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Books of 2020

2020 was, of course, a very strange year. In the first few months of the year, I was still going to the SFPL Main on a weekly basis for books and I typically picked up a random assortment of non-fiction that caught my eye. With the start of the pandemic, the Main closed and my non-fiction reading dried up. Instead, inspired by Literature and History, I embarked on a still-ongoing journey through the “classics”, many of which I bought on then-new Bookshop.org. Later in the year, the Main reopened, causing me to shift to more literary fiction and fantasy, notably deciding to read the entirey of The Chronicles of Narnia.

  1. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman
  2. This Is How You Lose The Time War, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  3. Maoism: A Global History, Julia Lovell
  4. A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps: Volume 1 - Classical Philosophy, Peter Adamson
  5. Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs, Camilla Townsend
  6. The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter, Joseph Henrich
  7. The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century, Thant Myint-U
  8. Serve the People!, Yan Lianke (trans. Julia Lovell)
  9. The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat, Stephan Guyenet
  10. Legend of the Condor Heroes #1: A Hero Born, Jin Yong (trans. Anna Holmwood)
  11. Introducing Daoism, Livia Kohn
  12. 🔁 The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
  13. Paradise Lost, John Milton
  14. Did God Have A Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel, William G. Dever
  15. 🔁 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  16. The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary - The Five Books of Moses, (trans. Robert Alter)
  17. Timaeus and Critias, Plato (trans. Robin Waterfield)
  18. The Golden Ass, Apuleius (trans. P.G. Walsh)
  19. Handbook of Chinese Mythology, Yang Lihui, An Deming, and Jessica Anderson Turner
  20. The Iliad, Homer (trans. Caroline Alexander)
  21. 🔁 The Odyssey, Homer (trans. Emily Wilson)
  22. The Trojan Women, Euripides (trans. Emily Wilson)
  23. The Peach Blossom Fan, Kong Shangren (trans. Chen Shih-Hsiang, Harold Acton, and Cyril Birch)
  24. Myths from Mesopotamia (trans. Stephanie Dalley)
  25. Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation - “Making This Life Significant” (trans. Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall)
  26. Helen, Euripides (trans. Emily Wilson)
  27. The Aeneid, Virgil (trans. David Ferry)
  28. Stories from Ancient Canaan (trans. Michael D Coogan and Mark S Smith)
  29. Lysistrata, Aristophanes (trans. Stephen Halliwell)
  30. Metamorphoses, Ovid (trans. A.D. Melville)
  31. Bacchae, Euripides (trans. Emily Wilson)
  32. Prometheus Bound (trans. James Romm)
  33. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh
  34. 🔁 Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Marjane Satrapi
  35. The Divine Comedy, Dante (trans. C.H. Sisson)
  36. A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps: Volume 2 - Philosophy in the Hellenistic & Roman Worlds, Peter Adamson
  37. The Lotus Sutra (trans. Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  38. The Birds, Aristophanes (trans. Stephen Halliwell)
  39. Mistborn: The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson
  40. Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
  41. An Artist of the Floating World, Kazuo Ishiguro
  42. The Lotus Sutra: A Biography, Donald S. Lopez Jr
  43. The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with the Unexplained, Colin Dickey
  44. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  45. Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind, Alan Jacobs
  46. His Dark Materials: Book 1 - The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
  47. Piranesi, Susanna Clarke
  48. The Nine Cloud Dream, Kim Man-jung (trans. Heinz Insu Fenkl)
  49. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
  50. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis
  51. Notes from Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky (trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
  52. The Kiss Quotient, Helen Hoang
  53. Beowulf (trans. Seamus Heaney)
  54. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis