2020 in 20/20

I don’t have the energy to recap the ways in which 2020 was the worst year globally, but still pretty delightful on a personal level. We all have our pandemic stories, and probably at least another six months to create new ones, plenty of time for reflection at some point. For now, let’s just make it about books.

Racing myself

I set myself a modest goal of 52 books for the year. Although I reached that number fairly easily, I had my doubts at first. With travel and Italian studies in the early months of the year, I didn’t have many books under my belt when the lock-down arrived. Like many of you, I had a hard time reading for several months. Sometime along the way, however, things picked up steam.

Pretending it wasn’t 2020

Regular readers will know that I don’t read a ton of current fiction. This year, needing to escape the current state of the world, I doubled down on my thirst for the past. Not to say the past is not chock-a-block with nefarious characters doing evil things, but the problems of the past feel safer to contemplate than the ones smacking one square in the face on a daily basis.


In the Before Times, most of my re-reads were books I had read years ago and then listened to in audio form on my work commute. With nine months of no driving to work, I haven’t listened to any books, but I did do a fair amount of re-reading this year. Another side effect of coping with the pandemic and civil unrest had me looking for books that I knew would make me feel a certain way. (Oddly, the picture below includes no re-reads.)

Most of those blank spaces are E.F. Benson’s Old London books and a few others that have no photos on Goodreads.

Abandoning books with abandon

One of the reasons my list of books read was slow to fill early in the shutdown was because I started a lot of books that I just didn’t want to finish. Some were books that I realized early on weren’t going to do it for me. Others were books that I gave up on having already read more than a hundred pages. This is unusual for me. If I can make it past 20 to 50 pages I’m in it until the end. This year? No. I Marie Kondo’d the shit out of books this year. No joy, no read. (And no, the books below are not ones that I abandoned.)

Three of my favorite books this year are in this group. But you will have to wait until the Hoggies are announced later this month.

4 thoughts on “2020 in 20/20

  1. dfarabee January 1, 2021 / 8:16 pm

    Thank you for this post –it might be the best round-up of 2020!


  2. quinn January 3, 2021 / 9:38 pm

    Hoggies! Hoggies! Hoggies!…..I can’t wait!!!! Hurry Hurry :)


  3. Geoff W January 4, 2021 / 3:48 pm

    I like Marie Kondo as a verb. I move closer and closer to it every day, but I’m such a fast reader when I want to be and I 100% will hate read something to finish it. One day I’ll learn, one day.


  4. Ruthiella January 24, 2021 / 7:39 pm

    Happy New Year Thomas.

    Glad to hear the Hoggies will be happening this year despite the pandemic. I look forward to them.

    If you are so inclined, I would like to hear about the books you abandoned as well. Sometimes reading how a book did not work for a reader is as instructive as reading a positive review.


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