Between the Covers

This year, I took the goodreads challenge and set a goal to read 50 books. I surpassed that thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.


Turns out not being able to leave the house is really conducive to reading. It's also conducive to streaming a lot of TV. If there were an app to track how much TV I watched, I wouldn't come across as quite so literate.


One of the reasons I was able to consume so many books this year is because I figured out how to borrow Kindle books from my public library. Where Kindles or ebooks weren't available, I borrowed actual books. I figure the St. Tammany Parish library saved me about $1,200 this year.


You may find something that interests you here. I read mostly literature - I look for good writing over good stories. Southern lit is always a favorite. No thrillers or true crimes or page-turners here, I'm afriad.


Early in the year, as the country faced social unrest following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, I made a concerted effort to read more authors of color. (Marked with * below) It really paid off, too - these books ended up being some of my favorites of the year. Not only that, but the authors of color really upped my reading game; you'll notice a lot less chick-lit this year.


Here is a list of my top book recommendations from what I read in 2020.


5 Stars:

The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans, by Catherine Grace Katz

HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style, by Elizabeth Holmes

The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom*

The Scent Keeper, by Erica Bauermeister

South Toward Home: Adventures and Misadventures in My Native Land, by Julia Reed

The Vanishing Half, by Britt Bennett*

The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates*

The Heir Affair, by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan (sequel to The Royal We, also a 5-star read)

Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan*

Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward*

Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward*

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler*

The Flatshare, by Beth O'Leary

Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston (LGBTQ)

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid*

Oligarchy, by Scarlett Thomas

Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff (a re-read)

Solutions & Other Problems, by Allie Brosch

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas*

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy


4 Stars:

Shiner, by Amy Jo Burns

The Women in Black, by Madeline St. John

The Margo Affair, by Sanae Lemoine

Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, by Lisa Patton

Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield

The Herd, Andrea Bartz

The Eighth Life, by Nino Haratischwili

The Last Romantics, Tara Conklin

Patsy, by Nicole Dennis-Benn*

American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson*

Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams*

A Good Neighborhood, by Therese Anne Fowler

The Jetsetters, by Amanda Eyre Ward

Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane

Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan


Overrated:

Yankee Doodle Dixie, by Lisa Patton - the follow up to Whistlin' Dixie was a real let-down

Deacon King Kong, by James McBride* - I didn't love this as much as the critics did. Only gave it 3 stars.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh - Ugh...were we supposed to root for the heroine? Because she was awful. I kinda hoped she flew out the window.