In this year of accursed years, whose events have unfurled like bad writing for a television series that went off the rails a few seasons back and I would’ve ditched if we weren’t living it, I am indebted to the authors and books that offered solace, refuge, a safe harbor. The books that shepherded me through the tumultuous news cycle, provided companionship through the pandemic, while trying to reckon with ….. the slew of other dreadful happenings that marked this year. I’m beholden to the books that enticed me to think harder, to be present, the books that convinced me again and again there are worse things than solitude, books whose language, vitality, and mindfuckery made me feel alive, still, and grateful to be so, mostly. Year In Reading: Anne K. Yoder Posted: 13 Dec 2020 08:00 AM PST
The above passage from The Millions sums up 2021 perfectly, I thought.
One of the few good things about the 2020 global lockdowns was that book sales rocketed upwards by 50% as the world caught up on its reading. I read far more books this year than I usually do, not that reading is a competitive sport, I hasten to add.
My Book Budget was shattered to smithereens around about May month, and my book buying continues to expand vigorously; and yet, life lurches on. Maybe setting a Book Budget is a fruitless exercise?
I’ve listed the hits and the misses below. Do share your year-end lists or views.
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo
The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern
BEST AFRICAN NOVEL
The Old Drift – Namwali Serpell
BEST TRANSLATED NOVELS
The Shallows – Ingrid Winterbach, Translator – Michiel Heyns
Celestial Bodies – Jokha Alharthi, Translator – Marilynne Booth
The Broken Road – Patrick Leigh Fermor
NOTABLE, ENJOYABLE READS
Miss Benson’s Beetle – Rachel Joyce
The Bear – Andrew Krivak
Akin – Emma Donoghue
Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese
Actress – Anne Enright
Travel Light, Move Fast – Alexandra Fuller
THE MOST CHALLENGING READ
North & South – Mrs E Gaskell
BEST SHORT STORIES
A Manual for Cleaning Women – Lucia Berlin
BEST SERIES (e-books)
The Sophie Katz crime series – Kyra Davis
The Boy Behind the Curtain – Tim Winton
84K – Claire North
Ducks, Newburyport – Lucy Ellman
Kintu – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
The Road – Cormac McCarthy