I never thought I’d find myself quoting Her Majesty, Elizabeth II (even though we do share the same birthday), but 2020 was truly an annus horribilis. However, now that it is behind us, if only barely, it is once again time for my annual post on my 10 favorite books of the year gone by. For those of you who have not read my past “top tens,” these are books that I read during the past year rather than books that were published during the year, although some of the latter are included. For those of you who have read my past top tens, I’m adding a couple of special features – two honorable mentions and one book that is incontestably the worst book I read in 2020 (and for many previous years as well).
So here goes.
Even though I read quite a few more works of fiction than non-fiction in 2020, and even though it was the kind of year that could drive anyone away from reality, more of my favorite books of the year were non-fiction, so it was much harder to narrow down the choices. They included:
A Promised Land, by Barack Obama: One of the finest memoirs I’ve ever read, President Obama’s memoir is fascinating, straightforward, and clearly written by him; it’s a printed version of his voice. I got through its 700 pages in just a few days and can’t wait to read the second volume. Outstanding.
When Time Stopped, by Arianna Neumann: I’ve probably read hundreds of both fiction and non-fiction books about the Holocaust, but this is among the finest; a beautifully written, engrossing, and sympathetic memoir of a woman’s quest to find out more about her father and his family in wartime Czechoslovakia and Germany and postwar Venezuela and the US. Continue Reading The Best of Books in the Worst of Times