Anyone who knows me, knows I love to read a lot. Like, all the time. As a kid, I never went anywhere without a book. Nothing has changed as, as an adult, my purse has to be big enough for my Kindle and I always have an audio book queued up on my phone. While I try to vary what I read, 99% of what I devour is contemporary romance books and I have zero apologies for that- they bring me joy, especially during such a dark year like the one we’ve had.
My Facebook feed has been full of memories of my yearly book reviews from years past and I wanted to share my *most* favorite books of 2020. There is a quiet romance in this book, but it’s really a book about hope and acceptance and learning to love yourself.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is pure, complete joyous, hopeful perfection. This is the story of a man who lives a lonely life, following all the rules, just trying to get through each day. He has his cat and his job and very little else. His employer knows he’s a rule follower who never deviates from the manual, so they send him to inspect a home for magical children to evaluate how well the rules are being adhered to. The house is run by a man who cares for his charges with his whole soul; someone who has been deeply hurt by the world. The children in the house are extraordinary in their own way and these two men have to come together to figure out how to keep them safe from a world that doesn’t allow for differences.
I read this book in June, on the way home from a vacation we booked before the world stopped. The vacation was wonderful, but coming home was a stark reminder that nothing was the same. No sports. No camps. No hugging. Nothing really to do and so much fear. We had been in our “2 week” lockdown for 3 months at that point. The world seemed to be teeming with hate and anger as Covid was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. To read a book about a group of misfits who found each other – who found acceptance in each other – was a balm for my heart and exactly what I needed to read at the moment of time. I simply cannot recommend this sweet, funny, poignant, gorgeous book enough.
When I listen to audiobooks, I typically like to listen to books I wouldn’t normally read. This usually includes non-fiction books and memoirs. The biggest standout for me this year was Michael J. Fox’s No Time Like the Future. This man has been dealing with Parkinson’s for 20+ years, raising his family and living his best life. This book was an introspective look at how freaking hard that has been – and how to still find the joy even when things suck. I adored it.
The other standout for me was Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Anything by Reid is a one-click buy for me, but I purposely bought this one as an audiobook because it had a hell of an ensemble cast reading it. I hadn’t listened to a book like this with so many different narrators before so I figured I’d give it a whirl and I wasn’t disappointed. It read like an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music in the best way!
So tell me, what was your must-read of the past year?