2020 Reading

January 3rd, 2021

Despite 2020 being a dumpster fire of a year, in general, it was not a bad reading year for me. I worked from home from mid-March onward, which meant I no longer had my normal subway commute as reading time. But I had time at home to read, and when libraries in NYC were closed I made the discovery that I actually enjoy reading ebooks on my phone. I also probably read more books from my own shelves than I otherwise would have, which is nice.

I read 38 books in total, with the breakdown as follows:

Middle-grade and YA: 11. Highlights: re-reading Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, and The Story of the Amulet by E. Nesbit: these are such comfort reads for me. Discovering Terrible, Horrible Edie by E.C. Spykman, which I loved in the same way I love Elizabeth Enright’s “Melendy” books or Jeanne Birdsall’s “Penderwicks” series. And speaking of Elizabeth Enright, I’m glad I finally read Gone-Away Lake: her writing is so so lovely. Oh, and I was totally engrossed by A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Non-fiction: 12, my favorites of which were definitely Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh; My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, and Mudlark by Lara Meiklem. I always love Brosh’s work, and the Durrell was very very funny and engaging, and I was totally into both the style and subject matter of Meiklem’s book.

Fiction for grown-ups: 13. I read some classics I’d been meaning to read (my favorite of which was Howards End by E.M. Forster) but my overall highlights of the year were all newer books: I loved the setting and strangeness of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, and I really liked Summer by Ali Smith (both as a satisfying conclusion to her seasonal quartet, and also because I like Ali Smith a whole lot in general). I really liked Normal People by Sally Rooney, though not quite as much as I liked Conversations with Friends—but the immediacy and grace of Rooney’s prose is always excellent. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern was a great book to get lost in during an anxious springtime. And I thought Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor was very smart and a ton of fun.

Poetry: 2, both of which I liked, though I really liked Dime-Story Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell by Charles Simic, for reasons of both style and substance.

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