Sunday, January 3, 2021

books of 2020

Several people on my reading list have submitted lists of the books they read last year, a meme I don't recall having been used very commonly in previous years. I feel moved sort of to follow suit.

These are not by any means all the books I read last year, but they are the ones I either reviewed or otherwise substantially alluded to in blog posts. They include finishing up a year-and-a-half reading project of the "American Presidents" series, but they don't include the next concerted reading project I undertook, since I saved up reviews of those and, as I'm just now finishing it, will publish them shortly.

Much of my leisure reading, especially in the pandemic season, has been directed through a list I've been keeping of books that attracted my attention through others' reviews, news articles, etc. I look up a sequence of these in a library catalog and check out as a batch the next three or four that the library has.

Also note that, of the 45 books listed here, only 3 are fiction, and two of those were read more through obligation than spontaneous curiosity. That's a typical ratio for my reading.

On Division by Goldie Goldbloom (Farrar Straus Giroux)
The Canons of Fantasy: Lands of High Adventure by Patrick Moran (Cambridge UP)
The Shape of Fantasy: Investigating the Structure of American Heroic Epic Fantasy by C. Palmer-Patel (Routledge)
A Modernist Fantasy: Modernism, Anarchism, and the Radical Fantastic by James Gifford (ELS Editions)
The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (New York University Press)
Re-Enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in the Twentieth Century by Maria Sachiko Cecire (University of Minnesota Press)
The Dandelion Insurrection by Rivera Sun (Rising Sun Press)
Lost Transmissions: The Secret History of Science Fiction and Fantasy by Desirina Boskovich (Abrams Image)
MetaMaus by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)
What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He & She by Dennis Baron (Liveright)
Music: A Subversive History by Ted Gioia (Basic Books)
Superheavy: Making and Breaking the Periodic Table by Kit Chapman (Bloomsbury Sigma)
Dominion by Peter Ackroyd (St Martins)
Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff (Harper)
A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government by Garry Wills (Simon & Schuster)
Cold Fire: Kennedy's Northern Frontier by John Boyko (Knopf)
The Collapse of the Third Republic by William L. Shirer (Simon & Schuster)
John F. Kennedy by Alan Brinkley (Times Books)
Lyndon B. Johnson by Charles Peters (Times Books)
Richard M. Nixon by Elizabeth Drew (Times Books)
Gerald R. Ford by Douglas Brinkley (Times Books)
Jimmy Carter by Julian E. Zelizer (Times Books)
Ronald Reagan by Jacob Weisberg (Times Books)
George H.W. Bush by Timothy Naftali (Times Books)
Bill Clinton by Michael Tomasky (Times Books)
George W. Bush by James Mann (Times Books)
The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln by Sidney Blumenthal (Simon & Schuster)
The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir by John Bolton (Simon & Schuster)
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum (Doubleday)
The Bible Doesn't Say That by Dr. Joel M. Hoffman (St Martin's)
Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages by Gaston Dorren (Atlantic Monthly)
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson (Doubleday)
Enough's Enough by Calvin Trillin (Ticknor & Fields)
You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf from Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia by Jack Lynch (Bloomsbury Press)
In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs edited by Andrew Blauner (Blue Rider Press)
Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music (and Why We Should, Like, Care) by John McWhorter (Gotham Books)
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (HarperCollins)
Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities by Martha C. Nussbaum (Princeton UP)
First Dads: Parenting and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama by Joshua Kendall (Grand Central)
The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government by Fergus M. Bordewich (Simon & Schuster)
Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna (Random House)
Countdown: An Autobiography by Frank Borman with Robert J. Serling (Silver Arrow Books)
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris (Penguin)
The White House Mess by Christopher Buckley (Knopf)
A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Crown)

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