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Rachel’s Reads – January 2020

As you know, January marks not just the beginning of a new year, but also a new decade. Instead of starting the year off by looking forward, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the wonderful books of the decade. This decade marked the beginning of me keeping spreadsheets to track my reading, and I returned to them to pick out a few (it was ridiculously difficult to narrow this down to two a year) of my favorites.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

She Would be King by Wayétu Moore
Educated by Tara Westover

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

Thank you all for the fantastic responses to my December article. It was great to hear about your favorite books of the year. There was a large variety, including a couple that almost made my favorites list, and some that I am excited to pick up. The top five reader favorites of 2019 were (in no particular order) Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, and The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.

Happy Reading!


Rachel became the publisher of The Independent in March of 2017 and then married her husband Jake in May. Their goldendoodle Einstein joined the family in 2019. Rachel is an avid reader and loves to share book recommendations. (Don’t miss her column, Rachel’s Reads in the Magazine!) She can always be found with a book nearby, especially while traveling (another of her favorite things).

Bailey Pianalto Photography



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