This year has been a hard year, for all of us, and for varying reasons. One of my escapes is reading. This year I ended up rereading a favorite series of mine at the beginning of the pandemic, and I picked up some new books after I went through my reread. So, for those of you looking for recommendations, here are the books I enjoyed the most this year.
|My favorite bookstore|
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss - This is the first in a series about the monstrous daughters of mad scientists coming together to form a club and solve mysteries with their friends, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The books are witty and thought provoking, and it's so lovely to see a story about women coming together in friendship. This series was a delightful escape from the pandemic.
Devolution by Max Brooks - I listened to this one on audio. Quite a few wonderful actors lend their voices to the narration, including Nathan Fillion. This one ended up being a little too close to the pandemic for comfort, but the main character's complete and utter transformation had me riveted, as did the growing sense of horror.
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow - I listened to this one as well, and right around the time of the election. It was a fitting book for early November in that it dealt with the suffragist movement in addition to magic and witchcraft, friendship and love, and family. I found this book to be so powerful, so tender, and so well written that I despaired of ever writing anything as wonderful.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett - A patient recommended this book to me, and I picked it up the next time I went to the bookstore. It follows African-American twins growing up in 1950's Louisiana. One girl chooses to pass as white, marries a white man, and disappears from her family's life while the other marries a black man and lives in the same small town where she grew up. The book explores race, identity, family, and racial injustice, and although it's set in the 1950's through the 1990's, it is one hundred percent relevant to today's world.
And that series I read at the beginning of the pandemic? Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series, beginning with Shards of Honor. I love the larger-than-life characters, the way Bujold has given them all such realistic quirks and flaws and yet made them so lovable, the vast scope and history to this world. I've read the first few books quite a few times, and the newer ones less often. It's been about twenty years since I first read the series (as it existed back then), so I've had ample opportunity to read them time and again. They're my comfort, my security blanket, my happy place.
I would love to hear about the books that helped you get through this year.