I didn’t read much in 2020

Aside from the books I was editing, I read very little compared to earlier years. However, I can tell you that The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow took my breath away, and I recommend it to everyone who asks (and even those who don’t). It’s a stunningly beautiful story with magic and emotion and heart, and I wish I could go back and read it for the first time. I can’t, but you can.

I also read the entire Malus Domestica series by my friend S. A. Hunt: Burn the Dark, I Come with Knives, and The Hellion. I’d read the first one in its first form way back in (I won’t say how long ago). If contemporary urban horror fantasy with witch-hunting punk YouTubers is your thing, here’s your series. And if that’s not your thing? Maybe reconsider your life choices.

Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers was my first “pandemic read.” Perhaps not the best choice for some, but for me it was perfect. The White Mask plague isn’t COVID-19. We’re not dealing with “sleepwalkers.” We are, however, dealing with governmental ineptitude and corruption at levels never before imagined, and with hate groups who fear nothing, and with many other aspects of the story Chuck wove. Recommended if you’re one of those whose anxiety is not made worse by reading about what’s essentially a parallel now.

Same goes for Mira Grant’s (Seanan McGuire’s) original Newsflesh trilogy: Feed, Deadline, and Blackout, available in one volume as The Rising. Here be zombies and some of the best fiction about virology I have ever devoured. (And I just realized I never got the fourth, Feedback, an oversight I have also just remedied.)

More Mira Grant: Her horror books about mermaids blew me away. Rolling in the Deep and Into the Drowning Deep are must-reads if you want biologically plausible merfolk. And if you don’t mind being scared out of your skin.

One more, very different from the rest: Real Life by Brandon Taylor. Heartfelt, moving, emotionally raw, realistic. I knew some of these people in college. I think maybe most of us did.

So, it seems I read more than I thought I did. Eleven books. Not my usual total for a year, but under the circumstances? I did damn good.

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