My reading time has significantly increased in 2020 and I managed to read a total of 50 books! For me, that’s a new record. It’s quite possible that the Corona pandemic is partly to blame for this, but if that is the case, I only find it a very positive effect. But in all honesty, I think it’s mostly because I have a refound love for reading and the more you read, the better you get at it and the faster you read. I’m quite grateful for this steady rise in my reading time and speed.
So, fifty books. It’s quite hard to boil that down to a top five, but I managed to make a nice list, if I may say so, myself. Of course, I had to check my ratings for all of the books I read in 2020. I included all books that I had rated four or five stars, because sometimes there are true gems among those I rated four stars, but I just had a few side notes. These five books that follow are the ones that I read in 2020, so that doesn’t necessarily mean they were published in that year, but I would mark them as essential reads!
#5 A Guide to the Good Life — William B. Irvine
Bren thought it would be awesome if I paired a whisky and book review on our blog The Book Dragon’s Nook, so we started a topic called Whisky & Words. I got this wonderful book from Bren as an X-mas gift in 2019. It’s all about stoicism and how you can apply this ancient philosophy of the Greeks in our modern life. I absolutely loved this book. My lifestyle is already quite stoic, which mainly means that you should not worry about anything you can’t control. People worry about a lot of things, but if you don’t have any control about the thing you worry about, is it worth wasting your energy on? Similarly to the sun rising, there are things in life you can’t control, so there’s no use worrying about them. This book gives you all the tools you need to apply stoicism to your life and is a perfect introduction to the stoic philosophy if you have never read anything from the stoics before.
#4 De meeste mensen deugen — Rutger Bregman
The English title for this book is Humankind – A hopeful story. If you’re looking for a positive book that wants to prove why most Humans aren’t as bad as we think they are, this is a book for you. Rutger Bregman reasons that in essence most Humans are decent folks. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. This books takes us through years of psychological research and why most of these experiments were flawed. I really enjoyed this book and it even managed to return some of my faith in Humanity as a whole. Above all, it’s a really smooth read and highly recommended reading material!
#3 Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason — Timothy Zahn
Timothy Zahn is the reigning champion when it comes to writing good Star Wars novels. Thrawn is one of his brainchildren and while I will always cherish the original Thrawn trilogy, the new one is on par with the old one. In Treason Thrawn is stuck in between Grand Moff Tarkin and Director Krennic’s political games. This book was a big treat and gave us a whole new insight in the inner workings of the power struggle within the Empire. This book was definitely a worthy ending of the trilogy. I’m also very happy to report that we can expect more of Thrawn in another trilogy. Bren even gifted me the first book in this new series; Thrawn: Ascendancy. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you really need to read this trilogy!
#2 Als katten van de wereld verdwijnen — Genki Kawamura
The English title for this book is: If Cats Disappeared from the World. This book was adopted by us, because it had the word cats in its title. Bren and I love books about cats, but we weren’t sure about this one. I’m really glad we did buy it, though, because I finished this book in almost one sitting. I enjoyed every single page of this wonderful book and it introduced me a bit further into the world of magical realism. The protagonist of the story (who remains nameless) is dying and makes a deal with the Devil. He can add one day to his life if he makes something disappear. It’s a sick game that the Devil plays and the protagonist soon finds out that if certain things disappear from the world, everything becomes just a little bit bleaker. Although the premise may sound sad, this book made me laugh and it made me sad, but most of all it left a huge impression on me. An absolute must read that is accessible to all types of readers, due to its easy language. This is literature as it’s supposed to be, pretensionless and smooth.
#1 Brief Answers to the Big Questions — Stephen Hawking
One of my personal heroes: Stephen Hawking. This book is his legacy. It contains all his answers to the big questions that were asked to him on so many occassions. It contains his typical humour and his answers are well thought out, and thorough. Sometimes they’re hopeful, sometimes they contain a warning to humankind. This wonderful man was one of the biggest thinkers of our time and despite having ALS, Stephen Hawking managed to persevere and become a successful scientist unlike anyone else. I hope people will listen to the wise words of Stephen Hawking, because we still have time to act, but the time is now.
2020 was thoroughly enjoyable!
Did you like the list? Is there anything that strikes your fancy? I have enjoyed reading all of these books, and thankfully most books I’ve read in 2020. There were some review books I didn’t enjoy and struggled through, which is always sad.
This year I plan to read at least thirty books and I’m already halfway through my first two. I always read two books concurrently; one non-fiction and one fiction book. My morning reading consists of reading non-fiction to start my day learning something new, or gaining new insights. And fiction is something I save for the evenings, to escape from reality for a little moment. 🙂
What books did you really enjoy last year? If you have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments below!