Audible Books, Books, Favorite Authors, Favorite Reads, Fiction, Most Enjoyed Books 2020, Nonfiction, Reading, Reading Favorites, Reading in Time of COVID
For this annual post about what books have been your most favorite reads over the past year, I’m asking that we limit our submissions to just four titles.
While this may seem restrictive to some of you, I think it will make for a somewhat different post than in previous years (our 12th year). I’m aiming for less emphasis on what books got the ‘most favorite’ label from MillersTime readers (not trying to compete with all those other year end book lists) and more emphasis on why certain books were individual’s favorites.
Thus, I urge you to write a few sentences about each of your choices, explaining what was particularly meaningful to you about a chosen favorite. Why was a particular book most enjoyable, most important, most thought provoking, the best written, the ones you may go back and read again, the ones you reread this year, and/or the ones you may have suggested to others that they might enjoy?
Additionally, please feel free to add either at the beginning or the end of your submission, a couple of sentences about your reading overall this year. For instance, did you concentrate on new books, older titles, rereads, more fiction or nonfiction than in the past, etc.? Did you read electronically or in paper, did you listen to books, and generally did you read more or less than in previous years?
To make my task of putting the list together a bit easier, please given the full title of the book, followed by the author’s name, and whether the book was F or NF. If any of the ‘books’ on your list were ones you enjoyed audibly, please indicate that.
Feel free to include any favorites that you may have submitted to any of the three earlier book posts this year:
*April 10 – Favorites Reads in a Time of Self-Isolation
*Aug. 19 – Favorite Reads in the Time of COVID-19,
Don’t be concerned about whether others will have the same book(s) on their lists or that a particular book might not be a popular choice as those are not the most important aspects of this year’s list. Contributors use the list to find reading options they may not know about or have considered. Your reasons for your favorites this year are what I hope readers will find most valuable.
Please send me (Samesty84@gmail.com) your submission by Sunday, Dec. 20 so I will have enough time to collate the list and post it by the end of the month.
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To see previous years’ lists, click on any of these links: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. 2016. 2017. 2018 Mid-Year, 2018, 2019 Mid-Year. 2019.
Recently, I read 3 books by the same Author because I enjoyed her writing style and because all included some accurate historical elements.
A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware
Following the 1806 devastating San Francisco fire, two woman architects rebuild two famous hotels
That Autumn in Edinburg by Ciji Ware
A compelling mystical attraction draws an American designer and a visiting Scotsman to work together to save their respective firms
The Summer in Cornwall by Ciji Ware
An American nurse and dog trainer takes her spoiled ward to her English cousins to help the youngster adjust to her Mother’s sudden death and her father’s abandonment. In Cornwall, the nurse meets a troubled veteran and together they help save the family’s estate
Scott MacKinlay said:
a few I can wholly recommend:
A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD – JENNIFER EGAN (2010) This book gives thirteen different viewpoints with sometimes only most tenuous of links between characters to achieve a darkly funny, often traumatic and wholly rewarding novel. I loved how it bounced around.
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN – JAMES BALDWIN (1953) It’s great stuff. Gutsy, direct writing that asks you to get caught up in its violent sweep all taking place in a single day. Like the book of revelations in the way it moves you back and forth. The structure alone is worth the effort of reading this book.
Ed Scholl said:
Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 by Stephen Ambrose (NF). I read this before my train trip across America last summer and I’m glad I did, as we followed part of the original transcontinental railroad route from Sacramento to Omaha. Building that railroad, especially through the sierra Nevada mountains, was an engineering marvel, and Ambrose tells the story in a very engaging way.
The Language of God by Francis Collins (NF). I was given this book by my son and I really enjoyed it. It is written by the Director of the National Institutes of Health (Anthony Fauci’s boss) and he argues for the compatibility of science and faith. Given that much of the US population sees an inherent conflict between science and religion, it is a refreshing reminder that they need not be.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (F). I wanted to read some good fiction and this was very much a page turner. It’s a novel based on a damaged Vietnam Vet who takes his wife and daughter to the wilds of Alaska to begin a new life.
Educated by Tara Westover (NF). An awe-inspiring memoir about the author’s upbringing in a fundamentalist Mormon family in Idaho. The author received no formal education growing up, but eventually got into the Brigham Young University and later earned a PhD from Cambridge. A great story of grit and determination and succeeding against all odds.
These are my favorite reads from 2020; a year that I’ve had more time to read than usual because of Covid. Two of these books I also read in the e-book version, downloading them from my public library account (something else I discovered because of the difficulties of browsing the library).
Brian Steinbach said:
Here’s my four, a bit belated:
Delia Owens – Where the Crawdads Sing. I got this based on an NPR story. The structure was fascinating, as two different stories starting some 17 years apart gradually merged into a true murder mystery as well a a love story, while on the way you get a picture of live in the wetlands of North Carolina. I found the ending very satisfying although others apparently haven’t
James McBride – Deacon King Kong. This one first came to me as an excerpt in the NYT. The book delivered. Totally absorbing story of late 60’s Brooklyn (or was it Queens) where life in a project rubs up against smuggling and organized crime in a decaying waterfront, but faith prevails in the end.
Stephen Inskeep, Imperfect Union. A biography of Stephen Fremont and his wife Jessie. Fremont was a self-aggrandizing explorer who played a surprising role in the “acquisition” of California from Mexico and later as the first Republican presidential candidate, on an anti-slavery platform; Jessie publicized his adventures and provided much needed political support. Fascinating look at a lesser known piece of US history.
A tie between John Lewis’ graphic history “March” (the second two parts), on which I wrote last year, and can only say, it continued to be as great, and Ron Chernow’s Grant, thorough the Civil War section. Chernow tells us all you would ever want to know about Grant, his family., is early failures, and the less covered western campaigns in the Civil War, as well as the denouement in Virginia in 1865-65. A timely history for a our time – I’m looking forward to finishing it with his presidency and Reconstruction in the new year