I am so thankful to have 2020 in the rearview mirror. In pulling together this recap, I realized that I am certainly one of the fortunate ones and hope you and your loved ones are doing well. I have a job that lets me work from home, no one in my house got sick and for whatever reason I was not affected by the “I just can’t read right now” bug that bit so many of my friends. Being stuck, er safe, at home for so long, I was able to fill much of my time with reading.
I always find other bloggers’ annual reviews interesting and have enjoyed posting my recap from time to time. Though I never follow a template and just post whatever info is interesting to me at the time. So here is a quick peek into my reading in 2020. I hope you’ll post and share your readings somewhere. Please share!
- 45% of my books came from used bookstores
- 35% of my books came from independent bookstores
- 20% of my books came from big box/chain bookstores
This is the first year, since starting this blog, that none of the books I read came from the library (thanks, pandemic). Needless to say, I am pretty excited to get to go back and browse the stacks at my local library.
One of the things I like tracking is how I discovered a book. This year my “I first heard about it on a podcast” column only had two books in it. Not having a commute has really killed my podcast listening.
- 38% of the books I read were recommended to me
- 30% of the books I read were ones I just stumbled upon in a bookstore
- 18% of the books I read I first saw in a magazine or newspaper
- 7% of the books I read came from book blogs I follow
- 3% of the books I discovered through podcasts
- 2% of the books I was gifted with, and
- 2% of the books were ones I first heard about on Twitter.
Top 3 Favorite Fiction books I read this year:
Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing. I’m usually actively avoid ‘magical realism’ type books, but after I read Ward’s eye-opening and crushing memoir Men We Reaped a few years ago, I’d been on the lookout for more. I felt like this was a gamble for me and it was. But it was so worth it.
A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne. I’m a tad embarrassed by how much I enjoyed Boyne’s wicked new novel. It’s a story dripping with depravity orchestrated by one of the meanest characters I’ve ever read. Bonus points for being a book about books and publishing.
The Motion of the Body Through Space by Lionel Shriver. I’ve been a fan of Shriver for some time. Her writing is just fantastic. This book is a bit of a slow burn when it comes to big swings in plot, but Shriver’s framing of an aging marriage in light of today’s focus on youth and exercise and self-worth is wonderful.
Top 3 Favorite Non-Fiction books I read this year:
Upstream by Mary Oliver. This was my first introduction to Oliver. Wow. I was blown away. Such a steady hand and mind. I was saddened when I learned she died, in 2019. She’s one of the writers you dream of writing letters to when you’re reading her book.
The Address Book by Deirdre Mask. I’ve already shared this book, in an earlier review. Not much else I can say except it’s rare when I book moves me to action and get involved.
How the South Won the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson. This is another one that I reviewed last year and I find myself constantly referencing as I read the news these days ahead of Congress’ certifying of the Electoral College votes.
And I have to call out my favorite “Books About Books” book that I read in 2020. I found So You Want to Publish a Book? by Anne Trubek wonderfully honest and encouraging. Just a great conversation with someone any book-loving person would like to have coffee with. Trubek gets HUGE bonus points from me for mentioning Alvin Lustig. Throwing out the Lustig love is pretty much as close as you get to having ‘street cred’ in the book world.
I truly hope 2021 is off to a good start for you. I hope you are healthy and have a good read nearby. If so, please share! The year is just beginning and I am excited about the reading list ahead of me. I’d love to add to it.