What to read in 2020 based on the books you loved in 2019

Angela Haupt

THE WASHINGTON POST – If you read it and loved it in 2019, read more like it in 2020. Here are 12 books, from a variety of genres, to consider based on recent favourites.

If you enjoyed City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert, read The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant, by Kayte Nunn (March 3)

In 1951, young mother Esther Durrant thought she was going on vacation; instead, her husband committed her to a mental asylum on a remote island.

Nearly seven decades later, a feisty marine scientist takes shelter there and discovers a suitcase of long-lost love letters.

The book’s narration alternates between the ’50s and the present, unfolding a family mystery and, ultimately, a love story.

If you enjoyed All This Could Be Yours, by Jami Attenberg, read All Adults Here, by Emma Straub (May 5)

There are three generations of Stricks at the centre of Straub’s new novel: Astrid, a 60-something widow; her three adult children; and her teenage granddaughter, Cecelia.

After witnessing a bus accident, Astrid is grappling with the notion that perhaps she wasn’t quite the parent she imagined herself to be – and everyone else is struggling to figure out, well, everything else.

Prepare for a smart, of-the-moment take on a family in turmoil.

If you enjoyed Know My Name, by Chanel Miller, read Whistleblower, by Susan Fowler (February 18)

In 2017, then-25-year-old Susan Fowler wrote a blog post about the “very, very strange year” she spent as an engineer at Uber – rocking Silicon Valley with accusations of sexual harassment and retaliation.

It went viral and started a reckoning: Uber’s chief executive and 20 additional employees were forced out, and other tech companies began looking inward.

In her memoir, Fowler, who’s remained mostly quiet since then, opens up about the decision to share her story and the ramifications of going public.

If you enjoyed Evvie Drake Starts Over, by Linda Holmes, read In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle (March 3)

Dannie Cohan, a Type A lawyer, gets engaged right on time – of course she does; it’s part of her five-year plan.

But she wakes up afterward in a different apartment with a very different man, which is not part of the plan, even if he is attractive.

It’s still December 15, but in 2025 – five years in the future.

An hour later, Dannie is back in 2020, trying to stifle the disconcerting dream.

Or was it a premonition? She’s mostly successful, until the man shows up a few years later on her best friend’s arm.

If you enjoyed The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides, read Darling Rose Gold, by Stephanie Wrobel (March 17)

Rose Gold Watts spent 18 years believing she was seriously ill – a concoction fabricated by her mother, Patty, who’s sentenced to five years in jail after being exposed.

In this claustrophobic psychological suspense novel, the two move back in together – but each has an ulterior motive and revenge to exact.

If you enjoyed No Happy Endings, by Nora McInerny, read Keep Moving, by Maggie Smith (May 5)

A few years ago, Smith’s poem Good Bones spread quickly and widely on social media with the help of Alyssa Milano and Megan Mullally, among other celebrities.

After getting divorced, Smith started writing daily tweets about pushing through to the other side of loss – small bursts of wisdom, truth and inspiration.

Her new book of quotes and essays expands on the idea that new beginnings are opportunities.

If you enjoyed Normal People, by Sally Rooney, read Topics of Conversation, by Miranda Popkey (January 7)

Popkey’s lyrical debut novel reads like a series of short stories: Over the span of 20 years, an unnamed narrator has conversations with an eclectic set of women – conversations about shame, love, and power. Envy and guilt. Motherhood. Loneliness.

The slim book is smart and raw, and Popkey dives head-on into difficult, well – how else to say it? – topics of conversation.

If you enjoyed Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, read The Serial Killer Cookbook, by Ashley Lecker (April 21)

Ruth Snyder had chicken Parmesan and Alfredo pasta. Macaroni and cheese for Gustavo Julian Garcia.

Ted Bundy requested, but did not eat, seared steak, hash browns, toast and fried eggs.

This cookbook pairs serial-killer trivia that will thrill true-crime aficionados with recipes for famous killers’ final meals, from breakfast to indulgent desserts.

If you enjoyed Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II, by Svetlana Alexievich, read The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, by Erik Larson (February 25)

On the day Winston Churchill became prime minister of the United Kingdom (UK) – May 10, 1940 – Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium.

In this historical narrative, Larson, who’s known for epics such as The Devil in the White City, pieces together Churchill’s day-to-day over the course of one year, with the help of diaries, original archival documents and recently released intelligence reports.

If you enjoyed Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James, read The City We Became, by NK Jemisin (March 24)

Jemisin, the Hugo Award-winning fantasy author, blends speculative and literary fiction in this, the first of a new series.

Five New Yorkers must come together to save their city, which has literally come to life, in a story that’ll give you Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse vibes.

Expect an interdimensional novel that plays with identity, culture and magic.

If you enjoyed Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro, read Missed Translations, by Sopan Deb (April 21)

Just before his 30th birthday, Deb, a stand-up comedian and culture reporter for the New York Times, realised he barely knew his immigrant parents, whose arranged marriage had collapsed years prior.

His father had returned to India, while his mother lived in New Jersey – and Deb’s retelling of his journey to connect with both of them is full of self-discovery and forgiveness, with a side of comedy.

If you enjoyed Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli, read Amnesty, by Aravind Adiga (February 18)

Danny, an illegal immigrant in Australia who works as a house cleaner, has finally achieved some semblance of a normal life.

But when one of his clients is murdered, he has to choose whether to come forward with his suspicions that she was killed by the doctor she was having an affair with – and risk being deported – or say nothing and hinder justice.

It’s the fifth novel from the Booker Prize-winning Adiga.