Readers' Favorite

November 30, 2020

Best Reads of November 2020

Can you believe there is only one month of 2020 left? I know many of us are ready to say goodbye to the year. Unfortunately, I think the start of 2021 will look much the same. Thankfully, there have been some really great books this year to keep us entertained (and we are already getting peeks at 2021 new releases and there are definitely some blockbusters on the way). If you are needing some help picking out your next read, here are our favorites of the past month.
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Donna's Favorite

My favorite book read in November is Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. It's a Japanese novel that has recently been translated into English. It came out the week before Thanksgiving and I'm afraid it'll be overlooked in all the holiday rush. I've only recently been actively seeking out translated fiction and this is my first Japanese novel. It was so good. On the surface, it seems like a simple story, but there is such depth to the story that it is truly a profound read. It would be a great book club read. Read my full review.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before the Coffee Gets Cold
In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else besides coffee—the chance to travel back in time.

Over the course of one summer, four customers visit the café in the hopes of making that journey. But time travel isn’t so simple, and there are rules that must be followed. Most important, the trip can last only as long as it takes for the coffee to get cold.

Heartwarming, wistful, mysterious and delightfully quirky, Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s internationally bestselling novel explores the age-old question: What would you change if you could travel back in time? (Goodreads)

Susan's Favorite

I fell in love with the main character of Waltz in Swing Time by Jill Caugherty on page 1. She reminded me a bit of my mom and a bit of many of the older women that I've known in my life.  Her story is beautifully told during current time when she is 90 years old and living in assisted living along with flashbacks of events that happened when she was growing up during the Depression. It was a beautiful look at a life well lived.

Waltz in Swing Time

Waltz in Swing Time
Growing up in a strict Utah farm family during the Great Depression, Irene Larsen copes with her family’s hardship by playing piano. Even after an unthinkable tragedy strikes, Irene clings to her dream of becoming a musician. When a neighbor's farm is foreclosed, Irene's brother marries the neighbor's daughter, who moves in with the Larsens and coaches Irene into winning leading roles in musicals. Clashing with her mother, who dismisses her ambition as a waste of time and urges her to become a farmer's wife, Irene leaves home.

During a summer gig at Zion National Park, where Irene sings in a variety show for Depression-weary tourists, she meets professional dancer Spike, a maverick who might be her ticket to a musical career. But ultimately she must decide whether pursuing her dream justifies its steep price: losing her home and family.

Alternating between Irene’s ninetieth year in 2006 at an assisted living home and her coming-of-age in the thirties, Waltz in Swing Time is a poignant tale of mother-daughter relationships, finding hope amidst loss, and forging an independent path, against all odds. (Goodreads)

Buy Waltz in Swing Time at Amazon

MK's Favorite

My favorite for the month is either Goblin King by Kara Barbieri (read my review) or These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (read my review). Both involve a war of sorts with magic run amok, as well as taut emotional descriptions.

Goblin King

Goblin King
The Hunt is over but the War has just begun.

Against all odds, Janneke has survived the Hunt for the Stag--but all good things come with a cost. Lydian might be dead, but he took the Stag with him. Janneke now holds the mantle, while Soren, now her equal in every way, has become the new Erlking. Janneke's powers as the new Stag has brought along haunting visions of a world thrown into chaos and the ghost of Lydian taunts her with the riddles he spoke of when he was alive.

When Janneke discovers the truth of Lydian and his madness, she's forced to see her tormentor in a different light for the first time. The world they know is dying and Lydian may have been the only person with the key to saving it. (Goodreads)

Buy Goblin King at Amazon

These Violent Delights

These Violent Delights
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule. (Goodreads)

Buy These Violent Delights at Amazon

What was your favorite book you read this month?

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  1. I ended up with not one but two copies of Before the Coffee Gets Cold for my birthday, so I'm very happy to hear such good reports about it.