For the first few months of Covid lockdown, I struggled with reading. Sometimes I could manage it, and sometimes I couldn’t. I’d pick up old favorites, read a few chapters, then pick up something else. I even had trouble with The Network Effect, which I’d pre-ordered in September and been dying to read — I’d get through a few chapters, then hit a wall and put it aside for a week or more.

Finally, though, I started getting back into a reading groove. I finished The Network Effect. I borrowed some books from the library. I read one of the novellas I got free from Tor for Pride Month. And I impulse-bought a few new books, despite having literally dozens of unread titles (some purchased, some free promos from Amazon, Tor, or others). I looked at my overflowing To Be Read list on Goodreads and decided this was a problem.

So two weeks ago, I vowed that I wouldn’t buy any more new books until I’d read some of the ones I have. My original intention was to read at least ten before I bought or borrowed anything new, but I’ve realized that’s not realistic. So I revised my challenge to get one new book for each five titles I finish from either my Currently Reading or TBR lists. And in the past two weeks, I have miraculously gotten through five titles. Go, me.

(An interesting aside: the one with the worst cover, the one that screamed “self-published”, was the book I enjoyed most. The one with the best cover very nearly got DNFed.)

I read three novellas, one full novel, and one story. I figured the story counts because it was on my list, and the novel was as long as two novellas, so it balanced out.

The novellas were reasonably good. The Road to Farringale was my favorite: a bit whimsical and surprising, with lots of fun magic. Let It Shine ended up being very timely, if somewhat challenging, since it dealt with an interracial couple participating in the 1960’s Civil Rights movement; it was sad to read it and realize how hard people fought and how much work is still to be done. The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo was my least favorite of the three, but I still enjoyed it, particularly the ending.

I’ll skip naming both the novel and the story, since I don’t think I’d recommend either one. (You can check my Goodreads challenge and probably figure out the titles if you really want to know. The link is in the sidebar.)

I haven’t decided what new book to get as my reward, although I’m leaning towards the next novella in the Modern Magick series. I have a few other books in contention, though, so we’ll see what wins out.

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