Here we are, on the last day of the year that has felt like 20. I’m so worn out that I don’t even know what to say about this year that hasn’t already been said, except starting a new year has never felt so weird or needed.
This year, I read about 116 books and truly, I’m not sure if that would have happened without all of the extra time on my hands with quarantine and being unable to spend extra time at social gatherings. (Remember those?) This is the most books I have read in a year, and I will be interested to see if I can get higher next year!
In my Instagram stories, I posted my favorite book of each month this year, and I’m going to do the same here! To decide, I just looked back on what I read each month and went with what my gut told me was my favorite of each month–some months were easier than others. 🙂
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
This one started off such a fun year of rereading Nancy and discussing her adventures in a Nancy book club. This biography was a fascinating look into how the character was created! I actually read it twice this year and really, I’ll probably read it again.
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
I believe I wrote a longer post on this one earlier this year (it was part of a yearly reading challenge I started and abandoned about halfway through…story of my life), but it is such a sweet (and true) story about the correspondence between an American book lover and an English bookseller. It’s a short read, perfect for curling up on the couch with tea or wine.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
2020 was the year that introduced me to 11-yearl old Flavia de Luce, the clever and endlessly entertaining lover of chemistry and solving mysteries. This is the first book in the series (I have read the first three so far) and I am so grateful there are several more to look forward to!
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
I’m almost positive I wrote a longer post about this one too for the same aforementioned abandoned challenge. This is one of the most beautiful books I read this year. If any book can be described as “sweeping and poignant”, it is this one.
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Goddamn I loved this book. I’m actually considering joining in on a buddy read for the month of January to reread it. The world portrayed in this book is the world I wish we had. Also, Henry and Alex are SWOON-WORTHY to the max. McQuiston is releasing a new book in 2021 and I cannot wait!
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
I think this might be the book I talked about the most this year. Partially because I’m reading it aloud to my 7th-grade students and partly because it is SO GOOD and I want everyone to read it. And then talk to me about it. I just realized in this moment that I never wrote a final blog post wrapping up my “Rick Riordan Presents” week (oops) but this one is still one of my top favorites. Mbalia released the second book, Tristan Strong Destroys the World, this year and it is just as good.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
This one lived up to alllllll the hype. I’m a huge fan of Michelle and her husband, and this book was so illuminating and interesting and funny and serious and perfect. If you are an audiobook person, I highly recommend the audio version, because I will always recommend an audiobook read by the author. I just downloaded Barack’s new book on audio…which is TWENTY-NINE hours long. Oof.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
Okay, this one might tie with Tristan for how much I have talked about it this year. I was lucky enough to get the audio free from NetGalley and honestly, I am still obsessed. Again, if you are an audiobook fan, I recommend this on audio 100%. The narrators are AMAZING. The story is lovely and was everything I needed in this dumpster fire of a year. I plan on purchasing a physical copy of this one. Her other book The Flatshare was also great, but I found that one personally more triggering.
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
- This cover is one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen.
- Acevedo narrates the audiobook and it is perfection.
- Emoni is such an inspiring and beautiful character.
- I will recommend this always.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
One of my 2020 discoveries was a love of books featuring main characters over 60. This book fits in that category, featuring the most interesting and charming group of “elderly” mystery solvers. I loved every moment of this one–also another good one on audio. There were be a second book and I hope we don’t have to wait *too* long for it.
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
I definitely mentioned this one in an earlier post. I read many good books in November, but this one really stuck with me. I read many, many books in the Rick Riordan Presents line this year (many in November, actually) and this one is one of the tops, in my opinion. Paola is strong and smart and is forced to grow in ways that she never could have imagined.
The Heiress by Molly Greeley and Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Well, formatting that was weird. Whatever. December has two books because I loved both of these so dearly and they are so different from each other that I could not choose. I wrote an entire post on The Heiress (it’s out 1/5) and it was stunning. Easily one of the top 13 books of this year. (See what I did there?) I loved that Anne de Bourgh got her own story. As for Myrtle…wow. I love this 12-year old Victorian sleuth. I definitely get some Flavia de Luce vibes, but Myrtle is all her own. I’m listening to the second one now, and I just want to read of Myrtle Hardcastle’s detecting exploits forever.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
This is required reading. It just is. It is easily one of the most eye-opening and well-done books I read this year. It is written with young people (middle and high school) in mind, but I would highly encourage adults to read it as well, especially if you are looking for an intro into what it means to be racist and antiracist. This is a “remixed” version of Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning which is on my TBR list for 2021.
Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
Wishing you all a happy and healthy start to 2021! Keep reading!