2020 Books

  • Bear Witness by Mary Gaitskill (B-) A juror examines her own life after listening to the facts of a brutal crime.
  • Belles on Their Toes (Cheaper by the Dozen #2) by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (B-) In book two we’ve moved from fun, innocent efficiency stories to tales of death, smoking, and loneliness.
  • Crooked River by Preston & Childs (C+) After 99 severed feet wash up on Sanibel Island Pendergast is called to investigate in this ho-hum easy read thriller.
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (B) I kept forgetting this wasn’t a real band.
  • Dugan’s Bistro and The Legend of The Bearded Lady by Owen Keehnen (B+) Owen is keeping local Chicago LGBT history alive. This fascinating tale would be a great mini-series.
  • Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (A) A fascinating look into one woman’s upbringing in a anti-government “off-the-grid” family and her escape into the real world. A must read!
  • Graceful Burdens by Roxanna Gay (C) Unlicensed women must turn their babies over to the library system to be loaned to fit mothers in this dystopian (?) short story.
  • Halfway to Free by Emma Donoghue (C) In the future people are strongly discouraged from reproducing in order to curb the population.
  • Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg (B) – Sweet, if not a bit frustrating follow-up to “Openly Straight” about a jock who’s figuring out his sexuality.
  • Interference by Brad Parks (B) – A quantum physicist is kidnapped and the virus that “entangled” with him may lead to his rescue.
  • Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel (A) – A fascinating history of something that seems to minor to us today.
  • Luck, or Something Like It by Kenny Rogers (B) It was interesting even if you don’t care about Rogers.
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather (D) – As much as I loved “O, Pioneers” was the amount I hated this drawn out clunker.
  • My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder (A-) Leah feels…lost until Jasper comes along. Soon the girls are sharing secrets and making plans that the adults won’t approve of.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (B+) A time-travelling sex romp.
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston (A-) – The President’s son and the Prince of England fight and flirt in this engrossing YA novel.
  • Sweet Virginia by Caroline Kepnes (C) – A mother slightly bored with her life gets involved in a shady on-line flirtatious affair with a stranger.
  • The Andromeda Evolution by Daniel H. Wilson (and Michael Crichton but not really.) (C+) This sequel to the original has a great premise but I couldn’t get into this author’s writing style.
  • The Contractors by Lisa Ko (B) Two women working for the same company work together to expose their employer.
  • The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish (B+) – Tragedy forces Ethan and his family to move to Georgia where he meets a new friend and helps solve a mystery. Sweet and tragic.
  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper (B) – Two brothers find their third dead in the Australian outback in a very mysterious way.
  • The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers (B+) – Fascinating and easily digestible true story of one man’s crazy idea to restore the Yemini coffee market to its former glory.
  • The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah (D) – One of the most boring, nonsensical murder “mysteries” I have ever read. And the motivation was laughable. This is my first and subsequently last book by her.
  • This Telling by Cheryl Strayed (A-) Short story about a young girl in 1954 that gets pregnant and the fall out from her decision.
  • Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin by David Ritz (B)- Aretha made him remove all of the controversial things from her autobiography so he published this unauthorized version.
  • Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson (B+) “The true adventure of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of WWII”.
  • Shine, Pamela! Shine! by Kate Atkinson (C) What started out as an interesting examination of a down-trodden divorcée takes a weird turn in the last pages. It’s like author just got bored and quit.
  • Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen (D) What started off as an intriguing mystery devolved into a ludicrous “comedy” crime caper.
  • Trace Elements by Donna Leon (B) – A dying woman’s cryptic confession leads Brunetti on a quest to put the pieces together about a potential murder.
  • The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor – (B) – Sweet, sad book about a special needs boy who moves to a new town after the death of his best friend.
  • The Whisper Man by Alex North (B) – A suspenseful beach read. Kids are murdered, cops are angry, legends are born. The usual.

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