Wednesday, December 30, 2020

#MustReadIn2020 recap - 12.20.2020

Time for the #mustreadin2020 recap!  
But first for a quick summary of how my Must Read lists are put together.  Several years ago I switched to this format, and I really like it.  I don't know about you, but I have a lot of books in piles in many rooms in the house.  Some are even on shelves!  What you need to know, there are a lot of books.  While I was making Must Read lists year after year, I was focusing more on what I knew I wanted to read in the upcoming year, often adding books that had yet to be published.  Meanwhile, there were many books I wanted to read just sitting, gathering more dust.  Not because I didn't want to read them, but because there were so many to read.  So I turned my focus to those books.  Rather than add books I knew I would probably read anyway in the upcoming year, I selected books that were already in my piles.  And instead of making a long list of them, I decided to stick with 12 - one for each month.  Of course that has always been hard to do, limit a list to just 12 books!  So I often look at the year ahead and try to find months that I know I may be able to squeeze an extra book in and add a couple of books to that month.  I'm pleased to say this is the second year in a row that I actually completed all of the books on my #mustread list!  Which is an amazing feat given this year.
Ah yes, 2020.  To say you accomplished a goal in 2020 is amazing.  When I made my 2020 list, I had no idea what was going to happen.  For example, I put 2 books on my March list, because I knew we were going to AZ for Spring Break.  It's always a relaxing trip so I have lots of time to read!  2020 reality - we didn't go anywhere for Spring Break, instead stayed home and stayed safe.  Instead I started reading some YA series so I could pass them along to my 14yo daughter who needed some reading material to balance her Netflix and social media time...  I also put 2 books down for the month of April.  I knew my daughter would be swimming in Indianapolis for the Paralympic World Series that takes place in the USA.  More extra reading time.  2020 reality - it was one of the many events that were cancelled and instead I found most of my reading time being taken away because I was busy learning how to teach in a virtual setting.  While the rest of the year was not exactly smooth, I had {thankfully} only scheduled one book each month for most of the remaining months.
And reading was interesting.  Usually, I find my #mustreads titles to be fantastic stories and I often kick myself for not getting to them faster.  This year my selections had some amazing reads, and some that were less than stellar.  Some of the titles I celebrate, some I questioned.  Some titles I wish I had read during a different time (like maybe not during a pandemic).  Here's a quick rundown.

by Michelle Obama
Loved this one.  Love the Obamas, but I really admire Michelle.  I loved learning more about her upbringing and her years in the White House.  It will be interesting to read her husband's recent memoir and compare!

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)
Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
I read this one during the early parts of the pandemic and it was PERFECT.  It took me away when I needed a new world to go to.  I loved meeting the characters and the world building Bardugo created.  I quickly read all of the books in this series.  I had already read the Six of Crows duology and I really wish I had read this trilogy first.  I continued on to The King of Scars and I cannot wait for the next book to be published in 2021!

The Night Diary
The Night Diary
by Veera Hiranandani
This is the book I was reading on March 13, the day my world went on shutdown.  How do I know?  Because the cover picture is still hanging up on my "What is Mrs. Knott Reading?" board at school!  I really liked this one and the glimpse into history was an important one for me.

Piecing Me Together
Piecing Me Together
by Renee Watson
One of those why did I wait so long to read books.  It was excellent, although it's one I read very early on in the pandemic and I'm having trouble remembering details of the story.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
by Kate DiCamillo
So I didn't care for this one.  Too dark.  I know, I'm kicked out of certain book discussion circles now, but it's not one I enjoyed.

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)
Stars Above
by Marissa Meyer
This was the last book I read for this challenge and I absolutely loved being back in the worlds of Luna and Earth.  This is a series I will always recommend.

Genesis Begins Again
Genesis Begins Again
by Alicia D. Williams
This was on my list because it, like Piecing Me Together, was a Newbery Honor winner that I had yet to read.  This gave me more understanding of colorism for an African American.

Love, Ruby Lavender     Each Little Bird that Sings     The Aurora County All-Stars
Love, Ruby Lavender
each little bird that sings
The Aurora County All-Stars
by Deborah Wiles
Again, books that have been on my shelf for a really long time.  I loved meeting a new main character in each story and seeing old friends in all of them!

In Your Shoes
In My Shoes
by Donna Gephart
This was a really hard one for me because the character has a limb length discrepancy, which my daughter has.  There were so many inaccuracies that really bothered me.  My review is here.

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
by Julie T. Lamana
I thought this book was well-written and it seemed very realistic.  The problem I had with this one is that pretty much all of the characters were African American and it was written with a dialect that is associated with the Black community.  And the author is white.  So, there's that.

Nowhere Boy
Nowhere Boy
by Katherine Marsh
Loved reading this one.  Again, another insight, another perspective to a life very different from my own (refugee story).

Fleabrain Loves Franny
Fleabrain Loves Franny
by Joanne Rocklin
I remember when this first published a lot of readers raving about this one.  It fell flat for me and I skimmed through a lot of it.

See You at Harry's
See You at Harry's
by Jo Knowles.
Don't read this one during a pandemic.  Completely influenced my feelings.  Just too sad for my taste right now.

Framed! (Framed #1)     Vanished! (Framed #2)
by James Ponti
I don't have many mysteries in my collection, so really glad I finally got to this series.  Already bought the third one in the series and can't wait to see where in DC they'll explore next!

What did you read in 2020 that stood out?  I have to imagine your reading life was impacted by global events too.  
I will share my 2021 list later this week!  Another list that has been influenced by the world around us.  
Happy New Year, reading friends!


  1. I was just thinking about creating a must read list today!! I missed that community last year. Do you think would be an interest in picking this back up again? I would be willing to "host" and house blog posts. What do you think?

  2. I always enjoy a reading list and seeing the different ways people approach this. Thanks for this post. Like you, I have some books that languish in our house, my classroom and a few in the library that need me to read them.

  3. I've read some of the books on your list. I agree completely with your comments on Piecing Me Together. This book turned me into a Renee Watson fan. I adore pretty much anything by by Deborah Wiles. Her Aurora County series and characters have a special place in my heart.
    Regarding Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere, I enjoyed it well enough, but understand the issue. I've made a decision to only read only #ownvoices novels.