Previous reading list posts
Books, Audiobooks & Long-form Reads
2020 was the year of dashed hopes for a large reading list. Even the 6-10 books I managed to get through were a struggle, but here are the ones I enjoyed the most:
1. The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia
The lovingly read audiobook for The Murmur of Bees kept me company through trains in Portugal and was somehow poignantly fitting to the spareness and warmth of Portugal. The unexpected protagonist of the story is such a remarkable character that he stays with you well past the reading of the book. And, one of the more significant plot points leads the characters through the Spanish Flu in Mexico. I read this book earlier in 2020 before the events that followed, and was reminded of it often as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded across the globe.
2. The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The biology textbook I never had growing up. This book opened my eyes to DNA as a programmable vehicle that is both constant and evolving. Highly recommended.
3. The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Though the narrative flags sometimes, this book conveys the strong spirit of the main character, Mma Ramotswe, and the pace of life of Botswana while Mma. Ramotse solves several smaller and larger private detective sub-plots.
4. The School of Life: An Emotional Education by The School of Life, Alain de Botton
Somehow both a challenging and deeply timely book for what 2020 turned out to be.
5. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Although not quite relevant to day-to-day business writing, definitely a well-written and useful reference book for long-form non-fiction writing.
6. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Reading about writing seems to be a favorite pastime of mine, but it is such a treat to read about the process of writing from remarkable storytellers. Anne Lamott’s telling of her writing process is moving and humorous and memorable. Especially the titular anecdote. Highly recommended.