Another year completed! This one quite unique given we were all still at least in semi-lockdown as the COVID-19 virus raged across the world. The world and our lives have become a bit smaller, with no access to far and wide travel, but books and the Internet remain our amazing windows to the world. Cathy at 746 Books was our lovely host for another year. Here’s the link to Cathy’s master post, so you can how things worked at the source. Also here you can see Cathy’s list for 2020, and here the links to all other bloggers taking part.
As for the past four years, I did not commit to a list upfront but rather built it from the ground up as I went. Something very surprising to me happened this year. Since the beginning of lockdown, I have been struggling with reading, then I had a bit of a breakthrough thanks to Andrea Camilleri. But still, it felt like the going was slow. So when I joined the challenge for my fifth-year I was a bit apprehensive if I’ll manage to finish (especially that I failed last year on the last stretch). And something amazing happened, maybe it was my mind needing respite from the world (though when you see what I read it wasn’t particularly cheerful selection), or finally the ability to focus for longer stretches of time kicked in. Either way, I managed to finish my 20th book on the 26th of July, over a month before the deadline. What is more, all the reviews are written and scheduled, so the few missing ones will be published in the next week.
I decided to take a look back at what I read. Generally, there weren’t many books I didn’t like, maybe one or two a bit disappointing choices. What definitely comes as a theme though, is a lot of books on the state of the world and society. From various angles, some of them about discovering other countries and cultures (Złote Piachy , North Korea Journal, Kocie Chrzciny. Lato i Zima w Finlandii). Others looking at society through the lens of fiction (A Crime in the Neighborhood, Rites of Passage, Mazel Tow, Hello Mum, Dark Tales, Coronado: Stories). Yet others a lot more immediate in their non-fiction approach (Detroit: An American Autopsy, Returning to Reims, How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature, Czarownice. Niezwyciężona Siła Kobiet). It was not an uplifting look necessarily, but an important one. Almost a reckoning with reality. It was tough, but I’m happy I did it. I think this reading list, together with the lockdown experience changed me. Whether for good or bad remains to be seen, but hopefully to a more emphatic and compassionate person.
Here’s the full list:
20. Piasek ze Szkła – Joanna Szczepkowska (r)
19. Born Lippy – Jo Brand (r)
18. Lala – Jacek Dehnel (r)
17. Dark Tales – Shirley Jackson (r)
16. Czarownice. Niezwyciężona Siła Kobiet – Mona Chollet (r)
15. Coronado: Stories – Dennis Lehane (r)
14. Odwiedziny. Rozmowy od dizajnie – Aleksandra Koperda (r)
13. How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature – George Monbiot (r)
12. Returning to Reims – Didier Eribon (r)
11. Hello Mum – Bernardine Evaristo (r)
10. Mazel Tow – J. S. Margot (r)
9. The Days of Abandonment – Elena Ferrante (r)
8. Impas. Opór, utrata, niemoc w sztuce – Maria Poprzęcka (r)
7. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon – Stephen King (r)
6. Kocie Chrzciny. Lato i Zima w Finlandii – Małgorzata Sidz (r)
5. North Korea Journal – Michael Palin (r)
4. Złote Piachy – Sylwia Siedlecka (r)
3. Rites of Passage – William Golding (r)
2. Detroit: An American Autopsy – Charlie LeDuff (r)
1.A Crime in the Neighborhood – Suzanne Berne (r)