1.04.2021

Best of 2020: Books

Well it's that time of year again, time to do the wrap ups! This year, due to spending a lot more time at home than I normally do, I read a lot more books than I normally do. In fact, this is the most books read per year since I started tracking and even more than some of the years where I was not working and was traveling a lot. In addition, I read over 20 books in one month alone, which is definitely the most I have ever read in a month! I guess it was that kind of year! 

I always like looking back and remembering what my favorite books were for the year and really enjoy reading other people's lists as well (and adding books to my to-read list!). Here are my recaps from prior years: 2019, 2018201720162015201420132012, and 2011.

And now, in no particular order, here are my favorite ten twelve books that I read in 2020. 

Five Stars:

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: This was a very entertaining book about a rock band in the 60s; it's all about the sex, drugs and rock and roll and it doesn't disappoint. It is written in an interview style and goes back and forth between stories, but that does not detract from the story at all, in fact, it actually made it very entertaining, in my opinion. 

The River by Peter Heller: Two friends go out on a fishing trip in Northern Canada thinking that they are going to have a nice time catching up, fishing and enjoying nature but they end up getting more of an adventure than they bargained for. I won't say more in fear of spoiling it for readers, but let's just say that I finished this book in one day! 

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger: In the 1930s many Native American children in Minnesota were separated from their families and sent to be "educated." This is the story of two brothers who attempt to escape this life. You really begin to like these brothers and their friends and are rooting for their journey to succeed. Of course they come upon hard times and danger and adventure along the way. 

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow: I actually did not know what this book was about when I started it; I only put it on my to-read because it had good reviews. However, once I started it, I was both disgusted and enthralled by the story. It is an investigative journalism story about the Weinstein ordeal, not only what he did, but how hard it was to find women willing to testify and how corrupt and controlling the big men in big chairs really are. It was very interesting hearing some of the "behind the scenes" information. 

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou: This was another investigative journalism piece about an ordeal that had been in the news a lot but that I did not know a lot of details about. This talks about the Theranos scandal, which if you are unfamiliar was a company that sold a machine that did blood testing, but they were delivering fraudulent results. Once again, there were some big power people at play here and the fight between might and right is in the forefront of the situation. 

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman: This book was written by a woman in the strict Satmar sect of the Hasidic Jewish faith. She talks about what it is like to be in a faith where woman have little rights. She is married off at an early age to a man she barely knew and after getting pregnant, decided to try to escape. It is not easy however, as the sect keeps to themselves and if you leave you are often ostracized. I learned a lot about the faith through this book and wanted her to be able to just leave but also understood the difficulties of trying to do so. 

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune: This book is about a man who lives a pretty by-the-books boring life. One day, his employer sends him to an island for an assignment and it turns out to be one where there are magical (and dangerous) children. He is there to evaluate them and their caretaker and in the end, he gets more than he bargained for. This was a touching book with a couple of twists thrown in and was one that was hard to put down. 

Christadora by Tim Murphy: I had this on hold for a while and finally got it right at the end of the year so it was a last minute five star add. About a family through time, it talks about the struggles of the AIDs movement, issues with addiction, mental disorders and emotional pain. It does jump back and forth a little between time periods, which was a little difficult, but all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Four Stars: I had a lot of four star reviews this year! Normally three stars is more common for me, basically when I found a book good but not totally wow, but this year I either got more generous or more of them caught my fancy! 

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes & The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson: I am combining this one, because both of these books are about the packhorse librarians of Kentucky and they were both very enjoyable. The packhorse librarians were a group of women in the early 1900s who would ride horses through the remote mountains of Appalachia to deliver books to people who lived too far out of town to come in and get them. In 1930, about 30% of the people living in eastern Kentucky could not read and did not have a school to go to, so this was their only way of learning. These books were both fiction, but they gave me a very interesting peek into the way that things worked in that area, and they make me think of how lucky I am that right now I have about 20 books checked out from the library! 

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld: This book is a fictional book about what would have happened to Hillary if she had not married Bill Clinton. It has a bit of raunchy areas that I felt it could have done without, and they made me cringe a little, but otherwise it is entertaining and sometimes when reading (or listening in my case) you forget that it is not a biography. I had to go and look up a couple of things to see if they really happened! 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: I am not the only one who liked this book; it is on a lot of the top 2020 book lists and that made me put it off for a while actually. However, once I read it, I saw what all of the hype was about. It is about a set of light skinned twins who run away from home and one of them goes off and passes herself as white while the other moves back to their hometown with their mother. They live very separate lives for a while but eventually their paths cross again. 

It was hard to pick only ten this year as I read a lot of good books (hence the extra two)! Some of the others that I enjoyed this year included: A Burning, We Are Not From Here, The Girl with the Louding Voice, We Were Eight Years in Power, The Last Train to London, Sigh, Gone, Saving Ruby King, Know My Name, One of Us is Lying, Dear Edward, Shoe Dog, The Story Keeper, City of Girls, Cilka's Journey, Talking to Strangers, I'll Be Gone in The Dark & I Am Malala. 

What were your favorite books in 2020? Did you read more this year than you normally do? 

5 comments:

  1. This was also a record reading year for me, but only by 2 books! I read 107 but 105 last year. I never thought I would read 100 books in a year. I don’t know if I will be able to keep this pace up but I hope I can! I have read almost all of the books on your best of list but not all! But most are on my TBR, except Unorthodox which I will be adding! I need to do a best of books list for 2020! Hopefully I can do that later this week. It’s tricky to write blog posts as Will does not like to be set down during the day! He’s a needy little guy!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!