Favorite Reads of 2020

Favorite Books We Read in 2020

These are some of the best, most enjoyable, or most memorable books we read this year.

Fiction

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Korey)

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Chris)

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher (Brenda)

Resurgence; Divergence by C.J. Cherryh (Brenda)

Finna by Nino Cipri (Denise)

Well Played by Jen DeLuca (Brenda)

Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst (Katie)

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Chris)

Mother Land by Leah Franqui (Brenda)

Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Meghan)

A Time for Mercy by John Grisham (George)

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Chris)

V2: A Novel of World War II by Robert Harris (Chris)

The Resisters by Gish Jen (Chris)

Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles (Brenda)

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim (Brenda)

A Burning by Megha Majumdar (Chris)

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

A Royal Affair by Allison Montclair (Brenda)

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler (Brenda)

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Brenda)

The End of October by Lawrence Wright (George)

The Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson (Brenda)

Nonfiction

Your Hidden Superpower by Adrienne Bankert (Chris)

No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox (George)

Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy by Alastair Gee and Danie Anguiano (George)

Surviving Autocracy by Masha Gessen (Chris)

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma (Brenda)

Always Day One by Alex Kantrowitz (Chris)

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker (Debbie)

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova (Chris)

The Last Stargazers by Emily Levesque (Brenda)

Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert MacFarlane (Brenda)

Mudlark: In Search of London’s Past Along the River Thames by Lara Maiklem (George)

Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy by Ben McIntyre (Chris)

Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute to the World by Tom Rath (Chris)

How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America by Heather Cox Richardson (Chris)

The Smallest Lights in the Universe by Sara Seager (Brenda)

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght (George)

Teen Fiction

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Korey)

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta (Korey)

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (Korey)

Camp by Lev AC Rosen (Chris)

Scythe by Neal Shusterman (Brenda)

Illustrated Novels and Manga

Fangs by Sarah Anderson (Denise)

Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa (Katie)

My Hero Academia by Kōhei Horikoshi (Denise)

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (Chris)

Our Dining Table by Ori Mita (Denise)

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell (Korey)

You Brought Me the Ocean by Alex Sanchez (Chris)

Audiobooks

The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews (Brenda)

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (Chris)

The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown (Chris)

Unf#ck Your Brain by Faith Harper (Chris)

Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson (Katie)

A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost (Katie)

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, read by Rob Inglis (Katie)

Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran (Katie)

The Narrowboat Summer

The Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson

A howling dog on an English narrowboat brings together three women at turning points in their lives. Independent Anastasia is looking for someone to take her boat to Chester for maintenance while she deals with a health issues. Eve and Sally, who just met, decide to take up the challenge, and spend their summer on the narrowboat, with the dog. Eve has just lost her high pressure job while Sally wants a break from her marriage now that her children are grown. Eve and Sally move in and learn to pilot the boat and cope with the challenges of navigating locks and tunnels, while enjoying the leisurely pace of life on the canals. Charming, entertaining, and unforgettable, a novel of women’s friendship and the colorful characters they meet along the towpaths. This book, by the author of Meet Me at the Museum, will be published in January.

Brenda

Nothing to See Here

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

This is the most unusual book I’ve read this year, and one of the most memorable. Lillian Breaker, 28, works at two grocery stores and smokes pot in her indifferent mother’s attic. She has some college credits, but is definitely an underachiever. In her teens, Lillian won a scholarship to a nearby boarding school, and became friends with wealthy, beautiful Madison. Then Madison screwed up and let Lillian take the blame; they’ve kept in touch with letters ever since (this book is set about 20 years ago). Now Madison is offering Lillian a summer job as a nanny to her stepkids in Tennessee, but of course, there’s a catch.

Bessie and Roland, 10, have recently lost their mother and have been spoiled by their grandparents. Not surprising, as when the twins get upset, they often burst into flame. They’re completely unharmed, but their clothes and anything around them are toast. Lillian has no experience with kids, but is willing to try and the trio spend time in the pool, and eat lots of junk food. Then Lillian teaches Bessie and Roland to play basketball, arranges a visit to the local library, and they practice some calming techniques. The children’s father is a politician who’s being considered for a cabinet post; flaming children would not help his chances. Whimsical, touching, funny, and full of heart, this is a beautifully written novel about a misfit who finds her tribe and will go to great lengths to protect them.

Brenda

January Virtual Book Discussion: A Murder of Magpies

Please join the Tuesday Evening Book Group on Zoom as we discuss A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders on January 26 at 7:00 pm. This is the first mystery featuring London book editor Sam Clair, who has one author turn in a terrible manuscript; then her friend Kit goes missing after sending a tell-all manuscript about a fashion designer’s death. Witty, darkly funny, and hard to put down; here’s my earlier review. Copies of the book will be available December 26 for curbside pickup; downloadable audiobook copies available from Hoopla and downloadable audio and ebook copies from Media on Demand / Libby.

Brenda

Ask Me No Questions

Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble

Philomena (Lady Dunbridge), her butler Preswick, and her new maid Lily have just stepped off the boat in New York City for a visit to Phil’s friend Bev Reynolds when shots rings out. Bev’s husband Reggie is found dead in his roadster, in the arms of his mistress Mimi. Phil is just out of mourning herself, but neither widow is grieving her spouse. Reggie’s true love was breeding and racing horses, and some of the most exciting scenes are at the stable and the Belmont racetrack. Detective Sergeant John Atkins is investigating Reggie’s death when another body is found, casting suspicion on Bev. Phil, Preswick the butler, and Lily investigate, as Phil takes the reader on a whirl through Manhattan society in 1907. Lively, entertaining, and sassy, with a strong sense of place, an enjoyable first mystery set in the Gilded Age. Tell Me No Lies and A Resolution at Midnight continue Phil’s adventures.

Brenda

Heartwarming Holiday Stories

Here’s a virtual display of some of the many winter holiday novels and stories we have on shelf. For curbside pickup of some heartwarming reads, place a hold, call us or email and we’ll help you select some titles.

Here’s a list of more holiday books published in 2020:

Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight by Grace Burrowes

A Dog’s Perfect Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron

Her Christmas Cowboy by Jessica Clare

Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan

Gingerdead Man by Maya Corrigan

A Very Merry Christmas by Melinda Curtis

Holding Out for Christmas by Janet Dailey

Heart of Gold by B.J. Daniels

Christmas Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

A Garland of Bones by Carolyn Haines

The Widow’s Christmas Surprise by Jenna Jaxon

An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen

Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber

Happily This Christmas by Susan Mallery

Christmas on Reindeer Road by Debbie Mason

Christmas Card Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Peggy Erhart

The Brightest Star by Fern Michaels

The Gift of Family by Mary Monroe

One More for Christmas by Sarah Morgan

A Christmas Resolution by Anne Perry

Christmas Carol Murder by Heather Redmond

Joy to the Wolves by Terry Spear

Four Christmas Matchmakers by Cathy Gillen Thacker

The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere

Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past by Traci Wilton

Happy holiday reading! Brenda

 

 

Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel

Cellist Bridget Stratton plans to spend the summer in her large, shabby house in Connecticut with her boyfriend. The boyfriend bails, but her house fills up with family and her oldest friend, Will. Pianist Will and Bridget are the founding members of the Forsythe Trio, and find themselves short a violinist. They end up inviting their original violinist, Gavin, to a reunion and plan to play at the upcoming wedding of famous composer Edward Stratton, Bridget’s father. Between home and barn repairs and landscaping aided by sheep and chickens, Bridget has little time to worry about the hilariously unfortunate outfit sent by her future stepmother, an old family friend. Full of family, humor and drama, music, home repairs and falling in love, this funny novel with a large cast of notable characters is engaging and entertaining, just the book I was looking for this fall. Readalikes include books by Katie Fforde and Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes.

 

Brenda