My Year in Books – 2020, Lockdown and the Struggle to Read

Looking at my Goodreads annual summary of my reading is always of interest to me. I love looking back at what I have read over the year, looking over my reviews, especially ones that I wrote earlier in the year. Anyone who has ever heard me talk about books knows that my test of a good book is how well I remember it a year later.

Yet this year was a tricky one for reading. I read fewer books than what I had the year before, despite have a bit more time… well, a lot more time… because of lockdown.

I should have read more during that time, but I found myself unable to find comfort in a book. I was unable to settle in to any book, and I couldn’t let go of the real world enough to lose myself in a book, which was always one of my favourite things to do for about as long as I can remember. I just couldn’t read.

This all changed when I came across The Doll Factory. As my review reminded me, there is redemption, there is love, there is history, there is drama. There is everything I need in a book to love it. It was a joyful read.

So here it is, my year in books:

It is interesting that both my longest and shortest book of the year were both published by independent publisher Galley Beggar Press. I’m also pleased to see a good mix of genres, books that were for my academic work, as well as those I indulged in just for pleasure. Books that I had read for the second or third time, as well as those I keep going back to for the comfort they bring. There are also the books that I have written about or given papers on, including my first ever blogpost for the Dickens Society:

But what it comes down to, for me, is that books enrich my life, and provide something intangible, immeasurable, and undefinable for me. I cannot imagine my life without books in it. I cannot imagine not being able to pick up a book, feel the weight of it sit in my hands, as I turn the pages and immerse myself in another world, another time, or another life.

I may not have read as many books as I could have done. But as the ground shifted under my feet in the midst of lockdown, when all certainty in life as we had known it was stripped away, it was books that provided an anchor for me to cling to.

I might get one or two more books in before the year is out. But if I don’t, 2021, and all the bookish delights it will offer, await.

Published by Deborah Siddoway

Dickens enthusiast, book lover, wine drinker, writer, lover of all things Victorian, and happily divorced mother of two lovely (and very tall) boys.

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