It’s an understatement to say that 2020 was a weird year, I know. In my own working world we closed our libraries in March not knowing when we were going to reopen. We were redeployed to the phones, calling the elderly and vulnerable first, then contact tracing later on. Right now I’m working shifts in a testing centre. Each lockdown and reopening has me more and more worried that this may be the slow death of libraries.
Reading has, therefore, been a very welcome escape, as it has been for so many of us. And while nearly all of my 2020 reading choices were about comfort, fun and fighting off The Slump, it was still a pretty awesome year.
I continued to play well with others in 2020 and had a blast taking part in Vintage SciFi Month in January, Wyrd and Wonder in May, Spooktastic Reads in October and SciFi Month in November. I particularly enjoyed three incredible read-alongs: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey and Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle. And I also did a buddy-read of Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh with the lovely Maryam of The Curious SFF Reader who may just have become my favourite reading buddy because I had so. much. fun.
In other news, it was the year of the book tag and of the eighty posts I made (just take a moment with me here to be oh-so-impressed by that eighty!), eighteen were tags. Turns out I really like book tags.
What else? I received my very first ARC in 2020. Shadow in the Empire of Light by Jane Routley might not have been what I was expecting, but it was still good fun and I enjoyed the whole experience enough that I requested a second one: Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley, which I’m reading right now. I don’t think I’m going to become some kind of rabid ARC fiend any time soon, but I am quietly pleased about these two. It’s like I’ve being given a gentle pat on the head and a lollypop for having done well.
Another first was the guest post I did over at JonBob’s to celebrate the first blogiversary of Parsecs & Parchment. I was truly delighted to be able to contribute to the celebrations. If there’s one thing that I’ll remember 2020 for (other than the obvious horrors) it’s all the lovely people I’ve talked about books with over the year. You’re all so awesome and I feel like I’ve gotten to know a few of you so much better this past twelvemonth.
Finally, I gave the blog a mini makeover in 2020 and made myself a new logo thingummy. This was prompted by a tweet (I’m 95% sure it was Tammy who tweeted it?) that talked about making following and finding things easy to do on your site. I’m ridiculously pleased with how my blog looks at the moment as a result, which is a terrible vanity, I know, but I can’t quite help myself.
Anyway, that really is enough chinwagging from me – let’s talk books!
Favourite books read in 2020
This year was all about the comfort read, but I still managed to stumble across a happy handful of new-to-me authors.
Best cover art of the year
The book I didn’t want to end
The Starless Sea. I just really liked being in this book. I know a lot of people have had Things To Say about it and I don’t care, I loved it for all its peculiarities.
Series started …
I unwittingly started Alison Goodman’s Lady Helen trilogy with The Dark Days Club. I thought it was a stand-alone novel and now the completionist in me needs to read the other two. I also started reading Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s Cecelia and Kate trilogy, and the Lady Mechanika graphic novel series created by Joe Benitez.
…And series finished
I reached a kind of end to Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series and am currently psyching myself up to read Clariel and Goldenhand. I’m still in two minds whether to carry on reading, or quit while the going’s good.
More conclusively, I finished Julie E Czerneda’s original Web Shifters trilogy with Hidden in Sight and Dave Freer’s Dragon’s Ring duology, which means both of those can be crossed off my Great Series Read Project list (even if I have just had to add three new series *ahem*).
Characters I was most delighted to meet in 2020
Zacharias Wythe and Prunella Gentleman, Lirael and the Disreputable Dog, Blue and Red, Phèdre and Joscelin, Cecelia and Kate, Richard and Alec, Mahit and Three Seagrass, Temeraire and Captain Laurence, the Corta family, Maia the Goblin Emperor, Mirabel, painter of doors, and a very fictional Girolamo Savonarola. It’s been a bumper year.
Places I was most delighted to visit in 2020
Orthe. I loved it, I can’t wait to go back, I want to learn all its secrets, I plan to retire there.
My favourite non-fiction reads
Best graphic novels
Since comfort has been my watch word I’ve been loving Giant Days by John Allison and Lissa Treiman. So much so that I have erased my own memories of my rather crappy uni experience and have adopted Susan, Esther, Daisy, Ed and McGraw’s story as my own. These are now my memories!
Best book mail
2020 being what it was I bought way more new books than I normally would. The loveliest, newest and most anticipated of which were:
I also received a beautiful book called The Madman’s Library by Edward Brooke-Hitching from a friend of mine which is just a dip in delight of bookish oddities from across the ages.
My new total for books that I own but have yet to read now stands at 217. I am both delighted and ashamed in about equal parts.
Posts I’m most proud of?
I had an absolute blast writing up Books with a body count for Spooktastic Reads, and even more fun making up the little blood splat graphics for it.
And I was very pleased with my post about Jo Walton’s books too.
I also read a thing that said a blogger *should* know what their most popular stuff is. I don’t really look at the stats side of things on WP very much (because Zzzzzz), but I did and found that the Fun for Monday tag posts are by far the most viewed – which suggests either that everyone loves a list, OR my reviews are really bad! But since I enjoy tags so much, I guess you’ll all be getting more of what you like – but I’m doing it for me dagnabbit!
The book I least enjoyed this year
There can be only one, and it was The Death Worms of Kratos by Richard Avery. Such a promising title …
And that’s it – 2020 all wrapped up and packed away. Now, let’s get on with February shall we? January seems to have been an eternity long!