Looking In The Rear View Mirror: 2020 is in the books and on the screen

In a break from my norm of writing on various adventures, I decided to review what I read and watched in 2020. Believe it not, I do other activities besides hiking and drinking craft beers after hiking. I’ll be jumping back to some outdoor things but first some books and shows worthy of mention that were read and viewed in a Covid world by yours truly.

Over the years my neighbor Andy and I have been sharing books to read that we have found at multiple yard sales and thrift stores etc. This has turned into an informal book club as we have passed books back and forth and now include my mother in law Carol and my daughter Jordyn. Then our friend Conrad starting adding books to the mix and it has been lots of fun as we like many of the same authors and types of stories. This year was quite significant due to lack of work.

Since I became furloughed (unemployed) due to Covid shutdowns on travel on March 13 I vastly increased my reading of books from previous years. I’ve always been a reader but this year was a record breaker for me. I finished 53 books, mainly reading fiction as an escape from reality. I discovered some new authors that I hadn’t read before and now look for their books at yard sales and thrift stores, C. J. Box (Joe Pickett stories), Craig Johnson (Longmire). My Top 10 list of books read are not from what was released in 2020 but books that I picked up along the way and read so here are my favorites and in no particular order.

  1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, 2017. Excellent book looking at life in Shaker Heights, Ohio an elite community and was turned into a great Hulu TV show with Reese Witherspoon.
  2. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, 2016. Excellent memoir of Mr. Vance and the plight of the Kentucky Hillbillies that had landed in Middletown Ohio. The book was made into an excellent Netflix movie this year with Amy Adams and Glen Close.
  3. A Death In Live Oak by James Grippando, 2018. Great book about race relations that involves a hanging and is a timely read. Grippando is a great writer with stories that are relevant and relatable. Legal, action fiction.
  4. The Wife Between Us, by Hendricks and Pekkanen. 2018. Great thriller that was bought for movie rights. Very twisty and hard to put down.
  5. The Woman In The Window by A. J. Finn, 2018. This has been made into a movie with no release date but rumored to be acquired by Netflix and stars Amy Adams who was terrific in Hillbilly Elegy.
  6. The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter, 2017. Great stuff.
  7. The Guardians by John Grisham, 2019. Explores a black man wrongfully convicted for murder. Great timely read.
  8. The Poet by Michael Connelly, 1996. This was a reread for me. A classic crime novel that has you reading late into the night.
  9. Blue Heaven by C. J. Box, 2008. A standalone novel that won the Edgar Award. Cops gone bad in Idaho. Great escape thriller. Movie rights were sold and still waiting on a movie.
  10. The Perfect Mother by Aimee Malloy, 2018. Another book that has many twists and turns. Movie rights were obtained on this one as well.

2020 was also a year that I upped my consumption of tv by watching various shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO Max. My favorites for the year included binge watching many shows and are not listed in any particular order.

  1. Bosch on Amazon Prime. I have always loved Harry Bosch books by Michael Connelly and this is an excellent gritty series. Season 7 coming in 2021 which will be the final season. Rewatched all the seasons.
  2. The Sinner on Netflix. Originally on USA Network. Two seasons. Great mystery show.
  3. Reckoning Netflix Suspenseful and only one season
  4. Little Fires Everywhere Hulu Reese Witherspoon is great.
  5. Big Little Lies HBO Max Great all star cast and two seasons.
  6. Ozark Netflix Three seasons with another one coming. Didn’t think I would like it but I did.
  7. Bordertown Netflix from Finland. Three seasons. Gritty watched based on a recommendation from Aunt Em. Loved it.
  8. Rectify Netflix Four seasons and from Sundance. Very interesting. Starring Aden Young. He was great in Reckoning and great here as well.
  9. Chernobyl HBO Max. Great miniseries about the 1986 Nuclear disaster.
  10. Succession HBO Max Two seasons and hoping for another.

Watched many others that are worthy of binge watching but there was only room for ten so these are my top 10 for the year. Once again, they aren’t necessarily new in 2020 but they were what I enjoyed in 2020.

Up next will be my year in review staying active in tough times.

About timfruth

Longtime public educator who recently retired from public education. Messed around in politics as a town councilor and vice mayor. I am a father and a husband who drives a shuttle van for the retirement gig. Love the outdoors and rapidly adjusting to a new me.
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