Roof Beam Reader’s 2020 Year in Review

Welcome to My Reading Year in Review!

This year sucked in most ways, let’s be real. But one area of my life that was decidedly un-sucky was my reading. I had a goal of reading only a dozen or so books, because I knew how busy my schedule was going to be this year. Then, wouldn’t you know it, a pandemic struck and reading became not just more possible, but so very, very necessary. So, here’s what happened in my year of reading:

  • Most memorable character of 2020? Felipe from Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins (thoughts coming in February!)
  • Most beautifully written book read in 2020? Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski   
  • Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020? How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read in 2020?
    • “I ventured to believe that the function of the border wasn’t only to keep people out, at least that was not its long-term function. Its other purpose was to be visible, to be seen, to be carried in the imaginations of migrants deep into the interior of the country, in the interior of their minds. It was a spectacle meant to be witnessed by the world, and all of its death and violence was and continues to be a form of social control, the way that kings of the past needed to behead only one petty thief in the public square to quell thousands more.” –From Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo 
  • Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2020?
    • Shortest: Burnings by Ocean Vuong (40 pages)
    • Longest: Dune by Frank Herbert (892 pages)
  • Book that Shocked You the Most? The Lover by Marguerite Duras
  • OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!):
  • Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year? Felipe and Caio from Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins
  • Favorite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously? Closer to Nowhere by Ellen Hopkins and Bye-Bye Blue Creek by Andrew Smith
  • Best Book You Read in 2020 that You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else? Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Best 2020 debut you read? The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (thoughts coming in January!)
  • Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe
  • Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was the Most FUN To Read? The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020? Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • Hidden Gem Of the Year? The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen or Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins
  • Book That Crushed Your Soul? An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Most Unique Book You Read in 2020? The Lover by Marguerite Duras
  • Book That Made You the Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? A Promised Land by Barack Obama (thoughts coming in March!)
  • New favorite book blog you discovered in 2020? Oops, I did it again. Forgot to explore!
  • Favorite review that you wrote in 2020?
  • Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
  • Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
  • Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2020?
  • Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
  • Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
  • Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
  • Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
  • One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 but Will Be Your Priority in 2021?
    • The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty
  • Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021 (non-debut)?
    • Later by Stephen King
  • 2021 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
    • The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. and Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih
  • Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?
    • None that I know of.
  • One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2021?
    • I would like to keep up the pace of posting one or two reviews per week, which I began in Sept/Oct.
  • A 2021 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
    • None. I’m out of the loop!

8 Comments on “Roof Beam Reader’s 2020 Year in Review

  1. I’ve read a couple of Mercedes Lackey books, but not that one — your review makes me really interested to give it a look!


  2. Adam, your reading is so ambitious and your reviews are a joy to read themselves. There are books that you read and recommend that I know I will never read in the imperfectness of my world. I feel edified to have read about you reading them. Thank you.

    I avidly read science fiction for a time (teen years,) yet your blog reminds me that I never read Dune, never got into Mercedes Lackey and only recently realized that Riordan should hit my radar. I will try to correct that and add Brandon Sanderson, who is so well regarded and who does so much for the writing community, with lectures on youtube and the podcast Writing Excuses that everyone I know seems to follow.

    I wonder if Piers Anthony has ever gotten your attention? His fantasy/pun fest about the world of Xanth is hilarious (tbh I did not read all of it, the kids did) but his Incarnations of Eternity series might still be my favorite absorbing genre series. (Well, right up there with Anne Rice and the first dozen from LK Hamilton.)

    As for our friend Mr. Smith, Bye Bye Blue Creek does come after The Size of the Truth, but it is also sort of prequel to a character we meet in Stand-off, which is the second book in the Winger Series. Does this make the two Sam Abernathy books a part of “the Winger Series” (Winger and Stand-Off are listed that way on Goodreads, what do I know?) In a long string of fantastic stories, these four truly stand out as my favorites from this author. Yes, even above Grasshopper Jungle. 🙂

    Thanks for this blog, truly. I very much enjoy reading it and am excited when I see it hit my inbox, each time. Happy New Year!


  3. Hallo, Hallo Adam,

    You were able to post yours before December closed – I attempted to do the same this year myself, however, the hours just evaporated off the clock. Unlilke you though, I counted 2020 as one of the worst years for my focus on books & reading – I was grateful for blog tours and opportunities to engage with authors in a different way throughout 2020 than through reading – those conversations and guest posts or features were amongst my top favourites I’ve hosted overall as a book blogger. Especially as I developed a way to respin my favourite memes and curate a new way of offering guest posts to authors, too.

    I loved hosting #WyrdAndWonder (our 3rd Year) as it allowed me to hone in on an Indie publisher of Speculative Fiction (with a subfocus on Fantasy, of course!) whilst I developed guest features for their authors and read/reviewed two of their novels. I also hosted a self-published Fantasy novelist which carries the torch forward from prior Wyrd And Wonders’ as I like to read and shine a positive light on both Indie pubilshers & press as much as Indie Authors (ie. self published, hybrid, etc).

    One of the best feats of the year I felt was getting through the first cycle of Odin’s journey in “Cycles of Norse Mythology”. I ended the year unable to reconnect into it though and I’m starting 2021 eagerly hopeful to resume before the second month slips past us as I was on such a keenly curious roll with where Odin was taking me on his journey through settings and places which give you a heap of thought about what he was accomplishing and why he was the way he had been. I’ll be following this up this year with listening to Clare Danes narrate “The Odyssey” as that was an Audible purchase a few years back where I liked how she stated it was a more authentic look at the Classic work and through a new lens of interest.

    If you want to see how it all broke down for me – whilst I read less than you did but had a lot of memorable moments along the route of 2020 – you’ll find my End of the Year Survey an enjoyable read. I also listed all the guest features and interviews at the end of it, too.

    I wasn’t sure which stories/genres I read in 2020 would interest you but as we both have a mutual love of Classics and ways in which the Classics can become retold, I wanted to highlight those readings and discoveries with you. I went into a lot of detail why Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody made me mad – I am equally curious about what left you resolutely aggrieved by A Promised Land. Will await your review!

    Liked by 1 person

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