I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for this week's "thankful freebie" -- I'm afraid to actually recount any blessings out loud; in 2020 it feels like tempting fate -- so I decided to scroll through my reading log for 2020 thus far and pick out some books that I'm really glad I had the fortune to come across or that turned out to be exactly what I needed. I found it hard to cut myself off at 10 once I started!
In no particular order --
1. Val McDermid's Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series
After Criminal Minds closed out with epic intensity, I wanted to process my Spencer Reid love in novel format. After a few misfires and some Googling around, I found a Reddit post suggesting that Tony Hill reminded them of that character, and HOO BOY WERE THEY EVER RIGHT. Aside from the notable differences of being British and having an extremely terrible relationship with his mother*, that's exactly what reading these ELEVEN ENTIRE books with plenty of time for character development was like. Bonus, his confusing quasi-romantic/quasi-platonic relationship with Carol is a lot like the bond with JJ in the show, except now imagine that she'd never met Will.
*but honestly, once you've seen Jane Lynch be Sue Sylvester, it's not such a leap to imagine
2. History Is All You Left Me - Adam Silvera
Speaking of needing to process my feelings about TV charaters in novel format, when Glee broke my heart in 2012, I promptly retreated to a "what if while Klaine was broken up one of them DIED; would that have been better than cheating??" place, and I love that this book's premise is EXACTLY THAT*. I've been saving it ever since I found out about it until I was ready to let it hit me full force, and I def. think it's going to remain my favorite Silvera novel.
*oh man i just finally acknowledged that this actually happened to Finn and Rachel. No! Too ouch! Go away!!
3. Littler Women - Laura Schaefer
One of the few books from my Valentine's Day TTT post I actually ended up getting to this year. I'm really grateful ILL opened back up so I could read it, because it was everything I hoped for and more. (modern-day middle grade AU, following the format of the original but with the characters aged down a few years)
4. Where Have All The Tigers Gone? - Lynn Hall
My review really says it best.
5. The Princesses of Iowa - M. Molly Backes
This is a book I waited 8 years to finish after DNFing it in rage after the first chapter, and I'm so glad I didn't force myself through it back then, because I truly appreciated the writing and some of the characters so much more once I was in the right headspace for this story, instead of just picking a random contemporary book off the library shelf.
6. Burying Water - K.A. Tucker
My intensity about it has faded a bit, but this really just owned my entire heart for like, a solid month over the summer. I could not stop daydreaming about this couple or setting. Up to that point it definitely was the book that had the most effect on me in 2020.
7. Nature Girl - Jane Kelley
A middle grade book about a girl getting lost w/ her dog and deciding to walk to her friend's house on the Appalachian Trail. It was not only a perfect reading experience that kick-started my walking motivation, it set the stage for me reading two additional amazing books about thru-hiking, YA entrants The Distance From Me To You and The Other Side of Lost.
8. Mandrake Root - Janet Diebold
So glad I read this, only 4 years after the first read, to remind myself how gosh darn much I love it even though I can't entirely explain what it's about and probably no other living soul has ever read its 80-year-old obscure self.
9. Lion Boy's White Brother - Alden G. Stevens
Not only was the story great, his incredible bio on the dust jacket sent me down a super entertaining multi-day rabbit hole researching what little scraps about his life I could find as well as his other works, all of which look amazing and have fallen into deep obscurity.
10. Everyone Is Beautiful - Katherine Center
It was the Jim/Pam style marriage I'd been wanting to read for years -- albeit with season 9 style conflict -- and introduced me to some of her other fantastic books at the same time (not the ones you've heard of).