What I Read – 2020

Here’s where I share my entire reading list for the year as well as a few observations. Primarily for my own interest but feel free to let me know how it compares to your reading year or if we read some (or a lot) of the same books!

Some stats on my 2020 reading:

  • Read 87 books. This was less than my total (104) from last year and less than my goal (100).
  • 23 of my books were non-fiction. 63 were fiction. One was an anthology of mixed fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.
  • 57 books were written by women; 23 by men. Others were either anthologies or the gender of the author was not stated.
  • Genres: I read 6 kids or YA novels, 2 graphic novels, 10 memoirs, 5 Christian books, 2 parenting books, 1 science fiction novel, and 7 short story collections.
  • I read one book this year that I had read before.
  • Where did my books come from? I read a lot of ARCS this year: 35, to be exact. 24 of my books came from the library. 10 of them were thrifted. 6 were borrowed. 11 were books that I bought brand new at some point (whether this year or another). 2020 definitely had an affect on these stats. I bought more books new, thrifted fewer books, and got out fewer books from the library than I otherwise would have.
  • Another 2020 change: I read 13 e-books. The majority of these were read when the library was closed and instead I turned to borrowing e-books from the library. Some of the ARCs I read were also in e-book form as the number of physical ARCs I received was drastically reduced in the second half of the year. While I’m glad to have had e-books available in the spring and I’ll likely borrow some again from the library, it solidified that I vastly prefer physical books.
  • While I didn’t read as many translations as I had hoped, there are still a number of different nationalities represented in my reading. Americans lead once again at 39 authors. Canadians show up with 22 writers, followed by the English with 9. The Irish make a good showing with 4 and then Australians and Swedish at 2 each. Other nationalities represented include Hungarian, Korean, Ghanian, German, Brazilian, Scottish, Singaporean, Japanese, Nigerian, Vietnamese, and Venezuelan. (Numbers are less exact here because I will count twice for authors who identify from more than one country.)
  • January was my best reading month (12 books) while November and December were tied for last with 4 books each.
  • How did I do for my bookish goals? Uh, not great. Of the goals I set for myself, the only one I accomplished was reviewing 75 books here on the blog and even that I just squeaked in at the last moment. 2020 though was a year of letting things go and one of those things was the self-pressure to accomplish certain goals. When the library closed in March, I let go of my goals to read a certain number of translations and when the Writers Festival was cancelled I let go of my Writers Fest Challenge. In June I started thinking more about diversity in my reading and added more BIPOC authors to my TBR. Like a lot of other readers in 2020, my reading suffered from a major slump at the beginning of both lockdowns (March and November). Of all the things to feel disappointed about in 2020, not reaching my reading goals is not one of them. I read some great books, I found a lot of fun and connection through my blog, and I am looking forward to the books 2021 will bring.

2020:

  1. Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James
  2. Strange Planet – Nathan Pyle
  3. Strange Hotel – Eimear McBride
  4. The Escapist – David Puretz
  5. 100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism – Chavisa Woods
  6. Introverted Mom – Jamie C. Martin
  7. Dear Girls – Ali Wong
  8. The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline
  9. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong
  10. The Truants – Kate Weinberg
  11. Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood – Melissa B. Kruger
  12. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing – Eimear McBride
  13. The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant – Michel Tremblay
  14. The No-Cry Sleep Solution – Elizabeth Pantley
  15. Bleak House – Charles Dickens 
  16. The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
  17. The Man Who Saw Everything – Deborah Levy
  18. Last Impressions – Joseph Kertes
  19. Agnes, Murderess – Sarah Leavitt
  20. No More Nice Girls – Lauren McKeon
  21. The Regrets – Amy Bonnaffons
  22. Ducks, Newburyport – Lucy Ellmann
  23. Apeirogon – Colum McCann
  24. If I Had Your Face – Frances Cha
  25. We Two Alone – Jack Wang
  26. The Mercies – Kiran Milwood Hargrave
  27. Lost Boy Found – Kirsten Alexander
  28. The Moment of Tenderness – Madeleine L’Engle
  29. Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
  30. Little Eyes – Samanta Schweblin
  31. Moonfleet – J. Meade Falkner
  32. Beach Read – Emily Henry 
  33. A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth – Daniel Mason
  34. Still – Emma Hansen
  35. They Said This Would Be Fun – Eternity Martis (McClelland & Stewart, 2020)
  36. The Penguin Book of Mermaids – ed. by Cristina Bacchilega and Marie Alohalani Brown (Penguin Books, 2019)
  37. Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Kate Atkinson (Picador, 1995)
  38. Hold on to Your Kids – Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Mate (Vintage Canada, 2005)
  39. A Good Man is Hard to Find – Flannery O’Connor (A Harvest Book, 1983)
  40. How We Disappeared  – Jing-Jing Lee (Hanover Square Press, 2020)
  41. Shiner – Amy Jo Burns (Riverhead Books, 2020)
  42. This Little Light – Lori Lansens (Random House Canada, 2019)
  43. DriftsKate Zambreno (Riverhead Books, 2020)
  44. On the Beach – Nevil Shute (Vintage Books, 2009)
  45. Uncommon Ground – Timothy Keller & John Inazu (Nelson Books, 2020)
  46. Becoming Mrs. Lewis – Patti Callahan (Thomas Nelson, 2018)
  47. The Doctor of Aleppo – Dan Maryland (Blackstone Publishing, 2020)
  48. Etched in my Memoryxwu’p’a’lich Barbara Higgins (Creator’s Touch Press, 2017)
  49. Rebent Sinner – Ivan Coyote (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019)
  50. When the Red Gates Opened Dori Jones Yang (She Writes Press, 2020)
  51. God and the Pandemic – N.T. Wright (Zondervan, 2020)
  52. The Family Clause – Jonas Hansen Khemiri) (translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies) (Anansi, 2020)
  53. The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett (Riverhead Books, 2020)
  54. I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsMaya Angelou (Ballantine Books, 2015)
  55. Me and White Supremacy – Layla F. Saad (Sourcebooks, 2020)
  56. Five Wives – Joan Thomas (Harper Collins Canada, 2019)
  57. Tokyo Ueno Station – Yu Miri (Riverhead Books, 2020)
  58. Children of Blood & Bone  – Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt, 2018)
  59. Sisters – Daisy Johnson (Riverhead Books, 2020)
  60. If I Had Two Wings – Randall Kenan (W.W. Norton & Company, 2020)
  61. The Daughters of Foxcote Manor – Eve Chase (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020)
  62. Between Inca Walls Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (She Writes Press, 2020)
  63. Radicalized – Cory Doctorow (Tor, 2019)
  64. True Story – Kate Reed Petty (Viking, 2020)
  65. Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies – Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Anansi, 2020)
  66. Molly of the Mall – Heidi L.M. Jacobs (NeWest Press, 2019)
  67. Family in Six Tones – Lan Cao and Harlan Margaret Van Cao (Viking, 2020)
  68. God In My EverythingKen Shigematsu (Zondervan, 2013)
  69. Hamnet & Judith – Maggie O’Farrell (Knopf Canada, 2020)
  70. The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead (Bond Street Books, 2020)
  71. The Apothecary – Maile Meloy (Puffin Books, 2011)
  72. How Much of These Hills is Gold – C. Pam Zhang (Riverhead Books, 2020)
  73. Mother MotherJessica O’Dwyer (Apprentice House Press, 2020)
  74. The Bird King – G. Willow Wilson
  75. The Party Upstairs – Lee. Conell (Penguin Press, 2020)
  76. Bunny – Mona Awad (Hamish Hamilton, 2019)
  77. It Would Be Night in Caracas – Karina Sainz Borgo (translated from the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer) (HarperVia, 2019)
  78. The Summer Book – Tove Jansson (translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal) (New York Review Book, 2008)
  79. Prayer – Philip Yancey (Zondervan, 2007)
  80. Real Life – Brandon Taylor (Riverhead Books, 2020)
  81. Monday Was A Simpler Time: Reflections on a Pandemic (self-publication, 2020)
  82. Waiting for a Star to Fall – Kerry Clare (Doubleday Canada, 2020)
  83. Halfbreed – Maria Campbell (McClelland & Stewart, 2019)
  84. He Must Like You – Danielle Young-Ullman (Viking, 2020)
  85. A Book of Good Stories – ed. G. Fred McNally (The MacMillan Company of Canada, 1934)
  86. Say Nothing – Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday, 2019)
  87. Under Milk Wood – Dylan Thomas (J.M. Dent & Sons, 1970)

9 thoughts on “What I Read – 2020”

  1. I used to try to keep track of author nationality and if I was reading people who were not white. I started to struggle right away: authors born in the U.K. but lived most of their lives in the U.S. People who identify as multiple nationalities. If an author doesn’t identify his or her race, do I just choose based on their photo? I started giving myself anxiety and gave up on all those types of stats. I still do male/female because Grab the Lapels was created so I could review books by women, but that was seven years ago, and now there are more nonbinary authors than ever! I don’t want to label someone female if they are nonbinary, for example.

    1. It can be a tricky thing to navigate. I will tick multiple boxes if an author seems to fit in more than one nationality. I like keeping track of that to make sure I’m reading lots of Canadians in particular. For male/female I try to make sure, sometimes even visiting author websites and if I’m not sure I just don’t check that off. But I’m not really sure this is an important thing for me to continue to keep track of…

  2. Sounds like you managed to have a great reading year overall, despite all the efforts 2020 made to block us all! Here’s hoping things go more smoothly this year… 😀

  3. Pretty good tally I think! Nice that you made an effort to read more BIPOC authors this year, it’s definitely been on my mind more and more, specifically I hope to read more memoirs by BIPOC authors this year too. I just requested and received the book “Surviving the White Gaze” by Rebecca Carroll, it looks like it’s about growing up with a mixed race background so I’m looking forward to that!

    1. Thank you! I especially want to read more Indigenous Canadian writers. I appreciate reading memoirs from BIPOC writers too; it’s a great insight into an experience that can be vastly different from my own.

  4. Ooh, I’ve read 15 of your 2020 books, and not all of them this year; so many of your bookish opinions resonate with me that I expected our overlap might be higher, but perhaps it’s nice that it’s not- I’ve definitely added a few books to my TBR this year after reading your reviews, and appreciate the introductions! 🙂 It looks like you had a pretty good reading year even though it may not have turned out quite the way you expected, and learning to let go when it’s necessary is I think an important skill to have, too. I hope you’ll have an even happier reading year ahead in 2021!

    1. I felt like we had more overlap too! But I know you’ve definitely influenced my TBR! In the end it was a good reading year and I’m excited to start 2021.

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