If “doing more reading” is one of your New Year’s resolutions then you’re in for a treat — one of the few positives to come out of 2020 is the plentiful number of good reads and page turners released throughout the year. Here are just a few to indulge in:
American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
An award-winning and Oprah Winfrey Book Club-endorsed title, the novel follows the life of a Mexican woman forced to escape as an undocumented immigrant to the United States with her son after her journalist husband angers a drug cartel kingpin. The story was initially met with praise, but also sparked controversy over the fact that a white woman was writing about Latin migrant struggles. The novel, released last January, was successful despite the mixed reviews and was one of the best-selling books of the year. It has also been optioned for a film adaptation.
Ready Player Two, by Earnest Cline
This science fiction thriller was released nearly a decade after its predecessor but the story picks up just 10 days after the first one left off. The sequel continues to follow teenaged Wade Watts in the not-so-far-off 2045, in which America is gripped by an energy crisis, global warming and economic stagnation. A popular virtual reality gamer, Watts uses advanced artificial intelligence to at first escape the dystopian world, but later creates his own technology to better it. Like the original, Ready Player Two is set to be a movie directed by Steven Spielberg sometime in the future.
The Guest List, by Lucy Foley
Mystery fans know that the best thrillers open with a perfect scenario begging for disruption, which is exactly what Foley delivers. A successful, happy power couple and their guests have traveled to a remote island off the coast of Ireland for their wedding and everything is perfect except for spotty cell service. But as the story progresses the weather turns dangerous and the guests turn nasty. Foley promises plenty of revealed secrets and that one guest won’t leave the wedding alive.
Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu
Through use of a screenplay structure, the novel tells the story of struggling actor Willis Wu, whose roles typically fall within the “generic Asian man” category. He plays background characters in police dramas, but wishes to be a world-famous “Kung Fu Guy,” much like Jackie Chan. The novel criticizes the lack of on-screen representation for Asian-Americans in general American art that doesn’t reduce the actors to model minority stereotypes. Hilarious and heartbreaking at times, the novel was a National Book Awards 2020 for Fiction winner.
A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
The 44th president’s memoir is the first of a planned two-volume series and focuses largely on his political career, though the first 200 pages are dedicated to his early life. The massive book, 768 pages, covers the first three years of his presidency, notably his 2009 Novel Peace Prize award and his work with the United Nations. The memoir ends with Obama meeting with the Navy SEAL team who killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011.