Hi, I'm Angi
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My 5 Favorite Reads of 2020


Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

2020 was an...ahem...interesting year. And despite the fact that I had a lot of free time on my hands due to the pandemic (weekends seemed suddenly very open), it didn't feel like I read any more than I would have normally. That said, I had a pretty stellar year. Very few of my reads were outright bad, and I found a few new all-time favorites that I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have stumbled across. These are those books...

A Memory Called Empire - Arkady Martine
The Lsel Ambassador, Mahit Dzmare, arrives for her first assignment to Teixcalaan, only to discover that her predecessor is dead and the technology used on Lsel that could allow her to communicate with him is not working. It doesn't take her long to figure out that sabotage and murder are likely involved. With the help of her Teixcalaan Guide, Three Seagrass; some newfound allies; and her own abilities, Mahit navigates a political minefield. Revolution from within the Empire begins even as a new threat looms over her home of Lsel. Mahit must protect her home at all costs, in this complex world in which poetry is the language of history, culture, and communication.

I mean...have you not heard me rave about this book enough? This was my favorite read of 2020, in a tie with The Fisherman by John Langan. This is a book that immediately grabbed my hand and took me on an unforgettable adventure that was thrilling until the last page. It reminded me a bit of one of my favorites books of all time The Measurements of Decay, in that it was a great science fiction story, but it also gave me a lot to chew on. 

The Fisherman - John Langan
In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman's Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true. When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other's company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story. Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It's a tale of dark pacts, of long-buried secrets, and of a mysterious figure known as Der Fisher: the Fisherman. It will bring Abe and Dan face to face with all that they have lost, and with the price they must pay to regain it.

The experience of reading this book was! This is cosmic horror about grief and loss, and the things some people are willing to do to regain what was lost. It's told as a series of nested stories, with fishing being the common denominator in all of them. Don't worry if you're not into fishing - I'm not at all, but was totally captivated nonetheless!

March 1, 2 and 3 - John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell
Before he became a respected Congressman, John Lewis was clubbed, gassed, arrested over 40 times, and nearly killed by angry mobs and state police, all while nonviolently protesting racial discrimination. He marched side-by-side with Martin Luther King as the youngest leader of the Civil Rights Movement that would change a nation forever. MARCH tells the story of how a poor sharecropper's son helped transform America, from a segregated schoolhouse to the 1963 March on Washington and beyond.

This were tough books to read, and with the Black Lives Matter protests happening around the country and John Lewis' passing happening roughly around the same time that I was reading these, they took on even more potency. It was a hard read, but an important read and I'm thankful that this story was able to be captured before Lewis' passing, and with his input.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation - Ottessa Moshfegh
Our narrator should be happy, shouldn't she? She's young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn't just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It's the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong? A novel about a young woman's efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.

This book was a TRIP and totally weird, but I can't get it out of my head. It's definitely not for everyone. The main character is truly unlikable, and the story is strange and even offensive at times. But that was part of what I found refreshing about it in many ways. The is ultimately the story of a woman who truly embraces rest. Who snatches it under her own terms and indulges in it without shame. And even if you disagree with her methods of obtaining it, your reaction to her hibernation from the world will ultimately tell you a lot about yourself and about your own relationship with rest and the demands of the world.

Non Puoi Essere Tu - Sonia Ognibene
It was difficult to pick this final book because there were a few contenders for this slot, but when I think back to books that will sit with me for awhile, this is the one that comes out on top. This was my first book by Ognibene, and I quickly became addicted to her mystery/thrillers for intermediate Italian readers. This is a creepy tale about a young woman who loses her best friend in a mysterious death, only to see her in a photograph taken, impossibly, after her death. In an effort to figure out what actually happened (is her friend dead? alive?) she travels to a small town to get answers. It totally chilled me to the bone, and I loved every second of it!