Tuesday, January 12, 2021


Strange to reflect, as we say farewell to the past year, on how many iconic "futuristic" years I've lived through: 1984, 2001 and...

...if short-lived '70s-era Hanna-Barbera cartoon show titles count as iconic, 2020. I doubt I'll make it to The Year 2525 of which Zager and Evans so memorably sang, at least in my current incarnation.

Anyway, here's one more list for January; my books for 2020. Even granting that it doesn't count short stories, articles, blog posts, poems, comic books, shopping lists, factory warranties, skywriting, banners towed behind airplanes etc etc, it's disgracefully short; I'm a ploddingly slow reader, and there are a couple of longish ones on there, at least by my standards, like Death's End, part three of Cixin Liu's astonishing Three-Body trilogy, and David Mitchell's Utopia Avenue.

Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman

Wild Wives by Charles Willeford

The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Apropos of Nothing by Woody Allen

Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother by Barry Sonnenfeld

Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie

Death’s End by Cixin Lui

Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

I didn't include it on this list, because I was only about halfway through it on New Year's Eve, but in December I also finally cracked a book I've put off for a long time, Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year, his 1722 chronicle of the 1665 Great Plague of London.

As you might guess, there's plenty about 1665 that's perfectly recognizable in 2020, although the response of the city's government, as described by Defoe, puts this country's federal response utterly to shame. But it's also instructive reading for anyone who thinks that 2020 was the worst possible year.


  1. The only book that I've read that is on your list is the Michelle Obama book, which I enjoyed. I think you might like Barack's book too. Very interesting read. I'll have to check out the plague book, thanks for the recommendation! Love from SF!

  2. Michelle Obama's book was well-written and blessedly unsentimental, and it made me like her even more than I already did; "Plague Year" is a pretty rough read at times. Love to SF from Phnx!