My ten favourites of 2020.

10 Books That Made 2020 Bearable

From Beloved to A Theory of Justice — and everything in between.

Ernesta Orlovaitė
Published in
10 min readDec 31, 2020

This year sucked. So I read — to forget the mess we are in, the mess we made while trying to get out, and the mess that is surely yet to come. Some of the 58 books I read in 2020 also sucked. Candide by Voltaire was ridiculous, and not in the positive sense of the word. The most fun I had while reading the widely-acclaimed classical parody was when it finally ended. Startide Rising by David Brin has the dubious honour of being the only book I have ever thrown away. I developed a six-pack from all the cringing, and the juvenile fantasies of masturbating dolphins will remain forever etched into my brain.

But I also read books that changed my mind, broke my heart, and, most importantly, induced temporary amnesia — I wouldn’t have survived 2020 otherwise. Here are my ten¹ favourites.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Toni Morrison.

Dark, supernatural, unforgiving and unforgivable. The horror of slavery expressed so eloquently, every sentence hurting like I’ve never hurt before. Slavery is unknowable except to those who were enslaved. But Beloved gave me a glimpse, and that glimpse will haunt me forever.

Beautifully written, freely flowing, poetic… and gut-wrenching.

She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz.

What a story. Yes, it’s about a boy who’d like to kiss a girl… Any girl. But it’s also about being a nerd and an aspiring writer and a horny adolescent. It’s about being disastrously overweight and pathologically shy and yet unquestionably Dominican. And it’s about being cursed. Cursed like your sister, your mother, your mother’s mother. Cursed like the Dominican Republic, crumbling under the weight of Rafael Trujillo, a savage, cruel…



Ernesta Orlovaitė

Bookworm (but I sometimes go on real adventures) · Obsessive thinker · Inconsistent writer · “You live and learn. At any rate, you live.” — Douglas Adams