2020 Reading Challenge – summary

I don’t know why I haven’t done this before – a summary of the year’s reading. Perhaps I’ve just gotten more organized in recent year. Here’s the final book list for 2020:

1 – Body part in title Any Human Heart – William Boyd
2 – Published before 1939 Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
3 – Published in 2019 The Innocents – Michael Crummey (also Most of What Follows is True)
4 – Book about language Landmarks, by Robert MacFarlane
5 – Book about travel (non-fiction) The Dangerous River – RM Patterson
6 – Author’s debut book Into that Darkness – Steven Price
7 – Female author The Mirror and the Light – Hilary Mantel
8 – Book that is or will be a film/TV show The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
9 – Essays Through the Window – Julian Barnes
10 – Referral from book-clubber Circe – Madeline Miller
11 – Book you think you should read Dubliners – James Joyce
12 – Set in a place you’ve never been (US Midwest) The Last Policeman – Ben H. Winters
13 – Person’s name in title Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
14 – A number in the title Tenth of December – George Saunders
15 – A colour in the title The Man in the Red Coat – Julian Barnes
16 – A place name in the title A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles
17 – Short stories Translated from the Gibberish – Anosh Irani
18 – Chosen for you by another book-clubber The Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell
19 – One-word title Nocturne – Helen Humphreys
20 – A translation into English The Goldberg Variations – Nancy Huston
21 – Poetry Salt and Ashes – Adrienne Drobnies
22 – Memoir A Field Guide to Getting Lost – Rebecca Solnit
23 – Book about food Always Home – Fanny Singer
24 – New author to me The Lost-for-Words Bookshop – Stephanie Butland  
25 – Science (non-fiction) Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
26 – A gift Permanent Record – Edward Snowden
27 – A new genre Keeping an Eye Open – Julian Barnes
28 – A leftover (started before but not finished) Nocturne – Kazui Ishiguro
29 – A play Indian Ink – Tom Stoppard
30 – Philosophy/religion Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
The 2020 List

Plus 5 books that were surplus to requirements (no room on the list). So 35 in total, or ~1/week.

By far, the dominant category for me is new author – 24 of the 35 books read were from an author I’d never read before. That will likely shift in upcoming years as I seek out books from the authors I liked (Amor Towles, William Boyd), and favourites I go back to (Helen Humphreys, Julian Barnes, Michael Crummey). And now I know: if a book is described as reminiscent of James Joyce or Virginia Woolf, avoid it!


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