Months of Books: June to December 2020

Here we are at the beginning of 2021. I still haven’t gone back to those books that I abandoned in March due to COVID brain fog. (See Month(s) of Books: January to May 2020.) I did keep reading, though.

In fact, I read another 30 or so books between June 1 and December 31, 2020. Some of those were murder mysteries and beach reads (without benefit of a beach) and aren’t worth a mention. I also began to read a fair amount of poetry, going through three Billy Collins collections and Mary Oliver’s Devotions, 440+ pages of selections from her first to her last book of poems. By and large, reading these poems was a soothing little respite of five or ten minutes a day when I gave my full attention to a warm and generous artist.

What isn’t soothing is the thought of trying to write capsule reviews on the remaining 20+ books that are worth a mention. Instead, I am going to list only the 15 books I would recommend without reservation: three lists – Fiction, Essays, Nonfiction, alpha by author. Any book that I really loved will be in bold.

Then it will be on to 2021 and more regular (and more informative) Month of Books posts.

Emma Donoghue, Akin (2019)
Margot Livesey, The Boy in the Field (2020)
James McBride, Deacon King Kong (2020)
Idra Novey, Ways to Disappear (2016)
Jenny Offill, Weather (2020)
Emma Straub, All Adults Here (2020)
Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (2011)

Essay Collections
Brian Doyle, One Long River of Song (2019)
Krista Eastman, The Painted Forest (2019)
Ross Gay, The Book of Delights (2019)
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights (2020)
Zadie Smith, Feel Free (20180

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1962)
Julian Barnes, The Man in the Red Coat (2018)
Sarah Vowell, The Assassination Vacation (2005)






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