My Top 10 Books for 2020. Please buy them in stores!

When I published my Books, Books & More Books List in 2019, I had no idea that the devastation of 2020 was around the corner.  In late 2019, small independent book stores were likely hurting due to online competition. Looking back, I shared a list of 10 great books all linked back to Amazon…..not because of Amazon affiliates, because I thought I was making it a short, sweet and simple list for people to get some shopping done online. Ugh.  I intend to go back to this old list and change the links to the author’s websites or Instagram pages.  

Here in 2020, with a lot of time to think and reflect, I have decided to reach out to some bookstores in the area and ask them which of these titles they have (or will stock) this year so when I share this list in my monthly newsletter, it will direct readers to their stores in hopes of helping them stay afloat this season.  Yes, it’s so easy to “add to cart” and even easier to download the title to read on a tablet. I know.  But when you’re gifting a book, you have to wrap it and give it to the person, sometimes including a note inside the cover.  I think back to the many times I’ve given books as gifts and included a handwritten message to the recipient.  In fact, just last week I remembered gifting Rudy Giuliani’s Leadership book to an old friend….and wondered if that book is still out there today with my handwritten note inside. I’d love to see what I wrote then; It was in 2002, when we all loved him for his dedication to NYC  and how he handled life in NY after 9/11.  

Here are my 2020 book suggestions. ALL books are linked….but not to Amazon this year.  The stores I have been in contact with are as follows:  Scattered Books in Chappaqua, Barnes and Noble Yonkers and Eastchester, Bronx River Books in Scarsdale, Womrath Books in Bronxville, and Anderson’s in Larchmont.   I can’t guarantee all stores will carry all titles but they’ve agreed to check their stock and place them out for shoppers starting this week.    

 

PARENTING BOOKS

I stopped reading parenting books when my kids were infants.  I started again when the first was close to becoming a teen.  We think we don’t have to keep learning about our kids stages but when the crisis years come back, we go back looking for help from books!   Here are a few good ones. 

  • The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans by Josh Shipp.  Shipp shows us how to be that sort of caring adult in a teenager’s life. Stressing the need for mutual respect, trust, and encouragement, he identifies three key mindsets crucial to understanding teens. He breaks down the distinct phases of teenage life, examining the challenges at each phase, and offers revelatory stories that take us deep inside the teen brain.

 

 

  • Middle School Matters by Phyllis Fagell is a must-read for anyone with a child going to Middle School.  It explains ALL that goes on during this wacky time period or the crisis years as many call it.  It actually helps you feel better when you see in print that this is all normal middle school behavior.

Middle School Matters

FICTION

  • Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss and Redemption by Daniel Jones.    Modern Love is a weekly column, a book, a podcast — and now, in its 16th year, a television show — about relationships, feelings, betrayals and revelations. I have followed the Modern Love column in the New York Times over the years (it started in 2004!) and I’ve watched the series produced on/by Amazon and this format works for me! I like the once a week story, the 30-minute TV episodes and I’m enjoying the short story format of the book. They are fictionalized versions of true stories, so perfect for those that don’t want to commit to a novel, but want to read a little each day.  A great gift!  Until writing this article, I had no idea there was a podcast!  Going to add that to my podcast list tonight!

 

  • Perfectly Famous by Emily Liebert.  Really anything by Emily Liebert is highly recommended. This is likely her 6th to 7th novel and I’ve genuinely read and enjoyed them all.  In fact, each summer she comes out with the beach read of the year.  She never disappoints.  Check out http://www.emilyliebert.com/

 

  • Barbarians at the PTA by Stephanie Newman.   I’ve written about Stephanie a few times recently because this book is so timely and so relatable.  If you’re a mom of school-aged kids, you will see why.  Stephanie is a local Westchester mom, psychologist and a wealth of information besides; follow her on Twitter to see what she’s sharing on pandemic life, pandemic parenting and to hear some of the podcast interviews she’s been doing in 2020.

Barbarians at the PTA

There are a LOT of RBG Books in stores right now.  I just bought this one for my kids who are learning as history is happening. Couldn’t pass this one up. It covers the basics and it’s beautifully done. There’s never a better time to teach kids about important people than when they are trending on social media. Mommy Poppins published a great list recently in case you’re looking:

https://mommypoppins.com/kids/21-ruth-bader-ginsburg-childrens-books-inspirational-women

The Story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

HUMOR

  • Anything that’s been written by Jen MannShe is hilarious, honest and smart.  She says what we are all thinking.  She’s best known for the books about the people she wants to punch in the throat.  Her websites and YouTube channel link are listed below.  Her podcast “Two Midlife Mommas” is for women over 40.

http://www.jenmannwrites.com/

http://www.peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkCqC3dkb0_8bkB-mr1YZ5g?fbclid=IwAR1LfMDgDd1lGacozvRTdMbEmmLNU9k-f91yL8Tr_c5_UAALEuGlhbBgSCU

 

My husband and I have followed Colin Quinn’s work since 2007, when he first created Long Story Short.  There have been a series of historical/political/satirical works since then but his most recent is perfectly timed….published in 2020 in the Divided States of America.  Anyone who likes humor, history and politics will like anything from Long Story Short, to Unconstitutional to Overstated.  He has a great book called The Coloring Book….and you can find many recordings of his work on YouTube, of course.  Just type his name in!

 

  • Fuck This Shit Planner 2021.   Because everyone needs a planner for the new year.  This makes a great gag gift, White Elephant or Grab Bag gift.  I won’t link to Amazon as promised….but there are a ton.  Just google “Fuck this Shit Planner” and see what comes up.  I already have mine.  
  • One Line a Day Journal.  Last but not least, for those who aren’t “readers”who might be nostalgic and prefer to keep diaries. One Line A Day is a way to keep a journal for 5 years, in one book by adding in one line per day.  Just something different.  Instead of linking to them all (and there are a LOT of them with different designs) I will link to a cute BuzzFeed article about these planners.  https://www.buzzfeed.com/gyanyankovich/one-line-a-day

 

Erin
CO-FOUNDER OF EMMA WESTCHESTER
I'm a fourth-generation native of Westchester County where I attended college locally, spent ten years as a teacher and is now a "stay-at-home" mom raising my daughter and son in the same town that I grew up in. I enjoy reading, shopping and being the "go-to-girl" for my family and friends.
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