This past year, I tracked my book reading. I’ve never kept a book list before. But then I’d forget what I’ve read. On occasion, I’ve checked out a book from the library that I forgot I’ve checked out before. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” (Seinfeld, episode 57 anyone?) 

And the library doesn’t keep track. Which I can appreciate from a big-brother, Fahrenheit 451 perspective, but hasn’t been helpful from a memory or self-curiosity standpoint.

In hindsight, I think it would be a fascinating thing to know every book I’ve ever read. So 2020 was the year I thought to keep a list, though I’m decades late on the “books I’ve ever read” thing. Maybe I’ll keep it going into 2021. Maybe beyond.

I have marked many of the books with parentheses following, noting them as having been partial reads, or ones I started in one month and finished in another. This tells me something more concretely about my reading habits ( and maybe something about what has been going on in 2020). 

I tend to flow like waves with reading, which for me happens mostly in bed. I go through periods of reading more and less. I read slowly. I process slowly. And do not retain well. Sometimes I bounce between multiple books at a time. Sometimes I hold a book so long from the library, making such slow progress that I end up with the book for several weeks or more, if no one else has logged a hold on it.

Other books in this list I own and return to, dip in an out of, like creative, spiritual and professional resources.

You’ll notice I read a few books by the illustrator and artist Lisa Congdon, who I talked with for the Humanitou Podcast this past summer. There are some other authors/poets in this list I would like to talk with. Some I have forever missed my chance.

Clearly, I am a supporter of local libraries. When buying, I love to go to independent bookstores to spend some time and show some support. Book titles linked below, however, are to pages on Amazon’s site for reference. I hope you can find any of these books you’re interested in locally, if that’s your preference. Links to author names below go to their websites, where you can learn more about their books and other works.

[Illustration of stacked books by me]

Book List, Illustration by Humanitou


January

The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

Do the Work, Steven Pressfield

Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield

The Artist’s Journey, Steven Pressfield

Devotions: Selected Poems, Mary Oliver (partial; had to return to library)

February

A Glorious Freedom, Lisa Congdon (partial; had to return to library)

Find Your Artistic Voice, Lisa Congdon

Gene Smith’s Sink, Sam Stephenson

The Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell (partial)

More Than A Rock, Guy Tal (partial)

March

Out On The Wire, Jessica Abel

(Library closed due to coronavirus pandemic)

April

Essentialism, Greg McKeown (re-started)

Walking In This World, Julia Cameron (started)

Changes of a Lifetime, Krishna Das

May

No books (magazines and less reading, in general)

June

No books (magazines and less reading, in general)

July

The Warrior Ethos, Steven Pressfield

How The Secret Changed My Life, Rhonda Byrne

The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron (started re-reading; dipped in/out)

Wabi-Sabi: Further Thoughts, Leonard Koren (dipped in/out)

The Compton Cowboys, Walter Thompson-Hernandez (started)

August

The Secret, Rhonda Byrne

September

Chop Wood Carry Water, Rick Fields et al (started)

October

Chop Wood Carry Water, Rick Fields et al (finished)

November

The Art of Noticing, Rob Walker (partial)

Be Holding: A Poem, Ross Gay

Art, Inc., Lisa Congdon (started)

December

Art, Inc., Lisa Congdon (finished)

The Book of Delights, Ross Gay (started; had to return to library; bought)

The Gift, Lewis Hyde (partial)

The Obstacle Is The Way, Ryan Holiday


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