First spotted at Bookertalk, this book tag may be the only 2020 round up post I manage right now. I had lots of grand plans for reading and blogging between Christmas and New Year, but so far almost none of them have come to fruition. So I will simply add an extra question or two at the end to reveal my favourite read of 2020 and leave it at that. Farewell 2020.
1. What’s the longest book I read this year and the book that took me the longest to finish?
The answer to this double bunger is the same book – War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Read a-chapter-a-day throughout the year, my Anthony Briggs translated Penguin Classics edition came in at a whopping 1399 pages. I finished the book yesterday, saving the Afterword by Orlando Figes for today.
2. What book did I read in 2020 that was outside of my comfort zone?
Rodham: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld wins this hands down. Those (imagined) sex scenes between a young Hill & Bill were like thinking about your own parents having sex! Ugh!
3. How many books did I re-read in 2020?
Sadly, only two. War and Peace and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
4. What book did I read for the first time in 2020 that I look forward to re-reading in the future?
5. What’s my favourite short story or novella that I read in 2020?
I read several Katherine Mansfield short stories this year. If I had to pick a favourite it would be, The Wind Blows.
6. Mass appeal: which book would I recommend to a wide variety of readers?
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is the book I recommended most at work this year. This well-written cosy crime set in a well-to-do retirement village hits all the right notes. It’s fun, with a couple of good twists and turns and you can visualise the movie with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy! Fingers crossed.
7. Specialised appeal: which book did I like but would be hesitant to recommend to just anyone?
Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar. When a book totally fascinates you but you don’t quite know why.
8. What is my favourite Australian read of 2020?
9. What is my favourite read of 2020?
And the winner this year….is The Parisian by Isabella Hammad.
It’s hard to believe this historically rich, self-assured novel is a debut.