Some of the Best Books We Read in 2020

One thing 2020 didn't take away from us was our passion for reading! Some of us even had more time to read this year than ever before. Check out some some of the titles our staff members chose as the best book they read in 2020.

The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
“2020. The year that has melted everything into uncertainty, fear, and so much anger. That isn’t to say there haven’t been moments where I have noticed bits of dappled sunlight that sneak their way through the trees and attempt to warm my cheeks. But you guys! This book. Oh my. This book. This is the book that melted everything. I feel as if I need to be pulled back together after reading it, but I am afraid that some pieces of me that melted will never be found again. For better or worse, this is the best book I have ever read. It seems fitting that it would come to me this year, like the Devil in the summer of 1984. One could argue the Devil came this summer too in a world of no apostrophes... a world with seemingly no hope. Disclaimer: do not read this book if you have strong trauma triggers.”
Abby, Wyoming Branch

Here’s to You, Jesusa! by Elena Poniatowska
"Based on a series of interviews conducted over several years by Elena Poniatowska, Here’s to You, Jesusa! is the story of an extremely poor and illiterate woman whose remarkable life coincided with some of the most important events in Mexican history. Overlooked and shunned by society, Jesusa’s true spirit lies buried beneath her rough manner and appearance. Poniatowska’s affection for her friend radiates through this fine work, and gives a voice not only to Jesusa, but to everyone who’s been marginalized and cast aside. This classic of Mexican literature deserves wider recognition here in the States."
Mark, Krause Memorial Branch

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
"A beautifully written story of three generations of a middle class black family in Brooklyn. I learned more about the underlying sorrow present at all the occasions of joy, and how hard it is for a black family to hold on to what they have to fight so hard to achieve."
Penni, Cascade Twp. Branch

Let's Make Ramen!: A Comic Book Cookbook by Hugh Amano
"During quarantine, I found myself drawn to cooking more at home and reading graphic novels.  Let's Make Ramen is the perfect marriage of the two.  Not only are there tasty ramen recipes and great shopping guides, there are also beautiful illustrations and even the history of ramen all thrown in one beautifully designed book.  If you've always wanted to cook ramen at home but didn't know where to start or just want to look at gorgeous illustrations of food, then this is a great book for you."
Hannah, Wyoming Branch

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
"You don’t run into a ghost story/serial killer murder mystery very often. The Sundown Motel read like a multi-generational, paranormal episode of Dateline. It was everything I could hope for!"
Tricia, Cascade Township Branch

Happy: A Beginner's Book of Mindfulness by Nicola Edwards
"This beautiful book is a great conversation starter! I loved the pictures and the memories they invoked... In hard times, this book is warm and deep and just what we need."
Ashley, Cascade Township Branch

Untamed by Glennon Doyle
"This was by far my favorite book this year. I read it during quarantine thinking it would take me awhile. I was so wrong! I read it in one sitting! This book was a page-turner with short chapters that made me laugh, cry and sometimes both in the same chapter. All of us have an inner-cheetah that is looking to be unleashed, and this book inspired me look at all the things in life that makes me feel caged. Such a good book (I even bought it!)."
Ashten, Wyoming Branch

This article was originally published in the Kaleidoscope Winter 2020-2021 issue.