This is my first World of Books quarterly book update for 2020. This post covers January through April. If you’ve been following me on GoodReads, you’ll know that I’ve been posting reviews there since February 2009. I’m well past my decade mark on GoodReads.
It might surprise you to learn that I’ve also read over 1,100 books since joining GoodReads. If that doesn’t give you an idea of what my reading habits are like, I’m not sure what will.
World of Books is a new section on My Several Worlds.
I started the World of Books section on My Several Worlds last year when I realized that I’ve reviewed (and edited) a number of books for friends. I didn’t have a special category for books set up on my site. I was motivated to add it after releasing how much free content I provide to GoodReads.
To tell you a little about myself, I’m a huge fan of non fiction. I love biographies, but my real interests with non fiction are in history, culture and travel, and in health, science, space, and technology. That said, I don’t discriminate and tend to read anything I can get my hands on with this genre.
I’m one of those bookworms who’ll read anything but romance. You’ll notice with my fiction choices that I read and follow all kinds of authors. The more varied, the better. Whether it’s African, Asian, Latino or First Nations authors, my goal is to read as much as possible and to learn as much as possible – even translated books.
Each book received five stars from me.
January 2020 Reads – World of Books
12 books in January
NON FICTION: 7 total
Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come by Richard Preston
Clearly no one listened to Preston’s warnings. He’s been writing about hot zones and virus outbreaks for many years. I started reading his books back in 1994.
The 2013-2014 Ebola epidemic was the deadliest ever–but the outbreaks continue. Now comes a gripping account of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us, an urgent wake-up call about the future of emerging viruses–from the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone, soon to be a National Geographic original miniseries.
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five is a well researched and riveting look at the lives of the women who were killed by Jack the Ripper in 1888. If you’re looking for more information on Jack the Ripper, this book isn’t for you. He’s barely mentioned in this book. The Five focuses only on the victims of his murderous sprees.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates
Everyone should have to read this book! Honest, beautiful, raw writing and social observations about what it means to be Black in America. He weaves his own memoir through his observations, sharing his fear of childhood in Baltimore, and what it was like to attend Howard University. My favorite part of this book when he visits Paris and his observations on how different life is in France.
“I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free.”― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
“Be brave,” she says. “Be bold. Be loud. Never change for anyone but yourself. Any soul worth their star-stuff will take the whole package as is and however it grows. Don’t waste your time on anyone who doesn’t believe you when you tell them how you feel.” ~Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea
Erin Morgenstern knows how to write magic and she writes it so beautifully, it’s hard for the story to end. The Starless Sea covers several stories within stories. It’s based in a library, and it has so many literary references, it’s bound to delight any bookworm.
February 2020 Reads – World of Books
10 books in February
NON FICTION: 5 total
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
“This book is meant to tell the story of Indian lives, and Indian histories, in such a way as to render those histories and those lives as something much more, much greater and grander, than a catalog of pain.”― David Treuer, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
I don’t know how I can give this book anything less than five stars. The sheer amount of information and research that went into it is mind-blowing. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: North America from 1890 to the Present is incredibly dense and it took some time to read through. It’s one of the most complete books on Native American history I’ve ever laid hands on. Wonderful reading!
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
This book will teach you just how much you’re giving up with your privacy online with everything from your computer devices and phones to devices like Amazon Echo and Smart Fridges that listen in and collect your data. Very creepy!
Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese
I’ve mentioned that I started reading more First Nation authors last year. I just discovered Richard Wagamese and this story is so beautiful and so haunting, I doubt I’ll ever forget it.
This book packs an emotional punch to the gut. A father and son take their last journey together through the Canadian wilderness. It’s a beautiful story that will leave you sobbing through the last 40 pages or so.
March 2020 Reads – World of Books
14 books in March
NON FICTION: 4 total
Adventures of a Young Naturalist by David Attenborough
If you’re looking for adventure and travel and you love the natural world, there is no better author to follow than Sir David Attenborough. Beautiful.
The Body by Bill Bryson
Bryson has explored everything and is well known for his in depth research into the strangest lands. The Body turns inward and navigates through how the human body works. Required reading.
April 2020 Reads – World of Books
14 books in April
NON FICTION: 7 total
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
Enough said. I’ve told you I was on a South African author kick. This is a must read.
Voices of Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich
Beautiful and haunting. I thought I had learned everything I needed to know from Midnight at Chernobyl, but this story is a compilation of stories from the survivors of Chernobyl. Tears.
Fever by Deon Meyer
It’s a coincidence that I bought this book at the Big Bad Wolf Fair last summer. I like plague books and grabbed it because it was on sale. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up and it started on March 20th with a coronavirus wiping out the human population!
This book focuses on how survivors rebuild their society in a post-pandemic land in South Africa.
The Reptile Room: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Who doesn’t love Lemony Snicket? This isn’t just for kids. These stories are brilliant and very entertaining. Bonus points for all the grammar and spelling lessons that are woven in throughout the series.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Man Booker Prize winners are known for having unusual prose and for beautiful writing. This book is a treasure. I love Margaret Atwood and mean no disrespect, but it was clear to me that Atwood won because of her name. The Testaments is nowhere near as good as this book is.
To wrap this post up, I finished 50 books at the end of April and hit the halfway mark for my 52 non fiction book challenge on GoodReads. Have you read any of the books on my list? What were your five star reads for the first quarter of 2020? I’d love to hear from you.
Find me on GoodReads at: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2048986-carrie-kellenberger