fiction

“New York Times Best Fiction & Nonfiction of 2020”

The editors of The Times Book Review chose the best fiction and nonfiction titles of 2020, from among the titles they had reviewed. The titles are a mix of bestsellers and wannabes, from debut and/or international writers, but more importantly, the NYT Book Review editors fell in love with the story or the writing.

 

Listed in alphabetical order by author. Click on the titles to read the reviews and learn more about the books.

 

FICTION

Homeland Elegies”  by Ayad Akhtar 

The Vanishing Half”  by Brit Bennett

Deacon King Kong”  by James McBride

A Children’s Bible”  by Lydia Millet

Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell

 

NONFICTION

Hidden Valley Road” by Robert Kolker

War” by Margaret MacMillan

 

A Promised Land”  by Barack Obama

 

 

Shakespeare in a Divided America”  by James Shapiro

Uncanny Valley” by Anna Wiener

 

 

National Book Awards – 2020

The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best literature in America. NBF is guided by the belief that books and literature are for everyone, no matter the geographic location, level of economics, or ethnicity of the readers.

Click on the highlighted titles for more information about the books.
The winners are highlighted in red.

Fiction:

Nonfiction:

Young People’s Literature:

Finalists for Translated Literature: (Recently, I had occasion to read a book in a language that was not my native tongue. I had a copy of the original on my shelf and compared the two. While 90% of the book was beautifully translated, there were sections where the translator didn’t quite ‘get’ the nuances of the language. Bravo to those translators that do it well, because it can make all the difference in the reader’s perception of the original intent of the author.)

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!

 

 

 

 

2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

 

The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” written by former Alabama law student, Harper Lee. For the past several years, the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal have partnered to award the prize to a published work of fiction from the previous year that best demonstrates “the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”

 

Congratulations to the finalists (chosen from a field of 21) for the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The winner is indicated in red.

Sujata Massey: “The Satapur Moonstone”

Victor Methos: “The Hallows”

Chad Zunker: “An Equal Justice”

 

Previous winners:

2011 – John Grisham, “The Confession”

2012 – Michael Connelly, “The Fifth Witness”

2013 – Paul Goldstein, “Havana Requiem”

2014 – John Grisham, “Sycamore Row”

2015 – Deborah Johnson, “The Secret of Magic”  

2016 – Attica Locke, “Pleasantville”

2017 – James Grippando, “Gone Again”

2018 – C.E. Tobisman, “Proof.”

2019 – Sharon Bala, “The Boat People”

 

Pandemic Themed Fiction and Nonfiction

 

You asked for it. A list of books that deal with pandemics. In the past, we’ve watched the pandemic movies and TV shows and a few thriller authors have addressed the topic in their fiction. But, here we are in 2020, fighting a real life pandemic. Don’t read any of these books if you want to be reassured. Some, although written decades ago, are eerily predictive of our current worldwide battle with the Coronavirus, Covid 19.

Bobby Akart series: Starts with “Pandemic: Beginnings: A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller Series”

Michael Crichton: “The Andromeda Strain”

Molly Caldwell Crosby: “The American Plague” (nonfiction)

Stephen King: “The Stand”

Dean Koontz: “The Eyes of Darkness”

Emily St. John Mandell: “Station Eleven”

William Maxwell: “They Came Like Swallows”

Thomas Mullen: “The Last Town on Earth”

Katherine Ann Porter: “Pale Horse, Pale Rider”

Richard Preston: “The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus” (nonfiction)

Mary Shelley: “The Last Man”

Karen Thompson Walker “The Dreamers”

Do you have a favorite pandemic themed book that’s missing from the list? Let us know in the comments below.
 

Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2020 List

 

View from Blarney Castle

 

St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon! For those of you that focus your reading on holiday/cultural themed books, the list below features Irish writers, mysteries/suspense set in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day murders, or titles with Irish characters central to the plot. Some are modern classics, some are newbies, but all are entertaining reads. You’re sure to find a story in the updated list of 38 Irish Fiction & Mysteries–2020 List that you will want to read again and again. (Links included for bold titles)

 

Lisa Alber: “Path into Darkness
Maeve Binchy:  “Chestnut Street
S. Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked
Declan Burke: “The Lost and the Blind
Steve Cavanagh: “Th1rt3en
Sheila Connolly: “Fatal Roots
Kathy Cranston: “Apple Seeds and Murderous Deeds
Sinead Crowley: “One Bad Turn
Kathi Daley: “Shamrock Shenanigans
Frank Delaney: “The Last Storyteller
Nelson Demille: “Cathedral
Patricia Falvey: “The Yellow House
Tana French: “Broken Harbor
Alexia Gordon: “Murder in G Major
Andrew Greeley: “The Bishop at the Lake
Jane Haddam: “A Great Day for the Deadly
Lyn Hamilton: “The Celtic Riddle
Lee Harris: “The St. Patrick’s Day Murder
Erin Hart: “The Book of Killowen
Jonathan Harrington: “A Great Day for Dying
Mary Anne Kelly: “Twillyweed
Amanda Lee: “The Long Stitch Good Night
Dan Mahoney: “Once in, Never Out
Caimh McDonnell: “A Man with One of Those Faces
Brian McGilloway: “Preserve the Dead/The Forgotten Ones
Adrian McKinty: “The Chain
Ralph M. McInerny: “The Green Revolution
Leslie Meier: “St. Patrick’s Day Murder
Stuart Neville: “So Say the Fallen
Carlene O’Connor: “Murder in an Irish Cottage
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: “Death Takes Up a Collection”
Helen Page: “Equal of God”
Louise Phillips: “The Doll’s House
Janet Elaine Smith: “In St. Patrick’s Custody
Jo Spain: “Beneath the Surface
Patrick Taylor: “An Irish Country Family
Peter Tremayne: “Blood in Eden
Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes

 

 

 

If your favorite Irish Fiction & Mysteries titles are not on the list, let me know and I’ll add them! Happy choosing and reading!

 

 

Valentine’s Day Mysteries and Fiction

 

Are you a fan of holiday themed reading? Published between 2016 and 2020, here is a list of twenty-three novels, novellas, and short stories centered around Valentine’s Day. Be prepared to swoon, or laugh, or be delighted by the selection. Click on the titles to discover more about the books and enjoy!

 

Jennifer S. Alderson  “Death by Baguette”

 

Carolyn Arnold  “Valentine’s Day is Murder”

 

Patti Benning  “Tall, Dark, and Deadly”

 

Franky A. Brown  “What Happened to Romance?”

 

Susan Carroll “The Valentine’s Day Ball”

 

Cherry Christensen  “Secret Valentine”

 

Sylvia Damsell  “A Valentine Wish”

 

Steve Demaree “A Valentine Murder”

 

Liz Dodwell “Valentine’s Day: a Polly Parrett Pet-Sitter Cozy”

 

Jessica L. Elliott “Operation: Romance”

 

Tammy Falkner “A Valentine’s Day Miracle”

 

Deborah Garner  “A Flair for Truffles”

 

Patricia Gligor “Marnie Malone”

 

Holly Hepburn “Valentine’s Day at the Star and Sixpence”

 

Liwen Y. Ho “Romantically Ever After”

 

June McCrary Jacobs “Handmade Hearts”

 

Libby Klein  “Theater Nights Are Murder”

 

Jackie Lau  “A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day”

 

Lia London “Love from A to Z”

 

Ava Mallory & nine more authors “Stirring Up Love & Mystery”

 

Leslie Meier  “Valentine Candy Murder”

 

Summer Prescott “A Blossom of Murder”

 

Amy M. Reade  “Be My Valencrime”

 

Happy Reading! 

 

 

“New York Times Best Fiction and Nonfiction of 2019”

 

It’s always interesting to see which books the Book Review editors choose for their “Best of…” lists for the year. The titles are sometimes bestsellers, sometimes from debut or international writers, but more importantly, the NYT Book Review editors have fallen in love with the story (or the writing) and ta-da! the book makes the list.

 

Check out their Best of Fiction and Nonfiction choices from 2019. Listed in alphabetical order by author, click on the book titles to read their reviews.

 

Fiction:

 

Night Boat to Tangier” by Kevin Barry

 

Exhalation” by Ted Chiang

 

The Topeka School” by Ben Lerner

 

 

 

Lost Children Archive” by Valeria Luiselli

 

 

Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips

 

Nonfiction:

 

The Yellow House” by Sarah M. Broom

 

The Club” by Leo Damrosch

 

Midnight in Chernobyl” by Adam Higginbotham

 

 

 

 

 

Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe

 

 

 

No Visible Bruises” by Rachel Louise Snyder

 

Have you read any of the titles? Please let us know what you thought in the comments below.

 

 

 

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