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2020 reading, watching

It’s the end of 2020! Goodbye, good riddance. 

Two — no, three — nice things happened before lockdown in March. First, I turned 60 in January and had a fun dance party with friends and family. That would be the last carefree time of the year. At the end of January, we got a puppy. His name is Ziggy. He is a very beautiful English Cocker Spaniel. He’s willful but sweet. It’s nice to have a dog again. Finally, beginning in January, work began on our new kitchen. It had been a year’s worth of planning, measuring, purchasing. Work finished just as lockdown began. 

I don’t want to sound tone deaf. I know that many are suffering because of the pandemic. One of my sons is a fashion photographer in New York; that industry shut down. He was fortunate to find work as a carpenter. Too, he had Covid in March. We spoke to him nightly but worried terribly, as he had very high fevers that left him hallucinating. Too, it took him weeks to feel well again. 

I’m grateful for the roof over our head, neighborhood grocers, Zoom yoga, distance cocktails this summer, long walks along the lakefront with friends. 

One plus of going nowhere is the amount of writing and reading and watching and drawing/painting I’ve done. Also, piano playing. 

My favorite new-ish eads of the year are these, in the order I read them.

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, by Patrick Radden Keefe

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker 

Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars. by Joyce Carol Oates

My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli

The Equivalents: A Story of Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s, by Maggie Doherty

A Burning, by Megha Majumdar

What Happens at Night, by Peter Cameron

Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell

Just Like Us, by Nick Hornby

The Lying Life of Adults, by Elena Ferrante 

Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction, by David Enrich

Squeeze Me, by Carl Hiaasen

The Undying, by Anne Boyer

Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart 

I wanted to love Don DeLillo’s The Silence, but did not…

These are my favorite “old” books I read this year, and recommend:

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith (1948)

A Feather on the Breath of God, by Sigrid Nunez (1995)

The Ordinary Seaman, by Francisco Goldman (1998)

The Stories of Alice Adams, by Alice Adams (2002)

The Manor (1967) and The Estate (1969), by I.B. Singer 

Reviews of all books, above, can be found at www.annemoore.net

This was a year we needed to laugh. Schitt’s Creek (I know, I’m late to the party) makes us howl. Yes, the first few episodes are not great. Get through those, and you’ll be hooked. We’re watching Bridgerton, a steamy mashup of Gossip Girl and a Jane Austen novel. It’s fab. I watched The Undoing and wish I hadn’t, but if you need a New York City glam fix, it’s your show. Haven’t finished but liking The Queen’s Gambit. Skip Industry – it’s ridiculous. I loved I Know This Much is True, even though it’s heartbreaking. Fourth season of The Crown, yes yes yes. I loved every single minute of Mrs. America for its story, acting, fashion. Unorthodox had me on the edge of my seat. 

Here’s to a better new year.

Also in the blog

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It’s so satisfying to be in the hands of a seasoned storyteller. In a row, I read three newly published novels written by authors who have been winning prizes and selling boatloads of books for decades. What sets their work apart? The art of storytelling: what to show, what to hold back. Dialogue, description, pace.

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