Check It Out Category: Nonfiction

Best Books of 2020

Best Books of 2020

We sifted through a great many of the Best Books of 2020 opinions that have been making the rounds and put some of the more frequent fliers on this curated Best Books of 2020 list. Featured below are some of the books that our staff have heard rave reviews about as well as those consistently on those Best Of indexes!

Deacon King Kong book cover

Deacon King Kong by James McBride

In the aftermath of a 1969 Brooklyn church deacon’s public shooting of a local drug dealer, the community’s African-American and Latinx witnesses find unexpected support from each other when they are targeted by violent mobsters.

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family book cover

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

Tells the heartrending story of a midcentury American family with 12 children, 6 of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand the disease.

Transcendent Kingdom book cover

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

A novel about faith, science, religion, and family that tells the deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief, narrated by a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford school of medicine studying the neural circuits of reward seeking behavior in mice.

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Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

Compelled by poverty to agree to a lucrative final heist that will allow him to go straight, a skilled getaway driver finds his efforts complicated by racial dynamics and the ghosts of his past.

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The Cold Millions by Jess Walter

Enduring a harsh existence as day laborers, orphaned brothers Gig and Rye Dolan are drawn to a feminist activist and a vaudeville singer whose experiences reflect an unjust world on the brink of upheaval.

The City We Became book cover

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Takes readers into the dark underbelly of New York City where a roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars.

The Only Good Indians book cover

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

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Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

Going against her better judgement, LA lawyer Olivia Monroe secretly starts dating a hotshot junior senator until their romance is made public and her life falls under intense media scrutiny, jeopardizing everything.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 through October 15

“Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture” – United States Census Bureau

Whether you are in the mood for quiet and thoughtful, tense and unnerving, heartfelt and sweet, or sincere and compelling, exciting reads by Hispanic American authors are yours for the taking. The contributions from writers of Hispanic descent are monumental, and one of the ways we are honoring Hispanic Heritage Month is to share suggestions that celebrate the authentic experience in great storytelling.

Check out a fresh list of rich reads for Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 or browse a sample below. For information on national events and much more, visit the Library of Congress website.

Mexican Gothic book cover

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia  

A reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion.

Gothic Fiction; Horror

You Had Me at Hola book cover

You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria

Rendered the subject of tabloid gossip by a messy public breakup, soap star Jasmine takes a part in a new bilingual comedy at the side of a telenovela costar who would revitalize his career.

Romantic Comedy

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A Long Petal Of The Sea by Isabel Allende  

Sponsored by the poet Pablo Neruda to flee the violence of the Spanish Civil War, a pregnant widow and an army doctor unite in an arranged marriage, only to be swept up by the early days of World War II.

Historical Fiction

Once I Was You book cover

Once I Was You by Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning journalist who has collaborated with the most respected networks and is known for bringing humanity to her reporting. In this beautifully-rendered memoir, she relates the history of US immigration policy that has brought us to where we are today, as she shares her deeply personal story. Once I Was You is an urgent call to fellow Americans to open their eyes to the immigration crisis and understand that it affects us all. 

Memoir; Global Affairs

Afterlife book cover

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

Reeling from her beloved husband’s sudden death in the wake of her retirement, an immigrant writer is further derailed by the reappearance of her unstable sister and an entreaty for help by a pregnant undocumented teen.

Domestic Fiction

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Everything Inside: Stories by Edwidge Danticat

A single-volume collection of short stories by the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author is set in such locales as Miami, Port-au-Prince and the Caribbean and poignantly explores the forces that unite and divide.

Authentic Short Stories

Cantoras book cover

Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis

Enduring the rampant violence against women and the LGBTQ community in the decades of the Uruguayan dictatorship, five women heartbreakingly unite as lovers, friends and family.

Historical Fiction

What Mount Prospect Is Reading

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Mount Prospect, you’ve been reading, and we’ve been talking! Every week we have been extending an open invitation for readers to gather and share the books keeping them company in these odd times. We’ve chatted romance, dark fantasy, nonfiction, mysteries, feel-good, horror, and elegant prose. Check out the titles brought by our attendees, and please consider joining us for this week’s conversation: Let’s Talk Books!

Stay Sweet book cover

Stay Sweet
Siobhan Vivian

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The Age of Witches
Louisa Morgan

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The Mockingbirds
Daisy Whitney

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The Dutch House
Ann Patchett

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The Tenant
Katrine Engberg

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Headliners
Lucy Parker

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Wow, No Thank You
Samantha Irby

Beautiful Ones book cover

The Beautiful Ones
Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Writers & Lovers
Lily King

Monster of Elendhaven book cover

The Monster of Elendhaven
Jennifer Giesbrecht

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Foul Is Fair
Hannah Capin

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The Honey-Don’t List
Christina Lauren

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The Year of the Witching
Alexis Henderson

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Mornings with Rosemary
(also published as The Lido)
Libby Page

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The Vanishing Half
Brit Bennett

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All Adults Here
Emma Straub