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The Annual Bookend: Volume 3 (2020)

3 January 2021
The Annual Bookend: Volume 3 (2020) Book Cover The Annual Bookend: Volume 3 (2020)
Annual Review
Peter Donnelly
The Reading Desk
January 1 2021

Now on the third year of writing an annual recap, what I appreciate is the opportunity to share favourite books and recommendations with my wonderful online network, plus the opportunity to highlight those moments that make this platform such a joy.

A Tonic

In the year of THE pandemic, we have all suffered in some respect and witnessed many changes in our daily lives, some useful but often demanding and challenging. Reading has always been one of those escapes for me and never was that more important than in this year. It is necessary to find a place of normality, reassuring, entertaining and informative – reading, of course, is such a rewarding experience.

Quite surprisingly the lockdowns resulted in me having less time to read than expected and my engagement on Twitter was significantly reduced for much of the year. My TBR list became another casualty of COVID-19 (not to demean the real personal losses due to the virus).

For many years I have maintained an all-time Top 10, which inevitably means that to make it onto the list, requires unseating a special book. This year two books managed to do that; Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Two highly highly recommended novels that I would encourage everyone to read. Best to consider the backdrop before starting each. I find it informative and fascinating to reflect on everyone’s top books for 2020 and I hope you find my Top 10 list for 2020 as helpful:

  1. A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles
  2. Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
  3. Big Lies in a Small Town – Diane Chamberlain
  4. The Minotaur’s Son – Kevin Ansbro
  5. The Curator – Mike Craven
  6. A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom – John Boyne
  7. Strange Flowers – Donal Ryan
  8. The Nothing Man – Catherine Ryan Howard
  9. Anxious People – Fredrik Backman
  10. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

Reflecting on my book list of 2020, I realised that I have read over 100 books and in genres including literary fiction, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, Sci-Fi, fantasy, thrillers, crime mysteries, young adult, humour, horror, dystopian fiction, women’s fiction, short stories, poetry, business, and nonfiction.

Thank you to all the publishers and authors who have contacted me to review their books, I sincerely thank you for the trust and recognition you have shown. My only regret is that it is humanly impossible to read all the books that have been requested and I apologise to all those I couldn’t help or who are still waiting.

The friends I met and shared a bookish chat with are too numerous to list, but I thank you ALL for your interactions and I look forward to continuing our book adventures next year. Many of you have inspired me, shared more than book interests with me, and joined me on Buddy reads. It is also worth a shout out to help support Indie authors and give feedback to those that need our support in their self-publishing efforts

My best wishes to you all for a healthy, safe, and peaceful 2021, and may your year be filled with writing and reading 5-star books.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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