5 books we loved during the pandemic

If there was a silver lining in this Year of the Pandemic, it was that millions of us rediscovered reading. It was a welcome escape from the often depressing news outside and a something to talk about with family and friends on Zoom.

Here are a few of our books from 2020:


The Glass Hotel. Emily St. John Mandel’s last best seller, Station Eleven, was about a flu-like global pandemic – a little too close to home to read this year. In her latest page-turner, Mandel spins a captivating tale about a massive Ponzi scheme in New York.



Clean: The New Science of Skin. Earlier this year, author James Hamblin wrote a timely essay titled “You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus” just as COVID-19 was revving up. In his new book, Hamblin chronicles the answer to a somewhat gross but attention-grabbing question: “what would happen if we stopped showering?”


Clean, The New Science of Skin, James Hamblin


New Waves. Kevin Nguyen created waves with his debut novel about two friends at a tech company who decide to steal its user database but the heist doesn’t go as planned with one of them unexpectedly dies.



Rodham. What would have happened if Hillary had never married Bill? In this what if novel, Curtis Sittenfeld takes the reader on an imaginative look at an alternate history of the woman who might have become President.



You Never Forget Your First. Most biographies of America’s founding fathers are written by men but Alexis Coe offers a refreshingly different look at the life of George Washington and the women in his life.



What were the best books you read in 2020? Please share your reviews – good and bad with the Shop Talk blog community forum.


Did you know: Pandemic reading was tough for some


While many used reading as an escape, lots of us were too anxious to concentrate.

27 thoughts on “5 books we loved during the pandemic

  1. A couple good books to read are The Prophecy Bible, New King James Version, by Pastor John Haggee and Oswald Chambers devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest.
    Excellent readings.

  2. Hi,
    I’ve had the problem with being unable to focus-and then I came down with COVID. It made it worse–until I became part of a book study group. Knowing we were going to Zoom and discuss it gave me enough responsibility that I was able to override my lack of focus, and I have been reading ever since.
    My life has been better since I learned to read. Losing it was more than I was going to give the pandemic.

  3. The best book I’ve read is
    By Amor Towles

    A Russian Duke after the Russian revolution in the early 1900s who was committed to living out his life in the hotel where he lived. If he would leave the hotel he would be shot. The story is about his delightful experiences after his commitment. This is the most enjoyable book I’ve ever read.

  4. I did not read it in 2020 but it was an excellent novel nonetheless. It is entitled “What Goes Around” by Parry Satin Brown. Short and very descriptive chapters that totally kept my attention and caused me to want to turn the page and continue reading. It was so good and easy to read that I could read it a second time just for fun.

  5. I have been reading the All Creatures Great and Small series, Mary Higgins Clark I ‘ll Walk Alone, V,C Andrews Heaven, Debbie Macomber Country Bride, Maeve Binchy Tara Road Heart and Tami Hoag Heart Of Dixie. All very good anyone interested I am selling them for for 5.00 and all are in good used condition let me know if your interested.

  6. Deep River, by Karl Marlantes
    A great story of the Finns coming to the Pacific NW in the early 1900s – how the timber industry evolved in cutting a lot of the old growth trees and the fights that were held about the IWW. It’s an engrossing story of several Finnish families and how they survived from 1901- 1914 down near the Columbia River.

  7. One book you might want to add to your reading list is a book titled “Leaving Toyland.” This book is gay themed about a coming of age story of a boy named Danny. Some of it will shock you, some of it will make you cry, but it is a story worth telling. Reading through out the years have shock us, “The Scarlet Letter,” “Lady Chaterly’s Lover”, Then “91/2 Weeks,” and finally “50 Shades of Grey.” Well,now there is a book that could be called “50 Shades of Gay.” This book is available through Amazon Books, ordered at BARNES and NOBLE as well as KINDLE. This is Danny’s story, and, in part mine as well. I hope you will give it a read.

  8. I’ve had trouble reading and concentrating. I’m not usually anxious. I didn’t think it was the Pandemic. I just thought I’ve been restless. Nice to know I’m not the only one

  9. I’ve read 32 books so far this year, 39 last year, an avid reader. Don’t watch TV, nothing but junk and garbage on it. Prefer to read, listen to music IF I can find something soothing and not rap crap full of
    foul language and screaming for singing…..Do have all types of music forms tho, records (3 sizes), tapes and discs. Buy most of my books but also use local library. Reading, crafts, quilting, corresponding have kept me busy during the pandemic, along with the usual household chores.

  10. I did read alot and is still reading, why would anyone put it down during this time especially.

  11. Truthfully, this year is about escapism in fiction for me. I have surrendered to Kindle Unlimited and by doing so I have read some of the most badly written fiction I have ever indulged. Thank goodness I’m not paying much for it but I think that soon I will discontinue my kindle unlimited subscription because it isn’t worth $10 monthly. LOL Meanwhile, let me surrender to my Motorcycle novels where men are throwbacks to neanderthals which is only mitigated by their love for their mates = fantasy fiction. HAHAHAHA

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