Tuesday, December 29, 2020

My Favorite Reads in 2020

Time for an end-of the-year reading wrap-up!  I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl for this.  

As has been my habit for the last few years, I'm doing two lists, my top ten new reads and my top ten rereads.  If you want to see my previous lists, they're all on this page.  

If I reviewed a book this year, I've linked the title to that review.  There are a few here that I've reviewed previously and didn't review again this year -- you can look up my previous reviews in my review lists if you want.

Okay, on to the fun!

New Reads

(Yes, I listed three books all together in one slot.  They form one cohesive story, so I figure that's fair.)

1. Christmas with Anne by L. M. Montgomery (G) -- a collection of short Christmas stories (not about Anne), plus two sections from the Anne books that are about Christmas.

2. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim (G) -- four tired British women rent an Italian villa and change their outlooks on life.

3. The Two Blue Doors trilogy (book 1, book 2, book 3) by Hillary Manton Lodge (PG/PG13/PG13) -- a restaurateur and a doctor start a long-distance relationship and travel to France and Italy. This trilogy made Lodge an auto-buy author for me.

4. Marsalis on Music by Wynton Marsalis (G) -- a fun and fascinating exploration in which the famed jazz trumpet player guides children and adults alike through the forms and functions of music.

5. Over the Moon by Natalie Lloyd (PG) -- magical realism involving dust monsters, flying horses, and people who can weave starlight.

6. Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker (R) -- my new headcanon for what Edward Rochester's life was like before he met Jane Eyre, while he knew Jane initially, and how everything ends up.

7. Aslan's World by Angus Menuge (G) -- a Bible study that explores Biblical themes in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

8. Rook di Goo by Jenni Sauer (PG-13) -- quirky sci-fi with a found family, Cinderella overtones, and a beautiful depiction of living with clinical anxiety.

9. Old Ramon by Jack Schaefer (PG) -- quiet story of a boy learning about life from an old mann two dogs, and a herd of sheep.

10. The Secret in the Tower by Charity Bishop (PG-16) -- Katherine of Aragon seeks to remain in England after the death of her husband, Prince Arthur, and various political machinations arise from the situation. Also, Thomas Lovell continues to be awesome in this installment of the Tudor Throne series.


Rereads

(You will note that two books tie for second place and two for sixth.)

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (PG) -- my favorite novel.  A young woman continually resists men's efforts to control her, and obeys God and her own conscience instead.

2. The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery (PG) -- a downtrodden young woman finds a new zest for living when she learns that she is dying.  Also, this book has my favorite fictional romantic hero in it.

2. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (G) -- a loquacious orphan gets adopted by an old-fashioned woman and her shy brother.  No one is ever the same again. 

4. Persuasion by Jane Austen (G) -- a woman and man who had once been engaged, then broke up, learn that second chances are a beautiful thing.

5. All the Mowgli Stories by Rudyard Kipling (G) -- adventures of a boy and his animal friends.  Also includes the story about Mowgli as an adult, which I'd never read before!

6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (PG) -- a na├»ve young woman makes new friends and learns that not everyone is as nice as they seem to be (but if a guy acts like a jerk, he's totally a jerk).

6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (PG) -- two people keep insisting they don't like each other even though they actually do like each other, a lot.

8. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (PG-13) -- true love, death, resurrection, pirates, the greatest swordsman of all time, a giant, the most beautiful girl in the world, a prince, a six-fingered man, a Sicilian, and the fire swamp.  You think this happens every day?

9. Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery (G) -- a girl gets to know her father and, at the same time, figures out who she is too.

10. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sidney Taylor (G) -- a Jewish family in turn-of-the-century NYC with lots of kids who have adventures.


This was a wonderful year of reading!  I read 94 books (new personal adult record!), I discovered some new favorite authors (Hillary Manton Lodge and Elizabeth Von Arnim), and it was just altogether a lovely year, book-wise.  

34 comments:

  1. Ooh, Mr. Rochester sounds good!

    My post.

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    1. Lydia, it's very good! And you don't come out hating Mr. Rochester, either. Which is why I liked it.

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    1. Davida, yeah, I can't narrow it down any farther. I used to combine them, but then I had to leave off so many good books, so... two lists it is :-)

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  3. Wow, so many great books in one place!

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    1. Thanks, Samantha! It was an amazing reading year :-)

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  4. Awesome list! I've had those Hillary Manton Lodge books on my TBR list for ages and forgot about them. Thanks for the reminder. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed them. :)

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    1. Thanks, Ashley! So, those Hillary Manton Lodge books turned her into an auto-buy author for me. They're marvelous. Even when you read them out of order, which I accidentally did :-o I highly recommend them!

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  5. Hi there! It's my first time stumbling upon your blog and I'm so glad! Such great books you've got.

    I am going to have a look at Mr Rochester, that sounds really so good! And Aslan's World, I would love to have a closer look at the more biblical aspects of Narnia. Have you ever done the Narnia Bog Tag? You can find it on my blog under "strings attached". Think you will love it!

    I've read Northanger Abbey for the first time this year and The Princess Bride was on my reading list, but I didn't get to it. Hopefully soon!

    Have a wonderful and blessed new year!

    Elza Reads favorite books for 2020

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    1. Hello, Elza! I'm so glad you stumbled on my book blog :-)

      Mr. Rochester is reeeeeally good. Like I said, it's now my headcanon for him.

      Aslan's World is just lovely. I haven't done the Narnia Blog Tag, I don't think... I will check your blog for it! My daughters and I are slowly listening to the Narnia audiobooks and having a great time with them.

      Isn't Northanger Abbey ridiculously fun? And oh, I hope you can get to The Princess Bride soon, because it's hilarious.

      Happy New Year to you as well!

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  6. The Blue Castle seems to be here every year. It's wonderful to have a book that you love that much and never gets old! Both of these lists have books that sounds like I'd not then, so I'll have to try them.

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    1. MC, well, that's because I do reread The Blue Castle with some regularity, and it's always good. Always. I am anticipating rereading it as my first book of 2021, actually.

      Hope you find some books here that you enjoy! It was a good year for books.

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  7. Looks like you had a wonderful reading year! My husband read the whole Chronicles of Narnia series out loud to our daughter this year. They both loved it. My husband's really into symbolism, so I'll have to suggest ASLAN'S WORLD to him. Sounds intriguing.

    Happy TTT!

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    1. Susan, I did! It was pretty fantastic, as far as books go. That's really cool that your husband read all of Narnia aloud to your daughter! My daughters and I are listening to the audiobook versions of them (the one with narrators like Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi) and loving them. Aslan's World is definitely worth a read if your husband wants to dig into symbolism and allegory!

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  8. The Enchanted April sounds like such a good reads. I'm not sure I've heard of it before, but it's going on my TBR pile now.

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    1. Christopher, it is absolutely marvelous. Have you ever read A Room with a View? It reminded me a little of that one.

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  9. Congrats on 94 reads! (Gosh, I need to read Anne of Green Gables.) :/

    I'm so ashamed of myself.

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    1. Ruth, I'm hoping to fit one more short book in by the end of tomorrow and have it be 95 reads :-D A friend gave me some middle-grade mysteries for Christmas and I think I can polish one off in a couple days.

      And YES! Read Anne of Green Gables! It is endearingly wonderful. Just do it, don't hesitate or put it off any longer.

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  10. Your affection for my Lovell makes me smile. I'm glad someone else likes him as much as I do. (Not including my mother, heh.)

    Great reminder that I need to read Mr. Rochester...

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    1. Charity, yes, he is definitely a highlight of the books for me :-D (I guess there's no accounting for taste. My mom probably wouldn't like him either, tho.)

      Mr. Rochester was just splendid. Also the most adult book I read this year, tho.

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  11. Rook di Goo was a really nice read--warm and cozy while also being fierce and exciting and adventurous. I'm glad you recommended it to me.

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    1. Katie, yes! Excellent way to describe it. I'm glad you dug it!

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  12. Awesome lists! While I haven’t read the first in Hillary Manton Lodge’s trilogy, I really enjoyed the last two. :) She’s a great author! And so is Natalie Lloyd; Over the Moon was a great read! Also, so many great classics/authors on your re-reads list! I need to re-read more classics :) Happy reading in 2021!

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    1. Amber, that's so funny about you not having read the first in the Two Blue Doors series, because I read them out of order too! I got the last one from the library and didn't know it wasn't a stand-alone like Jane of Austin because the library barcode covered over the series info! So after I finished that one, I had to buy books 1 and 2 because they didn't even have them. So weird.

      Classics are always a good idea :-) The Classics Club challenge gives me a bit of an incentive to keep reading them, too.

      Happy New Year!

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  13. Ahhh, love it. Glad you read so many good books this year!

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    1. Thank you, Olivia :-) Yes, it was definitely a year of good, good books. Happy New Year!

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  14. I need to read Anne of Green Gables. I somehow missed it when I was growing up. I’ve read a lot of the other classics on your list.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. AJ, YES! Read Anne of Green Gables. It is still wonderful as an adult, and even more poignant to me now than when I was a kid. Sooooooo good.

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  15. I need to start reading more, I'm going to try to read a lot of Jane Austen this year.

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    1. Skye, that is a laudable goal! I reread my three favorite Austens last year (all of which ended up on this list, surprise, surprise), so I am kind of hoping to reread the other three this year. She's so funny and awesome.

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  16. So many great books on this list! I LOVED Mr. Rochester (and of course, Jane Eyre!!!), The Blue Castle, The Princess Bride, and Persuasion!

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    1. Elena Alice, how cool that we have so many loved books in common! I was really surprised by how well I liked Mr. Rochester. Wouldn't mind adding it to my collection at some point.

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