Author Topic: Best Book You Read in 2020  (Read 3925 times)

cangelosibrown

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Best Book You Read in 2020
« on: December 14, 2020, 08:28:38 AM »
I've been going through all the different newspaper and Magazine lists of the best books of 2020. I've added plenty to my goodreads list and my library queue, but I'm always looking for more recommendations.  Simple question with no qualifiers on genre, type, anything, just:

What's the best book you read in 2020?

My answer: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Just a really great emotional story. Her more recent novel Americanah is much more popular, and probably more accessible to an American audience since it's set partly in america and deals partly with american issues, but I greatly preferred Purple Hibiscus, which is set entirely in Nigeria.

cool7hand

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2020, 12:44:48 PM »
The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity, by Douglas Murray. Not everyone will agree with him, but you're head's in the sand if it doesn't at least make you think.

cool7hand

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2020, 05:20:06 AM »
Come on all you people reading 50 books in 2020: which one was best? or two!

stoaX

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2020, 06:02:02 AM »
The Body by Bill Bryson.  It's a non-fiction page turner - when I was reading it nothing got done around the house.   I was sad when I finished it because I wanted more. 

SuseB

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2020, 06:18:32 AM »
I have two, one fiction, one non-fiction.

Non-fiction: Wilding by Isabella Tree. It's about a huge British estate that's been left to rewild. Amazing and hopeful book.

Fiction: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. About a Russian aristo 'quarantined' for years in a Moscow hotel. Brilliant and charming book.

stoaX

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2020, 09:58:14 AM »
For fiction my favorite read in 2020 was Exhalation by Ted Chiang.

shillingb2012

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2020, 09:29:44 AM »
Best book I read in 2020 was Deep Economy by Bill McKibben. It was beneficial to hear the importance of eating locally and creating a strong community!

cangelosibrown

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2020, 09:40:11 AM »
I have two, one fiction, one non-fiction.

Non-fiction: Wilding by Isabella Tree. It's about a huge British estate that's been left to rewild. Amazing and hopeful book.

Fiction: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. About a Russian aristo 'quarantined' for years in a Moscow hotel. Brilliant and charming book.

I've now had Gentleman in Moscow suggested to me by 3 independent people. Definitely on my list.

Watchmaker

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2020, 11:12:43 AM »
Fiction: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Non-fiction: A Pattern Language

BabyShark

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2020, 01:20:33 PM »
The Vanishing Half Brit Bennett.

I avoided it for so long because of all of the hype but I just finished it and I loved it.

MoseyingAlong

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2020, 03:52:44 PM »
A Gentleman in Moscow.

Great characters. And, surprisingly, as someone who struggled in high school & college literature classes, I was struck by how well he wrote. He conveyed a whole lot without superfluous descriptors. Really brought the characters and scenes to life.

Sandi_k

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2020, 04:22:38 PM »
From my list of 2020 (currently at 176 read):

- The Alice Network, Kate Quinn
- All These Beautiful Strangers, Elizabeth Klehforth
- The Last House Guest, Megan Miranda
- The Girl Beneath the Sea, Andrew Mayne
- Uprooted, Naomi Novik
- The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton
- The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
- The Cutting Season, Attica Locke
- Two Can Keep a Secret, Karen M. McManus
- Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, Matthew Sullivan

Adventine

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2020, 04:50:30 PM »
Non-fiction: Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Emotional Intelligence by Esther Perelman. Useful for anyone interested in the psychology of sex and relationship dynamics.

Fiction: Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. Dark fantasy graphic novel filled with gorgeous art, Lovecraftian monsters, and pretty women with varying degrees of animal body parts.

JustK

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2020, 12:14:50 PM »
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham

One of the best, and most terrifying, books I have ever read.

HappyCheerE

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2020, 03:51:20 PM »
Non-fiction: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Fiction: tie between The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris and Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (both old, super different from each other, both highly recommended but I had never read them before - so glad I did!)

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2020, 04:23:32 PM »
Non-Fiction: Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

Fiction (I'm very bad at separating books in a series): Brandon Sanderson - Way of Kings series (I've read the first three with the fourth one not being easily available at the library yet)

rosarugosa

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2021, 03:50:06 AM »
Fiction:
This is How it Always Is - Laurie Frankel
When We Were Vikings - Andrew David MacDonald
The Chain - Adrian McKinty
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
Non-Fiction:
The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson
Maid - Stephanie Land

Log

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2021, 11:08:55 AM »
Read lots of great stuff in 2020, but The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin has stuck with me as an absolute masterpiece.

DaMa

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2021, 02:48:22 PM »
The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History
by John M. Barry

redhead84

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2021, 03:19:59 PM »
A few favorites of 2020

Audio Book Fiction:
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (narrated by Tom Hanks)

Audio Book Non-Fiction:
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M Graff (full cast narration)

Fiction:
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Non Fiction:
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

bloodaxe

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2021, 04:21:58 AM »
What Technology Wants - Kelly claims that technology is its own organism and will do it's best to be used and widely opened. Also, when technology becomes widely adopted, it's impossible to go back.

Ion - small philosophy book by plato. Discussion on what art is. I realized I can't use logic or reasoning to create a desire to make art. Art is done for the sake of art. Plato would say: "art is done to please the gods".

clarkfan1979

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2021, 03:07:24 PM »
Thinking in Bets - Annie Duke.

alcon835

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2021, 03:24:49 PM »
Recursion by Black Crouch

My original review from GoodReads:

Recursion is excellent in a way I can’t really describe without spoiling it. But I’ll do my best.

There wasn’t a moment where I wanted to put the book down. Each time I walked away it was because something must be done. I must go to work, to go to sleep, to eat a meal, to spend time with family. All of these are good things but each one took me away from the next page.

This is a truly unique science fiction story that is both philosophically interesting and a well told story. Great questions are asked and the answers are so satisfying. The premise never goes stale, it just goes deeper and deeper, opening new doors, asking new questions, and making me want more.

It is a book that should be read and re-read. It is a work of fiction that should be picked up by schools and shared with loved ones.

It is a great book. Don’t read anything about it, don’t get hints of the story, just dive in and start reading.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 03:29:24 PM by alcon835 »

vand

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2021, 11:41:46 AM »
Daniel Pink's "Drive".

peterlewis

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2021, 03:28:03 AM »
Here are two books that I absolutely recommend.

Thriller: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Fiction: The Midnight Library


I personally am a thriller guy, so the Guest List was an absolute joy for me.

Accrual

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2021, 02:21:06 PM »
Not just one book, but a series - Hyperion Cantos.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2021, 07:22:53 AM »
My favorite book serie was "Mengele zoo" and the 4 sequencing books by Gert Nygårdshaug. It is about an indigenous young man growing up in a Brazilian rain forest who's world disappears by environmental abuse from the "civilized" world. The guy becomes an environmental activist. It is an exciting book with a realistic motive for the activist. I am not sure whether the sequence books have been translated, but you can start with the first, which can be read separately.

The Hin

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2021, 11:06:55 AM »
The Cold Millions - Jess Walter (Fiction)

This book follows a small circle of people in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1900s, with the plot primarily centered around the struggle for labor rights and the stark imbalance of power and quality of life between rich and poor. The author weaves in a cast of hugely entertaining characters and deals with heavy topics with a sense of grace and humor (usually of the dry variety), so it's entertaining and enjoyable while also being thought-provoking both about the era of American history depicted and the era of widening economic disparity we find ourselves living in today.

I'll also second Recursion, which is a really fun, brain-bending book. Blake Crouch is a very talented writer and cranks out stuff that feels ripe for adaptation to TV or movies (as some of his stuff already has been). If you like Recursion, I'd recommend checking out Crouch's earlier work Dark Matter.

bbqbonelesswing

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2021, 02:38:12 PM »
My answer: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Just a really great emotional story. Her more recent novel Americanah is much more popular, and probably more accessible to an American audience since it's set partly in america and deals partly with american issues, but I greatly preferred Purple Hibiscus, which is set entirely in Nigeria.

Thanks for the recommendation. I read We Should All Be Feminists last year and thought it was excellent. Will check out her other works.

nolefan21

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2021, 02:55:27 PM »
Non-fiction: Permanent Record by Edward Snowden (I was curious and it made me much more privacy/security focused online)

Fiction: The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly (if you like the Bosch /Lincoln Lawyer type crime thrillers).

renata ricotta

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2021, 02:58:06 PM »
Tough call! I read a bunch of good ones, but I think my very favorite was White Teeth, by Zadie Smith.

If you were to ask me a different day, I might say Unaccustomed Earth (Jhumpa Lahiri), The Vanishing Half (Brit Bennett), To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf) or if you're into sci fi (I'm usually not but still loved this), the Three Body Problem trilogy (Cixin Liu).

alcon835

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2021, 10:16:49 AM »
The Cold Millions - Jess Walter (Fiction)
I'll also second Recursion, which is a really fun, brain-bending book. Blake Crouch is a very talented writer and cranks out stuff that feels ripe for adaptation to TV or movies (as some of his stuff already has been). If you like Recursion, I'd recommend checking out Crouch's earlier work Dark Matter.

I did just that! And I agree, Dark Matter is good too, I read it shortly after Recursion. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but felt he had matured a lot as a writer between the two books. Would still recommend it, for sure. Especially for those (like me) who loved Recursion!

tygertygertyger

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2021, 10:30:02 AM »
Read lots of great stuff in 2020, but The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin has stuck with me as an absolute masterpiece.

Yes, I reread this last year and it was even better than I'd remembered.

Mike in NH

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2021, 04:47:18 PM »
These are the ones I put a star next to on my reading list:

The Lost Dogs (Michael Vick dogfighting case)
The Adventures of Buffalo and Tough Cookie (hiking)
Will's Red Coat (hiking, sequel to Finding Atticus)
Nepal Chronicles (trekking)
Hit Makers (science of popularity in a world of distraction)
Between the World and Me (alternate viewpoint @ the American Dream)
A People's History of the United States (alternate look @ US history)
The Four Agreements (practical guide to personal freedom)

stacheasaurus

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2021, 03:26:54 PM »
Fiction: Three body problem (all 3 books)
Non-Fiction: Enlightenment Now

Dicey

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2021, 05:26:09 PM »
Fiction:
This is How it Always Is - Laurie Frankel
When We Were Vikings - Andrew David MacDonald
The Chain - Adrian McKinty
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
Non-Fiction:
The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson
Maid - Stephanie Land
Have you read any other Bill Bryson? I thought Thunderbolt Kid was okay, but have enjoyed a good many of his books far more. Also, any of his audiobooks in his own voice are a treat. I think I liked "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" the best, but that might be shaded by the fact that I'd read a number of his others first. My introduction to Bryson was "Notes From a Small Island". I was dating a Brit at the time and swiped it from his nightstand. Our love affair did not last, buy my passion for Bryson endures.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2021, 05:30:45 PM »
Fiction: Three body problem (all 3 books)
Non-Fiction: Enlightenment Now

How do the 2nd and 3rd book compare to the first? I read it and have been meaning to read the others.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2021, 02:11:04 AM »
Fiction:
This is How it Always Is - Laurie Frankel
When We Were Vikings - Andrew David MacDonald
The Chain - Adrian McKinty
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
Non-Fiction:
The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson
Maid - Stephanie Land
Have you read any other Bill Bryson? I thought Thunderbolt Kid was okay, but have enjoyed a good many of his books far more. Also, any of his audiobooks in his own voice are a treat. I think I liked "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" the best, but that might be shaded by the fact that I'd read a number of his others first. My introduction to Bryson was "Notes From a Small Island". I was dating a Brit at the time and swiped it from his nightstand. Our love affair did not last, buy my passion for Bryson endures.

I read "A short story of almost everything" years ago and like that sort of factual books.
And I read his book about walking the appalachian trail, "A walk in the woods". That didn't inspire me to walk that particular route as it was a good description of the monotony of that route. It was inspiring to do a thru hike though.

stoaX

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2021, 05:00:08 AM »
The Cold Millions - Jess Walter (Fiction)
I'll also second Recursion, which is a really fun, brain-bending book. Blake Crouch is a very talented writer and cranks out stuff that feels ripe for adaptation to TV or movies (as some of his stuff already has been). If you like Recursion, I'd recommend checking out Crouch's earlier work Dark Matter.

I did just that! And I agree, Dark Matter is good too, I read it shortly after Recursion. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but felt he had matured a lot as a writer between the two books. Would still recommend it, for sure. Especially for those (like me) who loved Recursion!

Thanks for the recommendation of"Recursion".  I just finished reading it... my mind is still processing....

It was a good read and I will be looking to see what the author writes next!

stacheasaurus

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2021, 08:58:07 AM »
Fiction: Three body problem (all 3 books)
Non-Fiction: Enlightenment Now

How do the 2nd and 3rd book compare to the first? I read it and have been meaning to read the others.

The 2nd book was incredible, IMO best of the series.  3rd was good, with some epic scenes but the story was not as solid.

Dicey

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2021, 09:27:55 AM »
Fiction:
This is How it Always Is - Laurie Frankel
When We Were Vikings - Andrew David MacDonald
The Chain - Adrian McKinty
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
Non-Fiction:
The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson
Maid - Stephanie Land
Have you read any other Bill Bryson? I thought Thunderbolt Kid was okay, but have enjoyed a good many of his books far more. Also, any of his audiobooks in his own voice are a treat. I think I liked "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" the best, but that might be shaded by the fact that I'd read a number of his others first. My introduction to Bryson was "Notes From a Small Island". I was dating a Brit at the time and swiped it from his nightstand. Our love affair did not last, buy my passion for Bryson endures.

I read "A short story of almost everything" years ago and like that sort of factual books.
And I read his book about walking the appalachian trail, "A walk in the woods". That didn't inspire me to walk that particular route as it was a good description of the monotony of that route. It was inspiring to do a thru hike though.
DH and I listened to "At Home: A Short History of Private Life" on a road trip and really enjoyed it. It's narrated by Bryson, of course.

alcon835

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2021, 03:28:27 PM »
The Cold Millions - Jess Walter (Fiction)
I'll also second Recursion, which is a really fun, brain-bending book. Blake Crouch is a very talented writer and cranks out stuff that feels ripe for adaptation to TV or movies (as some of his stuff already has been). If you like Recursion, I'd recommend checking out Crouch's earlier work Dark Matter.

I did just that! And I agree, Dark Matter is good too, I read it shortly after Recursion. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but felt he had matured a lot as a writer between the two books. Would still recommend it, for sure. Especially for those (like me) who loved Recursion!

Thanks for the recommendation of"Recursion".  I just finished reading it... my mind is still processing....

It was a good read and I will be looking to see what the author writes next!

I am so glad!!! I felt the same way when I read it.

chaskavitch

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2021, 06:21:40 AM »
Thanks to everyone who recommended A Gentleman in Moscow.  I just finished it, and I really enjoyed it!

Fiction: Three body problem (all 3 books)
Non-Fiction: Enlightenment Now

How do the 2nd and 3rd book compare to the first? I read it and have been meaning to read the others.

The 2nd book was incredible, IMO best of the series.  3rd was good, with some epic scenes but the story was not as solid.

I think I listened to the first book on audiobook, so I didn't retain as much as I would if I'd read it myself.  The second book was the most interesting, and the third book was... a lot, haha, but still worth the read.

The best book I read in 2020 was either the Stormlight Archives (all 4 of them, but the first one is WELL worth reading even if you don't read the rest of them) or The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin.  The Stormlight Archives were a re-read, but I haven't read a lot of Le Guin before.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2021, 06:27:15 AM by chaskavitch »

cangelosibrown

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2021, 07:12:29 AM »
Thanks to everyone who recommended A Gentleman in Moscow.  I just finished it, and I really enjoyed it!

Fiction: Three body problem (all 3 books)
Non-Fiction: Enlightenment Now

How do the 2nd and 3rd book compare to the first? I read it and have been meaning to read the others.

The 2nd book was incredible, IMO best of the series.  3rd was good, with some epic scenes but the story was not as solid.

I think I listened to the first book on audiobook, so I didn't retain as much as I would if I'd read it myself.  The second book was the most interesting, and the third book was... a lot, haha, but still worth the read.

The best book I read in 2020 was either the Stormlight Archives (all 4 of them, but the first one is WELL worth reading even if you don't read the rest of them) or The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin.  The Stormlight Archives were a re-read, but I haven't read a lot of Le Guin before.

I'm happy to hear this take on the three body problem trilogy. I was recently having a discussion with my uncle who loved 1 & 3 and hated #2.  I liked 1 & 3, fine but thought #2 was by far the best and most interesting.

And thanks for adding that #1 of the stormlight archives is worth reading on its own -- I've been intrigued by the series for a long time, but haven't started because I'm unwilling to commit to that volume of reading from one series.

chaskavitch

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2021, 07:23:15 AM »
Thanks to everyone who recommended A Gentleman in Moscow.  I just finished it, and I really enjoyed it!

Fiction: Three body problem (all 3 books)
Non-Fiction: Enlightenment Now

How do the 2nd and 3rd book compare to the first? I read it and have been meaning to read the others.

The 2nd book was incredible, IMO best of the series.  3rd was good, with some epic scenes but the story was not as solid.

I think I listened to the first book on audiobook, so I didn't retain as much as I would if I'd read it myself.  The second book was the most interesting, and the third book was... a lot, haha, but still worth the read.

The best book I read in 2020 was either the Stormlight Archives (all 4 of them, but the first one is WELL worth reading even if you don't read the rest of them) or The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin.  The Stormlight Archives were a re-read, but I haven't read a lot of Le Guin before.

I'm happy to hear this take on the three body problem trilogy. I was recently having a discussion with my uncle who loved 1 & 3 and hated #2.  I liked 1 & 3, fine but thought #2 was by far the best and most interesting.

And thanks for adding that #1 of the stormlight archives is worth reading on its own -- I've been intrigued by the series for a long time, but haven't started because I'm unwilling to commit to that volume of reading from one series.

I mean, the story does continue past book 1, obviously, but you'll easily be able to determine if you like Sanderson's writing and characters.  Especially if you've never read any of his books before, I think his worldbuilding is pretty novel.

I was just talking with my husband about how amazing it is that there are SO MANY people with such rich, completely different, completely fictional universes in their minds.  It's so cool.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2021, 07:55:21 AM »
The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, both by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Alternate History/Sci Fi novels where a disaster forces the early U.S. space program to grow by leaps and bounds. Women and PoC are included much earlier than they were in real life; the main character is a brilliant female mathematician. I've listened to Kowal talk on the Writing Excuses podcast how she did all of this research with math and physics and she REALLY did her homework here. It felt very realistic to me and the main character was super complex.

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #46 on: February 02, 2021, 08:39:12 AM »
Due to COVID-19, I had to take on additional roles of class teacher, PE teacher, lunch person, and classroom IT support. Hence I read only 3 books, and each one was amazing.

All are Randall Munroe's:
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
  • Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
  • How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems
I'm an engineer who learned new things outside the technologies I deal with, and much thought was provoked by Munroe's drawings and explanations. And then I had to explain what I learned to my kids.

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #47 on: February 02, 2021, 09:15:48 AM »

For non-fiction, I really liked Permanent Record by Edward Snowden. Very well written and insightful. Ministry of Truth, about George Orwell and the writing of 1984, was also good.

For fiction, I loved The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and The Topeka School by Ben Lerner.

Now that I'm looking back at my Goodreads list, I'm seeing other good ones: Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road by Kate Harris, about two women cycling in Asia. I also fell in love with Martha Wells's Murderbot series of novellas/novels. So much fun!

ice_beard

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #48 on: February 02, 2021, 11:04:56 PM »
Donbas by Jacques Sandulescu

The author was kidnapped by Soviets from his home in Romania after WWII and taken to work in coal mines in the Donbas region of the Ukraine.  Prisoners were essentially worked to death and most did not last more than a year or two.  The story follows his capture, time at the prison and eventual escape and some of his life afterwards.  It was written in the 70s or 80s, so it's not modern. 

Funny thing was, I found out about this book while reading the worst book I read in 2020, "Communion" (crappy 80s book about an purported alien abduction).  The author of Donbas was a peripheral character in the abduction story.

rosarugosa

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Re: Best Book You Read in 2020
« Reply #49 on: February 03, 2021, 07:39:42 AM »
Fiction:
This is How it Always Is - Laurie Frankel
When We Were Vikings - Andrew David MacDonald
The Chain - Adrian McKinty
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
Non-Fiction:
The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson
Maid - Stephanie Land
Have you read any other Bill Bryson? I thought Thunderbolt Kid was okay, but have enjoyed a good many of his books far more. Also, any of his audiobooks in his own voice are a treat. I think I liked "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" the best, but that might be shaded by the fact that I'd read a number of his others first. My introduction to Bryson was "Notes From a Small Island". I was dating a Brit at the time and swiped it from his nightstand. Our love affair did not last, buy my passion for Bryson endures.

I read "A short story of almost everything" years ago and like that sort of factual books.
And I read his book about walking the appalachian trail, "A walk in the woods". That didn't inspire me to walk that particular route as it was a good description of the monotony of that route. It was inspiring to do a thru hike though.
DH and I listened to "At Home: A Short History of Private Life" on a road trip and really enjoyed it. It's narrated by Bryson, of course.

I read and really enjoyed "A Walk in the Woods," and I have "The Body" awaiting me in my book pile.  I will have to seek out some of his others; I really enjoy his brand of insightful wit.