52 Books: How to Read Your Way Through a Pandemic

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2019 was my first year taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. When I achieved my goal of forty books, I decided to challenge myself in 2020 by giving fifty books a try. Here’s the link if you want to compare your list with mine.

Enter Covid 19. While coming to grips with the pandemic that descended on us all in March, I seriously stepped up my reading. Books have always been my go-to form of escape, lockdown or not. Writing the second novel of my trilogy got pushed to the back burner, because I’m one of those people who is struggling to be productive during these strange times. And apparently I’m not alone. But hey, if you’re writing up a storm, good on you! I envy you, but I predict I’ll come around very soon.

Anyhoo, one afternoon in mid-March, husband Paul came home from the library with two of my recent requests at the time, Midwives and The Silent Patient.

Hmm. . .the coronavirus, and two new books—one, a medical fiction and the other, a thriller about a psychotherapist’s patient—and what beloved show of mine was I watching on TV when he dropped the books in front of me? Grey’s Anatomy. Yep, maybe I should’ve gone into the medical field like my sister, brother-in-law, and daughter. Both of the books I’ve written include hospital stays for certain characters, and my latest manuscript is no exception, come to think of it. Wow. I’m having a small revelation here this morning!

But I did try to read a wide variety of genres in 2020, which included more classic literature (LOVE Thomas Hardy and George Eliot), a little romance, a lot of crime, historical and literary fiction, select non-fiction, and a fair sampling of my author-blogger pals’ works. I also read a few local Newfoundland books:  the historical fiction, River Thieves by Michael Crummey; Some People’s Children, a coming of age tale by Bridget Canning; and Terror Nova, a new horror anthology. By the way, these days I review very few books but almost always give a rating.

Books and Cats

By mid-December, I had reached my goal. With a couple of weeks to spare, I devoured two more books to bring the total to 52. I almost made it to 53 but didn’t finish Carrie Rubin’s The Bone Hunger (you guessed it, a medical thriller) until January 1st of this year. Now I’m reading Elton John’s official autobiography, Me, which is quite funny. I’m enjoying the wild ride his life has been, but mostly I like his writing style and his self-deprecating humour.

I’ve chosen to lower my reading expectations back to 40 books for 2021. You see, there’s this novel I’m writing that I have to finish. . .

What have you read to get you through 2020?
What is on your TBR list? Have any not-put-downable
suggestions to add to mine?
Do tell!

Further reading:
Did Canadians read more during the pandemic? Experts say yes.

40 thoughts on “52 Books: How to Read Your Way Through a Pandemic

  1. You’re more ambitious than me! I pegged 30 books for 2021. The last one I really loved was Circe by Madeline Miller. She’s an amazing storyteller! You’ll have to share the last few you loved . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish everyone read 30 books a year! I just added Circe to my TBR list. The genre is a departure for me but it sounds like a great one! Thanks for the recommendation, Kris.
      A few of my highest rated for 2020 were Where the Crawdads Sing, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Book Thief, as well as a couple old classics which I have a soft spot for: The Secret Garden and The Mayor of Casterbridge. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, The Book Thief is right up there in the finals for my favorite book of all time. So beautifully written and so different from most of what we read. I loved The Secret Garden as a child as well. I bet it was great to re-read it in a year where we all needed comfort. Circe is really good!. Mythology was never my thing but Madeline Miller just is such a great storyteller she makes it really amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoy reading about the books that you have read in 2020. A wonderful multi genre list. I agree. With the pandemic and lockdowns, sitting at home and finding a soft spot like Vivian and reading cannot be compared.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennifer, you know once you start the Goodreads Challenge you’re hooked forever! 😀 Congratulations on exceeding your target and it’s fun to get the reports at the end of the year! Midwives looks terrific and a must-read and it is fun to mix the genres, something I’ve been doing more since blogging! Good luck with your writing this year … I’ve also found it tough to concentrate on complete works last year and with the situation in the UK as it is at the moment things are not improving in the creative department for bigger projects. But I’m hopeful this will change. Happy Reading in 2021! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Annika! I’ve been a member of Goodreads for a while but only started the challenges in 2019. And I hope we both do well with our writing projects in 2021. Reading about your situation in the UK is disheartening and once again gives me pause. Please stay safe over there across the pond! I pray by this year’s end the pandemic will be but a memory to put behind us. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on exceeding your goal! I only managed 31 of 35 for my Goodreads challenge. I let myself off the hook, though, since I do a lot of reading that can’t be logged on Goodreads (unpublished stories and manuscripts and all those weekly New Yorker magazines that just keep piling up!).

    My favorite book this year was “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid. I highly recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Audrey! Yes that sounds like a lot of reading too. Just imagine if you could include that word count and all the stuff we read online.
      Thanks also for the recommendation. I will check it out for sure. 😊


        1. I highly recommend it. Not for the squeamish, but parts of it really make you think. Have you seen Pieces of a Woman on Netflix? A midwife-assisted birth is in that too.
          Please recommend one of the author’s other books for me, Pam. He’s a really good writer!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. You have inspired, me Jennifer. I am going to take on War and Peace, via text and audio. 61 hours in Russia. All the very best on your challenge. I know you will have many adventures!!! Happy New Year!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. One of our local book shops has been having outdoor book sales, which is fantastic! All books by category in socially distanced boxes on their very large parking lot. A booklover’s dream!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You did well, congrats! My goal was to read 36 books and I read 40 so I was pleased. When I clicked the link it went to my Goodreads challenge. I’ll see if I can find yours so I can compare.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. 40 books is still quite an achievement, Darlene. Well done! Of course we had more time to read, but we could have spent it streaming Netflix, right? Or putting together puzzles. Ha ha! Thanks for commenting. I liked the Book Thief too. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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