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My Favorite Books of 2020

by Shannon Bruchal

I read a lot of books. You may know that about me. 2020 was no exception. In fact, I even think I read more books in 2020 than in any other year. Of all the books I've read this year, these are the ones I keep recommending. They are all fiction, and all but one are historical fiction. Historical fiction transports you to faraway places and bygone eras, where you find, despite the different backdrop, culture, or era, people are very much the same.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

by Fiona Davis

Print, Playaway, & Electronic formats

I love New York, and I love libraries. This story combines them both and adds a bit of mystery with the beautiful New York Public Library as the backdrop. An unsolved theft in 1913 re-emerges 80 years later, as a young curator tries to save her exhibit and finds herself caught in the middle.

Her Last Flight

by Beatriz Williams

Print, Playaway, & Electronic formats

This book takes you to Hawaii in 1947. A photographer and war correspondent doing research for a biography on a missing pilot from the Spanish Civil War stumbles upon some clues for her book, as well as someone she thinks may be the pilot's flying partner. Can she unravel the mystery? I love the period detail and the suspense as this story comes to its conclusion.

The Yellow Bird Sings

by Jennifer Rosner

Print, Audiobook, & Electronic formats

I've had a moratorium on books centered around World War II for several years. I wasn't going to read this one either, but I was compelled and intrigued by the story. The author was a classmate of mine.

A mother and a daughter living in Poland do all they can to keep themselves hidden in order to stay undiscovered by soldiers. The mother teaches her daughter to hear music inside her head and her heart. The beautiful and lasting bond between the mother and child in horrible times and the foundation of hope that was built through dark times made this a book I will never forget.

The Book of Lost Friends

by Lisa Wingate

Print, Audiobook, Large Print, & Electronic formats

Three young women set out on a search for family in the post-Civil War South. Two are looking for a lost inheritance, and the other is a freed slave looking for family that was sold during the war. The journey is documented in a leather-bound journal, which is found over 100 years later in a crumbling plantation house. A young teacher discovers the connection between the three young women, the book, and residents of the town. I love found objects that tell stories of previous generations, and the history and provenance that connects them to the present day.

How the Penguins Saved Veronica

by Hazel Prior


This story features a feisty 85-year-old woman who was trying to decide what charity she would leave her fortune to. Intrigued by a documentary on penguins in Antarctica, she contacts the charity and informs them she is coming for a visit. She doesn't take no for an answer. A trip to Antarctica is not the norm for most people, much less an 85-year-old-woman, but she perseveres. I love her spunk. She sees this trip through, and wins the hearts of the scientists as well as her grandson, who follows her to Antarctica to get to know her better.


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