My Favorite Reads of 2020

It was the year of nonfiction for me this year! For the first time ever, my list has more nonfiction than fiction. I did read some great fiction books though as well! I narrowed my list to my top seven. Let me know if you have read any and what you thought!

Let’s begin, shall we?

These were the three standout fiction books that I read this year, and my most recommended to people throughout the year.

Mexican Gothic is hands down my favorite book of the year – it was just so much everything. Plot, characters, quirk, atmosphere, twisty and scary and horrifying. And this cover is amazingly beautiful. Have any of you seen the Instagram posts where people are recreating this cover? I can understand why, it is so rich and warm and lovely.

My Sister the Serial Killer was a surprisingly amazing read for me. I thought I would enjoy it, but not necessarily love it as much as I did. I think it is such a unique take on family relationships and love, and of course, a bit of creep factor as well.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts was such a fun fantastic read! I loved it so much. It reminded me of a Westing Game for adults.

The Call of the Wild and Free was a book that really changed our lives! If you are a regular reader here, you may have seen my posts where I talk about how it really spoke to me and about how to frame our homeschooling experience. It is not the right experience for everyone, but it is perfect for us right now.

The Creative Family Manifesto is another book that heavily influenced our lives this year. Because of this book, we were inspired to take drawing books with us on picnics and have lazy days drawing away. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination but I am enjoying what I am creating and that is the most important thing…right? Wyatt loves drawing and painting and that is something I want to encourage, and we have art supplies always available to him for when he feels like making or creating. Most nights now he will sit quietly happily drawing away.

The Cider Revival. I just really enjoyed this book! It was a fascinating look at apple orchards and the cider industry, especially all those small cideries out there. Plus, we had a fantastic night of cider tasting after I read this book.

The Salt Path was amazing. I have never read a book like this before. I have read many memoirs of people hiking and walking long distances, but never for these reasons. I loved the journey start to finish, and I am looking forward to reading Winn’s follow up. I am a person who underlines and makes notes in their books and this passage from The Salt Path was just so powerful.

I was a part of the whole. I didn’t need to own a patch of land to make that so. I could stand in the wind and I was the wind, the rain, the sea; it was all me, and I was nothing within it.

What did you read that you loved this year?

Goodbye November, Hello December…

So another month gone, one month left of 2020. This month was sort of the beginning of our hibernation again, trying to lock ourselves down as much as we could. We hadn’t been doing much but even with those small distanced visits gone, I feel the loss. November was a rough one for us for many reasons, but we did have some good moments.

I celebrated my birthday, and also our twentieth wedding anniversary this month. And apparently took a small series of photos of me holding objects. The Brown Betty was a gift from Billy for our anniversary, because I have wanted one forever and every time we watch a British mystery and I see one, I mention it.. so now I no longer need to do that! Then for my birthday Billy and Wyatt bought me something I have wanted that is sort of weird but because I am me, I was in love with it. Have you heard of Juniper Fox? Well, I follow her Instagram, and am also a patron on their Patreon. I love foxes, I’m sure I have mentioned that a time or two. Anyway, I wanted a fox footprint painting done by my favorite of the skulk, Elmwood. He is such a stinker but so cute! I felt like 2020 was the year to indulge in this unconventional gift, and I absolutely love it. I look at it and smile. And I included that photo of me and the moss, because my husband just gets me with giving me that bouquet.

We studied owls, and had our own owl prowl with our friends. I participated in Nonfiction November which was so enlightening and I found so many books. I read The Salt Path which is probably one of my favorites for the year, and we read all of our “fun” mail on Thanksgiving and I felt super Little House on the Prairie doing that. We also had a two week Heritage study in our homeschool about Scotland which was a great time. I tried to make it more fun for the kids since geography at five is not the most interesting and I want them to have a love of place like I do. (I plan on posting about this later this week)

We had our cider tasting with my brother, which was a blast, and began and ended the month with hikes in the woods, our favorite place to be. And look, at the beginning of the month we were in t-shirts; at the end we were in hats and coats. Crazy that we had a warm enough day for t-shirts!

The times this month were not all great, in fact some were pretty heartbreaking but we did have some good times. My uncle Art would have been proud, as he is, as described by one of his nephews, the Ambassador of Laughter. Here he is last Thanksgiving, making my son laugh and giggle. Wyatt loved my Uncle Art, always, right from the very start.

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

I took some time off from blogging and social media in general last week to just have a “week off”. We homeschooled, but didn’t do as much as we normally would, and we also prepared for our little Thanksgiving. It was just me, Billy, and Wyatt, so I picked our favorite sides, cheesy potatoes and green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and then we made cranberry rosemary chicken and called it done. It was a good meal with my guys, but didn’t feel like Thanksgiving. I also had a terrible time baking! I dropped my pumpkin pie, my shortbread didn’t turn out, and Billy had to run to to the store early in the morning Thursday to grab a pumpkin pie so we had dessert. Lol. We did have two great family video chats with our families though so that was a bright spot in our day. Billy had to work Friday, so we put up our tree on Saturday and decorated for Christmas. Wyatt loves the tree every year so it is a happy occasion, always.

Read Last Week:

So this book was amazing and fully deserves all the love it receives. I ended up buying it and don’t regret it; it was fantastic and I can’t wait to read Winn’s next book. It was beautifully written, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me read parts out loud to Billy – definitely on my top ten of the year.

Reading This Week:

I love anything with a fox. And this looks perfect for my mood right now!

Watching:

Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch version), GBBS, Agatha Raisin (again), and the Queen’s Gambit, which is amazing. When Billy and I were younger and frequented coffee houses all the time, there was sort of a chess thing happening at the time as well, and everyone was playing. We entered a tournament and I remember I beat one of the top guys and his friends were all you got beat by a girl! I am of course nowhere even close to Beth’s skill level in The Queen’s Gambit, but so weird that being beaten “by a girl” was a weird thing even when I was playing.

Wyatt is watching a lot of Molly of Denali, Wild Kratts, and Scout and Daisy these days. I have to admit, I love all of those cartoons too…

And that is about it from my corner of Michigan right now! Stay safe everyone.

Nonfiction November: Week 3: Ask the Experts

Week 3 is hosted by Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction

I am a nonfiction newbie. I really only started to read nonfiction in the last few years, and then this year my reading has been a little wonky and off. So, I am turning to you all as experts this week!

There are some books calling my name lately.. books set in areas near the cold coast of the Atlantic Ocean. I am not sure what this is about really. Maybe I have spent too much time reading woodland books, and I want to explore the deep. Maybe it is because I am a water sign, born in November, just a few days after the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior. My ancestors were shipbuilders in England before coming to America, and they continued to be shipbuilders here in Detroit; my great-uncle worked on the Edmund Fitzgerald, and my mom even attended the launch. So, maybe there is a bit of sea in my soul somewhere. (I did have a palm reader in New Orleans tell me I had been a ship’s captain who went down with his ship in a past life..) Anyway, I am making a list of books that fit this sort of profile and I have three on my list so far, and I would love any other suggestions before I dive in to this topic. (pun intended)

These are the books I have lined up so far.

Any other suggestions out there? I will take nonfiction, and fiction too! And on both sides of the Atlantic, not just the UK side. Anyone read these and have thoughts on them? I know The Salt Path is a big favorite, and I plan to read it very soon.

Thanks! I look forward to your comments and visiting your posts!