Gaining Perspective(s): The 64 Books I Read in 2020

Jake Christie
12 min readJan 9, 2021

2020 was a weird year — or, if not weird, then definitely different.

In some ways, this difference was actually good (see: an overdue national conversation about police violence and white supremacy; the impeachment and subsequent voting-out of a terrible president). But I imagine we’ll look back on 2020 overwhelmingly as a Year of Bad.

I felt this badness – a sense of desperation, of hopelessness, or dread mixed with boredom – creep into my reading habits. I’ve made it a goal over the last few years to really increase the number of books I read, and despite spending a lot of 2020 at home, I seemed to be finding less time to read this year. Too much time doom-scrolling and sheltering-in-place mere feet from my Xbox, perhaps. I started multiple books that I abandoned or set aside for later, and often went days at a time without cracking a book open.

Despite this, reading was a balm, and provided some of the purest relief I felt throughout the year. And I did manage to increase my book “total” for the third year in a row — from 19 books in 2018, to 60 books in 2019, to 64 books in 2020.*

And the books I read were, by and large, really good! When I did put in the time to read, it was restorative, fulfilling and educational. I was hoping the strange year and time at home would add more…