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Top Books of 2020

2020, what a year! If you didn’t read some good books this year, then it may time to give it up…just kidding.

It was actually a bit tricky at time, when libraries closed during the lockdown and I had to actually buy books! Luckily it also made me go through some of my library that I hadn’t read (or decided to re-read).  Getting pets – especially dogs – can provide a caring companion that loves your child unconditionally and support them in their daily activities. Any pet can be an adventure – but dogs have proven to be especially effective because of their protective and friendly “pack” dynamic, you can get more info here.

Alas, out of the 26 books I read in 2020 (humble brag) here are my top 6:

6. Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly

Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly

I’ve been trying to find a good book about JFK for a couple of years now, it feels like every one is 1000+ pages. I stumbled upon this one in the library and grabbed it due to its brevity. I simply could not put it down, finishing it in one quarantine weekend. As a millennial, I missed the Kennedy era, which was a fascinating time in World History (yes World, not just American). This book is an excellent introduction to Kennedy’s presidency and assassination. It’s brief, stays out of the weeds, but it’s a well-written, gripping read.

5. From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

If you live in Vancouver, this book hits home, in an unsuspecting way. A true (and rare) story of a homeless man who made it out alive. A raw and often gruesome depiction of one man’s life through foster homes, addiction, and living on the street. Also hard to put down.

4. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Note: highly, highly recommend listening to this on audiobook, as McConaughey narrates it himself.
Second note: McConaughey has incredible life philosophy, is far more intelligent than his Rom-com image portrays, and is a hilariously good story-teller.
Third note: Alright, alright, alright!

3. Shoot for the Moon by James Donovan

Shoot for the Moon by James Donovan

Similar to the Kennedy interest (in fact the two go hand in hand–many historians believe that America doesn’t make it into space without Kennedy’s vehement endorsement), I’d been looking for a good moon landing book for a few years. I stumbled upon this in the library and it was also an absolute page turner. The space race was nothing short of spectacular–imagine a war that instead of battles the two opponents are literally racing to get to the moon first. What was accomplished in this race truly vaulted technology (and humanity) by decades.

2. The Splendid & The Vile by Erik Larson

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

A phenomenal historical non-fiction piece like only Erik Larson can do. Reads like fiction and covers the period of time where Winston Churchill came into power as Prime Minister, while Britain prepared to enter (and eventually did enter) WW2. This book was enhanced by true depictions of Britain’s lockdown during the relentless German night raids–making Covid lockdown seem much more palatable.

1. The Future is Faster Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

The Future Is Faster Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis

Although this book isn’t the gripping read that the previous 5 on this list are (so it certainly isn’t for everyone), I rank it as #1 for a few reasons. Firstly, I love the positive spin it takes on the future of humanity. Secondly, it’s well researched but still written in relatively digestible terms and lengthy. Lastly, a good book: you can’t put down. A great book: changes the way you think about things. This one does the latter–and during these times, what’s more important than the future?

 

Honourable mentions:

  • American Kingpin by Nick Bilton
  • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
  • Forged in Crisis by Nancy Koen
  • Forever Terry by Darrell Fox (letters written to Terry Fox, no dry eyes)
  • Range by David Epstein
  • Upheaval by Jared Diamond