2020 Book Recommendations

These are the best books I read this past year.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

“‘I think everyone is just trying to get home,’ said the Mole.” This book is beautiful proof that a good writer doesn’t need a lot of words to say something big. If you don’t tear up with joy and relief halfway through, you might want to get checked out. The illustrations are wonderful, too.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

“I did not know that I was supposed to feel everything. I thought I was supposed to feel happy.”

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

This memoir by the first Native American US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo is just stunning: “Though we have instructions and a map buried in our hearts when we enter this world, nothing quite prepares us for the abrupt shift to the breathing realm.”

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

I love pretty much everything Solnit writes, but this one is one of my absolute favorites. It’s about wandering beyond the familiar in every possible sense – place, time, the stories we tell ourselves. She writes, “[W]e navigate by stories, but sometimes we only escape by abandoning them.”

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

When Rebecca Solnit’s 2008 essay “Men Explain Things to Me” was republished in 2012, it started something. Although Solnit did not invent the word “mansplaining,” she’s often given credit for it due to this essay. The nine essays in this book are all about gender and power dynamics, and definitely worth a read. (Note: The original book contained seven essays, but the expanded edition released in 2015 added two more.)

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

The nocturnal happenings of the brain are fascinating. And let’s just say that after reading this, I prioritize getting a good night’s rest.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Somehow, despite loving this era of American fiction, I’d never read about Gatsby. Highly recommend.

The Truth Will Set You Free, but First it Will Piss You Off! by Gloria Steinem

I loved this book so much I wrote a whole thing about it.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

A collection of short stories whose characters will stay with you long after you finish the book.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte

A dinosaur book for adults! This was an enthralling read.