Reading has been vital during the first half of 2020, over three months of which was spent in full or partial lockdown. Seven novels and three nonfiction books (a handful of which were actually published late in 2019) made my Top 10. Of the ten stellar books, seven were rated 9/10 and three (Where the Crawdads Sing, Peace, and Our Final Warning) hit 8/10. In no particular order:
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens—echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird, a robust tale, and singing descriptions of nature.
The Chain by Adrian McKinty—a remarkable thriller premise, a ferocious pace that will consume a night, and deep character connections.
Joe Ide’s Hi Five—number 4 in a Sherlock-Holmes-esque private eye series set in gangland LA … gorgeous writing.
Mark Jaccard’s The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success—superbly written and life-changing and mandatory. Hear that: mandatory.
Jenny Offill’s Weather—brilliant, muscular, experimental fiction that distills our climate emergency era.
The Reversing Tide by Frank Kennedy—third in a vast space opera series, a rocketing, stylish treat.
The Man Who Solved the Market by Greg Zuckerman—business histories rarely compel but this tour de force telling of a finance quant’s career is a superb exception.
Garry Disher’s Peace—the second in a murder mystery series set in the dry farming land of South Australia … richly rewarding and not a word wasted.
Our Final Warning by Mark Lynas—where will our one-degree world end up and how fast … wonderfully framed and written … if you read one global warming book in 2020, make it this one.
The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey—a post-apocalyptic novel, superbly plotted with an immersive hero … first in a trilogy that could become a classic.