Today is the last Monday of the year, so I figured that it’s time to do my very first year-end countdown of books that I reviewed in 2020!
There were so many good and not-so good titles that I read over this year, but six of them were stuck in my mind for better or for worse. To be clear, the novels that I will rank are ones that I originally reviewed this year, so no books from the Book Reviews From the Vault series.
So let’s get started with the Best Books that I reviewed in 2020!!
3. That’s Me Groucho!: The Solo Career of Groucho Marx by Matthew Coniam
I read That’s Me Groucho!: The Solo Career of Groucho Marx during the initial quarantine, and I was glued to it every second. Of course, being a Marx Brothers fan, I can see why a general reader might not be able to get into it as enthusiastically as I have. Despite that issue, Coniam does a great job researching the book and maintaining an objective view of the iconic comedian. Also, it contains a buttload of information that even diehards may not know about. So if you are looking for a present for a Marx Brothers fan, get them this book!
2. The Survivors Club by Lisa Gardner
I normally don’t read a whole lot of suspense books, but Lisa Gardner made me want to read more titles in this genre with The Survivors Club. It contains some of the most unexpected twists and turns that I have ever encountered. It also helps that the novel has three-dimensional characters, a non-sugar coated and nuanced approach to the very sensitive subject of rape, and a great finale! It’s no wonder that Lisa Gardner is the “Queen of Suspense!”
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
On one of the library Facebook groups that I’m in, someone had asked what books I read this year that I couldn’t stop thinking about. I answered The Hate U Give. This novel earns every praise that it has gotten with its diverse and realistic storytelling and characters. Although it’s a young adult book, anyone can read and enjoy it. Its portrayal of empathy is so impactful that people will be empowered to stand up for justice.
Alright, now let’s get to the worst!
3. Tangerine by Christine Mangan
As I mentioned in my 49-book ranking, I was originally going to put Tangerine as two stars because I was putting a lot of emphasis on the fact that George Clooney’s film company had acquired the film rights. Since then, this title has not been made into a film. This is an around-about way to say that I’m not sure if it will get adapted because the book is kind of dull. I get that the first two acts are a slow burn, but it could be very plodding at times. I would have tolerated that more if the ending was unpredictable in any way. It frustrated me until I realized who was the true protagonist. I still hold out for the film adaptation, but because of the source material, I’m afraid that it will be just as boring.
Look at that title. See how inflammatory the words are. I had other issues with this book like no sources and a lack of an examination of Christian ideals, but none of those angered me as much as how it was worded. I don’t mind the bluntness of self-help books, but they have to be straight-forward without being condescending and stirring up feelings of anger and fear. Sadly, that’s how I felt about this title. I’m sure one can find more balanced self-help books on how to be a better Christian elsewhere.
1. Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein
Final Jeopardy is on the list not because of how the author contributed to the Central Park Five case. If you want to frustrate me to the nth degree, all you have to do is take a potentially interesting scenario and make it as dry and boring as a Costco cake left out for too long, and that’s what this novel does. No further explanation is needed.
And that was the Top 3 Best and Worst Books of 2020! I hope all of you enjoyed it. I look forward to having plenty of new reviews for 2021! See you next year!
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