4YE Year In Review: Top Reads In 2020

2020 has definitely been a great year for readers. Lockdowns, plenty of time on our hands and no where to go. Books have provided a wonderful escape from the confines of our four square walls and enabled us to travel… at least in our imaginations. While I didn’t quite get through as many books as I would have liked, here’s some of my top reads from 2020.

A Tale of Witchcraft – Chris Colfer

Anyone who has followed my posts here at 4YE knows that I’m a big fan of Chris Colfer and his work across all artforms. While he hasn’t been gracing us on screen much over the past little while, he has been prolific in churning out novels and A Tale of Witchcraft is the latest in his prequel series to his hit young adult novels The Land of Stories. Released at the end of September, A Tale of Witchcraft picks up where A Tale of Magic left off. As in his previous TLOS works, Colfer is able to weave together classic fairytale tropes with drama, comedy, adventure and suspense in Witchcraft, building on the premise from Magic and expanding the fairytale world. His characters are unique, deeply flawed, and a lot of fun. There’s always something about each of them that resonates with his readers. It was wonderful to escape into the fairytale world once again. However, the messages on mental health, acceptance of who you are, and the need for kindness has never been more needed. As always, Colfer has also left us with the fairytale world in a precarious situation. Luckily he’s hard at work on the third book in the series.

Act Like A Lady – Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin and Jac Vanek

Irreverent, hilarious and totally relatable, Act Like A Lady – the first book from the trio behind the LadyGang podcast – was just what was needed when it was released in the middle of the year. A series of short essays on everything from love, career, friendship, health, successes and failures, it provided a bit of light relief, laughter and a touch of normalcy and reality during some very dark days. The format also meant that if you only had a few minutes you could knock off an essay, or if you had a lazy afternoon you could complete a section (or the whole book). The book reads as a massive extended LadyGang quickie episode – the girls just chatting with you about their lives and experiences, you can almost hear them each retelling their stories, which is part of the charm of the book. A great gift for your girlfriends, your ride-or-dies who you share everything with. If you haven’t checked it out, there’s no better time.

 

My Dad Wrote A Porno – Jamie Morton, James Cooper, Alice Levine & Rocky Flintstone

Yes another book based on a podcast and yes this wasn’t released this year, but I did first read this at the start of the lockdown. This book is a must for any fan of the podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno. The book takes Rocky Flintstone’s seminal work, the first Belinda Blinked, and adds commentary from Morton, Cooper and Levine, which only adds to the enjoyment of Rocky’s work. Throw in the official rules for the Belinda Blinked 1 drinking game, some useful character profiles, the immensely helpful Belinda sex tree and other little treats and you are set for an evening of… well certainly laughter. Just like the podcast, the book leaves you wanting more, so definitely then head on back to the podcast or download Belinda Blinked 2. Better yet, contact Morton, Cooper and Levine and beg for another book from them.

 

Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Towards Adulthood – Andrew Rannells

Again this book was not published in 2020, but I only got around to reading it just as lockdown hit here in Australia. I have been a fan of Andrew Rannells since The Book of Mormon days and have followed his career since then, so I had been eager to read his memoir and it did not disappoint. Filled with anecdotes and witty, self deprecating quips that anyone who has seen Rannells interviewed will be familiar with, Too Much Is Not Enough is a great book for any fan of Rannells or Broadway. Rannells takes you with him on his journey from Nebraska to the bright lights of New York City, revisiting bad auditions, bad relationships and some bad highlights, the memoir is a snapshot of life as a struggling artist, finding himself in the late 90s-early 2000s. It’s an easy, engaging read and I hope that we get a second volume in the not too distant future.

Clare Sidoti
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