Reading Pandemic: Favorite Books of 2020

I’ve always loved to read; my parents used to ban me from reading as a punishment for talking back or breaking family rules. I’d read in the car on the way to dinner, in the bathroom, at family reunions, causing my grandmother to be concerned about my social abilities. Reading has always been an escape for me, a hobby, a major part of my daily life. And if ever there was a need for escape, 2020 is it.

I read sixty books this year and while sometimes people ask how I do it, all I think is, how can I not?! Reading has truly kept me afloat this year: whether an encouraging work of theology or spiritual growth, a bookclub read that has lead to great Zoom discussion, a work by a person of color that propelled me to consider life from a different perspective, or a captivating novel, reading has been a consistent source of joy this year. Although, I could share something about every single one, I’ll limit it to my top six here and share some favorites from other of our Louisiana Moms as well. 

Without further ado: 

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger 

My favorite book of 2020, and honestly one of my now all time favorites, has been described as a combination of Huckleberry Finn and The Odyssey. The writing is gorgeous, the characters lovable, and the story engrossing. Your heart will be wrenched as you read about these four children escaping from an abusive boarding school, forming a little family, encountering amazing people and adventures, and ultimately finding home. There is some heavier content, especially towards the beginning, but it’s worth wading through. Honestly, I want to read it again! 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 

Especially in our nation’s current climate concerning race relations, I feel like this is a must read. Following the stories of multiple people connected in different ways over 300 years from Africa to the United States. It’s eye opening, beautifully written, and completely captivating. There are a lot of characters to follow, so I appreciated the family tree included at the beginning. I gained both historical insight and compassion for current day circumstances from reading this book. 

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes 

This book is a treasure! A work of historical fiction, Moyes follows the lives of women who are part of the (real) work of Eleanor Roosevelt to distribute reading material to impoverished families in the Appalachian mountains. In this story we are faced with strong women advocating for the poor and the challenges they face. There is a beautiful friendship and a love story included, it’s heart warming and inspiring. This book is excellent on audio, narrated by Julia Whelan. 

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer 

In the year we’ve had, you’d think “hurry” would be the least of our worries, but it is crazy how much a “go, go, go” mentality is ingrained in our way of life. This book is excellently written with smart humor, relatable storytelling and practical advice on how to move forward into a life where we slow down a bit and appreciate what’s in front of us. 

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall 

A beautiful work of literary fiction, The Dearly Beloved focuses on the lives and marriages of four main characters. The book slowly but captivatingly reveals the thoughts and insights of each character, their questions of faith and life weaving together into a beautiful story. 

How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber and Julie King

Honestly, a parent must read! This book is practical, enjoyable to read, and extremely helpful for parenting little ones. The end of chapter summaries are invaluable and the information is both palatable and interesting. 

Here are some favorites from our other Louisiana Mom Writers: 

Non-Fiction: 

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown 

Elevating Child Care by Janet Lansbury

Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs 

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle 

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson 

Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell 

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Fiction: 

Well Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler

The Chain by Adrian McKinty 

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine 

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah 

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 

The Vanish Half by Brit Bennet 

Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards

What was your favorite book of 2020?

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