• James Hewlett

2020 Books

My reading took a big hit this year from when I was furloughed for a few months. As I’ve written about a bunch, I devour books on audible all the time when I’m driving but as I wasn’t really going anywhere I wasn’t doing much listening.

I did read a couple of physical books in that time though, but much slower than if I’d being listening to others.

Here’s a list of what I got through this year. Probably the shortest in the last six years.

I’m not going to put these in order of when I released, I think I’ll do Star Wars, other fiction and non-fiction.

I decided this year, that for the first time since the canon reset I wasn’t going to read all the released Star Wars novels and would be a bit choosier. I still read most though.

The Rise of Skywalker novelisation was an enjoyable expansion on a movie I love despite all its flaws.

Doctor Aphra was an audio book original performed like a radio play. It both retold the characters origins from the comic books of the last few years and told an original story at once. I enjoyed it and expect the character to be used more and more. She’s basically Indiana Jones in Star Wars.

Shadows Fall was the second Alphabet Squadron book and continues to prove that Alexander Freed is writing the best star wars books out there at the moment. He brings a higher degree of storytelling then many others and this series is gut wrenching. This middle chapter in the trilogy is brutal.

From A Certain Point Of View: Empire Strikes back was the last book I finished this year and followed the once from three years ago about A New Hope. It follows the timeline of the movie retelling it from side, background and peripheral characters perspectives. Each short story is its own thing and some were better than others but they’re all a bit of fun. I really enjoyed the Yoda one.

As for other fiction, there wasn’t masses. I mentioned up too that I read a couple of physical books during the lockdown so I’ll start with them.

Altered Carbon was the novel that inspired the Netflix show of the same name. I loved the cyberpunk look of the show and tried watching it a couple of times but didn’t really like it but could tell there was something there. So I read the source material and really enjoyed it.

The Rise of Kyoshi is the second novel in the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe, following a previous incarnation of the Avatar. It’s fucking fantastic!

Ready Player Two came out about a decade after the first book had become a big hit and adapted into a blockbuster movie. I really enjoyed the first one when I first read it so was always going to check out the sequel. It was fine. I had some fun with it, but I think both books are a bit more problematic and just not as good now. If you like the first one you’ll like this though.

Real Town Murders is a book I picked up a couple of years ago and got about a quarter through before being distracted by something else. I always hate it when that happens and feel the need to go back. This was an interesting near futuristic murder mystery set around Reading and other outer London areas. It was alright. The premise and set up of the mystery was better than the resolution.

Recursion was a book I read because a couple of years ago I really enjoyed Blake Crouch’s novel Dark Matter. It was about people experiencing false memories and a mystery around that. I read this early in the year and am struggling to remember too many details now other than I really enjoyed it. I feel like that happened with his other book too.

I’m looking at my list and am amazed I only read two non-fiction books this year. It’s honestly making me think I’m forgetting some, but apparently this was it.

The Beastie Boys Book was a lovely and really fun account of the career of this trio told on alternating chapters by the two surviving memories. The whole thing feels like a loving tribute to the late Adam Yauch. It’s a fascinating look through the music industry from the early eighties until the late two thousands from three guys who always wanted to do whatever they wanted.

The Young Bucks was a very similar book actually, but looking at the pro wrestling industry from the eyes of brothers and tag team partners Matt & Nick Jackson. I wrote about this fairly recently so I won’t go into detail but it was fun and full of interesting stories.

And that’s it, apparently that’s all I read this year.

I got distracted writing this so it’s up late. I’ll try and get my NYE post out before midnight. Later.


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