Hi Readers! I only read 11 books in 2020, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites from the year. My goal for 2021 is to read at least 12 books, but I would love if I could read more than that.
1) The Outsider.
I love that Holly Gibney from the Bill Hodges trilogy appears in this book. She’s one of my favorite Stephen King characters. Throughout The Outsider, the reader wonders if Terry Maitland really committed the terrible crime (the murder and rape of a young boy) that he was accused of. As the book progresses, you begin to wonder what sinister forces are at work when Terry has a solid alibi, but it seems that Terry was in two places at once. This creepy (and long!) book is perfect for lovers of grisly crime the supernatural, and an ending that won’t disappoint you. The Outsider is not for the faint of heart. If you can’t handle gory descriptions and violence against children, then this book is not recommended for you.
2) The Handmaid’s Tale.
I had been wanting to read The Handmaid’s Tale for awhile before I finally picked it up. I’m glad I did! This was my first book by Margaret Atwood and I plan on reading others now. She has a talent for creating characters the reader can empathize with. Although this dystopian book was published in 1985, it’s frightening how familiar the plot seems to events occurring in the modern-day US. In The Handmaid’s Tale, you feel the pain, terror, and desperation of Offred as she and the other handmaids are forced to endure things no one should have to go through. The Handmaid’s Tale is perfect for readers who enjoy dystopian, speculative fiction, but it is a dark book and has a lot of content that may be difficult to read.
3) Save the Cat! Writes a Novel.
I heard about this book many times before I read it. It was well worth the read. I took over 10 pages of notes while reading it! Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is a great starting point for any writer feeling stuck, especially if you’re in the outlining/plotting process. This book explains the “15 Beats” that are in every good story and also breaks down important aspects of every genre. The 15 Beats are what helped me the most. As an author who was a former Pantser, I now consider myself more of a Plantser. I realize there are some aspects of a book that need to be planned before you start writing. It makes it easier when you start draft 1 if you have an idea of where the story is going and know that you’ll be hitting reader expectations as well. I would highly recommend Save the Cat! Writes a Novel for any writer, aspiring or already established.
4) Successful Self-Publishing.
This was the first book I read by Joanna Penn. I plan on reading the other books she’s written in the series too. In Successful Self-Publishing, Joanna Penn goes through all the important steps in the self-publishing process with thorough explanations about which steps are necessary and which ones are up to the writer’s discretion. She makes the process seem a lot less daunting. Joanna Penn discusses everything from buying ISBNs to filing for copyright to publishing wide vs. exclusivity to explaining what print-on-demand (POD) companies are. This book is extremely helpful for aspiring authors who want to learn more about the basics of the self-publishing process.
Comment below and let me know if you’ve read any of these books! What were your favorite books you read in 2020?