Need a new book? Here’s a round-up of what I read and loved in 2020.
If ever there was a year to lose yourself in a good book, it was 2020. I’ve never looked forward to escaping into a story as much as I did every night before bed this year.
So if you’re looking for something new to read this holiday season or in the year ahead, here’s my annual round-up of the books I read and loved this year. Some of these are new, some are not. Hope this gives you some new ideas!
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What happens when a light-skinned Black woman decides to secretly pass for being White in the 1950s South? I loved this story, which spans many decades. From Amazon: From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.
I loved this inside look at a therapist's life as she navigates her clients' issues and her own. From Amazon: From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist's world–where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).
This book centers around a White "influencer" and the young Black woman who takes care of her children–and what happens when the nanny is accused of kidnapping the kids when she takes them to the store one evening. It's full of tough questions about race and class. From Amazon: With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times.
I'm halfway through this book but don't want to put it down. The story is inspired by the author's child, who was born a boy but identifies as a girl. From Amazon: This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl. Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.
I read everything Jennifer Weiner writes, and this mystery was a fun escape. From Amazon: A deliciously funny, remarkably poignant, and simply unputdownable novel about the power of friendship, the lure of frenemies, and the importance of making peace with yourself through all life’s ups and down.
Though it's fiction, there are lots of real-life anecdotes and details about Helen Gurley Brown's start at Cosmo. From Amazon: New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss, who leaves her small Midwestern town to chase her big-city dreams and unexpectedly lands a job working for the first female editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown.
If you're a fan of Ruth Ware's deliciously unsettling mysteries, you'll love this one too. From Amazon: A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie.
I loved losing myself in this story of a henna artist (with a secret) who is sought after by the wealthy (and gossipy) women in her community. From Amazon: Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.
In this book, a family is left struggling to understand a mother's suicide. It's told from the mother's point of view after her death, as she watches her husband and daughter try to move on. From Amazon: Called "marvelous" and "absolutely stunning," this debut asks: What happens when a mother's death leaves her husband and daughter wondering why they thought everything was okay when it was not?
When a wealthy brother and sister lose their father and are driven away by their stepmother, they try to make a life for themselves–but keep getting pulled back to the past and their childhood home. If you prefer to listen to books, this one is read by Tom Hanks! From Amazon: Ann Patchett, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth, delivers her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.
This story is told by both a modern-day newlywed and a 1950s housewife as they both try to find their places in the world and in their marriages. From Amazon: In this intriguing dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society.
A completely original and unexpected story–and you end up falling into love with the very quirky characters. From Amazon: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Family Fang, a moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with a remarkable ability.
This is a novel about what turn Hillary's life might've taken if she'd said "no" to Bill's proposal. I'm a huge Curtis Sittenfeld fan and loved this smart "what if?" story. From Amazon: In Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.
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