A Year of Reading: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Everything in Between

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Despite the pandemic, I managed to read more books in 2020 than I had since they were required reading on an English syllabus (here were my favorites). My resolve continued in 2021. I read fiction, non-fiction (thanks to the Best Book Club Ever), memoirs, really a little bit of everything. Since I (mostly) remember to track everything in Goodreads, I culled through the list and wanted to share my highlights because nothing makes me want to read a book more than hearing “You’ve GOT to read it!”.

 

books stacked on a shelf with a woman’s hand picking one up

 

Fiction

 

The Push

by Ashley Audrain

Severe post-partum depression? Or evil first-born? Debate it with your book club.

 

The Gown

by Jennifer Robson

I have to read at least one WWII-era fiction book a year, and this one didn’t disappoint.

 

Such a Fun Age

by Kiley Reid

A great way to explore race and privilege through the lens of fiction.

 

Fifty Words for Rain

by Asha Lemmie

It wasn’t an obvious choice for me, but I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it.

 

A Time for Mercy

by John Grisham

A fun indulgence for all John Grisham fans.

 

The Four Winds

by Kristin Hannah

If you loved The Nightingale or any of her others, you’ll love this one!

 

 

close up of a teal blue typewriter with a piece of paper in it that says, “memoir"

 

Memoirs

 

No Cure for Being Human: And Other Truths I Need to Hear

by Kate Bowler

I loved her first memoir, and this one is just as good.

 

A House in the Sky

Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett

Reads like the script of a Hollywood thriller, couldn’t believe it was a true story.

 

What We Carry: A Memoir

by Maya Shanbhag Lang

The relationship between the author and her mother is fascinating and will have you thinking about the “narratives” we tell ourselves and others long after you’ve put it down.

 

Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York

by Elizabeth Passarella

She has a great sense of humor and breaks down the stereotype of what it means to be an “evangelical”.

 

 

an open book on a tabletop with a family cut out of paper emerging from the pages

 

Best Parenting Books

 

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money

by Ron Lieber

Approachable advice that makes sense – I tried it with my own kids.

 

How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids

by Jancee Dunn

Funny! And contains some helpful “gems”.

 

 

a red, hard cover book on a bed next to a pillow and a TV remote

 

Read It Now, Then Binge It Later

 

Station Eleven

by Emily St. John Mandel

You won’t believe it was written before COVID – a little too close for comfort at times.

 

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive

by Stephanie Land

Rare exception where I liked the series BETTER than the book, although the book wasn’t bad.

 

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

by Deborah Feldman

I had little knowledge of Hasidic Jewish culture and found the book fascinating–the series does a great job with it, too.

 

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

by Bryan Stevenson

The memoir is compelling, and Michael B. Jordan nails his portrayal of Stevenson.

 

 

a non-fiction sign hanging from a wooden ceiling in a library

 

Non-Fiction

 

Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting

by Lisa Genova

Fascinating explanation of how our brain “remembers” and “forgets” things and why, very approachable despite the complexity of the subject.

 

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation

by Kristin Kobes du Mez

A bit of a slog, but helps explain “what is happening?!” in our current political climate.

 

 

a close up of Missouri on a US map

 

Local History

 

The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States

by Walter Johnson

Getting through the first half of this book was a COMMITMENT, but it was worth it.

 

The Last Children of Mill Creek

by Vivian Gibson

Read The Broken Heart of America first, then follow with Gibson’s stories of the people who lived in, and were eventually forced out of, Mill Creek.

 

 

a stack of books with a trophy on top

 

And finally…the winner of the “You Haven’t Read [INSERT PAST POPULAR BOOK HERE]?!” category:

 

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

It lives up to the hype, and the Netflix adaptation was decent.

 

Whether you belong to a book club, read solo, or are just trying to learn more about something (including yourself), happy reading in 2022!

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