Posted in Books, Reading

Vic’s Top Ten Books from 2020

2020 was a shit year for me, for almost everything except for reading. I blew right by my goal of reading 75 books and ended the year having enjoyed 86. You can see everything I read and rated here but perhaps more interesting is my list of the ten best.

  1. Hollywood Park: A Memoir by Mickel Jollette: I only read this one because my book group (LONG LIVE QUITTERS CLUB!) picked it but I’m so glad I did. It was pitched as a cult memoir, and it is to some extent, but it’s even better when Jollette, the lead singer of Airborne Toxic Event, starts talking about the complicated process of forgiving your family and about how the best music is both terribly personal and universal.
  2. Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth by Dan Richards: What a great read in a year so many of us spent stuck inside. Dan travels to the very corners of the world and writes eloquently about those wild experiences. I particularly loved the bits about fire towers in remote Washington State.
  3. Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui: Perhaps it’s because I was so obsessed with swimming this year, but I really enjoyed this memoir/history of swimming around the world.
  4. Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker: Fascinating account of one family bearing the burden of six of its twelve children suffering from schizophrenia sharing not only how that affected the family but how it helped advance the science of treating this devastating disorder.
  5. Untamed by Glennon Doyle: I want to be too cool to love Doyle but I’m just not. She talks about her feminism, her religion and her family in a way that I’ve never seen anyone else, and I aspire to her honesty.
  6. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan: Let’s just say I’m now obsessed with doing mushrooms. Great read.
  7. Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby: She’s funny and she’s kind of into being gross and I love everything this woman writes. Fantastic essays.
  8. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh: This is Brosh’s second book and as soon as I finished this one I went back and re-read the first. She’s got this amazing knack of being funny and poignant and her ridiculously simple illustrations couldn’t be more perfect.
  9. All Adults Here by Emma Straub: I love novels with imperfect families who find ways to still love each other and this is a really good one.
  10. Afterlife by Julia Alvarez: This is the first book I’ve read by Alvarez and I’m so happy to have such a big backlist to dig into now that I know she’s so wonderful. This is a good one if you’re feeling like the world is too polarized for us to ever fix it. Maybe one person at a time is a good approach.

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