The last couple of years, my goal has been to read 30 books and I’d done it again! I was so proud of myself until about 5 minutes ago when I realized I’d written down the same book twice so I guess I finished at 29!! Shout out to anyone who thought they rocked their goals but didn’t!! lol! I mostly read fiction but have been adding memoirs and some non-fiction in my attempt to be a grown up reader. Truthfully, non-fiction is pure discipline for me. It can take me months to get through a non-fiction book, while at the same time, I’m tearing through a dozen good novels. I have friends who are the complete opposite and read non-fiction voraciously. I usually just ask for their take and call it good!!
When the Coronavirus lockdown hit last March, I thought for sure I’d be tearing through more books than normal but apparently having your kids at home 24/7 (dear god) takes up more brain space and time than I’d anticipated. I ended up finishing my 29th book (I still can’t believe this!) on New Years Eve!
I like my books like I like my food. For the most part, I’m looking for substance but I’m also not against some junk food fiction. I am not opposed to a good corset ripper either. lol! With that said, here are my top 6 books of 2020.
- The Guest Book: I loved everything about this book. It’s set in New York City and on a private island off the east coast. It’s very WASP-y characters are used to shine a pretty harsh light on the ways white Americans viewed anyone on the “outside”. The story feels very much woven together to a very satisfying ending and I could not put this one down.
- The Alice Network: An historical fiction from WW2, this book is loosely based on a female led spy network that really existed with lots of characters that were created by the author. It was hard to predict and the story pulled me in very quickly. It was suspenseful but also had rhythm to it so I wasn’t in a constant state of stress. Haha!! If you love historical fiction, this is a great pick!
- Bear Town: On the surface, this book is about hockey and I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it. However, underneath the surface, this book has very “Me Too” movement vibes as it looks at assault, power and what happens when a community is broken apart when people have to choose a side. Both my husband and I pretty much ignored the rest of life while reading this book. It was intense and the characters were great!
- Does Jesus Really Love Me?: This is my favorite non-fiction read of 2020. It was written in a journalistic style, interviewing everyone from the Westboro Baptist Church with their hate filled signs to people who are trying to do better for the LGBTQ community in religious circles. It was thoughtfully written and an important topic for me as I grew up in a conservative religious home with 2 gay brothers. I’ve seen, firsthand, all sorts of opinions and attitudes on this topic. However you feel on the subject, I felt that this book was aiming to present different people’s opinions without pinning them down to a specific agenda from the author and it was an interesting read.
- This Tender Land: Set in middle America during the Great Depression, this book centers around 3 kids that run away from a school for Indigenous children and a scattering of orphans. The imagery felt almost meditative and that’s saying something as I sometimes get annoyed by too much description of the scenery. This book had the same kind of vibe to me as “Where the Crawdads Live” so if you loved that, read this! I felt almost captivated by the story and although it’s a thicker book, I finished it pretty quickly!
- The Last Mrs. Parrish: This book had a more sinister feeling to it and the storyline was great! One of the main characters is envious of Mrs. Parrish and her seemingly perfect life and befriends her with plans to take her down. With books like this, I’m always interested in the “how” of the story… how will the author unravel this plot and will I be able to see it ahead of time? In the case of this book, I was interested the entire time. It had a satisfying end and it would make a great vacation read!
Well that’s it for 2020. What did you read last year that you loved? I’d love to hear what you’re reading as I’m always looking for great books to add to my stack!