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Day 1: Best Book You've Read So Far This Year

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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
What is the best book you've read so far in 2020? If you can't decide, feel free to list more than one. :)

For me, it's probably Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India. The author, who has lived and traveled extensively in India, relates the stories of 9 fascinating people he met along the way, who all have striking relationships to their various religious traditions. It's a lovely book about often marginalized people finding community and meaning - I am not religious at all but still really enjoyed it.


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BrokenTune | 11 comments Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship wrote: "What is the best book you've read so far in 2020? If you can't decide, feel free to list more than one. :)

For me, it's probably Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India...."


That sounds really good. I've been wondering about Dalrymple's work.


message 3: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments - Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel from the Thomas Cromwell trilogy. I am so glad I finally decided to read them.
First I listened to the audiobooks and then promptly went and bought the hardcovers and read them as well.

- Network Effect by Martha Welles. Though I am not that much into sci-fi, this whole series has a special place in my heart. ;)


message 4: by BrokenTune (last edited May 20, 2020 09:14AM) (new)

BrokenTune | 11 comments Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men was one of my top non-fiction reads so far this year, but I equally enjoyed Unspeakable: The Autobiography.

In fiction, A Thousand Ships comes to mind. Most of my other favourites have been re-reads.

And of course, I finally got around to A Room of One's Own, which is in a league of its own.


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ambyr | 1 comments Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom. It's an academic book, but Seo's prose is fluid and readable. It dives into things Americans simply accept as normal when it comes to police/citizen interactions and looks at how, legally, we ended up with our current status quo, and what roots might need to disentangled to change it.


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Melindam | 162 comments I just bought the audiobook for "A thousand ships". I am really excited about it. :)


message 7: by BrokenTune (new)

BrokenTune | 11 comments Melindam wrote: "- Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel from the Thomas Cromwell trilogy. I am so glad I finally decided to read them.
First I listened to the audiobooks ..."


I really need to get to Wolf Hall. I'm only hesitant because it never seems like I've got the time to sink into such an epic.


message 8: by Jen (new)

Jen  (jennsps) | 10 comments I haven’t read them yet, but I know Network Effect and Cleo and the Body Electric will be top reads for me. I’m going to read them tomorrow and will see if I’m right or not! I purposefully started 2020 with my favorite book by a living author of all time Greetings from Witness Protection by Jake Burt. Best. Book. Ever! So it’s going to be hard to top that.


message 9: by BrokenTune (new)

BrokenTune | 11 comments Melindam wrote: "I just bought the audiobook for "A thousand ships". I am really excited about it. :)"

Oh, I hope you like it. It's very tough reading at times, but I loved it.


Two Envelopes And A Phone My favourite book so far this year is The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North.


message 11: by Geoff (last edited May 20, 2020 09:49AM) (new)

Geoff | 1 comments Some great books here, and a lot I've not heard of yet!

I'll echo Network Effect; Murderbot is such a great character.

The Order of the Day is an interesting look at the banality of evil and the banality of giving in to evil; so many people that stood aside or profited from the rise of the Nazis.

Lot is a moving set of coming of age and coming out stories, centered around one family in Houston over the past thirty-ish years.

I've read a lot of poetry during lock down, and my favorite was Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara, a man wrestling with his demons and parents in extremely moving poems.

Finally, another great scifi book was The Last Human, a mix between a heist story, a coming of age story, and a meditation on consciousness, intelligence, and freedom. With some crazy spider mama alien violence for good measure.


message 12: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments BrokenTune, I can also vouch for the abridged audiobook version of Wolf Hall/Bring up the bodies, if you like audiobooks. And the narrators, Dan Stevens/Julian Rhind-Tutt are very good.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
BrokenTune wrote: "That sounds really good. I've been wondering about Dalrymple's work."

I also recently read The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire, also by Dalrymple, and didn't love it but mostly because it's pretty heavy history - it's certainly well-presented. Nine Lives is much more personal and basically just lets these really interesting people tell their own stories to the reader.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
Wow, you guys, so many great recommendations already! My to read list is going to be growing a lot.

Melinda, you’ve even convinced me to reconsider Wolf Hall. I have a physical copy, but whenever I picked it up it has struck me as a little dense. Seems like I should look again.


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Melindam | 162 comments I can understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it holds a special place in my bookish heart. :)


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Chaitra (chaitra_ganesh) | 6 comments What with the quarantine and all I’ve read too many books this year, most of them fluff, but these stand out.

Circe which I was supposed to have read when it came out. But I was so hyped for it, and I was sure it’d would let me down. I’m glad I waited because reading it after The Silence of the Girls gave me even more appreciation of what Madeline Miller did. Silence is a good book, but even though it’s about Briseis, it begins and ends with Achilles. Circe could have easily been just that, but there was so much more to her than just Odysseus, and it’s all wonderfully told.

The City We Became. I’m not the greatest fan of N. K. Jemisin, but this is the most NYC story I’ve ever read. I lived adjacent to NYC and hated hated hated being so close to it - but even I wanted to go live in the city after I read the book (for only a few minutes obviously, but still, it’s more than any other NYC book has ever made me feel).

And another shout out for Martha Wells. I still haven’t read Network Effect because I’m waiting for the audio version to become available, but I read #2, #3 and #4 of the Murderbot novellas this year and loved every one of them.


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BrokenTune | 11 comments Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship wrote: "BrokenTune wrote: "That sounds really good. I've been wondering about Dalrymple's work."

I also recently read [book:The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an E..."


I added The Anarchy to my TBR when you reviewed it. :) I think I would prefer dense history to personal accounts, but it's great to see both recommended.


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Melindam | 162 comments Chaitra, I also listened to the audio version. The narrator is so good & catches Murderbot's character perfectly.


message 19: by BrokenTune (new)

BrokenTune | 11 comments Two Envelopes and a Phone wrote: "My favourite book so far this year is The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North."

That's another one I will definitely have to look for.


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BrokenTune | 11 comments Melindam wrote: "BrokenTune, I can also vouch for the abridged audiobook version of Wolf Hall/Bring up the bodies, if you like audiobooks. And the narrators, Dan Stevens/Julian Rhind-Tutt are very good."

That's really good to know. Thanks for this. (And I love Dan Stevens' narrations...)


message 21: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Me too. He also did "Murder on the Orient Express" so well!


Two Envelopes And A Phone BrokenTune wrote: "Two Envelopes and a Phone wrote: "My favourite book so far this year is The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North."

That's another one I will definitely have to look for."


I think it's got a fair shot with you. Less gross than Michael McDowell, but in the ballpark when it comes to overall effect.


message 23: by Kavita (new)

Kavita | 1 comments For me, it has to be The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak. It's a brilliant book - we'll researched on the historical aspects, excellence character building, and great writing.


message 24: by Maria (last edited May 20, 2020 12:15PM) (new)

Maria (mariajennings) | 4 comments Another vote for Network Effect by Martha Wells. This series has been my intro to hard sci-fi and I have so much love for these characters. Glad to see others have enjoyed it as well!!

I also finally read A Little Life which was a really tough read emotionally, but with such beautiful writing and amazing characters.


message 25: by Joe (last edited May 20, 2020 12:44PM) (new)

Joe Jungers | 5 comments I'm a bit torn, having to decide which tale is 'the best' from my reading list. I'm going to go with a trio of tales that I've enjoyed the most.

Monstress - a collaboration between Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda.
I read this as much for Takeda's evocative art as for Liu's entralling story of a young woman's journey in search of her past.

Fray caught my attention because I'm a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer . Set several hundred years in the future, Joss Weadon tells the story of a future Slayer. I found the art to be a bit rough in places, but I really enjoyed the story.

Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites
Imagine, if you will, Stranger Things, though instead of a group of neighborhood kids the protagonists are the neighborhood dogs (& a stray cat).
I seem to return to this set of short tales again & again.


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Mark (kilimaro) | 20 comments Thanks for the invite - looking forward to seeing what comes up. My favorite so far this year is The Winter of the Witch, the conclusion of a Russian folklore kind of fantasy trilogy set in the days before there was even a united Russia. I enjoyed the whole trilogy and loved the way everything wrapped up.

Other good ones: True Grit and The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World. It may not have been the best choice to read a deadly disease book just now. I still thought it was great - interesting and informative in how it dives in to a particular cholera epidemic that the author credits as being the birth of public health initiatives.

Chaitra wrote: The City We Became. I’m not the greatest fan of N. K. Jemisin, but this is the most NYC story I’ve ever read. I lived adjacent to NYC and hated hated hated being so close to it - but even I wanted to go live in the city after I read the book (for only a few minutes obviously, but still, it’s more than any other NYC book has ever made me feel).

I've got this book on my hold list on the library app. I had requested it a while ago and my hold disappeared when I was down to like a two week wait time. Got back in the line and I'm #94 on 5 copies for a wait time of at least six months. Womp! Like you, I was a whole lot less into other Jemisin (Fifth Season, etc.) than some people, but the premise sounds Gaiman-y in a way that's right up my alley, and since it got a Hugo nomination I wanted to check it out.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 43 comments Best - Justice Hall, by Laurie R. King. This is probably my favorite book in the series. (I've been doing a lot of rereading this year.)

However I have The Mirror & the Light on the runway, and am really looking forward to it.


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Benjamin (beniowa79) | 17 comments My favorite so far has been Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It's a bit of a deconstruction of the epic fantasy quest story. It's often laugh-out-loud funny in the beginning, but Tchaikovsky also takes a darker, more serious turn later on.


message 29: by Ange H (last edited May 20, 2020 07:01PM) (new)

Ange H | 47 comments I’m reviewing my list and 2020 has been a pretty frivolous reading year for me so far. I picked one that I rated 5 stars, I tend to be generous when rating books that involve time travel:

The Other Us


message 30: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (skynjay) | 5 comments I just discovered Tana French this year, years behind everyone else. Thus far her debut, In the Woods, tops my list for the year. I read thrillers a bit but usually acknowledge they are mind candy. French really is a different class; suspenseful and engaging. Her villains are not cookie cutter bad guys and In the Woods has given me one of my top of all time.


message 31: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (skynjay) | 5 comments Oh, and thank you for the invite. I see some familiar faces already.


message 32: by Chaitra (last edited May 20, 2020 07:35PM) (new)

Chaitra (chaitra_ganesh) | 6 comments Mark wrote: "I've got this book on my hold list on the library app. I had requested it a while ago and my hold disappeared when I was down to like a two week wait time. Got back in the line and I'm #94 on 5 copies for a wait time of at least six months. Womp! Like you, I was a whole lot less into other Jemisin (Fifth Season, etc.) than some people, but the premise sounds Gaiman-y in a way that's right up my alley, and since it got a Hugo nomination I wanted to check it out."

I hope you like it. I liked the first two books of Broken Earth, but I wanted to forcefully throw the third at the wall. I also didn't like the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. This one was different. I didn't expect much out of it either, maybe that helped too.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] (noyoucant) | 10 comments Jeez I’ll have to think about this one a bit, but the Jacobs Ladder Trilogy by Elizabeth Bear pretty much blew my mind.

I also have had Wolf Hall sitting on my shelf for ages. Maybe I should get to that finally,


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
So many great new recommendations here! I'm glad to see the recommendation for Monstress since that's been on my TBR for awhile (a little embarrassing that it's taken so long to get to a graphic novel that will probably take no time at all to read!).

Is it worth trying more of Jemisin's work when I found The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms really lacking and didn't connect with The Killing Moon at all? Normally I'd definitely give up at that point, but she's an author I'd like to like.


message 35: by Kaśyap (last edited May 20, 2020 11:31PM) (new)

Kaśyap | 2 comments From the english novels I read so far this year, The Sword of Kaigen would probably be my favourite. It’s not flawless but is a really emotional and well written family saga in a fantasy setting, and the characters and their journeys are so believable.


message 36: by Mahoghani 23 (last edited May 20, 2020 11:41PM) (new)

Mahoghani 23 (mahoghani23) So far, tbe best book this year for me was Love Her or Lose Her Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered, #2) by Tessa Bailey by Tessa Bailey. It a touching story of how this couple fell apart and the drastic steps they took to heal their marriage.


message 37: by Henk (new)

Henk | 35 comments I loved Orlando of Virginia Woolf and Bring Up The Bodies from Hilary Mantel this year


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Benjamin (beniowa79) | 17 comments Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship wrote: "Is it worth trying more of Jemisin's work when I found The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms really lacking and didn't connect with The Killing Moon at all? Normally I'd definitely give up at that point, but she's an author I'd like to like."

I would suggest trying The Broken Earth series starting with The Fifth Season. I really enjoyed it myself. The series is probably her most highly regarded work and it won three Hugos back-to-back-to-back.


message 40: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments Hi, what a lovely thread, I saw Melindam post a notification and got curious and now all these fantastic recommendations! The best book I’ve read so far this year, isn’t even finished and doesn’t have a name yet. It’s by Ilona Andrews, they are publishing weekly chapters, and it is brilliant. I don’t know if any of you even read fantasy or urban fiction, but if you do, you would love it. (Though, Upon second thought I think you wouldn’t understand much of it if you haven’t read their KD series.)

Do other languages count as well? Because I am rereading one of the greatest works of Persian literature, comparable with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Bhagavadgita, called the Shahnameh or the Book of Kings. I am reading it with the help of a teacher through an online course. It is moving and beautiful and entertaining. Very rich mythological allusions and exquisitely beautiful poetry. So if you read Farsi I highly recommend that.


message 41: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Hi Gogol!

So glad you have joined! :)

U know I still only finished Book 4 of the KD series, so I still have lots of reading ahead of me.


message 42: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments Melindam wrote: "Hi Gogol!

So glad you have joined! :)

U know I still only finished Book 4 of the KD series, so I still have lots of reading ahead of me."


I envy you so much for all the delights in store for you. I have to admit that I didn’t like the last two books in that series. However, strangely enough, my love for the series or the story and the characters hasn’t diminished one bit. I’m sorry to ask again because I’m sure I asked this once before but Have you read their Innkeeper series yet?


message 43: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Yes. That was my very first IA experience, closely followed by Hidden Legacy and The Edge.


message 44: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments and it's good that it happened in this order, because had I started with KD, I might not have read anything else by them after KD booK 1. I was less than impressed with it. :) But I liked books 2-4 a lot.


message 45: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments Melindam wrote: "and it's good that it happened in this order, because had I started with KD, I might not have read anything else by them after KD booK 1. I was less than impressed with it. :) But I liked books 2-4..."

Looool yes I made my cousin read the book, and she started with that one, she abandoned the whole thing. Personally I loved it but I guess it can be a very slow read.


message 46: by Chaitra (new)

Chaitra (chaitra_ganesh) | 6 comments Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship wrote: "Is it worth trying more of Jemisin's work when I found The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms really lacking and didn't connect with The Killing Moon at all?"

I did not like The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms either. I hated The Stone Sky, the third book of the Broken Earth. I think Jemisin is hit or miss for me, but when she's on she's really on. I loved the first two Broken Earth books and the City We Became.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
Chaitra wrote: "I did not like The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms either. I hated The Stone Sky, the third book of the Broken Earth. I think Jemisin is hit or miss for me, but when she's on she's really on. I loved the first two Broken Earth books and the City We Became."

Good to know, thanks! I may check one of those out one day.


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