2020 Reading Year

I have more or less neglected this blog, and more than once was even tempted to delete it completely. Though I am still reading books and can’t leave the house because of the pandemic, I have been pretty busy with work and don’t have a lot of time to blog. I did not “review” any books in 2020 (and 2019) except for a few, mainly because it’s hard to talk about books sometimes, and I didn’t really want to make an effort.

So, to sort of breathe life back into this blog, I will summarize my 2020 reading year and write a few sentences about some books instead of forcing myself to review each one.

For 2020, I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 50, but as usual, I did not complete my goal. However, I did read 30 books, which is the most I’ve read since 2015 or so. Moreover, I read a lot of books published during the year (three – yes, that’s a lot for me), so I guess it was a pretty productive reading year.

So, here’s a screenshot of the 30 books I read in 2020:

Among them, ones I enjoyed most was The Princess Bride, The Mirror and the Light, Piranesi, Exhalation, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Piranesi is Susanna Clarke’s first novel since Jonathan Strange. Although not connected to her bestselling novel, Piranesi is no less magical, fascinating, strange, and haunting.

Exhalation is a collection of short stories by Ted Chiang, exploring cultures, relationships, and social issues through science and technology.

Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl Series was a fun read I “discovered” last year, though I watched Studio Ghibli’s Howls’ Moving Castle years ago. It’s a fun trilogy about magical houses and the adventures of the vain but lovable Wizard Howl.

Interior Chinatown is a “fun” book on the surface, addressing the racial discrimination against Asians, specifically, Chinese, in the United States despite their long history in the country. The novel is told from the perspective of a young Chinese actor – an extra in a procedural police drama, aspiring to become “Kung Fu Guy.”

The biggest disappointments of the year include Andrew Sean Greer’s Less and Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of Orange, which I thought would be better than they were. To be fair, Less was not a terrible book, though for a Pulitzer winner, I was expecting a lot more. The Priory of Orange was unnecessarily long, with a less than compelling plot. Honestly, I don’t even remember what happened in the end.

The rest of the books on the list was relatively good/entertaining, some more than the others.

So far, these are the books I’ve read in 2021:

Stoner is about the boring life of a boring English professor. Strangely, it is one of the most compelling books I’ve ever read. Tokyo Ueno Park is a story told by a ghost about the struggles and social issues faced by not only the homeless community but also the working class of Japan. Finally, The Nickel Boys, which won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize, is about the story of the lives of the boys at the Nickel Academy, a reform school known for its cruelty.

I have set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 50 again this year. Who knows, this could be the year I finally attain my goal 🙂

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