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Top Checkouts of 2020

As we celebrate the end of 2020 and the beginning of the new year, let’s take a look back at the year’s most popular books!

December 29, 2020

As we celebrate the end of 2020 and the beginning of the new year, let’s take a look back at the year’s most popular books!

In order to make this list, we combined checkout numbers from the library catalog, as well as downloadable services like OverDrive and hoopla. Because the library building was closed for several months this year, there were fewer checkouts for things like paper books and CD audiobooks—but a huge uptick in downloadable ebooks and audiobooks. We’re proud that the library was still able to provide access to books and other services, even while our doors were closed.

This list includes four categories:

  • Top Fiction
  • Top Fiction Released in 2020
  • Top Biography
  • Top Non-Fiction

Fiction is, as always, the most popular category. We’ve also included a 2020 category, since so many of this year’s top fiction books were actually published in 2019 or earlier—it looks like everyone is taking the time to catch up on older bestsellers!

 

Top Fiction

Where The Crawdads Sing

Where The Crawdads Sing

Delia Owens

Fans of Barbara Kingsolver will love this stunning debut novel about an unforgettable young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until the unthinkable happens.

Camino Winds

Camino Winds

John Grisham

The best-selling author presents a follow-up to Camino Island that finds novelist Mercer Mann’s continued efforts to find literary inspiration in the idyllic region complicated by mysterious intrigues.

Just as Bruce Cable’s Bay Books is preparing for the return of bestselling author Mercer Mann, Hurricane Leo veers from its predicted course and heads straight for the island. Florida’s governor orders a mandatory evacuation, and most residents board up their houses and flee to the mainland, but Bruce decides to stay and ride out the storm.

The hurricane is devastating: homes and condos are leveled, hotels and storefronts ruined, streets flooded, and a dozen people lose their lives. One of the apparent victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce’s and an author of thrillers. But the nature of Nelson’s injuries suggests that the storm wasn’t the cause of his death: He has suffered several suspicious blows to the head.

28 Summers

28 Summers

Elin Hilderbrand

28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election. There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere—through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise—until Mallory learns she’s dying.

The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient

Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband―and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

The Dutch House

The Dutch House

Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett returns with her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

The Giver Of Stars

The Giver Of Stars

Jojo Moyes

Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky.

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere

Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

Walk The Wire

Walk The Wire

David Baldacci

When Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are called to London, North Dakota, they instantly sense that the thriving fracking town is ripe for trouble. The promise of a second gold rush has attracted an onslaught of newcomers all hoping for a windfall, and the community is growing faster than houses can be built. The sudden boom has also brought a slew of problems with it, including drugs, property crimes, prostitution—and now murder.

Decker and Jamison are ordered to investigate the death of a young woman named Irene Cramer, whose body was expertly autopsied and then dumped in the open—which is only the beginning of the oddities surrounding the case. As Decker and Jamison dig into Irene’s life, they are shocked to discover that the woman who walked the streets by night as a prostitute was a teacher for a local religious sect by day—a sect operating on land once owned by a mysterious government facility that looms over the entire community.

Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

Lisa Wingate

Memphis, Tennessee, 1936. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. Loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, she has a promising career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore and is engaged to her best friend. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery’s decision to learn more about the woman’s life will take her on a journey through her family’s long-hidden history.

Summer Of '69

Summer Of ’69

Elin Hilderbrand

Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a summer when everything changed.

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret.

 

Top Fiction Published in 2020

Camino Winds

Camino Winds

John Grisham

The best-selling author presents a follow-up to Camino Island that finds novelist Mercer Mann’s continued efforts to find literary inspiration in the idyllic region complicated by mysterious intrigues.

Just as Bruce Cable’s Bay Books is preparing for the return of bestselling author Mercer Mann, Hurricane Leo veers from its predicted course and heads straight for the island. Florida’s governor orders a mandatory evacuation, and most residents board up their houses and flee to the mainland, but Bruce decides to stay and ride out the storm.

The hurricane is devastating: homes and condos are leveled, hotels and storefronts ruined, streets flooded, and a dozen people lose their lives. One of the apparent victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce’s and an author of thrillers. But the nature of Nelson’s injuries suggests that the storm wasn’t the cause of his death: He has suffered several suspicious blows to the head.

28 Summers

28 Summers

Elin Hilderbrand

28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.

When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election. There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?

Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere—through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise—until Mallory learns she’s dying.

Walk The Wire

Walk The Wire

David Baldacci

When Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are called to London, North Dakota, they instantly sense that the thriving fracking town is ripe for trouble. The promise of a second gold rush has attracted an onslaught of newcomers all hoping for a windfall, and the community is growing faster than houses can be built. The sudden boom has also brought a slew of problems with it, including drugs, property crimes, prostitution—and now murder.

Decker and Jamison are ordered to investigate the death of a young woman named Irene Cramer, whose body was expertly autopsied and then dumped in the open—which is only the beginning of the oddities surrounding the case. As Decker and Jamison dig into Irene’s life, they are shocked to discover that the woman who walked the streets by night as a prostitute was a teacher for a local religious sect by day—a sect operating on land once owned by a mysterious government facility that looms over the entire community.

The 20th Victim

The 20th Victim

James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Three victims, three bullets, three cities. The shooters’ aim is as fearsomely precise as their target selection. When Lindsay realizes that the fallen men and women excel in a lucrative, criminal activity, she leads the charge in the manhunt for the killers. As the casualty list expands, fear and fascination with this suspicious shooting gallery galvanizes the country.

American Dirt

American Dirt

Jeanine Cummins

Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. And then one day a man enters her book shop. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city.

When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

The Summer House

The Summer House

James Patterson

When seven murder victims are found in a small town, the homicide investigation shakes a small-town sheriff to her core.

Once a luxurious southern getaway on a rustic lake, then reduced to a dilapidated crash pad, the Summer House is now the grisly scene of a nighttime mass murder. Eyewitnesses point to four Army Rangers recently returned from Afghanistan. To ensure that justice is done, the Army sends Major Jeremiah Cook, a veteran and former NYPD cop, to investigate. But the major and his elite team arrive in sweltering Georgia with no idea their grim jobs will be made exponentially more challenging by local law enforcement, who resists the Army’s intrusion and stonewall them at every turn.

Fair Warning

Fair Warning

Michael Connelly

Veteran reporter Jack McEvoy has taken down killers before, but when a woman he had a one-night stand with is murdered in a particularly brutal way, McEvoy realizes he might be facing a criminal mind unlike any he’s ever encountered. McEvoy investigates—against the warnings of the police and his own editor—and makes a shocking discovery that connects the crime to other mysterious deaths across the country. But his inquiry hits a snag when he himself becomes a suspect.

As he races to clear his name, McEvoy’s findings point to a serial killer working under the radar of law enforcement for years, and using personal data shared by the victims themselves to select and hunt his targets.

The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half

Brit Bennett

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

The Boy From The Woods

The Boy From The Woods

Harlan Coben

The man known as Wilde is a mystery to everyone, including himself. Decades ago, he was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. After the police concluded an exhaustive hunt for the child’s family, which was never found, he was turned over to the foster system. Now, thirty years later, Wilde still doesn’t know where he comes from, and he’s back living in the woods on the outskirts of town, content to be an outcast, comfortable only outdoors, preferably alone, and with few deep connections to other people.

When a local girl goes missing, famous TV lawyer Hester Crimstein—with whom Wilde shares a tragic connection—asks him to use his unique skills to help find her. Wilde must return to the community where he has never fit in, and where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions… secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

Blindside

Blindside

James Patterson and James O. Born

The mayor of New York has a daughter who’s missing and in danger. Detective Michael Bennett has a son who’s in prison. The two strike a deal.

Bennett and the mayor have always had a tense relationship, but now the mayor sees in Bennett a discreet investigator with family worries of his own. Just one father helping another. The detective leaps into the case and sources lead him to a homicide in the Bronx. The victim has ties to a sophisticated hacking operation—and also to the mayor’s missing daughter, Natalie, a twenty-one-year-old computer prodigy. The murder is part of a serial killing spree, one with national security implications. And suddenly Bennett is at the center of a dangerous triangle anchored by NYPD, FBI, and a transnational criminal organization. Michael Bennett has always been an honorable man, but sometimes—when the lives of innocents are at stake—honor has to take a back seat. Survival comes first.

 

Top Biography

Educated

Educated

Tara Westover

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard. Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism.

When her brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Too Much And Never Enough

Too Much And Never Enough
How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man

Mary L. Trump

In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric.

Mary Trump spent much of her childhood in her grandparents’ large, imposing house in the heart of Queens, New York, where Donald and his four siblings grew up. She describes a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse. She explains how specific events and general family patterns created the damaged man who currently occupies the Oval Office, including the strange and harmful relationship between Fred Trump and his two oldest sons, Fred Jr. and Donald.

Untamed

Untamed

Glennon Doyle

There is a voice of longing inside every woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good mothers, daughters, partners, employees, citizens, and friends. We believe all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives, relationships, and world, and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful. We hide our simmering discontent—even from ourselves. Until we reach our boiling point.

Four years ago, Glennon Doyle was speaking at a conference when a woman entered the room. Glennon looked at her and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. Soon she realized that they came to her from within. Glennon was finally hearing her own voice—the voice that had been silenced by decades of cultural conditioning, numbing addictions, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl Glennon had been before the world told her who to be. She vowed to never again abandon herself. She decided to build a life of her own—one based on her individual desire, intuition, and imagination. She would reclaim her true, untamed self.

The Answer Is...

The Answer Is…
Reflections on My Life

Alex Trebek

Since debuting as the host of Jeopardy! in 1984, Alex Trebek has been something like a family member to millions of television viewers, bringing entertainment and education into their homes five nights a week. Last year, he made the stunning announcement that he had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. What followed was an incredible outpouring of love and kindness. Social media was flooded with messages of support, and the Jeopardy! studio received boxes of cards and letters offering guidance, encouragement, and prayers.

For over three decades, Trebek had resisted countless appeals to write a book about his life. Yet he was moved so much by all the goodwill, he felt compelled to finally share his story. The book combines illuminating personal anecdotes with Trebek’s thoughts on a range of topics, including marriage, parenthood, education, success, spirituality, and philanthropy. Trebek also addresses the questions he gets asked most often by Jeopardy! fans, such as what prompted him to shave his signature mustache, his insights on legendary players like Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer, and his opinion of Will Ferrell’s Saturday Night Live impersonation.

Finding Chika

Finding Chika
A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family

Mitch Albom

Bestselling author Mitch Albom returns to nonfiction for the first time in more than a decade in this poignant memoir that celebrates Chika, a young Haitian orphan whose short life would forever change his heart.

Chika Jeune was born three days before the devastating earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010. She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty, and when her mother died giving birth to a baby brother, Chika was brought to The Have Faith Haiti Orphanage that Albom operates in Port Au Prince. Chika’s arrival makes a quick impression. Brave and self-assured, even as a three-year-old, she delights the other kids and teachers. But at age five, Chika is suddenly diagnosed with something a doctor there says, “No one in Haiti can help you with.” Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care can soon return her to her homeland. Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their household, and their lives, as they embark on a two-year, around-the-world journey to find a cure. As Chika’s boundless optimism and humor teach Mitch the joys of caring for a child, he learns that a relationship built on love, no matter what blows it takes, can never be lost.

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone
A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.

One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose of­fice she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.

As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives—a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys—she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.

Born A Crime

Born A Crime
Stories from a South African Childhood

Trevor Noah

One of the comedy world’s fastest-rising stars tells his wild coming of age story during the twilight of Apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The House Of Kennedy

The House Of Kennedy

James Patterson and Cynthia Fagen

The Kennedys have always been a family of charismatic adventurers, raised to take risks and excel, living by the dual family mottos: “To whom much is given, much is expected” and “Win at all costs.” And they do—but at a price. Across decades and generations, the Kennedys have occupied a unique place in the American imagination: charmed, cursed, at once familiar and unknowable. The House of Kennedy is a revealing, fascinating account of America’s most storied family, as told by America’s most trusted storyteller.

Wild

Wild
From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Cheryl Strayed

A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Me

Me

Elton John

In his first and only official autobiography, music icon Elton John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life. In a voice that is warm, humble, and open, this is Elton on his music and his relationships, his passions and his mistakes. This is a story that will stay with you by a living legend.

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in a London suburb and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three he was performing his first gig in America, facing an astonished audience in his bright yellow dungarees, a star-spangled T-shirt, and boots with wings. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from early rejection of his work to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. All the while Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade. In Me, Elton also writes powerfully about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father.

 

Top Non-Fiction

The Splendid And The Vile

The Splendid And The Vile
A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Erik Larson

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisers who comprised Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” including his lovestruck private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Frederick Lindemann.

How To Be An Antiracist

How To Be An Antiracist

Ibram X. Kendi

“The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it.”

Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America—but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. In this book, Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism. How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

Just Mercy

Just Mercy
A Story of Justice and Redemption

Bryan Stevenson

The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.

Three Women

Three Women

Lisa Taddeo

Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting.

Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written and one of the most anticipated books of the year.

Based on years of immersive reporting, and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity, and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power. It is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy, that introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.

Me And White Supremacy

Me And White Supremacy
Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor

Layla F. Saad

When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #meandwhitesupremacy, she never predicted it would become a cultural movement. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviors, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it… Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and over 80,000 people downloaded the supporting work Me and White Supremacy. Updated and expanded from the original edition, Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.

Caste

Caste
The Origins of Our Discontents

Isabel Wilkerson

In Caste, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate.

Using riveting stories about people she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.

The Blue Zones Kitchen

The Blue Zones Kitchen
100 Recipes to Live to 100

Dan Buettner

Building on decades of research, longevity expert Dan Buettner has gathered 100 recipes inspired by the Blue Zones, home to the healthiest and happiest communities in the world. Each dish uses ingredients and cooking methods proven to increase longevity, wellness, and mental health. Complemented by mouthwatering photography, the recipes also include lifestyle tips (including the best times to eat dinner and proper portion sizes), all gleaned from countries as far away as Japan and as near as Blue Zones project cities in Texas.

Innovative, easy to follow, and delicious, these healthy living recipes make the Blue Zones lifestyle even more attainable, thereby improving your health, extending your life, and filling your kitchen with happiness.

Girl, Wash Your Face

Girl, Wash Your Face
Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

Rachel Hollis

Drawing from her life experiences as a lifestyle guru, the author presents a guide to becoming a joyous, confident woman by breaking the cycle of negativity and burnout and pursuing a life of exuberance. With unflinching faith—and rock-hard tenacity—Hollis shows readers how to give yourself grace without giving up.

Between The World And Me

Between The World And Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates presents a history of racial discrimination in the United States and a narrative of his own personal experiences of contemporary race relations, offering possible resolutions for the future.

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, the author offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?