My Favorite Books of 2020: 2020 was A LOT of things but one of the highlights for me (if you look, you can definitely find highlights) was reading. Extra time…time granted to read. An escape from too much thinking and what-ifs…
I love fiction. There is enough “real-world” in our lives right now and a chance to get away and maybe learn about another place…the slums of New Delhi or a village in Nigeria…and another time…the New Zealand gold rush of the 1860s…is just, for me, the very best thing ever.
I’m on my 93rd book of the year – I KNOW. Ridiculous. A number I will to probably only rival in retirement.
Here are all the books that I marked with 5 STARS on my Good Reads ranking system.
Ones that I would wholeheartedly recommend to friends…no ifs ands or buts.
Note! Half way thru the year as our “extra” cash dwindled I learned how to use Kindle’s Daily Deals and to sign up for the daily email. Almost every day, there is one or more books that I want – all prices $3.99 or below. Now I have SUCH a backlog of reading. I’m going to have to try to get to 100 next year! $399 (max) a year on books is MUCH more reasonable (possible) than $1400 a year. Kindle full price books are EXPENSIVE.
The story of a 14 year old girl living in a village in modern Nigeria – where life is basically getting sold as a second or third wife so that your family can eat. One room huts…little education for girls…I kept checking to make sure that this book was really about 2008, An eye opener…really powerful. And made me think hard about the US’s immigration policies – but that’s just me.
I couldn’t put this one down…I was so invested in her quest – one that she didn’t even know she was on – for a better life…and it was only with courage at the right times and just luck…well…you’ll see.
Odran enters the Catholic seminary in 1970s Ireland when priests held so much power in the country and in Irish households.
Forty years later, he finds himself in a very different place. He watches friends and colleagues being tried and jailed…and he is treated like an outsider, almost a freak, on the streets of his town when wearing his priest’s collar. Odran – who always thought he was just doing the right thing, is forced to reexamine his belief in the Church and his part in some of the things going on around him.
It’s a book about loneliness and Catholicism and faith and the lies and denial we often use to cover up our own secrets and pain.
This book TAKES you to Victorian London, the writing is SO vivid you can smell the poop that everyone is dumping outside their doors into the streets of the city. It’s a detective story at heart. An unmarried, pipe-smoking female detective is hired to find a child with strange abilities who may have been kidnapped and sold to those who collect…oddities.
You are TOTALLY immersed in this book – whether you are holding it or not – until it’s finished. And I’m still thinking about it…
To say that I loved Daisy Jones and the Six (also by this author) is an understatement – I was obsessed…with the point of view…with the time period…with the writing. This book is very different – a glamourous starlet in uber-glamorous 1950s Hollywood but just as good. A great read.
Get this book for every woman you know. It’s PACKED with so many fantastic revelations…as Oprah calls them “Ah-Ha moments”…while being totally readable. I guess this is self help? If so…it worked. I feel like the author knows me and is speaking directly to me. Another I’ll be reading again and again.
Honest, heart-breaking story of a woman and her deeply flawed father. Told over decades as she gets away and is drawn back in. Repeat. It got me. If you haven’t read Lily King’s Euphoria…you should. It’s set in the jungle of 1930s New Guinea…so completely different topic…but amazing too. This Lily King author has SKILLS.
This book is a beautiful engrossing family saga told over generations…this was my second read and I loved it just as much as when I found it in my families vacation house rental when I was 16. This and The Thorn Birds and Jane Eyre. My read when I’m feeling sick books…
FUN LIGHT READS THAT I LOVED
It doesn’t need to be War and Peace to get 5-stars on this blog.
Please note: This blogger has never finished War and Peace. In fact, I’ve never ever started it.
A plus-sized blogger and influencer SO CYNICAL about reality shows like the Bachelorette is convinced to star on a reality dating show. Fun, fast, addictive – silly but smart.
BOOKS ABOUT TRAVEL
If there is any one writer that makes me want to travel, it is Paul Theroux. In this book, written in 1992 (I’m guessing that some of these islands haven’t changed very much at all since then), he’s on the verge of divorce and goes on an epic solo trip traversing the 10s of thousands of miles of empty ocean between the Americas and Australia. Open deep deep ocean sprinkled, here and there with tiny atolls and volcanic islands that have intriguing histories and languages and customs.
Theroux focuses less on the landscape and more on the quirks of the local people. I find all of his books HILARIOUS. I loved this one just as much as the others.
And now am a bit better armed if I am at a trivia event and the Category is “Capitals of the South Pacific”. Tonga? Nuku’alofa. Duh.
Earlier in the year, I read
This one is poetry – something I NEVER read; I found the recommendation from my favorite blog – Cup Of Jo. Now I want to read everything Mary Oliver has ever written.
In a world that is full of craziness and unknown…it’s so great to read these beautiful words about Mary Oliver’s pet dogs over the years. He observations and insight into a life of a dog sometimes makes me cry. I’ve been reading a poem or two a night out loud before we go to bed. This book would make a great gift to a dog lover – only monster wouldn’t like it. 😉
Please send me some of your favorites! I’m ALWAYS looking add to my list! And thanks to Kindle Daily deals…I have about 20 books ready to go!