2020 in Retrospect

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.

2What 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?

A couple – A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar and The Parisian by Isabella Hammad.

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?

The Dyehouse by Mena Calthorpe.

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.

17 thoughts on “2020 in Retrospect

  1. Yay, welcome to WordPress!

    I aim to read War and Peace one year, but I’m not quite up for it yet. Thanks for letting me know about some other books I’d not heard of. Wishing you a happy new year in your new blog home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lory.
      W&P is worth the effort, but having read it twice, (cause I read it first 20 yrs ago too quickly & the wrong translation for me), I can now safely say, it pays to get the translation that works best for you and to take your time with it. I just hope my review for it doesn’t take as long!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So many of us are so relieved, as I like your blog, Brona, but would grit my teeth when I came to it an replied. There are only a few blogger blogs that I keep commenting on and I really hate that if I comment as Whispering Gums I cannot subscribe to the post and engage in a discussion. I do not want to engage in a discussion with my Google account because that’s divorced from my blog.

        Anyhow, I enjoyed this Meme. I’d like to have done it myself, but didn’t!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ali.
      Before blogging & working in an Independent bookshop, I used to reread ALL the time. Now it’s a luxury. It also means I read a lot more books that make me go ‘meh’. Although I also discover new gems sometimes, that I would like to reread one day!

      Like

  2. Brona’s books is dead, long live This reading life ! I just added you here to my Bloglovin’ feed 🙂
    Unfortunately, I can only sign in through Twitter (that I thought about giving up, by the way) because Blogger (or independent comment) isn’t included in the WordPress-Twitter-Facebook choice for comments…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t looked into that side of things yet. I’ll see what I can do. But I doubt there will be a blogger option for sign-in – just like blogger doesn’t allow a wp sign-in option!

      Like

  3. will this work? he said, anxiously… note: access to comments may inspire frequent inane remarks… the above is a lovely list of books; i must read W&P again someday: it was definitely immersion in a parallel dimension…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I may regret it at some point(!!) but right now I’m loving all the extra comments and seeing people I only saw occasionally over at Brona’s Books. So welcome mudpuddle and all the inane comments you want!
      I’ll even throw in a few myself 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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