Literary Adventures of 2020

2020, it’s enough! Let’s move on!

That’s how I feel on this last day of an extremely challenging year. No matter how many cups of relaxing tea I’ve been drinking, the stress and anxiety were real. I cannot lie, some beautiful things happened as well, but it was very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t get me wrong: I know that nothing will magically change when the clock hits midnight, but I think that we have changed a lot along this year. And books played an important role in this process.

When days were depressing or boring I enjoyed taking a break and traveling to another world of words through books. Therefore, here is a list with the best “trips” taken in 2020:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

One of the best books I read in the last few years, so beautiful that even after a year I still get goosebumps thinking about it. Two stories that couldn’t be more different but which find unexpected ways to intertwine in the context of WWII. The characters- two brave children- and their incredible fates will move even the coldest hearts.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

For those of you who have’t read anything by Donna Tartt, you’d better hurry to the nearest bookshop. She is one of the most talented contemporary writers and her books clearly deserve attention. The Secret History is the first one I read and finished in 3 days, despite its huge number of pages. Her words simply float to your mind. You cannot stop reading this book: in a way it carries that dark academia atmosphere, in another it presents characters that captivate and shock. However, due to the size of the novel, you might not feel your hands after a while, so the Kindle version is a smart option.

Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo

This novel had a huge influence on me while I was reading it. I couldn’t get out of that world even when the covers were firmly closed. Fate, tragedy, love, beautiful architecture- they all bring to life an incredible book. With Hugo’s descriptions, the cathedral seemed to breath, to take part in the story, to be the most important character. In one word: a masterpiece.

Ariel by Sylvia Plath

I fell in love with Sylvia Plath’s books after reading The Bell Jar, but this collection of poems is very special for me. In fact, I believe that her poetry is the only one that truly spoke to me. I am not a poetry aficionado; nevertheless, this book seems to be a lifelong companion.

Sula by Toni Morrison

A friend of mine recommended Sula, but I had a hard time finding it. When I saw it in my university’s library, I knew it would make a great read. It is the first book I’ve read by this author and it surpassed all my expectations. A story about friendship and not only, even better than the one in My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, which was also great.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I must admit, it’s a bit weird that I read two huge books by Donna Tartt this year, but I can’t help it. They are so captivating! In this novel, the focus is on this surprising painting, the Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius and the way it decides the life of a young boy, Theo Decker. The story is really fascinating, even though it is altered with long descriptive moments. Some may say that these descriptions tend to be boring (some do). In my opinion, they bring that special element which charms the reader. I recommend the movie as well, even though it is not as impressing as the novel.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I haven’t finish the novel yet; still, I’m glad that I can enjoy it in 2021 as well. It’s a great literary start. This book confirms the fact that nothing compares to Russian literature. It is so profound and it penetrates the human soul, unveiling all its secrets. Besides the tragic love story, Anna Karenina makes you ponder and question the nature of one’s heart, what love means, how it can affect one’s life.

One of my all time favorites.

If you want to see the story from a different point of view, I recommend Anna K. by Jenny Lee, a book that brings a contemporary twist to the best love story ever.

2020 it’s almost over and it’s time to figure out what to read next year.

Let’s hope for the best!

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