I’ve written a post like this for the last many years (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012). Books are my favorite gifts, always and forever, and I like to share those I’m wrapping for gifts each holiday season. I’m also interested in what you are giving and in what you loved in 2020!
The Dearly Beloved – Cara Wall. My favorite book of 2020. For anyone who loves Crossing to Safety or Gilead, this book’s for you. Quiet, powerful, compelling: it’s fantastic.
Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi. I adored Homegoing and this follow up did not disappoint. It’s sweeping in an entirely different way, but made me cry and made me think and just plain made me one iota better, which I think is what the best writing does.
The Book of Longings – Sue Monk Kidd. This exploration of what the life of Jesus’s wife might have been light was riveting, and I thought about it for many weeks after I finished.
An American Marriage – Tayari Jones. For some reason I resisted reading this book for a long time and I don’t know why. I adored it. This story is both a solemn exploration of one of America’s most deep-rooted problems and a compelling tale of growth and individuality.
The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett. Another book that’s both page-turning and thought-provoking (seeing a real theme here, eh?) I loved it.
Memoirs & Essays:
Notes on a Silencing – Lacy Crawford. Powerful, revelatory, with writing like a freight train. I read this book in one breathless gulp this summer, wrote about it, and am still recommending it far and wide. I’m proud to call Lacy a friend.
Bright Precious Thing – Gail Caldwell. Caldwell is one of my favorite writers. My favorite remains A Strong West Wind, but this is wonderful story of growing up female and learning what matters most.
A Promised Land – Barack Obama. I admit I haven’t read it yet. But I will. I adored Michelle Obama’s Becoming.
On Being 40(ish). Yes. A little plug. But I do believe in this book of essays, and since I didn’t write them I feel like I can say that. A great, timeless gift for any 40ish women in your life!
It’s a little tragic how far I am from buying picture books and books for early readers, as that’s always been one of my favorite categories. So I’ll just share some of my evergreen favorites in that category:
Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words – Randall Monroe. I love this book. For kids, adults, boys, girls, for anyone. Birthdays, holidays, hostess gifts: you name it, I’ve given it.
Miss Rumphius – Barbara Cooney. Just the best. I love Miss Rumphius so much I have a tee-shirt with the cover on it. Perennial and beautiful.
Grace for President – Kelly DiPucchio. I literally have never read this book without choking up.
Rosie Revere, Engineer – Andrea Beaty. The original book which spawned a series (and, I think, a TV show). I love the book and every single thing it stands for.