10 Favorites of 2020

Here are my ten favorite books of 2020, in no particular order.

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Homeland Elegies: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316496421
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 15th, 2020

Debate all you want about whether this is a novel, a memoir, or some newfangled hybrid; this book should simply be categorizes as great. Read the jacket copy for a summary. What I'll say is that this book fascinated me, entertained me, and informed me. I couldn't put it down. I read passages aloud to my spouse. I sought out interviews with the author. I was obsessed, and still am; this one is in the TBRR (to be re-read) pile!

—Becky


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Shuggie Bain: A Novel (Booker Prize Winner) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802148506
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - October 13th, 2020

Winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, Shuggie Bain is a triumphant debut, a decidedly autobiographical novel about a young boy fighting to save his alcoholic mother–and himself. Stuart's Scotland is a filthy, unkind place, his Scots rough and cruel; think Trainspotting, not Alexander McCall Smith. Yet through all the darkness shines a brilliant streak of light: love. 

—Becky


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Empty: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812992847
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - June 23rd, 2020

Burton, a former producer for This American Life, set out to write a studious book about adolescence, but quickly realized the story she had to write was far more personal, namely about her own struggle with eating disorders which began in her adolescence. The resulting memoir is, of course, confessional, but in a remarkably erudite way. Any intelligent woman who has ever struggled with her relationship with food needs to read this book.

—Becky


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Borges and Me: An Encounter Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385545822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - August 18th, 2020

This entertaining, cinematic episode from poet-novelist-biographer Jay Parini's life holds appeal for a wide variety of readers. We have SIGNED COPIES!

—Becky


Notes on a Silencing: A Memoir Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316491556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - July 7th, 2020

This memoir from novelist Lacy Crawford about her sexual assault at St. Paul's School and its subsequent, decades-long cover-up will chill your blood and make you seriously reconsider everything you've been led to believe about the value of elite educational institutions. 

—Becky


Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780385543767
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - April 7th, 2020

Kolker explores serious mental illness through the lens of a single family's devastating history. Don and Mimi Galvin, he a leader at the Air Force Academy, and she, a stay-at-home mother, had twelve children, fully half of whom were diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Kolker's dive into the family's dynamics, medical histories, and the long-term impacts on its members is truly fascinating, if utterly heartbreaking.  

—Becky


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What Are You Going Through: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593191415
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 8th, 2020

Nunez writes about middle-age and all of its regrets, horrors, and few surprising rewards with both deep empathy and refreshing humor. This book felt written to me and my cohort and I passed it along to a dear friend just moments from turning the final page. 

—Becky


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The Shame Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781571311368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - August 11th, 2020

This slim novel by Vermont author Makenna Goodman punches well above its weight. Readers familiar with the feeling of inadequacy scrolling social media can set off will be moved by this razor sharp portrait of a young mother on the verge of losing herself. 

—Becky


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The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780385348713
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - February 25th, 2020

Larson is out to expand his already mammoth fan base with this highly readable account of Winston Churchill's first year as Prime Minister, which coincided with the sustained bombing raids on London by the Germans popularly known as "The Blitz." Even those who rarely, if ever, read history, will be fully engaged by Larson's colorful characterizations and lively narrative, and find in them–as history is meant to do–lessons to apply to the present. 

—Becky


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Becoming Duchess Goldblatt Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780358216773
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - July 7th, 2020

Though Duchess Goldblatt is a Twitter sensation (among a certain literary set), one needn't have any prior knowledge of her or even be a Twitter user in order to experience the sheer delight which is this memoir. On the emphatic recommendation of a sales rep, I took Becoming Duchess Goldblatt to my bathtub one evening and did not emerge until I was nearly through and fully pruned. Her Grace is a balm to the soul and her creator's story an inspiration. 


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