As every year, I’m sharing with you my top 10 of books I read in the past year. At the time of writing this, I’ve worked my way through 61 books, which is roughly the same as in 2019, but the overall total of pages I read appears to be less.
I also made two changes to my reading life:
- I have started to log all the books I read in a little notebook with the date I started and date I finished, rating over 5, and a short summary or main takeaway from the book.
- I used Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2020 Reading Challenge prompts to diversify some of my reading, and would certainly recommend this.
For the first time, I also read a book in German (Eva Almstadt – Kalter Grund) and in Spanish (Gabriel Garcia Marquez – El Amor en los tiempos de colera), which took some effort but was worth the mental exercise.
So, without much further navel-gazing from my side, here is my list of 10 best books I read in 2020:
- War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy An epic story – a bit difficult to get into at the beginning because of the large number of characters, but so rich in language that I often felt I was there, somewhere deep in Russia in the 19th century. This was the “classic you never read” from the list of prompts.
- Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff A reread – and I now appreciate how a reading experience can be different at a second reading. A love story, but different. This was my re-read from the list of prompts.
- Capital – Karl Marx I listened to this one. The beginning was hard to get through, the social critique in the later parts were fascinating and made me realize (together with War and Peace) that the 19th century was a miserable time.
- The Overstory – Richard Powers A book about trees, or how people’s lives connect through stories that relate to trees. Delightful. This was a book nominated for an award (prompt from the list)
- White Teeth – Zadie Smith Smith’s debut novel, on immigrants in the UK. Based on the “debut novel” prompt
- Recursion – Blake Crouch Such an addictive book, I read it in one day. I usually don’t read sci-fi, so this was the “book outside your comfort zone” prompt.
- Maid – Stephanie Land From single mom and maid to author – a fascinating memoir.
- Bluebeard – Kurt Vonnegut One of the prompts was to read 3 books from the same author, so I read Bluebeard, Breakfast of Champions, and Player Piano by Vonnegut. Bluebeard was my favorite.
- The moment of lift – Melinda Gates Or how to empower women in this world.
- But you did not come back – Marceline Loridan-Ivens Marceline’s memoir of the holocaust and her broken youth. Difficult but important to read and remember.