General reading/book thread for 2020

Saw a few people posting about strorygraph as a non amazon affiliated version of Goodreads. Thibk it also important Goodreads data

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@anon24576931 started a thread on this. It looks pretty decent and importing data from goodreads was really easy. Lots of extra stats on there too which I like!


I did a blogpost roundup of my 2020 reading

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What did you think of The Glass Hotel? I absolutely inhaled it and got lost in it and yet didn’t think the story was that strong? It tried to do a lot, and I found myself wanting her to focus on other strands of the story rather than the Ponzi scheme man in prison

I really liked it, although I’m not totally sure if the way I read it (very piecemeal on a laptop while I should have been working) made it seem better than it was.

I was really underwhelmed by Station Eleven but I think the dream-like, floaty style she writes with really suited Glass Hotel including all the Ponzi dreams/ memories.

The Counterlife - Philip Roth

Outside of American Pastoral, this has become my favourite Zuckerman novel from Roth’s alter ego collection. On a structural level I really enjoyed its unique, non-linear, multi-narrative devices to mirror life’s constant revisionism and plans gone awry nature, and as a novel deconstructing the novel itself. The way its main protagonists were allowed to break the fourth wall to question Zuckerman/Roth’s relationship with his art/motivations/audience/himself was equally engrossing too. Thematically I really enjoyed his multiple-themed exploration/psychoanalyse (?) of the Jewish psyche ranging from self-doubt to external antipathy to family/internal expectations to Israel schizophrenia - both imagined vicariously from outside and realised from within - to polite, English dinner party anti-Semitism. It’s so hard to fully comprehend what is fiction and what is reality and vice versa, the blurred line between who Zuckerman is and where he ends and who Roth is and where he begins, and that is what I love so much about Roth’s work as a whole and The Counterlife really epitomises that.

Now onto The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories

Tanizaki, Mishima, Soseki, Kono, Yoshimoto, Kawabata, Murakami, Tsushima, Nakagami et al…

I think I’ve just come in my pants in anticipation!

Excited to see Matt Wesolowski on your list! Never hear anyone mention him but I got one of his in paperback from a book subscription and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Think he’s a pretty solid writer especially, as you say, in the 99p ebook category.

I have a Kobo ereader because normally I travel a lot for work, and didn’t want to be tied in to Amazon. Their ebook shop is actually pretty good (and simple- it’s only ebooks). They have a 99p or £1.99 book of the day, and they had the series one week, with a different part each day. I’d never heard of him before that, but I took the 99p punt and was impressed.

Ooh there’s a new one

(Also if anyone isn’t a member of that site and want to join up, I’ve got a reference code where we each get £3 to spend, so send me a message)

I liked that Annalee Newitz book a lot. Another good recent SF novel about rock n roll is Sarah Pinsker’s A Song For A New Day. It was published in 2019 and is set in a future dystopia where live music is basically non-existent because of a pandemic and people’s lives are largely spent online in a virtual landscape dominated by a monolithic internet firm. Completely implausible.


The end of the Newitz book definitely felt like there was going to be a sequel.

Thanks for the rec- I’ll check it out. I also have a book about the 1918 flu pandemic on my t read list…

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Are we starting a 2021 thread or just updating the title?

I started Quarantine by Jim Crace yesterday for book club.

This sounds like a really interesting read. I’ve only read The Plot Against America, which was great, but I was practically reading it through my fingers by the end. I’m definitely reading a few more of his this year.

I wish I had held out for a Kobo. My wife got me a super cheap refurbished kindle for Christmas a few years back.

Are we sticking with this thread this year?

Am just under halfway through Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.

Is the plot just the Casa Bonita episode of South Park?

  • Stick with this thread and update title
  • New year, new thread

0 voters


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Should probably get one of the @moderators to lock this one now so we don’t habe two threads going for ages like last time.

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