“Why do you read like you’re running out of time?”
Or something like that.
Somehow – in 2020 – with 3 kids, including a newborn AND a pandemic I read 53 books.
That’s more than a book a week (look I can do maths!)
I read voraciously at the start of the year because I knew I had a baby coming in the spring and wouldn’t have as much time. After the pandemic hit, the baby was born, I read for sustenance. Escapism. Survival.
Here’s the full list of books read as well as my 5 favorite books of the year. I added in some honorable mentions because it was SO hard to choose just 5, but I had to do #fortheseo. You understand.
Top 5 Books of 2020 in no particular order:
1. “Red at the Bone” is a look at generations of one family and the long-term decisions young people are sometimes forced to make. Jacqueline Wilson is my new favorite author. Her books have a lyrical quality to them. It’s a stunning novel that I could not put down.
2. “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid is about a Black babysitter who has a viral moment while out shopping with her young white charge, daughter of a famous blogger and the aftermath. What I loved about this book is while it’s fiction, it dealt with the intersection of race and class without becoming an afternoon special. The writing was fresh, the topics relevant. I read the book in 2 days. With a newborn. That’s how good it was.
3. “Wow, No Thank You” by Samatha Irby is a book full of hysterical, raunchy, biting, poignant essays by former blogger, Samantha Irby. This is her most recent book and quite possibly my favorite. Few books make me literally LOL like Irby’s.
4. “On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous” by poet Ocean Vuong is a stream of conscious book about a Vietnamese immigrant boy growing up in America whilst dealing with poverty, racism, sexuality, etc. I’m not typically drawn to this kind of writing style, but like the title says, it is gorgeous. So many sentences that just stop you dead in your tracks. I can’t think of another book quite like it.
5. “The Power”What if women held the power? Literally and figuratively? (Sign me up) Naomi Alderman “powerfully” critiques our contemporary world in this dystopian-utopian novel.
Honorable Mentions: “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama (not sure if you’ve heard of him). “Fleishman is in Trouble” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. “Blowout” by Rachel Maddow. “Magpie Murders” by Anthony Horowitz.
Just a reminder to buy your books secondhand and/or through a BIPOC-owned bookstore. Don’t forget to utilize your local library too!