Staff Of Mandel Public Library Of West Palm Beach Choose Top Books Of 2020

Press release from the Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach:

by Emily and the staff at the Mandel Public Library

It’s finally the end of 2020 and we’d like to introduce you to some of the best books we’ve gotten through. Despite everything that 2020 has brought us, we managed to fall in love with books as we do every year. Here are some of our favorite things we read and recommend to you this year. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

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Ionnie’s Choice: What Happened To Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins

The jewel that Kathleen Collins is. Many people are unaware of the work or existence of this African American writer, playwright, film director and teacher. She was the first African American woman to write and direct her own feature film and to start the film program at CUNY. This little book of short stories and plays will give you an insight into her brilliant use of words and her command of language and imagination. They are put into their scenes. They will inhabit the lives of their characters. This book will make you feel.

Leah’s choice: Department of Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen

I love this series! Similar to Jo Nesbo’s Nordic thriller, but not quite as dark or graphic. Interesting stories, characters you really want to get to know and set in Denmark – what more could you want?

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Emily’s choice: Isabel Greenberg’s Early Earth series

When Isabel Greenberg published her graphic novel Glass Town earlier this year, I thought it would be a good time to read her other books as well. I was so glad I did. The Early Earth series of graphic novels (The Encyclopedia of Early Earth and The One Hundred Nights of Hero) is fascinating. Greenberg takes traditional folklore and fables and transforms them into something fresh, feminist and fun to create the legends of an alternate earth. These books are a delight for anyone interested in the craft of storytelling. I know I will read it again in the years to come.

Erika’s choice: Berserker series by Kentaro Miura

Berserk is a dark fantasy manga about a cursed mercenary seeking revenge on someone who was once close to him and has been running since 1989 (over 40 volumes). He has an amazing storyline, and the world and character formation are excellent. A very sad story.

Sarah’s choice: The invisible life of Addie LaRue from VE Schwab

Addie LaRue wants to be free. She wants to travel and discover and experience new and exciting art. Unfortunately, Addie LaRue was born in a very small village in France at the end of the 17th century. When the day of their unwanted marriage comes, Addie becomes desperate and prays to the old gods. So she comes to make a deal with the night herself. She has freedom and time, but is ultimately cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. This is the case for 300 years, until she meets a boy who inexplicably remembers her. VE Schwab’s latest novel isn’t just a beautifully rendered fantasy story. It is also a love letter to humanity in all of its chaotic existence. It’s a testament to the power of art and ideas, and it’s an intimate portrait of the longing so many people have for more in their lives, be it more time or more love or even just more direction. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a long novel that will pass surprisingly quickly, much like Addie’s life. Fans of VE Schwab’s previous work, well-rendered urban fantasy, and time-lapse novels will love The Invisible Life by Addie LaRue.


In the nine months that coronavirus struck the United States and killed more than 300,000 people, grief has intensified.

Kristine’s Tips: Such A Fun Age From Kiley Reid

This book is incredibly cumbersome and nuanced at the same time. As a real page turner, I wondered what would happen next in each chapter as I delved into wealth, privilege, marriage, motherhood, and interracial relationships. Such a fun age was a new novel I couldn’t put down!


In the nine months that coronavirus struck the United States and killed more than 300,000 people, grief has intensified.

7 stories from the American coronavirus cemetery: Deaths Pass 300K

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

This book, a one-of-a-kind book told in script form, totally blew my mind. Yu’s joke and his playful way of destroying stereotypes about Asians in America resonated deeply with me and made me laugh from the bottom of my heart. Interior Chinatown is clever and exuberant and just what I needed in 2020.

Kimi’s Pick: Sarah Moss’ Ghost Wall

My choice for this year is an immersive exploration of human nature. The story follows a young girl on a journey to re-enact the Iron Age with her parents and a group of archeology students. We can assume that our ancestors were primitive and savage, but much of their frightening behavior continues to the present day. So often consent and freedom are inextricably linked to family dynamics and social expectations. I saw this title in the audiobook, but we also have it available in print.

Faith’s Pick: Destiny Trilogy by Beverly Jenkins

This series was the first historical romance I’ve read in about a decade, and it reminded me why I loved it so much in high school! The characters were wonderfully developed, their emotions and actions made sense and followed their personality, and Ms. Jenkins masterfully posed her POC characters in the late 19th century. Would highly recommend it!

Janice’s Choice: Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe is neither as beautiful as the nymphs nor as powerful as the gods, and if one day she commits an unforgivable transgression, it is easy for Helios to banish her to a small, empty island. On the beaches and in the forests of her island, Circe learns to go her own way and use her own strength in ways that even the gods did not expect. With beautiful prose, this exciting story draws you on the winding path of one of the very first witches in Greek myth.

This press release was prepared by the Almond Public Library in West Palm Beach. The views expressed are those of the author.

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