Archive | 10:12 AM

Top 5 of 2020

11 Jan

Though not a lot of good things came out of 2020, one of them was that I had more time for reading than I otherwise would have. I was able to read some amazing books this year and I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on them and celebrate the books that brought me joy during such a difficult year.

5. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. The only non-fiction book to grace my list this year, Brown renewed my love for historical sportsbooks. I was fascinated with how he interlaced the story of the Washington crew team and Nazi Germany. His writing was engaging and he found a unique topic that might not have been something I researched without prompting but which I was fully engaged in by the end. My book club really enjoyed this one as well.

4. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides. This one was a bit of a surprise to me. I’ve read a few Eugenides books before and loved some, hated others. So I didn’t have a lot of expectations going into this one. I was completely swept away by the voice and the storytelling. The girls are fascinating and with the title, you knew something horrible was going to happen eventually and the sense of dread overhung the entire story in a fascinating way. I was also touched that it took place in Metro Detroit, my hometown. I just had to watch the movie soon after and felt it was a very faithful and well-done adaptation.

3. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. This was my first Buddy Read with my reading buddy and we both really enjoyed it. Patchett has become one of my favorite authors after I’ve enjoyed the last few books of hers that I’ve read. I loved the sibling relationship in this one and Maeve was an amazing character. I thought Patchett did an amazing job of following the siblings for a lot of their life and unraveling how twisted their lives had been as children. This book started an awesome reading partnership that I’ve really valued through the lockdown.

2. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. I picked this book off from a ‘Recommended’ shelf at a bookstore in Atlanta over a year ago. I read the first chapter while I was there and then changed gears to something else before returning to it on audio this year. The story was engaging and had a lot of layers to it that blended into a really touching story. I loved Yale and his friends were some of the better-developed characters I read about this year. I love when I get to learn about a historical event through fiction and the AIDS crisis is something I don’t know too much about. This was a really powerful novel.

1. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I met Lee before I read her book so I was excited about the signed copy I already had when my book club picked this title. I was completely blown away by this book. I fell in love with the characters and sympathized with them through their lives and hardships. The writing was beautiful and graceful. I feared at first that the number of characters would keep me from being able to enjoy the novel as I tried to keep them straight but I didn’t struggle with it like I thought I would. They were each unique and really enjoyable. My book club read this one and really enjoyed it as well.

It was a wonderful year for books, even if it wasn’t the year we expected. I hope you all enjoyed some great books this year, too. Until next time, write on.

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