December 2020 Book Review Roundup!

Here are all the books I’ve read this month, and what I thought about them. It’s a bit of an eclectic list, but my philosophy is that writers should read broadly, deeply, and frequently.

  • Literally every Avatar: The Last Airbender comic
    • I had a lot of fun reading these comics in one long night. I’m a huge fan of the worldbuilding in Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I’m not going to lie, the nostalgia factor played a huge role in my enjoyment of these continuation comics. While nothing could ever live up to the original show, these comics showed our favorite characters on their journeys in the years after the show and help provide some linkage between the original show and The Legend of Korra, the sequel show. Recommended for fans of the Avatar universe!
  • A History of the World in 10½ Chapters by Julian Barnes
    • This was a really fascinating read, recommended to me by my parents. Somewhere between a novel and a collection of intertwined short stories, this postmodern text explores what it means to be human through the lenses of religion, history, art, premonition, and apocalypse, among others. My favorite section was the half-chapter “Parenthesis,” written as an essay that never quite clarifies whether the speaker is the author or another contrived character. This meditation on the importance of love to counteract the pull of dry history is one of the best texts I’ve read all year.
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (reread)
    • This is truly one of my favorite books of all time, and upon reread it holds up to my first read of it. It is in turn devastating, charming, bizarre, and hilarious, and above all crafted with the utmost care. The masterful interweaving of real historical excerpts with narratives from the fictional shades in the Bardo is awe-inspiring. Especially since my upcoming novel project is a meditation on death and its psychological impact on living cultures, this was a timely reread. This book may not be for everyone, and can be a little hard to follow at first due to the chorus of voices who narrate, but it’s one of those books that reminds me why I write.

That’s it for me this month! December was not my most eventful month of reading, as I was coming down from the stress of the fall semester and planning for a more exciting 2021. That being said, I’m still quite happy with the books I did read! What books did you read in December? Do you have any recommendations? Feel free to drop them below in the comments!

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