As we wind our way toward the waning days of 2020, I thought I’d scroll through the 98 books I’ve read (so far) this year to see what I could see.
What did I see? A handful that really stood out. Mind you, if I finish a book, that means it was entertaining and did everything a book should do. But there were definitely some four and five-star reads this year.
That being said, these are my four and five-star reads. There’s a very good chance they are someone else’s one-star reads. That’s the way entertainment works.
Without further ado, here are the books:
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees
Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel by Martha Wells
You’re sensing a trend, aren’t you, right up until that last title. My pleasure reading definitely skews historical/fantastical, plus I have a thing for spies.
I absolutely love the Murderbot series of books, and I highly recommend them (and reading them in order). In fact, I reread the first four in preparation for Network Effect (and I’ll reread all of them next year when book six is out).
One of the points of view in The Secrets We Kept is in first person plural, that of the typists. Really, it made the book (well, for me, at least). I absolutely plan on writing a story in first person plural one of these days and inflicting it on unsuspecting slush readers everywhere.
A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears) by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling
Come for the bears, stay for what really must become a Coen Brothers movie.
True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News by Cindy L. Otis
Young adult nonfiction, but really all that means is the prose is lively and accessible (rather than dull and serious and self-important). For middle school on up, especially for adults who forgot that they learned about yellow journalism in high school.
The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture by Gail Carriger
From the description:
This is an excellent reference guide for genre fiction authors seeking to improve their craft or for readers and pop culture enthusiasts interested in understanding their own taste. It is the perfect counterpoint to The Hero with a Thousand Faces not to mention Save the Cat, Women Who Run With The Wolves, and The Breakout Novelist.
If you’ve been stymied by all the usual suspects when it comes to writing advice, seriously give this book a try. I can’t tell you how many oh, so that’s why moments I had while reading this.
QuitBooks for Writers series by Becca Syme
I read Dear Writer, Are You In Writer’s Block? this year but I recommend all of Becca’s books in the series. Granted, they are probably more useful if you have a passing familiarity with CliftonStrengths, but I still think you can get a lot out of them even if you don’t.
Standout short story (that you can read for free)
Little Free Library (over at Tor.com)
A wonderful little story. You can also buy a copy for your e-reader (links at the bottom of the story post).