A la Jessamyn
Total number of books read: 59
average read per month: 4.9 books
average read per week: 1.1 books
number read in worst month: 2 (March, April, June)
number read in best month: 10 (November)
percentage by male authors: 20% (12 books)
percentage by female authors: 80% (47 books)
fiction as percentage of total: 92% (54 books)
crime fiction as percentage of fiction total: 70% (38 of 54 books)
non-fiction as percentage of total: 8% (5 books)
percentage of total liked: 70% (41 books)
percentage of total so-so or disliked: 30% (18 books)
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our local library was closed to the public entirely from the beginning of March until July (when it reopened for pick-up only), which drastically reduced the number of books I could get my hands on. I’m trying to make up for lost time now.
I read a bit more fiction that wasn’t crime fiction this year than usual, and I liked most of it, in particular Olivia Laing’s Crudo (2018), Dorthe Nors’ Mirror, Shoulder, Signal (2016), Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Javier Cercas’s Soldiers of Salamis (2003), and Karolina Waclawiak’s Life Events (2020).
Some favourite crime fiction this year included the Louisa Luna series featuring private investigators Alice Vega and Mac Caplan; Susie Steiner’s DS Manon Bradshaw series set in Cambridge, England; Val McDermid’s latest in the Karen Pirie series, Still Life; Tana French’s The Searcher (2020); Squeeze Me (2020) by Carl Hiaasen; The Split (2020) by Sharon Bolton, an uber psychological thriller set partly in South Georgia, near Antarctica; Louise Penny’s All the Devils Are Here (2020) in the Gamache series; A Bitter Feast (2019) by Deborah Crombie in the Kinkaid/James series; The Thursday Club Murder (2020) by Richard Osman, set in a British retirement community; and the latest in Cara Hunter’s DI Adam Fawley series, suspenseful police procedurals set in Oxford.
I liked a few non-fiction books a lot: The Unreality of Memory: Essays (2020) by Elisa Gabbard, which was just fascinating all the way ’round; The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping (2020) by Samantha Harvey, a meditation on her inability to sleep, which may not sound grabbing but I really enjoyed it; and Autumn Light: Season of Fire & Farewells (2019) by Pico Iyer, a slow sweet meditation that made me want to visit Japan (though there was too much ping pong!).
Biggest disappointments: By far the biggest was The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia (2020) by Emma Copley Eisenberg, which felt muddled and disorganised, not compelling. Also: A Long Petal of Sea (2019) by Isabel Allende — but I always find her disappointing — though I was interested in the subject matter here, the Spanish Civil War and aftermath; Such a Fun Age (2020) by Kiley Reid, which was more mom-lit than I expected and whose ending rang false to me; The Truants (2020) by Kate Weinberg, which was compared for some reason to an Agatha Christie novel, but no, it’s a coming of age novel that’s not very mysterious.
number of books read in 2020: 59
number of books read in 2019: 67
number of books read in 2018: 63
number of books read in 2017: 52
number of books read in 2016: 71
number of books read in 2015: 54
number of books read in 2014: 52
number of books read in 2013: 47
number of books read in 2012: 50
number of books read in 2011: 55
number of books read in 2010: 34
number of books read in 2009: 74
number of books read in 2008:
number of books read in 2007:
number of books read in 2006:
number of books read in 2005: 37
number of books read in 2004: 46
number of books read in 2003: 40
number of books read in 2002: 30+ (3 months forgot to count)