Let’s start by stating the obvious. This year has been one of the most chaotic and stressful that we’ve ever seen.

Travels moved from interstates to the information superhighway as we switched from heading to coastlines to opting for video calls instead. As the year comes to a close, we are all still coping, healing and navigating an unknown road. 

When needing an escape, I turned to books. I’m an admitted bibliophile (as I write this I’m nearing finishing my 80th book for the year). Here are just a few that helped get me through 2020.

Pro tip: If you're interested in any of these titles, skip Amazon and shop a local bookstore instead! Most have curbside pickup or home delivery for added safety.

 

"Happy and You Know It" by Laura Hankin

A group of glamorous moms in NYC need a musician for their playgroup. A musician who is rebuilding her life after parting ways with her band is the perfect fit. But as musician Claire becomes closer to the group, secrets and lies are uncovered. It’s a darkly funny page-turner with plenty of juicy surprises! 

 

"One by One" by Ruth Ware 

Getting snowed in at a luxury ski chalet might not sound like a bad time, but when it happens to a group of coworkers who don’t trust each other, things take a deadly turn. How many of the travelers will still be alive when the trip comes to a close?

 

"Untamed" by Glennon Doyle 

This book is a rallying cry for all women. It’s jam-packed with personal stories to which we can all relate. It underscores the power in unapologetically embracing exactly who you are. 

 

"Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close" by Animatou and Ann Friedman 

People talk about the benefits of friendship, but far too infrequently people discuss how a friendship is just like any valued relationship — it takes commitment and work. While the two authors live on opposite ends of the country, during the pandemic I think many of us feel we are living a long-distance friendship with our best friends, even when in the same city! It’s a call to look at the strengths and struggles in your own friendships. 

 

"The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett 

What if you could leave your life behind and become someone else entirely? The Vignes twins are identical, but their adult lives couldn’t be more different. One sister has recently returned home with her Black daughter to the small town she abandoned. The other lives on the opposite side of the country secretly passing for white, keeping her race and her past a secret from her husband and community. The book spans several decades and takes a deep look at how our past shapes us.

 

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"Red, White & Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston 

Who doesn’t love a love story?! It’s the best escape out there! This story is a frenemy-turned-lovers tale involving the sons of the First Family and the Royal Family. I strongly recommend the audiobook version, but either way it’s adorable! 

 

So there you go! A few of my favorites from the year that provided a great escape. May 2021 bring even more page turners (and maybe a chance to read them seaside)! 

 

Becca Buerkle is an Arkansas native, a self-proclaimed word nerd and a proud plant and cat mom. She works as the director of communications for the American Heart Association. You can connect with her on goodreads.com/beccabuerkle.

 

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