2020 Sucked, but These Books Didn’t

Today’s the day. No, the year isn’t quite over just yet. But today’s the day I reveal the best books I read this year. Obviously, I’d like you to take a look at the video to hear what I have to say, but because we’re talking about the year’s best I’m also writing about them here.

Every one of these books was a five star read for me. In order read:

The Forgotten Man – Robert Crais
PS I Still Love You – Jenny Han
Chasing Darkness – Robert Crais
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
Flash Boys – Michael Lewis
Suspect – Robert Crais
The Sentry – Robert Crais
Taken – Robert Crais
The Last Olympian – Rick Riordan
Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

As you can see, Robert Crais wrote HALF of my five star reads for the entire year. Insanity. If you can believe it, there were other books of his I didn’t rate as highly. But he really set the bar this year. He’s been one of my favorite authors for some time, but he dominated my reading this year. I read him nine times. He’s cemented himself as the best crime novelist writing today and I have too many reasons to hit on right now.

It would be pointless to write this and not mention the top of the top. The best book I read this year was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I previously wrote a review on here for it, so no point in reviewing it again.

Most surprising, the number two book of the year was Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. I went in with limited expectations and page after page, chapter after chapter was impressed. I’m limited in my exposure to memoirs, but this an excellent read and I imagine on par with any other.

Lastly, I feel obligated to mention Rick Riordan. I read four of the five Percy Jackson books this year. He seemingly improved with every single one, with his best coming with the final in the series. It was full of heart-wrenching, heart-stopping moments that made me happy to have taken a chance on the books. A phenomenal finale to a rather enjoyable series.

What were some of your top reads this year?

2020 Reading Goal #34 – Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

Y’all, I’m getting so close to my goal of 50! This is already my second best year overall. I’ve decided that I’m going to include every review I write for the last few books of the year on here. This is the first.


The stock market is rigged against the average investor by every other party taking part in the market. That’s what Michael Lewis explains so thoughtfully in this book.

This was the second book I’ve read by Michael Lewis. This was the second time he’s left me thoroughly impressed.

Fair warning, the subject matter of the book is not just the stock market, the focus is on high frequency trading and dark pools and the fractured nature of exchanges. All of it is highly complex and not easily understood even by the financial professionals who work within the system. This isn’t my takeaway, it’s shown throughout the book. But he manages to make these extremely complex practices understandable. Sure, I won’t be giving a Ted Talk on high frequency trading, but upon completion I understand the story he was trying to tell.

What nonfiction often struggles with is leading up to something, a climax or grand event that acts as the high point of the story. Somehow he writes this exactly like a fiction novel. Toward the end of the book Brad Katsuyama (with plenty of help from his small, but highly talented group) launched IEX, their new stock exchange meant to level the playing field and protect investors from the predatory trading practices found elsewhere. Reading the description of what happened that first month is as good as any writing I’ve ever read. As a reader it gave me goosebumps to read about this band of people joining together to take on the entirety of Wall Street. A small minority that needs just a little help from the silent majority to quite literally change the world.

5 stars. No doubt.