Mario Villalobos

Do these books spark joy?

Year in Reading: 2020

  • Journal

I read 17 books this year. For me that’s low, but 2020, by all measures, wasn’t a normal year. I struggled with attention and focus, and there were months when I didn’t read a single page. But I’m proud I read anything at all.

My favorite fiction book of the year was Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Last year I read 1Q84 and fell in love with Murakami’s style immediately. The same went for Kafka on the Shore. I love how he tells stories, and I want to read the rest of his bibliography in the coming years.

My favorite non-fiction book of the year was Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I just finished reading it a few minutes ago, but I knew from the beginning that I would love it. I haven’t read many biographies, but I loved this one. I’m an American and I love the story and the promise of America, and Alexander Hamilton embodied all of it.

Other books I loved this year were The Expanse series of books by James S.A. Corey and Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. Both influenced my year in different ways and made living through this hectic year better.

  • Death’s End by Cixin Liu
  • Lost Connections by Johann Hari
  • The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs
  • Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing by Marie Kondo
  • Killing Floor by Lee Child
  • The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker
  • The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
  • Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
  • The Lonely City by Olivia Laing
  • Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
  • Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey
  • Severance by Ling Ma
  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  • The Deficit Myth by Stephanie Kelton
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow