Book Club Mom’s Best Reads of 2020

Happy New Year Everyone! I’m all for saying goodbye to 2020, but it’s always good to remember the positives that occurred this past year too. In my case, I read a lot of great books! Today I’m sharing the best of the best.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles 

You by Caroline Kepnes

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

A Mother for His Twins by Jill Weatherholt

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Howard Hughes: The Untold Story by Peter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

A Hero of France by Alan Furst

Yellow Door by C. Faherty Brown

Members Only by Sameer Pandya

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Near Prospect Park by Lawrence H. Levy

Sadie by Courtney Summers

It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way by Mary Rowen

The Raft by S. A. Bodeen

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

I already have some good books lined up for 2021 – how about you?

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Book Club Mom’s Top 15 All-Time Favorite Books

The problem with having a Top 10 book list is that over time it’s impossible to keep the number at 10. I’ve left it that way for a few years, but it’s time for an update. So to accommodate some of the great books I’ve recently read, here is my new list, in alphabetical order.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk

Do you have a Top 10 List (or a Top 15 or Top 20)? Leave a link in the comments and I’ll pop over and say hello!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

How to make a good book list – visit your library!

I’m surrounded by books at my library job and, as I travel through the stacks, I’m inspired by the many books on display. I also do a lot of book talking with my work friends and with people who come up to the desk. Yesterday, I walked over two miles and the sights were good!  Here’s a list of the books I’ve seen or heard about during my recent travels.

Take a look and be sure to check out the linked reviews by our fellow WordPress bloggers – it’s a great way to connect with readers!


Fiction

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – reviewed by HappymessHappiness
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – reviewed by Bookshelf Fantasies
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – reviewed by Traveling with T
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata – reviewed by Cover to Cover
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reis – reviewed by Jenna Bookish

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – reviewed by Dressed to Read
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – reviewed by Hannah and Her Books
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – reviewed by Ally Writes Things
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward – reviewed by By the Book Reviews
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson – reviewed by BooksPlease

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – reviewed by Simone and Her Books
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn – reviewed by Angie Dokos
There There by Tommy Orange – reviewed by I’ve Read This
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger – reviewed by Rainy Days and Mondays
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – reviewed by Fictionophile

Nonfiction

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery – reviewed by Shelf Love
Hunger by Roxane Gay – reviewed by Taking on a World of Words
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren – reviewed by Kavish and Books

I’ll be reading Lab Girl for my book club and I know I’ll get to the rest one day – just a matter of time! What are you reading right now? What do you recommend?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s top reads of 2018

Image: Pixabay

Today is the perfect day to look back on the best books I read in 2018. Who can resist a list? Here are Book Club Mom’s 5-bookmark reads:


Days Without End by Sebastian Barry – 2/4/18

Thomas McNulty and John Cole are just boys in the 1840s when they meet under a hedge in a Missouri rainstorm. A strong friendship develops during their early days and later as soldiers in the Indian and Civil Wars. Questions of morality, faith, and fate run through this poetic narrative. It’s an impressive feat that a writer can take a piece of ugly American history and throw a moving balance between love, friendship, honor and duty and the brutal violence that comes with following orders.


Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt – 6/13/18

Sometimes you need a feel-good book, a story in which realistic characters face many challenges, but are able to overcome them through love and faith. That’s what you get in Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt, a wonderful inspirational romance that promises just what the title suggests.


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – 7/25/18

Classic children’s books don’t get any better than this story about a spoiled, but frail and lonely ten-year-old orphan girl, sent to live on a vast English moorland manor, with a reclusive uncle she has never met. In a delightful transformation, fresh air, exercise, surprise friendships, returned health and the newfound wonders of a secret and neglected garden are the springtime magic that brings Mary Lennox and her new family together.


Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder by Claudia Kalb – 8/18/18

Excellent collection of mini biographies of twelve famous personalities and a look at their known or likely battles with mental illness. In addition to a compassionate explanation of the problems these entertainers, artists, musicians, leaders, writers and groundbreakers suffered, Kalb wonders how many would have fared had they been accurately diagnosed and treated with modern methods.


The Lady with the Dog and Other Stories by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov – 9/1/18

There’s a lot of great literature on the public domain and I found this terrific collection of nine short stories by Anton Chekhov for free at the Kindle store. Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian playwright and writer of short fiction and is considered one of the all-time greatest masters of the short story.


The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – 10/15/18

I wasn’t sure how I felt about reading a hardboiled detective novel from the 1930s. But one page in and I understood why Dashiell Hammett is considered a master of this genre. It’s a tightly written story about detective Sam Spade, three murders, a valuable falcon statue and an assortment of shrewd characters on both sides of the law.


Commonwealth by Ann Patchett – 11/4/18

Here’s a great family saga that begins in the 1960s with six kids from two different families, thrown together because of an affair, a divorce and then a marriage. As the four parents establish their new lives, the kids are left to figure things out for themselves. Until one summer when tragedy changes everything.


Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – 11/20/18

A great story about being different and making it anyway. In some ways, it is a classic success story about perseverance, but mostly, it’s a shout-out to anyone who’s not mainstream. Through a rambling, often irreverent and always hilarious “where is this story going?” narration, with plenty of colorful vocabulary, Lawson tells you about her childhood, depression, anxiety and illness, her family, early jobs, marriage, motherhood and how she became a blogger and writer.


Blue Monday by Nicci French – 12/9/18

First in a series of eight mystery thrillers featuring Frieda Klein, a highly regarded psychoanalyst who, in this story, becomes entangled in a kidnapping investigation. One of the things I enjoyed about Blue Monday is that it is a character-driven mystery. The authors’ characters are both interesting and complex, with their own sets of problems.


Audiobook: Have a Nice Day by Billy Crystal and Quinton Peeples – 12/14/18

Have a Nice Day is a play, but this version is a live script-reading. In addition to Billy Crystal, Kevin Kline and Annette Bening, the cast is full of stars, including Rachel Dratch and Darrell Hammond. Kline plays President David Murray, who has just received a visit from the Angel of Death, played by Billy Crystal. Murray learns that this is his day to die and he makes a deal with the Angel to give him until one second before midnight so he can finish strong.


What did you read this year? Coming next, more excellent reads from 2018. Meantime, check out all my 2018 reviews here.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!