My Top 5 TV Shows of 2020

This month I’ve been joining Kim and Tanya of Girlxoxo.com for their annual event A Month of Faves, at least for a few topics and throwing in a few of my own. At the beginning of the month, I posted “My End of Year Bookish Plans.” Two weeks ago, I posted “These are a few of my favorite moments in 2020“, “These are a few of my favorite things (at home) in 2020,” and “These are a few of my favorite (Christmas) things.” Last week, I posted my favorite fiction books read this year and then my favorite nonfiction books read this year. In between those two posts, I threw in my own topic “The Series That Didn’t Stick For Me In 2020,” with series either I read the first one or abandoned in the middle of the first or sometimes second one. Now I finish up with my top 5 TV shows from this year.

This year, five shows stuck out for me, either ones we returned to again and again or ones that were “one-offs” and just fit the mood at the time. My first pick at No. 5 was one of those…

5. Teenage Bounty Hunters, Season 1

Sadly the show has been canceled by Netflix but the first season is worth a watch.

4. Staged, Season 1

This is one of the few shows shot during, and peripherally, about the pandemic that actually was good. And a second season is coming out next week. It also had great cameos as evidenced below (just be warned, it is uncensored).

3. The Last Dance

As a huge Chicago Bulls fan, I looked forwarded to this ESPN documentary when it came out on Netflix and it didn’t disappoint. It also didn’t shy away from a less than flattering portrayal of Michael Jordan, which made it all the more real. Yes, there were some glaring omissions, but all in all, it was worth the watch. I even got my wife, who isn’t into “sportsin'” as she calls it, to watch a few episodes.

2. Schitt’s Creek, Season 6

I won’t lie. I was a latecomer to this show, but once my wife showed me the last episode of the second season, I was all in.

1. What We Do in the Shadows, Season 2

My wife and I both loved the movie, but a TV show based on the movie? YES! That is the answer, especially after this second season, which has seen the vampires, shall I say it? yes, I shall, soar to new heights. Watch the movie and stick with the series.

So what are your favorite shows from this year or ones that you discovered this year? Please share in the comments.

My Top 5 Nonfiction Books Read in 2020

This month I’ve been joining Kim and Tanya of Girlxoxo.com for their annual event A Month of Faves, at least for a few topics. Earlier this month, I posted “My End of Year Bookish Plans.” Last week, I posted “These are a few of my favorite moments in 2020“, “These are a few of my favorite things (at home) in 2020,” and “These are a few of my favorite (Christmas) things.” To learn more about the event, visit Kim and Tanya’s introductory post on the event.

Today’s topic is Part 2 of favorite books that began with Part 1 on Monday. While I could have fit them all in one post, I decided to break my favorites into fiction and nonfiction, starting with fiction Monday and nonfiction today. Yesterday, I threw in my own topic not part of a Month of Faves: The Series That Didn’t Stick For Me In 2020, with series either I read the first one or abandoned in the middle of the first or sometimes second one.

Without further ado, here are my top 5 nonfiction books read in 2020 (in the order I read them across the year):

  1. Meditations: A New Translation by Marcus Aurelius as translated by Gregory Hays
  2. A Call To Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. Blue Horses: Poems by Mary Oliver
  4. Every Living Thing by James Herriot
  5. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn

If you detect a theme, you are correct, sir (or madam). While I intentionally selected Meditations as my first book of the year, I didn’t intentionally select the theme of meditation for my entire year. However, as the year progressed, perhaps because of the Spring lockdown, it naturally fell that way. It was helped along by an invitation from Deb Nance of the blog, Readerbuzz, and host of the weekly Sunday Salon to an online six-week introductory course for Christian Meditation hosted by a group in Houston, Texas. The group is part of The World Community for Christian Meditation started by followers of the late Benedictine monk John Main.

As for the non-meditation books, not necessarily non-meditative:

  • the speeches of MLK came at just the right time.
  • Every Living Thing is the last in the All Creatures Great and Small series that I have been slowly making my way through over the last few years. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire series, some of which I had read as a teen, but not all of the series.
  • Blue Horses wasn’t the only poetry I read for the year, but for some reason, it just worked for me, maybe because of the title poem below.

Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually. As this year ends, and we enter 2021, at least that is the hope. I don’t know about you, I’m trying to stay positive hard, but it’s not easy. I guess it’s good to remember the words of that great Canadian philosopher Red Green:

What were your favorite nonfiction books read this year?

The 10 Series That Didn’t Stick For Me In 2020

Yesterday as part of the A Month of Faves event hosted by Kim and Tanya of the blog Girlxoxo.com, I shared “My Top 5 Favorite Fiction Books Read In 2020” and tomorrow as part of the event, I will share “My Top 5 Favorite Nonfiction Books Read In 2020.” Today I’m writing on on my own topic not part of the events with series that didn’t stick for me this year, with series either I read the first one or abandoned in the middle of the first or sometimes second one.

In alphabetical order, by last name of author, are the 10 series that just didn’t “grab” me:

  • The John Madden series by Rennie Airth
  • The Albert Campion series by Margery Allingham
  • The Wind River series by Margaret Coel
  • The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey
  • The Inspector Morse series by Colin Dexter
  • The Phryne Fisher (Miss Fisher) series by Kerry Greenwood
  • The Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths
  • The Dalziel and Pascoe series by Reginald Hill
  • The Lew Archer series by Ross Macdonald
  • The Inspector Wexford series by Ruth Rendell

As always, a few notes:

  • Not that John Madden.
  • I tried reading four of them, because they were made into TV shows that either I liked or had seen.
  • I feel bad about three of them, because friends recommended and I wanted to like them for one reason or another (or several). Sorry, friends (you know who you are), they just didn’t work for me.
  • Seven were British murder mysteries, which I thought I liked. Maybe not? Maybe I like them in TV series more than books.
  • At least, it was split even with five men and five women. So I can’t be considered misogynistic…

There is one series, though, that I’m sticking with, despite it being completely outlandish and maybe because it is and I’m just going with it in this crazy year, is the Serge Storms series by Tim Dorsey.

So are there series that just don’t stick for you or work for you? Or what are the ones that do?

Author’s notes: 1. I opted not to go with book covers in this post because a. I didn’t necessarily want to promote series that don’t work for me and b. because to be honest, I just didn’t want to take all that time finding them. Mostly, it was b, though. 2. What got me thinking about this topic was watching or trying to watch the later series of CSI after William Petersen, who played Gil Grissom, left. Finally, this weekend I decided to pull the plug and give up on ever finishing the series. And I’m okay with that.

My Top 5 Favorite Fiction Books Read in 2020

This month I’ve been joining Kim and Tanya of Girlxoxo.com for their annual event A Month of Faves, at least for a few topics. Earlier this month, I posted “My End of Year Bookish Plans.” Last week, I posted “These are a few of my favorite moments in 2020“, “These are a few of my favorite things (at home) in 2020,” and “These are a few of my favorite (Christmas) things.” To learn more about the event, visit Kim and Tanya’s introductory post on the event.

Today’s topic is favorite books (best books you read this year!), Part 1, with Part 2 to be on Wednesday with more favorites if you couldn’t fit them all in one post. While I could have fit them all in one post, I decided to break my favorites into fiction (out of a total of 23 fiction books read this year) and nonfiction (a total of 12 nonfiction books this year), starting with fiction today and nonfiction Wednesday. On Tuesday, I’m throwing in my own topic not part of a Month of Faves: The Series That Didn’t Stick For Me In 2020, with series either I read the first one or abandoned in the middle of the first or sometimes second one.

My top 5 book fiction books read this year, out of a total of 23 fiction books read this year, are (in alphabetical order by title):

  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells
  • Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
  • Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

As always, I have caveats and explanations:

  • I finished The Complete Sherlock Holmes this year, but have been reading over several years. Toward the end, I’m not going to lie that the series petered out for me, but overall, it is, of course, a classic and “must-read” in my book.
  • The only 2020 book there is Winter Counts. I read a sample of this on Libby and had to read the book. I wasn’t disappointed.
  • All Systems Red is the first in a series of which I only have read the first two so far. They are the only science fiction books I’ve read this year.
  • Heaven, My Home is the second in a series by one of my favorite contemporary writers. It also resonated this year because of white supremacists figuring prominently in the book.
  • Smallbone Deceased is part of the British Library Crime Classics series and I am including here because if you are a mystery reader, you definitely should seek out this book and the series, many of which are available during Kindle Daily Deals.

So what are your favorite books read this year?