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Looking Back on a Very Different Year in Books

Cindy Burnett
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Conversations from a Page

Conversations from a Page hosted Simone St James and Kathleen West in February before 2020 went crazy.

2020 was a long and trying year, but as with all things, there were some silver linings. While I hope that we are never subjected to another pandemic, I did enjoy more time with my family, a slower life style, some fun new bookish things, and an enormous gain in understanding numerous online platforms such as Zoom, Facebook Live, and Zencastr.

I always have so much fun creating my “Best of” book lists and decided to once again create a “Best Bookish Moments of 2020” list.  Since almost everything was virtual this year, 2020’s list looks very different than 2019’s, but I still enjoyed the year. So here it goes:

  • “Buzz Reads” – After having so much fun with my Page Turners column where I conduct author Q & A’s, cookbook collaborations, book recommendations, and more, I was thrilled to launch a column in the print version of The Buzz Magazines where each month I select 5 top picks that are recently released or coming out very soon.
  • The Thoughts from a Page Podcast – When I found myself with more time in the spring, I began to contemplate taking the advice of friends who have suggested that I host a podcast where I interview authors (because I always enjoy that aspect of the literary salons). After undertaking a ton of research and prep work, I launched my first episode in June with author Susie Orman Schnall, and I have thoroughly enjoyed this enterprise. While it is incredibly time consuming, I have learned so much more about the world of publishing and met countless authors that I would not have encountered otherwise. I have also learned a whole new skill set which has been mostly a lot of fun (and occasionally a little trying). I am really looking forward to seeing where it takes me in 2021.
  • Conversations from a Page Literary Salon – This collaboration with Krista Hensel brings me tons of joy. We have had so much fun hosting these salons and are happy to see that our concept of bringing authors and readers together in a casual and inviting setting is continuing to work. Unfortunately, 2020 required us to pivot online, but Zoom allowed us to host events. We introduced our newsletter in April and also created a very successful book club we now call As the Page Turns. We even hosted a special event for our annual pass subscribers with Reese Witherspoon author Alka Joshi in October. We are thrilled with our lineup for early 2021 and hope sometime during the year our literary salon component can meet in person again.
  • Speaking about books – This year I continued to speak to various groups – book clubs, philanthropy groups, and other women’s groups – about books, but ended up online for a fair amount of the year. I enjoy learning about each group and then tailoring my recommendations based on that group and what they generally like to read. I cannot wait to do more of this in 2021.
  • Online bookseller event with Kristin Hannah about The Four Winds – 8 Texas and Oklahoma booksellers spent an hour one evening on Zoom speaking with Kristin Hannah about her new book The Four Winds which will be out in February.  The book starts in Texas and takes place during the Dust Bowl era. I loved listening to her discuss her research, how she settled on the story, and so much more.
Conversations from a Page Zoom even

Conversations from a Page Zoom event with Nguyen Phan Que Mai and Stephen Kiernan in October.

I am so very thankful that 2020 is coming to an end, and I am looking forward to seeing what 2021 will bring. Wishing you happy holidays!

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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