There is no getting around the fact that 2020 was a hard year — for all of us. That includes the obvious pains and griefs associated with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, but it also includes the pains and griefs that went unnoticed. The ones that our disconnected, virtual environments did not allow us to share with the people we otherwise would have.
As I share my yearly recap of the books I read, I’d like to say that reading was an oasis for me in the hard times that came in 2020. Sometimes, it was. But there were also large swaths of the year where I didn’t read. Where I wasn’t productive. Where sometimes it was all I could do to just get out of bed in the morning.
Posts like these can often take on a “look at what I achieved” feel. There are people who read far more than I did this year, and there are those that read less. After finally reaching my goal of 20 books last year, I set out to read 24 books in 2020. I achieved that. But as I look back on the experience, the number itself and even achieving the goal aren’t the highlights.
What I’d rather like to do with this post is tell you that my year ran the gamut, as I’m assuming yours did too. I want to say that’s okay. And I want to encourage you, as much as it may feel contrary now that we are finally in 2021, to take stock of the journey you went on this year. Appreciate those that helped you on your journey. And refresh yourself as we go into a new year.
For me, when it comes to reading, the big impact of 2020 was that I joined a book club with some of my friends from college. It was one of the most encouraging and sustaining experiences I had throughout this difficult year. Over the summer, I joined a second book club that was a 10-week discussion group that opened me up to a new group of friends and become one of the most formative experiences for my thinking and the way in which I engage with the community around me.
So while I achieved the goal I set out for at the beginning of 2020 — to read 24 books — there were many ups and downs along the way. I finished my 24th book at about 9:00 p.m. on December 31, and for much of the final month of the year I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.