I’m so excited to drop my best 9 reads in 2020. Last year, my main focus was Asian Lit and I’m intending to keep it the same this year. I read a total of 75 books, ranging from Asian Lit to children books, general fiction to non-fiction. I rated most books 3-4.5 star, hardly any book got a 5 star out of me last year unless they got me tearing up or feel some sort of way, as in emotional or super relatable. But I’d say that books with 4 to 4.5 star are pretty solid for me in 2020. For my #2019bestnine, I arranged the list from the books I like to the books I LOVE the most, but this year, I think I’ll make it random, because I adore these titles all the same really. Without further ado, let’s dive right into the list.
1. Before The Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
This book is the sequel to Before The Coffee Gets Cold and the first book got into my list in 2019 best reads and of course the sequel got into my best reads list in 2020. The writing style is again amazing, the stories are moving and I appreciate that the author decided to make the stories more focused this time around, putting Kazu, the waitress, as the main character in this sequel. However, I still love the first book more than this sequel but if you want to know more about how the whole time travelling works in this story, you should totally pick up this one. HERE is my brief review of this book!
2. A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian
I think this book is written almost flawlessly. I enjoyed it so much. Despite being a plot driven reader, I found myself loving this character driven book a lot because it was done so so well. You get to see these 5 Indian girls who live in a slum in Bangalore, India and slowly their characters grow. Also, their friendship is so beautiful and the way they support one another is just pure bliss. I assure you that you don’t want to miss this one out. If you’re interested to know my further thoughts on this book, you may click right HERE.
3. A Man called Ove by Fredrick Backman
You can never go wrong with Backman’s books. A Man Called Ove was the first book I finished last year and I’m forever grateful for this book to start my reading journey so strong in 2020. I was emotional and totally blown away at how simple the story is yet it is heartwarming at the same time. I love this book. That’s all I gotta say. My brief review can be read over HERE.
4. Almond by Won-Pyung Sohn
I think I didn’t read much books written by Korean author last year, this is one of the few. I personally love it for the depth it brings. The author knows what she’s doing with the story and I love how she describes feelings and how a person with disability of a brain condition called Alexithymia goes through their days without the ability to feel emotions and later on discovering about emotions as the story progress. The vibe of the book is just so on point and you can click HERE for my brief review.
5. Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa
This is one of the loveliest read I had in 2020. It gave me a sense of calmness. I love the characters, they are all at different stage of life and needed some words of wisdom. I really adore Tokue, an old lady with Hansen disease, she is a spectacular, quiet character yet she is very memorable. One of the best Japanese lit I ever read and please do go through it slowly if you ever decided to pick it up because honestly, you do not want the story to end so soon. Click HERE for my review!
6. Second Sister by Chan Ho-Kei
Hands down to the best mystery book I’ve read, not that I read many of them but this book is INCREDIBLE. Translated from mandarin, I think the translator did well in capturing the essence of the story. This book discusses about the cruel truth of housing situation in Hong Kong and also Hong Kongers’s life routine, everything is described very detailed. I even buddy read this book with a fellow Hong Kong booktuber and I basically fact checked with her a lot and it was such a fun experience. It’s really amazing how the author is able to tie in all the clues and even surprises me with unexpected plot twists. Click HERE for my full review.
7. Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami
You get to read 2 books in one when you pick up this translated edition of Breasts and Eggs, the original works are written in two separate books. Some may find it a bit long winded but it’s perfect for me. I love Book 2 more though as the flow is so much better compared to Book 1. Discussing about women’s body parts and reproductivity, I’ve learnt a lot on how I feel about myself through this book. It is also a very emotional read when it comes to mother-daughter relationship, I think some mother daughter relationship including mine is never gonna be perfect but the bond we have is never gonna die, no matter what. You may click HERE for my review.
8. You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy
I read this in December and it’s been so long since I read a self-help book. Luckily, this has been an amazing read, easy to go through, the chapters are arranged from things that you can easily relate to the more complex aspects of listening, such as the theories and how the process of hearing happens. This book makes me reflect a lot of myself and on the people around me, am I listening correctly and am I responding appropriately? I’m so conscious these days, which is good I guess, the books has done the job well. HERE is my review if you’re interested to hear my further thoughts.
9. How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
Set in Singapore, during the Japanese occupation, this book has shocked me in so many ways. I was exposed to the topic of comfort women for the first time and the description is just unimaginable. Hence, I need to tell to you the trigger warning, which is rape scenes before you decided to read this one. Take all the time you need for this book but honestly it’s such an important read. Click HERE for my full review.
These are some of my favourites that I must mention even though they didn’t make it to my top 9. I had lots of fun time laughing and crying reading them.
1. Dear Girls by Ali Wong
As open letters for her daughters, Ali Wong has written this book so well. I was cackling one moment and then tearing up the next. This book is raw and it’s honest. Ali Wong is the most relatable, funniest and realistic person ever. She is not afraid to open up about her worst fears and be funny about it at the same time. Sometimes incidents in this book get gross too, but uhm it’s all for a good laugh. I gave this book 5/5 star, simply entertaining! Click HERE for my full review.
2. Milea: Suara Dari Dilan by Pidi Baiq
I started exploring Indonesian lit last year (or 2019 maybe) and the first book that got me started was Dilan 1990 because my friends were hyping up the movie a lot. I must say that this whole franchise is CRINGEY but this last book and the third book of the trilogy is WORTH TO THE IT! Periodt. I’m just so glad I read this third book because I need to hear from Dilan’s perspective on what the hell is going on in his and Milea’s relationship and I got it. Hearing from him is so satisfying, he’s that perfect guy that doesn’t exist in real life BUT ONLY IN THIS SERIES written by Pidi Baiq. I love his writing style a lot which makes reading all the 3 books so much more bearable. Hence, if you love some cringey ass shit, read this series. But I don’t guarantee 100% satisfaction. And HERE is my review.
So, with that, I’d like to wrap up my best reads in 2020 post and I’ll see you in my upcoming reviews. Thank you for reading!