I didn’t make one of these lists last year and decided to do one this time, so here it is: My Top 10 of 2020!
So, ok, I cheated a little. You’ll notice that I have here, more than 10 books (in result of two ties). I did better than I expected since I read some really good stuff last year. Anyway, these are my favorites from 2020. I realized I haven’t read a lot of nonfiction, and I’ll try to correct that this year. Hopefully my 2021 will be more balanced.
Books I read and bought because they were just that good:
The Book of Longings: After reading the last page, I immediately placed an order for the book. That was how much I enjoyed it. The author made everything, everywhere and everyone leap off the pages. If you enjoy historical fiction retelling and the question ‘What if Jesus had a wife?’ piques your interest, then you must give this one a try. My full review here.
Deacon King Kong: If you want an entertaining, funny yet moving story that reveal the ugly truths about race and class, read this. It also has an unforgettable cast. My full review here.
Anxious People: I fell in love with Backman’s writing and the amazing characters in this story. It’s a heartwarming, witty and funny story about marriage and relationships, love and life, fear, loss and humanity. This is one of those books which I can’t stop thinking about after reading. My full review here.
Convenience Store Woman: I love Japanese literature and haven’t been reading much of it lately, but when I read this, I fell head over heels for it! This book was so immersive and introspective, so thoughtful, that I had many passages highlighted for food for thought. And Keiko is one unforgettable character! My full review here.
Books that had Brilliant (Magical) Storytelling:
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: I know some readers didn’t enjoy this but I did. Immensely. I just love Morgernstern’s world-building and immersive writing. It was so good I didn’t mind that there wasn’t a definitive plot. Kat, the girl in the book, summed it best: It’s an “Epic branching story that doesn’t stick to a single genre or one set path and turns into different stories but it’s all the same story.” Would I revisit this book one day? I absolutely would! Who knows, I might have a different interpretation then. My review here.
Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman: Anything Alice Hoffman writes (and has written), I’ll read, which means, it’s going to be a loooong journey. She has published over 30 novels! She’s my go-to author when I’m in need of a real good adult fairy tale. Magic Lessons definitely didn’t disappoint. My full review here.
The Unforgettable Debut (A tie):
Ring Shout by P. Djéli Clark: You love dark fantasy with a good plot and badass women characters? Ring Shout is your answer. And you know what’s exciting? A TV Production is turning this into a TV series! Don’t think I’d get a chance to watch it but it’s exciting just to know 🙂 My full review here.
Unbound by Dina Gu: This book started off rough for me, but as soon as I got used to the writing (it didn’t take long, around 30% or so), I started to really enjoy it. This was a great introduction for me to pre-war Shanghai and Shanghai during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. This is one of those books that I don’t think got the attention it deserves. My full review here.
The non-fiction books I read this year (and one I’m still reading) were all brilliant. I couldn’t decide which I liked better: Eat the Buddha or The Promise (hence, a tie!)
Becoming by Michelle Obama: One can’t read a memoir by someone like Michelle Obama and said it wasn’t inspiring, because it is what you’d expect from someone like her – intelligent, smart, capable, yet humble and down-to-earth. She used her role as FLOTUS to not only be supportive of her husband but to also create her own identity, one that would inspire young women to achieve their dreams, and to use challenges in their lives as a stepping stone to getting closer to their goals. If you already love Michelle Obama, this book will make you love her even more. My review coming soon.
A Promised Land: I’m still reading this, about 30% more to go. One thing’s for sure, at 701 pages, it is long, but so well-written. I’m learning so much about his life pre and during White House; what’s his life like as a politician, a father and a husband. He was very candid and honest, not only about his shortcomings, but also his thoughts about people whom he loves and respects, as much as people who weren’t in his good books. And my oh my, not only is he wise, but witty too! I enjoyed how he uses humor to lighten tough times. He’s so naturally funny, Mr. O’Brian once asked Mrs. Obama if her husband had any intention of doing standup! If you haven’t read this, you won’t regret adding it to your TBR. I’m taking my time to read this because I want to savor every word.
The Promise: Love and Loss in Modern China by Xinran: A book about love and loss based on 4 generations of the Han family. This is a very insightful, moving and compassionate read on love and loss in modern times China; Chinese tradition, beliefs and culture. I learned so much reading about their life through their stories and struggles, even today, as the current generation tries to find their feet in a country which political climate is ever changing.
Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick: I was told Nothing To Envy is better than this. I have yet to read it. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading ‘Eat the Buddha’ that vividly paints the livelihoods of the Tibetans continues to struggle for their freedom and independence, again and again. It is also about how they stood their ground, fought back, rebelled, and self-immolate as a call for the freedom of their people and to bring their Dalai Lama back home. A well-written, thought-provoking book. My full review here.
That’s it! My Best of 2020 list. Did they make it to your Best 2020 too? Please share with me your 2020 Favorites! Or if you have a list, do drop me your links.
Last but not least, Happy 2021, my dear friends! You’re the reason my blog survived another year. Thank you so much for your support, your kind words and for sharing with me your love for books. May we continue to have good books to read all year round!
Here’s to a better 2021. HAPPY NEW YEAR, you all! 💕💕