My best reads for 2020

How odd. Of the seven books I scored highest for 2020 (unexact science though it is), only one was written by an Australian author.

  1. Casey Cep Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee. (2019)
  2. Jeff Sparrow Communism: A Love Story (the one Australian book) (2007)
  3. Julia Blackburn Time Song: Searching for Doggerland (2019)
  4. Hilary Mantel The Mirror and the Light (2020)
  5. Nino Haratischwili The Eighth Life: (for Brilka) (2014, in translation 2019)
  6. Robert Penn Warren All the King’s Men (1946)
  7. Marlon James The Book of Night Women (2009)

The gender divide was pretty even: four women, three men. Four fiction, three non-fiction. Four written in 2019 or 2020, three written earlier. Three of them (Mantel, Haratischwili and Warren) were door-stoppers. Perhaps in this very strange year, there was something to be said for burrowing into a very long read.

3 responses to “My best reads for 2020

  1. I’ve always meant to read All the King’s Men, along with a book called Advice and Consent. I like big thick books. Although I will admit when I got the Mantel out of the library, I just wasn’t in the mood (despite having been a 16th-century history major) and gave it to my mother instead. Maybe I will wait until I am able to go on vacation again, as I do want to read it.

  2. artandarchitecturemainly

    I totally agree with you about The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel. The era is fascinating and her writing always grabs the reader’s attention.

    The issues with all historical novels are: 1. how well was the history researched? and 2. how close to the historical evidence does the novelist feel he/she has to remain?

  3. I am certain that Go Set a Watchman is by far the better book. But I’m certain of lots of things other people don’t agree about. Mind you, Ursula Le Guin wrote the most brilliant review of GSAW, and who would argue with her.

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