I must confess, it doesn’t surprise me that this is the first time in five years I did not meet my personal reading goal of 50 books. There were long stretches of time in 2020 when sitting still was next to impossible, nevermind tasks that required focus and attention-spans.

Which is not to say I wasn’t reading at all or didn’t have a stack of books at the ready. There was always an active book or two — bookmarks holding my place until I returned — and a patient pile of bookshelf finds, Amazon impulses, and contactless library pick-ups sitting in wait.

At some point, I was able to settle back into a fairly regular reading habit — all 10,466 pages of 40 books according to Goodreads’ annual “My Year in Books” report (see below). At some point, I even slogged through The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt), only because I was determined to read the book before watching the movie.

As usual, my annual accounting of reads is a hodgepodge: old favorites, some young adult novels, poetry, a few lifestyle/inspiration books, and plenty of escapist fiction.

My favorites of the year? Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens), The World That We Knew (Alice Hoffman), and The Conference of the Birds (Ransom Riggs).

My least favorite titles didn’t make the list, because I’ve implemented the Page 29 Rule which gives me permission to put down a book sooner rather than later.

I think it’s funny that I began this long, hard year reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation (Ottessa Moshfegh) and The Book of Speculation (Erika Swyler), and ended with Bryan Washington’s Memorial, about findings oneself at a crossroads.

Aren’t we all at some kind of crossroads, here at the end of 2020?

The good thing is that there will always be books. Come what may, there will always be that patient pile waiting for us, that bookmark holding a sacred space for when we return, the character who grabs our hand and says come with me for a while…and we do.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading.

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