Here they are, my Top Twelve Reads for 2020. But then I’ve added another; just could leave out, Jim Defede’s The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland.
Except for that late addition, my list only celebrates fiction. This year I needed someone else’s soap opera to relieve me of Covid and political non-fiction.
Cohen, Jon. Harry’s Trees
Dugoni, Robert, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
Irving, John, A Prayer for Owen Meany
Kidd, Sue Monk, The Book of Blessings
Krueger, William Kent. Ordinary Grace
Lundberg, Sophia. The Red Address Book
Martin, Charles. When Crickets Cry
Montgomery, Jess. The Hollows
O’Farrell, Maggie. Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague
Riley, Lucinda. The Shadow Sister
Salzman, Mark. The Soloist
Sullivan, Mark. Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Jim Defede’s The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland
(As you watch this, a stray picture may appear. Don't ask my how it appeared or how to get rid of it.)
This is the second book in the series ‘The Seven Sisters.’ It isn’t essential that you read the books in order; the story of each sister stands alone. I’m glad, however, I stared at the beginning because I know I’m going to continue and read about each sister.
I absolutely loved Ally’s, from her life as crew member racing in Greece, to that of a musician in Norway. The story brought back memories of a trip with my parents to Bergen and a visit to Grieg’s home there.
Oh, I’ve been reading, even though I haven’t been posting here. This book will have to be in the top ten on some ‘Good read’ list. A back and forth story of the same family connected with the New York City Public Library during 1913 and 1993. When you are finally allowed to spend time at the beach or hop on a plane, take this one along. No, don’t wait! The good news is that you can wear a mask and read at the same time.
This is the first in The Vera Stanhope Mystery Series. I will give any book set in northern England a chance, and this was well worth it. How easy it was to imagine myself slogging through the moors with the unconventional detective Vera Stanhope and the other cast of characters. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series. (Years ago I dabbled in Cleeves’ Shetland Island Series; plan to go back to it.)
Why did I love this book? Because it was written by Sue Monk Kidd; because it was an engaging story? because it drew me into Palestine history during the time of Jesus? because as a Christian I try to follow Jesus.
If any of these reason resonate with you, give The Book of Longings a try.
This will be a favorite this year; my idea of a beach read. Born Sam Hill, with red eyes, this is the story Sam’s extraordinary life. He dealt with this obvious visual impairment for which he was bullied, but he was also nurtured by his family, supported by teachers, and loved by loyal friends who called him Sam Hell.
A heartfelt account of that September 11, 2001 day when human beings from all over the world landed at the Gander, Newfoundland airport on their way to the United States. In weaving together their lives with those of the locals, who opened up their homes, schools, shops, and their hearts, Defede tells a feel-good story that gives hope in the midst of tragedy.
This is second book that I’ve read in Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander mystery series. Wallander, a detective in a small town in Sweden, is brash, domineering, compassionate and loyal. He is complicated man respected and liked by his peers; I join them.
This is a first for me: being engaged in a deep way with a male protagonist who, I need not say, is created and developed by a male author.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark Sullivan
A novel based on the true story of Pino Lella during his time as a spy against the Nazis at the close of the war in Italy. I am in awe of his courage and resilience. He brings to mind that we human beings don’t always know if we are doing the right thing, but if we keep our moral compass set toward good, we will come out on the right side of right.