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A New Chapter

Since there's a whole spectrum of thoughtful to asinine pieces clogging the internet currently about "The Best of 2020" or "The Year in Review", et cetera, I'll stop myself before I get too far down memory lane in regard to the past twelve months. Yep, it's been a year. And that's all I care to say about it.

However, I do love me some lists. I'm a pathologic list-maker, from daily to-dos to weekend chores to project lists to reading lists to native flowers I want to plant to trips I want to take someday to . . . . I need a list to keep track of all my different lists. Sometimes when I forget to put something on a list and I do it anyway, I'll retroactively place it on the list just so I have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list. I live a wild life.

Anyway, the year's end does seem to bring about lots of lists and I will subject you to my annual Books Anna Has Read list. I usually keep a resolution to read X books a year. This year the number to reach was 40 and I'm happy to report that this morning I finished my fortieth, just under the wire.

And so, without further ado, I present to you, in chronological order, the books I read in the year 2020. Asterisks mark my top three, no top four. It's so hard to pick. N for non-fiction and F for fiction. What have you read this year?

  1. The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (F)

  2. Lab Girl, Hope Jahren (N)

  3. The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (F)

  4. The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert (N)

  5. The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, ed N.K. Jemisin (F)

  6. Escape from Davao, John Lukacs (N)

  7. The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty, Vendela Vida (F)

  8. How Long 'Til Black Future Month?, N.K. Jemisin (F)

  9. Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel (F)

  10. The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson (N)

  11. The Cat's Table, Michael Ondaatje (F)

  12. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett (F)

  13. Say Nothing, Patrick Radden Keefe (N)

  14. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens (F)

  15. The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019, ed Carmen Maria Machado (F)

  16. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman (F)

  17. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace (F)

  18. The Greater Journey, David McCullough (N)

  19. The Overstory, Richard Powers (F)

  20. A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab (F)

  21. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard (N)

  22. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (F)

  23. Empty Mansions, Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr. (N)

  24. Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake (N)

  25. A Gathering of Shadows, V.E. Schwab (F)

  26. A Conjuring of Light, V.E. Schwab (F)

  27. Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey (N)

  28. A Long Petal of the Sea, Isabel Allende (F)

  29. Elizabeth and Her German Garden, Elizabeth (N) (really, no last name)

  30. Chesapeake Requiem, Earl Swift (N)

  31. Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald (N) *

  32. Dune, Frank Herbert (F)

  33. Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse (F)

  34. The Book of Eels, Patrik Svensson (N) *

  35. Tales from the Ant World, Edward O. Wilson (N)

  36. Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (F) *

  37. Girl Waits with Gun, Amy Stewart (F)

  38. Fathoms, Rebecca Giggs (N) *

  39. Basin and Range, John McPhee (N)

  40. The Story of Earth, Robert M. Hazen (N)

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