Curious what our booksellers were up to in 2020? Like many folks, Ariana’s reading came in stages last year. “I had ‘before the pandemic reading’ and was keeping track and had a plan, and then the pandemic hit and all I could read was poetry. As the year wore on I found some great narratives and historical fiction that captivated me and really informed my experience of 2020.”
Cassie says, “I stepped out of my comfort zone with this year’s reading. I learned a lot about indigenous cultures with the help of Tommy Orange, Zitkála-Šá, and Leslie Marmon Silko.”
Jeanette had a similar experience: “Nearly all of my favorite books from last year were written by BIPOC authors, but two that particularly stood out to me were written by indigenous authors: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. Their storytelling is so beautiful and effective and I treasure how much I enjoyed and learned from these books.”
Kaycee’s reads this year were definitely indicative of some trends we saw for 2020. “I read exclusively Horror this year. Novels like Down Days, Mexican Gothic, and Devolution were comfortable literary escapes. I jumped around from dystopian pandemics to page-turning thrillers, and I don’t regret a single page!”
A lot of Nora’s reading was for school, “But I have loved everything my English teachers have assigned so far. Other than that, I read light books with fun and easy stories.”
Comfort was also on Jessica’s mind. “I read so many light and cozy reads this year, with lots of laughs and kissing. I was very grateful for some contemplative reads at the beginning of the pandemic that attuned my attention and observation -- they made for great listening while walking the dog around the neighborhood.”
Kasey also chose a new reading path. “Typically I read a lot of non-fiction, specifically memoirs and essays, but this year I found myself reading almost exclusively fiction. With social distancing I instead made my social connections through the highly developed characters in Writers & Lovers, Conversations with Friends, and Before the Coffee Gets Cold, among many others.”
Anna’s favorite books included Wow, No Thank You -- a snarky, raw, and hysterically funny read. “It was a perfect read for the beginning of quarantine.” She also liked Shuggie Bain, and found World of Wonders to be “a great end of the year soul-purging read, a reminder to delight in the natural world.”
Matt says his reading list was “as chaotic as 2020! Which is why the standout for me was the humorous and mindful Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosch.”
Kathy enjoyed tightly plotted fiction with high stakes, the many poets sharing essays, as well as a broad range of non-fiction that included some fascinating nature reading, and true crime. “ In The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh - Koh translates letters written to her by her mother – and is mindful of every word chosen. Using her mastery of language to guide us through four generations of family history, Koh blends feelings of love and longing for her culture and the relationship with her mother. Beautifully written.”
There were many beloved titles from last year, and we hope you can find something from our booksellers to treasure as we did last year. Be sure to check out our 2020 Bestsellers list too.
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