Friday, January 8, 2021

Favorite Books I Read in 2020


 

Here are some of my favorite books I read in 2020. Yes, as long time blog followers know, I do love to read and post about books and I get lots of reading ideas from your blog reviews.

My favorite book year I read in 2020 is "The Splendid and the Vile" by Erik Larson. Winston Churchill's fearless character and brilliant mind meant he was the right and perhaps only leader in the UK equipped to lead the fight in World War II and to bravely encourage his people during the brutal Blitz. He would walk London before, during and after attacks, and people would mob him and cheer. This book covers one year during the Blitz. It was so well written I did not want this book to end, but I also would love Larson to write a second book about this time period continuing on.


 

"A Dangerous Man" by Robert Crais. For me, this is the best novel in the series and is number 18 of 18, and I did not want to put it down. Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, two men skilled in bringing criminals to justice, especially where the law can't reach, are in top form in this book. They are friends who have saved each others' lives more than once, and will always immediately help each other. Joe has worked for the government to save hostages in Africa, etc. and uses his skills freelance in the L.A. of today. Elvis is a private investigator. In "A Dangerous Man" a young woman is kidnapped and they come to her aid. 


 

"Vittoria Cottage" by D.E. Stevenson. I like this author a lot and bought the next one, "Music In the Hills" featuring some of these same characters. The setting is a small town and farms in the Scottish Borders. Stevenson wrote this book in 1951 and said that she received letters from readers all over the world who told her that her books helped them through troubles and loneliness. Perfect books for these times, I think. Stevenson also said that she answered all the letters, what a sweetheart. Like C.S. Lewis did. There is a wonderful publishing entity, The Furrowed Middlebrow, that published these two books and is bringing many more wonderful books back in print.

"Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill" by Sonia Purnell. Lady Clementine was a strong, elegant, gifted, and giving woman. I learned while reading that her name is pronounced clem-in-teen. The photos in this biography are a big plus. We learn a lot about Lady Clementine, her husband Winston Churchill and their children, the times and their lifestyle and well known friends. Fascinating family and book.


The Portrait by Antoine Laurain. A brilliant first novel or novella, written in 2007. An art collector in Paris makes a brilliant find: a portrait from the 1700s of a count. The young collector recognizes himself in the portrait as he looks exactly like the subject. He finds clues to investigate if he is related to the Count, or possibly IS the Count, and he finds and visits the family estate. It is very mysterious and I found it delightful.



For a sense of joy I bought a dear book titled "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse" by Charlie Mackesy. For beautiful black and white sketches and some with delicate color, and wise words, you too may like this book.



A book that I love as I am in the second half of my life is "Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life" by Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and teacher for more than 40 years. He is a true elder, in the sense of wise and kind teacher, and has founded a place in the Southwest for prayer, meditation and action. I like how he writes that the first half of our life is for building and finding who we are and the second half is for going deeper and growing in our faith.

Let me know in comments what your recent favorite books are. I love your tips and though my TBR shelves are overflowing, I am always ready to find room for one more. Or put one on my Kindle.


28 comments:

Wanda said...

You have such a way of giving a book review, I want to read all of them. I will have to do a few for sure. Thanks so much.

Granny Marigold said...

I've seen enough of The Boy The Fox... to know that I really like it. I just requested the D.E.Stevenson book from our local library. I checked on The Splendid and the Vile only to find I would be #23 in line for the first copy that is returned. Obviously a very popular book. Thanks for the recommendations. That's the way I find a lot of books I otherwise wouldn't know about.

Susan Kane said...

Winston Churchill was the man to rescue England. Clementine is the one who kept him together.

Tom said...

I, too, loved The Splendid and the Vile. And you can never go wrong with Robert Crais. The others are new to me, so thanks for the recommendations.

Sue in Suffolk said...

The Splendid and the Vile comes top of my list of favourite books read this year too.

I read DE Stevenson back in the 1970s when I worked in libraries and have re read a few since and enjoy them (except for the odd one or two which are a bit silly!) I've now got a row of several Dean St Press books, I love those that were originally written during WWII.

dori said...

Good books are very good friends! I made this experience - -

Cathy said...

I have read almost all of Rohr’s works. He has a lot to say about non-dual reality. This was one of the first I read.

Visits With Mary said...

I'm always looking for good books to read, thanks for sharing your list. Seems The Splendid and the Vile is well liked, I'm putting it on my list.

Jeanie said...

I HAVE to get Splendid and the Vile. And would love to read "Clementine" too. The Stevenson sounds wonderful. I loved "The Portrait" and all of Laurain's work, which I included in my 2020 book post this week. Check out his "The Red Notebook." That might be my favorite. I should read it again!

Beside a babbling brook... said...

Thank you for reading suggestions....

Warm Winter Wishes
🌲🌲🔥🌲🌲

Sam Sattler said...

The Splendid and the Vile got lost in the shuffle last year, and now I can't believe I still haven't read that one. I've read all of that author's others, I think, so I need to move this one up the TBR list. Glad you reminded me.

Blondie's Journal said...

A nice variety of books and ones with which you've gathered some new knowledge from. It can't get any better than that.

I'm working on a book a week this year. Wish me luck!

Jane

Rebecca said...

My favorite of the year was the Letters part of The Complete Works of Flannery O'Conner. Over 400 pages of letters!

I've read a couple of the ones you mention here. Will look for Vittoria Cottage one of these days! Happy New Year!

Pradeep Nair said...

My reading has been rather slow because of work commitments.
But I am going to look out for The Splendid and the Vile.

Ramana Rajgopaul said...

I read almost all non fiction books but, I made an exception last year as I simply could not resist a book from Lee Child. This one, The Sentinel, was co-authored with his younger brother Andrew and the writing was rather unusual.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Terra - lovely range of books - I'd like to read "Splendid and the Vile" sometime ... sounds really interesting. I bought the Mole and the Fox book for my SIL and she was thrilled ... so thanks for that recommendation ... take care and stay safe - Hilary

Bijoux said...

You read a lot of worthwhile books! I’ve been sticking to more fluff, just to get me through the pandemic, etc.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Thank you for visiting my blog today.

God bless.

Gattina said...

Difficult for me to comment. Books are translated into French and often the title changes completely. So I don't know if I have read the books or not or if I can find them here. It's not so easy to find English books.

Liz Hinds said...

Some good books there. I think I will look for the Splendid and the Vile, although like you i have a huge TBR pile.

Carla from The River said...

Oh my, I see several I want to read. I am going to see if Clementine is at my local library.
Carla

DawnTreader said...

I read "Clementine" a couple of years ago as audio book, and liked it. I also have a film about Churchill on DVD that I have watched more than once, The Gathering Storm (from 2003 the cover says). The last few books I read in 2020 are reviewed in a January post on my blog.

Dee said...

Dear Terra, thank you for the reading suggestions and the reviews. I plan to read the Larson book this year and I took down the titles/authors of two others to get soon. As to my reading, I tend toward mysteries in fiction and history in nonfiction. I just finished "Drums Along the Mohawk," written in 1936--my birth year--by Edmonds. Last year I began to read the works of historians like Ellie and Chernow to learn about the founding of this country. I wanted to also read some fiction that really was historically accurate and "Drums ..." was supposed to be. (I have a couple of problems with it which I hope to write about in my next posting.) The non-fiction I'd read had all been about the Continental Army. This one was about the New York frontier and it fascinated me. Peace.

Nan said...

I can't thank you enough! I hadn't heard of the Churchill book, and I've now ordered it!
And I've ordered the Mole and Fox book because I read about it being in the Duchess of Cornwall's instagram reading group.
I own Clementine but haven't read it yet.
And last, but never least, I adore DES. One of my top favorite writers, and I particularly like Vittoria Cottage. A few years back I read the three books in the series, and so loved them.
This post was so much fun to read!

Lynn Holland said...

Hello from Lancashire UK
So nice Of you to visit my little blog and leave a lovely comment.
I can see a couple of books on your post that I already have. I’m going to look up Vittoria Cottage and I like the sound of Clementine.
We’ve plenty of reading time at the moment where we are. I’m just waiting for the library to reopen.
Take care
Lynn x

Laurie said...

You do such wonderful book reviews! Thanks for sharing this!❤️

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Thank you for visiting my blog today.

God bless.

Inger said...

Erik Larson is one of my favorite authors, I've read all this books and this one is on my list for 2021. I wrote down three others to read: The Portrait, Victoria Cottage, and A Dangerous Man. Thank you for this.