2020 in books

like literally everyone I follow on twitter, I read so many more books in 2020 than I did the previous year (50ish instead of ...10ish). At a certain point I also decided I was going to write a goodreads review of every book I read; there are a few at the beginning of the year without reviews, and I never ended up writing a review for Minor Feelings because I didn't know how to do it justice.

Some mostly uninteresting stats (with an uncertainty of maybe +/- 3% because I'm bad at counting and also categorization is hard): I read a roughly equal mix of fiction and nonfiction; more than 20% of all my reading (and 40% of my nonfiction) was memoir/personal essay; I read around 66% non-men authors, around 56% nonwhite authors, and 14% Black authors; my reading volume very clearly tracked my workload.

🌟 books that ~changed my life~ (5)

💜 books I loved (12)

🥕 books I learned a lot from and/or made me think (veggie books) (5)

🤢 books I really didn't like (2)


Little, Edward Carey

Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday

🤢 Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari — I hated this book so so so much. it was so bad.

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki

The Mushroom at the End of the World, Anna Tsing

💜 Normal People, Sally Rooney

💜 Uncanny Valley, Anna Wiener


💜 The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen

🥕 Feminism for the 99%, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser

💜 On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, Ocean Vuong

All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung


This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar

Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney

The Idiot, Elif Batuman

You're Not Listening, Kate Murphy

💜 The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates

🌟 A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki (x2) — a gorgeous story with some bits of incredible prose, also very timely both in terms of covid and personal anxieties about... career/life


🥕 On Such a Full Sea, Chang-rae Lee

💜 Abolish Silicon Valley, Wendy Liu

🌟 How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell — in a similar vein to Ozeki above, very timely for the headspace in which I read it, but more broadly,... what are we supposed to do with ourselves? on a day to day level and over the course of our lives?

💜 Future Histories, Lizzie O'Shea

Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu


💜 Lab Girl, Hope Jahren

🥕 Severance, Ling Ma

Always Day One, Alex Kantrowitz

Super Pumped, Mike Isaac

In Praise of Shadows, Jun'ichiro Tanizaki

💜 Pachinko, Min Jin Lee

🌟 Exhalation, Ted Chiang — where are the cracks in our universe? what happens if we poke at those corners? what would become possible if we did that?


The Memory Police, Yoko Ogawa

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Lori Gottlieb

💜 Thick, Tressie McMillan Cottom

Weather, Jenny Offill


The Magical Language of Others, E.J. Koh

🥕 Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

Race After Technology, Ruha Benjamin

The Dragon Republic, R.F. Kuang


🌟 Why Fish Don't Exist, Lulu Miller — on the (human) desire to categorize and taxonomize and otherwise neatly organize information about ourselves and the world, to tell ourselves stories to make everything make sense, the dangers of what happens when those narratives begin to ossify. on a more existential level, this book offers a very satisfying engagement with the question "what's the point?"

🤢 The Story of More, Hope Jahren — don't know if this is what she actually believes but the book makes it seem like her vision for climate actions is.... for people in rich countries to simply eat less meat, or something like that


🌟 Minor Feelings, Cathy Park Hong — I have yet to be able to fully articulate why I loved this so much.


How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu


🥕 Breaking News, Alan Rusbridger

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward


The Overstory, Richard Powers

The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster

💜 The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett

Wild Milk, Sabrina Orah Mark

Intimations, Zadie Smith

💜 How Much of These Hills Is Gold, C. Pam Zhang

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