Goodreads – 2023

It seems I remember to post about my reading every second year. I’ve been using 35 books as my goal for a while now, usually I’m able to read more but I have the occasional miss – 2023 being one of those years where I only completed 30 books. In 2022 I managed 36 of 35.

I almost exclusively read eBooks checked out of my local library using Libby. This is convenient and free. I’m not a very picky reader, so I’ll sort randomly in the Science Fiction category and pick something I haven’t read. From time to time I’ll pick an author I’ve previously read or one that I’ve had recommended.

In the past my default rating was 3 of 5 stars, almost everything was a 3. I’ve become more critical and have started to hand out more 2 star reviews, as well as been more liberal with 4 stars.

My 2023 books

  • 9 books 2 star
  • 17 books 3 star
  • 4 books 4 star

What stands out is some of the best and worst reading experiences. A bad rating from me is subjective, the book might be good but it didn’t suck me into the story like a great book does. The 4 star reviews are books I’d recommend to others.

The Bone Clocks had been on my wish list for a while, I’m not sure where I got the recommendation but it has a 3.84 star average rating. Unfortunately this is one of my 2 stars this year, it took me nearly 40 days to slog my way through the 624 pages. There were certainly interesting parts in the story, but I never found myself wanting to just keep reading.

Looking over my list of 2 star ratings, a good number of them were given to the last book in a series – either a series I read this year, or a sequel to a book (or books) I’d read previously.

My first 4 star was The Design of Everyday Things. It was actually the hackaday podcast that turned me onto this (again), but that was the nudge that got me to read it. While it is one of the rare non-fiction books in my reading, it was well worth the time. I enjoyed that it gave me new insights into how things work.

Hard Wired was another 4 star. I will admit it was a bit formula, but for me it was a page turner taking me less than 5 days to make it through it.

Next up is Otaku with 4 stars, this was a surprise for me. I certainly didn’t expect this type of book from a former NFL player’s debut novel. It felt like it was set in a Blade Runner like future, or maybe Neuromancer is a better comparison.

My last 4 star book Autonomous had been on my wish list for a bit (since 2020). In this case it was a great recommendation and I’m glad I had it on my list. It’s got a lot to give: pirates, reverse engineering, dystopian future and cyberpunk. How could I not love a book like this?


Goodreads – 2021

I’m still tracking my reading with Goodreads, which continues to be primarily eBooks sourced from my local library. I missed doing a summary post in last year, in brief I read 35 books (11,714 pages) in 2020. This was fewer than in 2019.

2021 was a lot like 2020, but somehow I read a lot more books. 64 books (20,858 pages). My goal was 35, and I’ll probably use that as my goal for 2022.

It seems the image dump of the titles is roughly the order I read them in. You can see I read a fair number of series. For the most part to find new material I searched what was available to borrow in random order. I got a few nice surprises.

I really enjoyed the Sandman Slim series. The Diabolic series also stands out as a fun read. I generally rate most books 3 stars, but this year I was more critical and gave out more 2 star reviews than I had in the past. Only The Terminal Experiment and Sandman Slim got 4 stars from me.

With so many rich media experiences, I still think it’s important to disconnect and read. Better still to pick up a paper book and give your eyes something different to stare at. The local library is a great resource not only for books, I discovered that the magazine selection and software presentation was pretty good on my tablet.

Goodreads – 2019

I’ve been using Goodreads for several years to track my reading. It’s been interesting to see what a few of my friends are reading, and more generally what people as a whole think of the books that I’ve been reading. The other thing that appeals to me as I’ve switched heavily into reading ebooks, is that it gives me a sense of ‘collecting a shelf of books’ – without the actual books. I’ve also become a big user of the local library (and it’s lending of ebooks).

In 2019 I read 50 books, this is actually fairly typical for me, but I don’t always manage 50 a year. This is why I set my goal to 35, a number I’m certain to get to (in 2017 I only read 37). Breaking the goal gives me that sense of over-achieving and avoids me stressing at the end of the year.

You can also visit my Goodreads profile.

My reading is almost exclusively science fiction or fantasy.  It appears that the reading challenge shows the titles in reverse order, as the 1st book I read last year was The Martian (I was re-reading it actually). I’d recommend the book, and the movie, both are very MacGyver.

The Cosmic Trilogy was a physical book that I dragged through at the cottage over several visits. It was terrible, I should have just stopped reading it, but I finally finished it. Do not read this book! Certainly the worst book I read in 2019.

I will call out a few great reads. Atemis by Andy Weir. The Legend series by Marie Wu (another re-read). I really enjoyed the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve, very steam punk.

I’m already into my 2nd book of 2020, and I’ve got some great titles waiting for me to get to. It should be a good reading year.