael Ryan, Manuel Garcia
Adventure Time Vol 1 – Ryan North, Braden Lamb, Shelli Paroline (Illustrator)
Adventure Time Vol 2 – Ryan North, Shelli Paroline (Illustrations), Braden Lamb (Illustrations), Mike Holmes (Illustrator)
Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake (Vol 1) – Natasha Allegri, Lucy Knisley, Kate Leth
Blue is the warmest colour – Julie Maroh
Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens – Meredith Gran
Adventure Time Vol 4 – Ryan North, Braden Lamb (Illustrations), Shelli Paroline (Illustrations)
Adventure Time Vol 3 – Ryan North, Braden Lamb (Illustrations), Shelli Paroline (Illustrations)
The Woods Vol 1 – James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas
Underwater Welder – Jeff Lemire
Lucille – Ludovic Debeurme
The Borden Tragedy: a memoir of the infamous double murder at Fall River, Mass., 1892 – Rick Geary
Pride and Prejudice (Marvel adaptations) – Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus
CSI: Serial (graphic novel #1) – Max Allan Collins
The Cape – Joe Hill, Zach Howard, Jason Ciaramella



The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) – Catherynne M. Valente
Foreign Affairs – Alison Lucie
Soy Sauce for Beginners – Kirstin Chen
Dicey’s Song (Tillerman cycle #2) – Cynthia Voigt
The Hobbit – J R R Tolkien
To Sir with Love – E.R. Braithwaite
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E.L. Konigsburg
Chef – Jaspreet Singh


Best Food Writing 2014 – Holly Hughes (ed)
Death be not proud – John Gunther
The Chronology of Water – Lidia Yuknavitch
Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen – Donia Bijan
Men explain things to me – Rebecca Solnit
Come in, we’re closed: an invitation to staff meals at the world’s best restaurants – Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy

What I Read in March and April

(Insert comment about how is it May already? here)

I’m so behind. I haven’t written a proper non-comic review of a book since, oh I don’t know, ages ago. I’m putting this post up just to remind myself of the many books I’ve read and not talked about! Because there were so many good ones, both comics and non-comics!

Hmm that is very telling of what my reading is like these days, that everything is ‘comics’ or ‘non-comics’. Is that good or bad? I can’t tell!




A Chinese life – Philippe Ôtié and Li Kunwu ; illustrated by Li Kunwu
Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary – Keshni Kashyap, Mari Araki (Illustrator)
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce #7) – Alan Bradley
Deadly Class Vol 1: Reagan Youth – Rick Remender (Writer), Wesley Craig (Illustrator), Lee Loughridge (Illustrator)
Fortunately the milk – Neil Gaiman
Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
Black water rising – Attica Locke
Mary Poppins – P.L Travers
Children of the Sea #1 – Daisuke Igarashi
Children of the Sea #2 – Daisuke Igarashi

PLUTO: Naoki Urasawa x Ozamu Tezuka, Band 001 – Naoki Urasawa, Ozamu Tezuka
Heidi – Joanna Spyri
Shadow Scale – Rachel Hartman
Mildred Pierce – James M Cain
Edward Scissorhands Vol 1: Parts Unknown – Kate Leth and Drew Rausch
Rot and Ruin Vol 1: Warrior Smart – Jonathan Maberry
Hinges Book 1: Clockwork City – Meredith McClaren
March Book Two – John Robert Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

Pleasantville – Attica Locke
Four Souls – Louise Erdrich
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The sculptor – Scott McCloud



The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
The Life of a Banana – P P Wong
No humans involved (Women of the Otherworld #7) – Kelley Armstrong
Lumberjanes #1 to #10 – Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Ellen
For today I am a boy – Kim Fu
The Rice Mother – Rani Manicka
Understanding Comics: the invisible art – Scott McCloud
Moominvalley in November – Tove Jansson
Honeydew: Stories – Edith Pearlman

H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald
All you need is kill 1 – Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi and Takeshi Obata
All you need is kill 2 – Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi and Takeshi Obata
Conversation #1 – James Kochalka and Craig Thompson
Ms Marvel Vol 1: Best of the best – Brian Reed and Roberto de la Torre
Ms Marvel Vol 2: Civil War – Brian Reed and Roberto de la Torre
Ms Marvel Vol 3: Operation Lightning Storm – Brian Reed and Roberto de la Torre
Ms Marvel Vol 4: Monster Smash – Brian Reed and Aaron Lopresti (Artist)
Ms Marvel Vol 5: Secret Invasion – Brian Reed and Adriana Melo
Ms Marvel Vol 6: Ascension – Brian Reed, Marcos Marz (Contributor), Paulo Siqueira (Artist)
The complete Essex County – Jeff Lemire
Ms Marvel Vol 7: Dark Reign – Brian Reed, Pat Olliffe, Patrick Olliffe (Illustrations)
In the kitchen with Alain Passard: Inside the world (and mind) of a master chef – Christophe Blain and Alain Passard
Love and Capes Vol 1: Do You Want To Know A Secret?  – Thomas F. Zahler
Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) – Marissa Meyer
Meanwhile in San Francisco: The city in its own words – Wendy MacNaughton
Someday, Someday, Maybe – Lauren Graham
Sweet moments: two heart warming love stories – David Darck and Lidia Chan
Van Helsing’s Night off – Nicholas Mahler
Girl in Dior – Annie Goetzinger
Love and Capes Vol 2: Going to the Chapel – Thomas F. Zahler

Read in February 2015

Thanks to Comics February, I read SO MANY BOOKS!!!

27 comics/graphic novels in February alone. And perhaps more importantly, books I wrote about! Ok so these were mini reviews, but hey it’s a start. Plus I never feel qualified to really talk about comics. My best drawing = stick figures. So really, anyone who can draw more than a stick figure is in my opinion an artist.

Still, I am so glad for this opportunity to have explored new territory. I’ve become rather fond of Osamu Tezuka and his bizarro imagination, enamored with Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and her hilarious medieval-tech world (I’m a SHARK!!), sniffed away at the sweet life of Ethel and Ernest, and cheered on the Green Turtle in The Shadow Hero, and was truly grateful for Shigeru Mizuki’s manga about the history of Japan. And I finally got to read Ms Marvel!

Aren’t comics just wonderful?

Ode to Kirihito – Osamu Tezuka
Ms Marvel Vol 1: No Normal – G Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona
Dancer – Nathan Edmondson
The New York five – Brian Wood; Ryan Kelly
Pretty Deadly Volume One: The Shrike – Kelly Sue Deconnick; Emma Rios
Watson and Holmes: A study in Black – Brandon Perlow and Paul Mendoza; Karl Bollers
Fairest: in all the land – Bill Willingham
The Last Unicorn – Peter S Beagle; Peter B. Gillis; Renae De Liz
Rose and Isabel – Ted Mathot
Black Widow Vol 1: The Finely Woven Thread – Nathan Edmondson, Phil Noto
The Shadow Hero – Gene Luen Yang, Sonny Liew
The Rat queens vol 1: Sass and Sorcery – Kurtis J Wiebe
Vietnamerica: a family’s journey – GB Tran
Saga. Volume three – Brian K. Vaughan, writer ; Fiona Staples, artist
Wonderland – Tommy Kovac, Sonny Liew
I Remember Beirut – Zeina Abirached
Will and Whit – Laura Lee Gulledge
Apollo’s Song – Osamu Tezuka
The Big Skinny: How I Changed my Fattitude: a Memoir – Carol Lay
Glacial period – Nicolas De Crécy
A + e 4ever – I. Merey
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Showa 1939-1944: A History of Japan (Showa: A History of Japan #2) – Shigeru Mizuki
Ethel and Ernest – Raymond Briggs
Showa: A History of Japan, 1926-1939 (Showa: A History of Japan #1) – Shigeru Mizuki
Lost at Sea – Bryan Lee O’Malley
A Chinese Life – Li Kunwu and P Otie


Somehow I managed to read some non-comics too. Among my favorites this month were Love on the Dole, Station Eleven and Kabu-Kabu.

I really need to write about more of these books!

Funny Girl – Nick Hornby
Florence Gordon – Brian Morton
Four girls and a compact – Annie Hamilton Donnell
The Last Good Paradise – Tatjana Soli
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
The Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai – Han Bangqing
The Last Colony (Old Man’s War #3) – John Scalzi
Love on the dole – Walter Greenwood
Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel
Under a Silent Moon – Elizabeth Haynes

Kabu-Kabu – Nnedi Okorafor