Books I read on 2020, ranked from best to worst

Well, well, well. My 2020 reading goal included re-reading my top 26 favourite stand-alone novels to see how they held up. While I managed to re-read 5 of them (marked below), I was stuck without the library for a few months and could only read books I owned or borrowed from friends.

Despite the challenges getting books, I still managed to read 44 books, 8 shy of my goal of a book a week. I got a lot closer than I expected; I had a really difficult time reading in the early months of the pandemic.

Number of books I read each year: 44 books in 2020; 50 books in 2019; 52 books in 2018; 42 books in 2017; 45 books in 2016.

But–no great surprise here–I ended up reading much fewer pages. It was difficult to motivate myself to read longer books and even the short (under 200 page) novels took me a lot longer than normal. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What I loved

  1. In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4) by Seanan McGuire (re-read)
  2. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  3. The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2) by N.K. Jemisin (re-read)
  4. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  5. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall (non-fiction)
  6. Bow Grip by Ivan E. Coyote (re-read)
  7. The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1) by Mary Doria Russell
  8. In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (non-fiction)
  9. The Tragedy of Heterosexuality by Jane Ward (non-fiction)
  10. Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire (re-read)
  11. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) by N.K. Jemisin (re-read)
  12. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (re-read)
  13. Small Beauty by jia qing wilson-yang (re-read)

I enjoyed

  1. Sodom Road Exit by Amber Dawn
  2. Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2) by Seanan McGuire (re-read)
  3. The Hole by Hye-Young Pyun
  4. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham
  5. The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4) by Ursula K. Le Guin
  6. Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  7. The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells (re-read)
  8. Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5) by Seanan McGuire
  9. Dark Water by Kōji Suzuki
  10. Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey
  11. Kalevala: The Epic Poem of Finland Complete by Elias Lönnrot
  12. Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau (re-read)

OK, but I wouldn’t read again

  1. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  2. Chocky by John Wyndham
  3. Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3) by Seanan McGuire (re-read)
  4. The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Eltahawy (non-fiction) – I really wanted to like this one, but Mikki Kendall’s book does a much better job at covering a similar topic
  5. A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde
  6. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  7. Solaris by Stanisław Lem
  8. Romeo for Real by Markus Harwood-Jones
  9. Q by Evan Mandery
  10. The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
  11. Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic by Esther Perel (non-fiection)
  12. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Not for me

  1. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar
  2. I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
  3. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
  4. Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1) by William Gibson
  5. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  6. Lightness by Fanie Demeule
  7. Succulent Wild Love: Six Powerful Habits for Feeling More Love More Often by S.A.R.K.

My goal for 2021 is to finish re-reading the remaining 21 from my list of favourite novels and to read a total of 52 books.

Why do you tweet about your health? [research study]

I am looking to interview people living with advanced, metastatic, stage IV or chronic cancer who use Twitter to talk, listen, learn, and/or share updates about their health. Please share a link to this post on your Twitter, Facebook, or blog accounts.

Purpose

Under the supervision of Dr. David Wiljer, this study aims to explore Twitter use among people living with metastatic, advanced, and chronic cancers, and what that means in the lives of those living with a diagnosis.

This study is being conducted by Alaina Cyr to complete a thesis as part of the requirements for earning a master’s degree in Health Services Research at the Institute for Health Policy, Management, & Evaluation at the University of Toronto.

Update: Data collection has ended for this project and I am now finishing my analysis. Please contact me at alaina.cyr@mail.utoronto.ca if you are interested in learning more about this study or if you’d like to be contacted when the final analysis is complete.

 

This research study was reviewed and approved by the Research Ethics Board at the University of Toronto.

To prevent disclosure of personal information, please note that comments must be approved before they appear below.

What does all this tweeting about health really mean? Expanding our understanding of Twitter & disease [research study]

I want to help build our understanding of how Twitter is used in health, particularly around healing. Will you help me by sharing this post?

With more than 560 disease-related hashtags registered on Symplur’s Health Care Hashtag Project, it’s clear that people are using Twitter to talk about health. The academic world has recognized this and has gradually been building scientific proof since Twitter launched in 2006. At the end of 2014, I searched published academic literature for papers on Twitter and consumer health and found studies on cancer, drugs, medication, communicable diseases, smoking (including e-cigarettes), mental health, exercise, pain, cardiac arrest, childhood obesity, concussion, dementia, epilepsy, orthodontics, palliative care, vaccines, and weight loss. I’m sure that list comes as no surprise to seasoned Twitter users – people seem to talk about everything on Twitter!

So while academics have shown that people tweet about health, we haven’t really got too far in exploring how it all connects to the daily lives of Twitter users. It’s an area worth exploring. The new online social tools of the last decade have become so ingrained in our daily lives, yet we don’t have a lot of research to show how it has shaped our “offline” lives. As Marie Hardin wrote in 2014,

“The next logical step after we have a good sense about [what Twitter is, how people use it, and for what purpose they use it] is to pursue studies that put a much higher priority on the wider sociocultural context and on theory. In other words, providing much more substance about what all this tweeting really means and its implications for what we already know. What is consequential and how so?”

It’s a huge topic that will take many researchers and even more studies, but I hope to tackle just a small sliver of it through my thesis.

One of the first published papers on medical anthropology ends with an idea that may explain why so many people turn to Twitter to talk about their health:

“… the increasing technical control [in medicine] has been accompanied by the separation of efficacy from meaning, progressive dehumanization of the healing function, so much so that we are seeing traditional healing activities surface in the wider social structure just as they are disappearing from clinical practices. ” (Arthur M Kleinman Inquiry, 16 (1973), 206-213)

What Kleinman is suggesting is that as we get better at treating the biological parts of disease through the development of modern medicine, the social connection of healing, common in traditional healing activities, disappears from the clinical encounter and instead happens in other social contexts. It made me wonder: is Twitter one of these other social contexts?

Update: Data collection has ended for this project and I am now finishing my analysis. Please contact me at alaina.cyr@mail.utoronto.ca if you are interested in learning more about this study or if you’d like to be contacted when the final analysis is complete.

This research study was reviewed and approved by the Research Ethics Board at the University of Toronto.

To prevent disclosure of personal information, please note that comments must be approved before they appear below.