You guys, I was on a roll in 2020. This year I’m definitely behind on my book goal, but I had a recent poll on Instagram on which of my blog drafts you’d like to read, and books was the #1!
So I’m going to highlight my 2020-21 readings (only sharing the tops), and what I’m reading now.
My favorite for 2020, and VERY high in my all time favorites – The Song of Achilles. I will say I am predisposed to like anything involving Greek history/myth, but even so, this exceeded my expectations. It is Madeline Miller’s take on Homer’s Iliad, romanticizing it, and this time told from the viewpoint of Achilles’ companion Patroclus. Feeling like I already had a good idea of Achilles’ story, I wondered how well it would keep my interests, but it did not disappoint. 10/10
(Circe by the same author has high ratings on many lists, it is a future read for me for sure.)
I don’t have a definitive ranking for the rest of my list, but others that should be near the top include The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
If you’re much of a reader at all, I’m sure you’ve seen Where the Crawdads Sing on book lists or shelves, and for a reason! There’s been a death/possible murder in a small town, and you are taken round and around between different perspectives and timeframes. I don’t feel like I am genuinely surprised by too many books of this genre, but this one had me back and forth until the last pages. It is set in the marshes of North Carolina, and it is wonderfully descriptive of the nature life – the biologist in me absolutely loved it. 8/10
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is not as well known, but in my opinion it definitely should be. Dark, mysterious, and honestly a little confusing at times.. but a truly immersive experience to read. We love playing social deduction board games, and I recently attended a dinner-theater murder-mystery, and this book feels like that – a big puzzle. This one with just a tinge of a fantastical elements. 9/10
(The Devil and the Dark Water also by him is on my to-read list.)
The Family Upstairs (Lisa Jewell) was a random snag from a Menards $6 pile – a complete case of judging by its cover. And this time it worked splendidly! This one falls in line with the dark/mystery vibe, but there is nothing fantasy about it. This one bounces between timelines and is labeled with “psychological thriller” and “unreliable narrator”. I wouldn’t say it’s a “thriller”, but definitely a page-turner once you get a few chapters in. An unexpected, fun read. 7/10
A Spark of Light (Jodi Piccoult) – I’ve been reading Jodi books since I was 13, and they’re always good! This was the first I’d read in years. It follows multiple people involved in a gunman holding hostages at a Planned Parenthood clinic. It gives insight into the many viewpoints of the topic of abortion, and it was an impactful read. 7/10
Scythe – another by an author from my childhood, Neal Shusterman knocked this one out of the park. A YA novel in a dystopian future where who lives and who dies is chosen by a select, respected few.. I enjoyed every bit of this book, and I’m halfway through the second. 9/10
A Court of Thorns and Roses (Sarah J Maas) – The entirety of BookTok made me read it, and I’m glad they did! Labeled a YA, it definitely had an older feel to it. Only the second romance on my list, it’s a genre I usually critique pretty hard, but this fantasy was a very fun read. (If you’re not into magic and faeries this isn’t for you.) I am excited to jump into the rest of the series once I finish school in December! 8/10
The Danish Way of Parenting – (Alexander, Sandahl) Parenting tips from “the Happiest People in the World”! A very outdoorsy, hands-off approach to letting your kids learn by free play and exploring. I’ve really enjoyed this parenting perspective that is very far from many tactics seen from American families.
There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather (Linda Åkeson McGurk) – “A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids” – Another similar take on parenting focused on getting your children outside and allowing them the chance to explore and learn in a highly unstructured manner.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these if you read them! Or if you like similar books, I’d love your recommendations!
My reading definitely always picks up this time of the year as it gets colder outside. I’m not ready for winter, but cozied-up by the fire with a book and hot chocolate doesn’t sound too bad. ☕️
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