An Eclectic Bookworm’s First Five Books of 2020
I’ll already read just about anything you put in front of me, and this year, I want to expand.
Welcome, voracious bookworms and book-curious folk. 2020 is officially underway, and it’s time to take a look at some reading goals.
Yes, yes, those of you who are well into your Goodreads challenge lists are very aware of this, but perhaps those of you who are new to the annual page-turning resolutions are here to take a gander at where you might start on your journey to being the best read member of your social circle.
Fear not, dutiful readers. I’m well into my own yearly book count, and I’ve got a mission to share yet more of my favorite finds throughout the year, so here I give you a starting block based on my first handful from 2020.
The Readable Cookbook
My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen by Asha Gomez with Martha Hall Foose
I love to cook. I really, really love to cook. It is a hobby and a passion and a daily ritual. That said, I really don’t read many cookbooks. I will reference one on occasion to ensure I’m getting a new recipe just right, but I very seldom sit and read a cookbook.
Well, I sat and read this one. Never before in my life have I sat and read about cardamom in an ingredient breakdown (and I’m addicted to cardamom) until coming across this treasure.
Raised in southern India and now home in Atlanta, Gomez offers up an evolution of her food experiences and puts her creations on paper for all to enjoy. Say it with me: “Down South Goat Biryani”. Oh, my God.
The Graphic Novel
Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
Oh, Neil. You fascinating, twisted human being, you.
I’ll be honest, in spite of my love for the dark and the weird, I would not normally have sought this one out, but as I perused my local library (you know, the big place with the books and the nice people who let you borrow them for a bit? That place?), this enchanting, gorgeously illustrated hardcover stood out to me, and I could not resist.
Imagine Snow White from the queen’s perspective. Then add in a few gory rituals and a not-so-subtle dash of vampirism. Go ahead. Fabulous, right? Now picture it all in not-quite-art-neuveau graphic novel form.
It’s a quick read, and a delightfully spooky one. Do yourself a favor and spend twenty minutes emersed in this hauntingly beautiful retelling.
The Epic Fantasy
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
I refuse (refuse) to watch The Witcher on Netflix until I read at least the first few books. I want to see the movie in my head before I see someone else’s interpretation, and while I’ve heard excellent things about the television series as well as the video game…
I’ve just got to read the books first.
Lucky for me, my brothers are awfully pragmatic about the giving of Christmas gifts.
“What do you want?”
“This,” as I hold up my new interest in paperback.
“Great. I’m buying you that.”
Geraldt of Rivia is a captivating protagonist, the whirlwind of a non-linear timeline kept me on my toes, and I’m pretty sure I’m in love with Yennefer. Also, monster hunting. And spells. Even a handy potion or two.
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
I remember watching Sleepless in Seattle as a kid and agreeing with my Mom that Tom Hanks was indeed dreamy. I probably have that film memorized by now.
Years later, here comes a book about a girl dreaming of becoming the next Nora Ephron, a meet cute disaster, and ensuing hijinks? I could hardly help my intrigue.
And alright, a story centered around having your head so wrapped up in the perfect romantic comedy ideal that you are actually terrible at handling real life is not my usual cup of tea. This was, however, for me, a cute little jaunt into the Lifetime movie-esque realm of contemporary literature. The sort of “that’s the guy you don’t like now but will soon” predictability was a bit of an eye-roll, but isn’t that the joy of a RomCom anyway?
The Political Playbook
The Ultimate Guide to the 2020 Election: 101 Nonpartisan Solutions to All the Issues that Matter by Margaret White and Ryan Clancy of No Labels
Another Christmas gift, this one from my Dad, who has a steadfast personal mission to not raise mindless sheep. Along with his ceaseless encouragement that we all think for ourselves, each of his kids got a copy this year, and I made my way through mine fairly quickly, even took notes during the most recent Democratic debate.
No Labels, by the way, is a political organization committed to breaking down the barriers of partisanship and finding common ground on some of the country’s most pressing issues. Granted, this book does not cover all of the issues this year’s presidential candidates must contend with, but it does highlight several major ones and does a decent job of presenting facts that look at the full scope of each problem.
Now, maybe I lean a touch too far to the left to really accept the centrist is best philosophy that goes along with a text like this, but I do certainly believe that there needs to be far more reaching across the aisle in order for real work to get done. To that end, I think this guide is a good place to get, if not fully unbiased, perhaps less biased information.
Have you, too, read some good ones already this year?
Comment below with recommendations for others you’d like me to check out or a few you’ve got on your own list!