December Reflectons 20: Best Book of 2020

If asked, I would shamefully have admitted to having read virtually nothing this year. I picked up a book a couple of nights ago and am thoroughly enjoying it. My tendency is always to believe that my latest book is the best that I have read in the year and this time I honestly believed that it had to be. No other contenders.

Yet that is not what Goodreads tell me. I seem to have had a fit of Update Fever early this year and those records remind me that I spent time scouring the swap shelves on campsites last year and actually read a good deal whilst we were away from home.

Current Reading: All Points North by Simon Armitage. Tempting to nominate that as I am having a good time with it.


Wool by Hugh Howey, the full omnibus edition, not the initial short story. Found, I think, in Alcossebre in November 2019. I read it in December and dropped it on a shelf at Sagres when I was done with it.

But not just Wool. It’s a trilogy and Shift and Dust soon followed. I think I probably was reading them right into 2020 but it’s close enough for me to count for our purposes today, I think.

Dystopian Sci-Fi is a bad habit of mine. These books were always going to appeal and I am so happy to have found Wool.

Wool was by far the best of the trilogy but the whole was worth reading.

There are some really poor reviews of Wool but I find it difficult to agree with them. I am a very picky reader and most likely to give up on a poorly written work. The fact that I read three hefty volumes says to me that it’s not as poorly written as some poseurs would have one believe.

What I most remember being left with after reading these books is an appreciation of how well this claustrophobic universe is constructed and the thought processes that went into that. There are some things that remain unexplained and are left for the reader to appreciate. Specifically, the value of paper. Toilet cleansing is done with a water hose… It’s a jigsaw to be pieced together but we are not treated as simpletons nor led by the hand to join up the dots. It’s just there. There’s more. Perhaps some don’t see those layers. (Sorry for mixing my similes.)

Clearly I had a reading orgy over the winter but it has been a dry year since then and I am very happy indeed to have a book in my hand again, even if only a Kindle copy. I hope that I can keep it going. It would be easier if I could obtain some new spectacles! I like to get lost in a book for hours and feel frustrated that my eyes make me give up after twenty minutes. I curse the Lockdown.

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