Your Year in Reading: 2020

Discussion questions: Have you hit your 2020 reading goals, if you made any? Did you read anything that moved you? Do you have any titles you want to recommend to me and your fellow WriteByNighters? Let me know below.

 

In last week’s post we talked about our 2020 writing and reading goals and the ways in which this insane year has derailed, or at least stalled, some of us.

Looking back at my reading-related goals, I’ve done… not all that well. I wanted to read a few books on the Modern Library’s top 100 novels list, and I wanted to “find new books that inspire and move me.”

From mid-February through mid-April (much of lockdown in NYC), I finished zero books. And here in mid-October, I haven’t finished a book since mid-September. Four months’ worth of not reading cuts down on the odds of success.

 

Of the books I hadn’t read before, William Kennedy’s Ironweed came the nearest to inspiring/moving me. It’s also on the Modern Library list (no. 92), so, two-fer. I recommend it, though not universally.

I read Lord of the Flies, no. 41 on the list. I enjoyed it, but it won’t stick with me. I wish I’d read it in school, like I was supposed to

I also reread a couple of favorites from the list, Under the Volcano (no. 11) and Slaughterhouse-Five (no. 18).

 

All in all, a pretty dim year in my reading life. I’ve read just about every issue of the New York Review of Books, which is definitely my favorite publication. So that’s something. I’ve read much more poetry than usual, which I think has helped center me. (Not that I understand most of it.)

I’ve also left more than the usual amount of books unread. But hey, the presidential election is in suspension — why not my stack of books, too.

 

Now I want to know about your reading year. Have you hit your 2020 reading goals, if you made any? Did you read anything that moved you? Do you have any titles you want to recommend to me and your fellow WriteByNighters? Let me know below.

 

WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

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