Another year, another set of book recommendations. I read 200 books this year (or, almost! I’m two away as of writing this), but a lot of them were duds. Was it the year, or were they really not to my taste? Dunno! I’ll probably reread some of them later on down the line. For this post, though, I’m going to toss out some of the best books I read this year.
Onto the recs!
The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum was one of the first books I read in 2020, and, my god, it hit me hard and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It was one of those books you spent worrying something terrible was going to happen, thanks to the blurb on the back and the very first page into the book. I won’t say whether or not that was true, because we all know how much I loved both the tragedy that was The Song of Achilles and the triumph that was The Martian. I highly recommend you just read this one and find out for yourself! I reviewed it back in February, and you can read that review here.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is next on the list (not that these are in any particular order). Set in 1939, right as Hitler is invading Poland during World War II, the story follows three incredibly different women and their lives through the impact of Poland’s invasion and what it meant to the world. I really liked this one specifically because the three perspectives were so vastly different — you could see how the event effected each of them in different ways, both during and for years after.
Another one I’ve been thinking about endlessly since I read it: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton is such a cool concept that I’m dying to get my hands on the eventual third book just so I can throw myself back into the world Camellia Beauregard lives in. I felt like Clayton’s writing, which was flowery and descriptive, was perfect for the kind of story she was telling. In this world, beauty is everything, and it very much struck me as a kind of beauty-obsessed Victorian era. I really liked it, and I’m absolutely going to reread the first two books as soon as the third one is ready to drop!
Kind of the odd one out in the list here, but Battle Royal by Koushun Takami was one hell of a ride. I had never read it (or watched the movie before), but I had heard of it a lot, especially following the popularity of The Hunger Games and Danganronpa, as Battle Royal came before either of those. I ended up finding a copy at one of my library’s annual used book sales (god, I miss them so much!) and finally gave it a read. Fair warning: not for the light of heart! This is a seriously gritty, gorey story, but man is it good!
Finally on the list we have another historical fiction set in WWII (what can I say, they have such good, heart-wrenching stories that remind me how lucky I am): The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. This one surprised me a little, mostly because it ended in a way I had not been anticipating. By no means a bad thing, or I wouldn’t have included it on here! This one is set specifically in the thick of Hitler’s horrible regime (as the title indicates), with two people relying on love to get through what the world’s unfairly thrust upon them. I think it was the very end that got me good, really. It might be fiction, but goddamn. It’s also on the shorter side of things at a little under 300 pages, if you’re looking for something quick!
And that’s the set of recs I have for this year! I’m hoping to have more next year, even though I plan on reading far fewer books. A few I have planned to read from my 21 in 2021 drawing look like titles I’m going to adore, but I’ve surprised myself before. Here’s hoping they’re great!
Thanks for reading!