02 January 2021

Book Log 2020

It is a perennial conundrum that I used to rail about the child's "required" book logs, back when she was in elementary school, and yet I delight in recording the books I've read via my Goodreads account. I *think* I read 68 books in 2020.

Last year, I started tagging books as male/female authors, and fiction/non-fiction. 

It took a little data manipulation to figure out what I'd read, but I can report that I made a conscious effort to read books by women and in fact, did so: I read 46 books by women, and 21 by male authors. (One book was an anthology, hence 46 + 21 does not equal 68.) 

Other stats: I read 19 library books, 7 mysteries, 2 books of poetry, and 2 cookbooks. 11 books were non-fiction, 6 were re-reads, and I abandoned 6. 

I rarely give star ratings to the books I log on Goodreads, and my "reviews" are really just notes to self - they aren't intended to be comprehensive reviews. That said, I did give four stars to these good books: 

And five stars to these: 

The Mendelsohn reminds me - I read Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey, as well as Maria Dahvana Headley's translation of Beowulf. And I was amused to find myself shelving the Headley RIGHT NEXT TO the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf. How convenient to have the translator's names so similar, so as to make the filing of Beowulf so satisfying. (It is entirely possible that we have at least another Beowulf, but I did not check.) Reading An Odyssey shortly after The Odyssey was good - it gave me a lot of insight into the book. Similarly, I read Headley's The Mere Wife before I read her Beowulf; The Mere Wife is a modern day novel riffing on the Beowulf tale, and helped me figure out some of the bones of the poem. [It occurs to me that I tagged neither Beowulf nor The Odyssey as poetry...perhaps I should have!] 

Possibly the oddest book I read was one on fungi. Funguses.  Merlin Sheldrake's book is called Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures - and it is FASCINATING, so much so that I gave two copies away to friends. If you don't want to read a book about fungi, check out Sheldrake's Instagram post, where he eats his book. There's a fungus among us. 

The last book I finished in 2020 was one I got for Christmas: The Year of Knots. It's kind of a "how to" book - but it's both how to tie (some knots) and how to be more creative in your life. I've now learned to tie three new decorative flat knots, and I've even memorized one of them. I'm not sure that I'll be taking up macrame in 2021, but stranger things have happened. 


Bibliomama said...

I love Edeet Ravel and Ann Patchett - was just showing off my signed first edition of Bel Canto in my Book Bingo group. I have read Maria Dahvana Headley's short stories in many anthologies but have read zero translations of Beowulf - I did read a book called Grendel, didn't like it very much. I will put your other good books on my list because I find our book likes are often similar, and I love Duchess Goldblatt on Twitter. Happy new year! Girding my loins to do my Year in Books blog posts, whether anyone wants them or not.