How Politics, Protests and the Pandemic Shaped a Year in Books

The year in books, like the year everywhere else, was a simultaneously breakneck and slow-motion mixture of exhaustionperilcontroversyinspiration and resilience.

Its main themes in the United States were very much those found in the culture as a whole: the brutal effects of a pandemic, the protests and conversations about racial justice, and the final year of the Trump administration. As these profound and prolonged trends affected the literary world, more discrete but still significant moments were happening all the while. Here’s a (more or less) chronological recap of an unforgettable literary year.

By John Williams, The New York Times

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