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A new novel inspired by historical events a story of three young women on a journey in search of family amidst the destruction of the post Civil War South, and of a modern day teacher who rediscovers their story and its connection to her own students livesLisa Wingate brings to life stories from actual Lost Friends advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold offLouisiana,In the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now destitute plantation Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free born Creole half sister and Hannie, Lavinia s former slave Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following dangerous roads rife with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and eight siblings before slavery s end, the pilgrimage westward reignites an agonizing question Could her long lost family still be out there Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hopeLouisiana,For first year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt until she lands in a tiny, out of step Mississippi River town Augustine, Louisiana, seems suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty stricken students But amid the gnarled oaks and run down plantation homes lies the century old history of three young women, a long ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything


10 thoughts on “The Book of Lost Friends

  1. Dorie - Cats&Books :) Dorie - Cats&Books :) says:

    NOW AVAILABLE This is a wonderful story based on true facts and records I felt the beginning was a bit slow but this book is very much worth sticking to it It can t and shouldn t be rushed There is a lot of humanity and history here Each chapter is begun with an ad from the original Lost Friends newspaper columns This story takes place in post civil war Louisiana and Texas, although the ads in the Lost Friends column will take us back years earlier It s Louisiana in 1875 and we fi NOW AVAILABLE This is a wonderful story based on true facts and records I felt the beginning was a bit slow but this book is very much worth sticking to it It can t and shouldn t be rushed There is a lot of humanity and history here Each chapter is begun with an ad from the original Lost Friends newspaper columns This story takes place in post civil war Louisiana and Texas, although the ads in the Lost Friends column will take us back years earlier It s Louisiana in 1875 and we first meet Hanie Gossett standing behind a stockade log fence where slaves are being held during an auction to sell some of them She s a young girl and watches as her family is taken from her one by one Her mama told her never to forget her family, she had made fifteen tiny poke sacks, hung with jute strings they stole out of the wagon Inside each bag went three blue glass beads off the string that Grandmama always kept special Circumstances all come together after the emancipation so that Hannie is able to escape Hannie is going to search for her family and the other sacks with beads She is not alone, she has with her Lavinia Gossett, daughter of the owners and a creole girl, the illegitimate daughter named Juneau Jane These characters come together under really unusual and incredible circumstances that I will leave you to discover.They stumble across an old church which is papered inside with newspaper columns At first they think this is just a covering for the walls until they read the ads and understand that this is a history of many slaves lives While searching for her family Hannie also looks out for those she has found are missing and Juneau Jane addsnames and ads to a book that she has created The other timeline is that of a young, inexperienced teacher, Benny, who is starting a new job as a teacher in an impoverished area of Louisiana where the school s curriculum has little to do with her students real life They are often absent because there are no parents to make sure they attend school and sometimes they are needed at home to watch younger siblings Benny is smart enough to quickly discern that she has to find a different way to get through to these kids She talks about The Lost Friends newspaper columns Once she introduces them to the book and what it is all about they decide on a project to research and reenact one of their ancestors in a program to try to raise money for the school.Miss Wingate has again written a captivating and intelligent historical fiction novel which teaches while it takes hold of the reader s heart I learned so much about the South post civil war and it made that history come alive for me with these characters.I think that these characters were believable and I found both storylines to be interesting. In the author s notes she states that the idea for the book came to me in the most modern of ways via e mail The note came from a volunteer with the Historic New Orleans Collection , she d been entering database information gleaned from advertisements well over a century old The goal of the project was to preserve the history of the Lost Friends column From this e mail and the author s imagination this novel was born.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.This book is set to publish on April 7, 2020


  2. Debra Debra says:

    Colored Tennessean Nashville , Oct 14, 1865information wanted of Caroline Dodson, who was sold from Nashville Nov 1st 1862 by James Lumsden to Warwick, a trader then in human beings , who carried her to Atlanta, Georgia, and she was last heard of in the sale pen of Robert Clarke, human trader in that place , from which she was sold Any information of her whereabouts will be thankfully received and rewarded by her mother,Lucinda Lowery,Box 1121, Nashville, Tenn Real Ad posted by a family Colored Tennessean Nashville , Oct 14, 1865information wanted of Caroline Dodson, who was sold from Nashville Nov 1st 1862 by James Lumsden to Warwick, a trader then in human beings , who carried her to Atlanta, Georgia, and she was last heard of in the sale pen of Robert Clarke, human trader in that place , from which she was sold Any information of her whereabouts will be thankfully received and rewarded by her mother,Lucinda Lowery,Box 1121, Nashville, Tenn Real Ad posted by a family member looking to reunite with a loved one Just one of many ads placed after emancipation.Can you even imagine having to write such an ad Can you imagine having a child, a spouse, a parent, a sibling torn from your life to never have word from them again Can you imagine being bought and sold Can you imagine having family members who were slaves Can you imagine what it must be like to have ancestors who owned slaves Can you imagine going on a journey trying to find your father to have the unimaginable happen to you so that it renders you unable to function Can you imagine trying to inspire and motivate your students Find a project which will make them want to learn and be proud of themselves Inspired by historical events, The Book of Lost Friends is a story of three women on a journey in the post Civil war south, it is also the story of a teacher who rediscovers those women s story and its connection to her students lives.Louisiana, 1875 Lavinia, a spoiled heir to a destitute plantation goes on a quest with her illegitimate Creole half sister, Juneau Jane, and her former slave, Hannie While Lavinia and Juneau Jane are searching for their father and their possible inheritance, Hannie desperately wants to know what happened to her mother and eight siblings who were sold before the end of slavery Will she ever see them again Having seen ads along the way placed by freed slaves looking for family members, she wonders, could she find them this way Louisiana, 1987 Benedetta Benny Silva is a first year teacher who is desperately trying to get her student s attention Absences, hunger, and poverty keep many from getting a good education Looking through an old plantation for books that her classroom and local library might use, she finds a book a history of three women Could this change everything for her class The three women s journey changed their lives but will also have an impact on Benny and her student s lives as well.Slow to start this book packed a powerful punch The story is told in two timelines with the Lost Friends ads placed in between These ads pack a powerful punch that resonates throughout the book BTW, all the ads placed by freed slaves have been made into a book titled Last Seen Voices from Slavery s Lost Families Wingate did a great job building her plot and joining the two story lines They are moving and powerful I found this book to be captivating, thought provoking, and emotionally moving I loved books that not only teach me something but affect me emotionally as well Fans of Wingate and Historical fiction will find this book appealing Thank you to Random House Publishing Group Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All the thoughts and opinions are my own


  3. Marialyce Marialyce says:

    4.5 starsTo tell a tale of loss is never an easy task The heartbreaking moments are many, and the realization hits the reader that these things so well related in a fictional setting did indeed take place in our country These are things never to be forgotten, never to be relegated to the back pages of history These are things in which a living nightmare was experienced.I have been having a bit of a time lately with the historical fiction genre I have found it to beon the fiction end of 4.5 starsTo tell a tale of loss is never an easy task The heartbreaking moments are many, and the realization hits the reader that these things so well related in a fictional setting did indeed take place in our country These are things never to be forgotten, never to be relegated to the back pages of history These are things in which a living nightmare was experienced.I have been having a bit of a time lately with the historical fiction genre I have found it to beon the fiction end of things than on the historical and for me that has been disappointing However, with Lisa Wingate s, The Book of Lost Friends, I am very pleased to have found a generous believable mixture of both history and fiction Told in two time periods, 1875 and 1987, we are transported to Louisiana It is ten years after the Civil War and the slaves have been emancipated but in essence while they are free their struggles have not abated It is the South with the attitude of the Klan running rampant It is also the South where slave families have been brutally separated never to see their loved ones Sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents have been torn from each other and not a day goes by where one of our main protagonists does not feel that all encompassing loss.Hannie, the former slave, now sharecropper, and two women, Lavinia, the heiress to a run down plantation and her half sister, Juneau Jane, a mixed race child, set out upon a journey to find their father, to settle an inheritance, meeting dangers along the way and hardship Hannie, rekindles, as they travel, that question that plagues her constantly, could my family, that was torn from me and sold off, be out there Hannie so desires connections just as the two half sisters do Hope dwells in the heart of Hannie and of course the sisters as well As they travel the book of lost friends takes on a great importance for it is in that book that people pour out their loss of family pining for the time when they can reunite with loved ones The people in the book pledge their anguish which is then printed in a paper distributed to churches far and wide and read aloud in churches Names are read, lineages are given, and perhaps some day families and loved ones will be reunited.The other part of the book which alternates with the 1875 component, deals with a teacher, Benedetta Silva, hoping to cancel her student debt by teaching in a run down poorly serviced school She is the teacher to a group of high school age disadvantaged children who see no value in learning She becomes discouraged, disappointed, and bereft as she combats apathy, hopelessness and despair Bennie trips onto an idea, a glimmer of something that might spur her recalcitrant students Can a project reconnecting the kids with the past of their town, ignite something in them It s a risk but one Bennie feels in her heart is well worth taking.Connections are drawn, family is discovered, and there is renewed interest, understanding, and love shared as the happenings of 1875 unite with those of 1987.I recommend this book for the gentle telling, the awakening to the horrible instances that happened to so many in our country s history, and the part that history can and does play in the realization that remembrance brings so much into our learning of life Thank you to Lisa Wingate, Random House Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for a copy of this wonderful book due out April 7, 2020


  4. marilyn marilyn says:

    The Book of Lost Friends has become my favorite historical novel and, in fact, one of my favorite books that I ve read The book includes actual ads that were published in Southern newspapers and read to black congregations by their preachers, searching for relatives of former slaves The last time many of these people saw their families was in sale pens and auction yards, as they were being sold off to new owners, one or two at a time, dividing families forever, with no way of ever finding eac The Book of Lost Friends has become my favorite historical novel and, in fact, one of my favorite books that I ve read The book includes actual ads that were published in Southern newspapers and read to black congregations by their preachers, searching for relatives of former slaves The last time many of these people saw their families was in sale pens and auction yards, as they were being sold off to new owners, one or two at a time, dividing families forever, with no way of ever finding each other again The words are so heartbreaking, so heartfelt, and some of the ads in the book even tell of family members that has been reunited through the ads.I read this book with the Traveling Sisters,specifically, Mary Beth and Paige, of the TS because others are still reading it, and we discussed that all the brutality and cruelty of man is evident in a manner that doesn t stop us in our tracks By reading the words of the actual people who lived as slaves and went through being bought, sold, traded, beaten, etc all of it is so obvious but not gratuitous and also not so in your face you can t keep going It s real, it happened, you feel the heartbreak of the people who are looking for their families, hoping for news, even if it s bad Such strong people, white, black, Indian, mixed, being treated badly or treating each other badly.The 1875 portion of the book follows former slave Hannie, white Missy, whose family had owned Hannie for her entire life, and Juneau Jane, Missy s illegitimate free born Creole half sister Missy and Juneau Jane s father has disappeared and the girls need to establish their claims to their inheritance before Missy s uncles can steal their inheritance from them When the two girls steal off on a dangerous journey that is a mystery to Hannie, she disguises herself as the wagon driver so she can make sure she doesn t lose her claim to what she s earned as an indentured servant.In the 1987 portion of the story, young teacher Benedetta is tasked with teaching the kids of Augustine, LA, the poor kids that the rich side of town has neglected, forgotten, and expects to never amount to anything In fact, these kids believe they will never amount to anything and have never even thought of trying to dig out of the hole of their poverty Benny is renting a house on the land that belongs to the former plantation of Missy and Juneau Jane s father and she discovers papers that show how these children have a past and a legacy to live up to and to remember.The book starts very slowly but I think the built up and the background is worth the time it takes to show the link of the two timelines, to bring things together If there was anythingI d like from the book, it would be that we got to follow Hannie, Juneau Jane, and Hannie s friend Gus, into the years after the book ended I didn t want to leave these strong, amazing, people Hannie and Juneau Jane, while fighting to stay alive, also bring the Book of Lost Friends to all the people they meet And young Gus vowed to pass on what he learned from Hannie, about her missing people, wherever he went and he was one to never break a promise Thank you to Random House Publishing Group Ballantine and NetGalley for this ARC


  5. Paige Paige says:

    Told in dual timelines, Hannie is an 18 year old slave living during the Reconstruction Era in Louisiana in 1875 Having been taken from her family before slavery ended, Hannie joins the plantation owner s daughters on an odyssey of sorts to find the two girls father while Hannie herself quests to find her own mother and siblings Benny is a first year teacher in 1987 who wants to make a difference in the lives of her Louisiana students Benny is working on a school project about local family li Told in dual timelines, Hannie is an 18 year old slave living during the Reconstruction Era in Louisiana in 1875 Having been taken from her family before slavery ended, Hannie joins the plantation owner s daughters on an odyssey of sorts to find the two girls father while Hannie herself quests to find her own mother and siblings Benny is a first year teacher in 1987 who wants to make a difference in the lives of her Louisiana students Benny is working on a school project about local family lineage when her timeline crosses Hannie s past.It was very slow moving and I really struggled with the pacing The beginning really dragged, but around chapter 9 something happens and it picks up.momentarily After that moment of excitement, I found myself twiddling my thumbs for quite a few chapters waiting for the story to progress It had a fewmoments of ups, but most of the time I felt disinterested because it was so wordy Hannie s story was powerful, and I wantedfrom her I didn t look forward to Benny s chapters as much as Hannie s.Graphic violence and gory details are completely left out There is a scene that hints that something derogatory happened, but it must be inferred by the reader I would describe this as a lighter historical fiction about family, courage, loss, and friendship.Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher Opinions are my own


  6. Carolyn Carolyn says:

    Lisa Wingate has woven together two wonderful stories to make this absorbing historical novel set in 1875 and 1987 Following the abolition of slavery in America, many freed slaves had no idea where there families were as they were previously sold off and dispersed by their owners In 1875 young Hannie is the last of her large family left on the Louisiana cotton farm where they were slaves Accidently forced to accompany her previous owner s daughter, Lavinia and half daughter, Juneau Jane on a Lisa Wingate has woven together two wonderful stories to make this absorbing historical novel set in 1875 and 1987 Following the abolition of slavery in America, many freed slaves had no idea where there families were as they were previously sold off and dispersed by their owners In 1875 young Hannie is the last of her large family left on the Louisiana cotton farm where they were slaves Accidently forced to accompany her previous owner s daughter, Lavinia and half daughter, Juneau Jane on a quest to look for their father, she wonders if any of her family are still alive and looking for her Along the way she discovers a Southern newspaper that publishes a column of ads called Lost Friends published for freed slaves looking for their families In 1987 a young teacher, Bennie Silva is trying to get her disengaged students in an impoverished rural Louisiana school interested in reading She discovers that her students don t know anything about their family trees but are fascinated to learn about their ancestors and their lives With many of the students being the descendants of slaves they soon become engaged in researching the stories of the freed slaves who stayed in the area and Hannie s story comes to life This is a wonderful, well written and heartfelt novel with very realistic characters Both stories made for compelling reading, particularly as they were based on real history from a time I knew very little about With many thanks to Netgalley and Quercus Books for a digital copy to read.


  7. Cheri Cheri says:

    NOW AVAILABLE 4.5 StarsHistory has much to teach us At the beginning of this book, there are notes from Lisa Wingate, about Dialect and Historical Terminology, which is where the above quote is taken from She goes on to sayThat was one of the reasons for the inclusion of the real life Lost Friends ads in this book They are the stories of actual people who lived, and struggled, and who almost inadvertently left these small pieces of themselves for posterity Told in two different NOW AVAILABLE 4.5 StarsHistory has much to teach us At the beginning of this book, there are notes from Lisa Wingate, about Dialect and Historical Terminology, which is where the above quote is taken from She goes on to sayThat was one of the reasons for the inclusion of the real life Lost Friends ads in this book They are the stories of actual people who lived, and struggled, and who almost inadvertently left these small pieces of themselves for posterity Told in two different time frames, this begins with one of the Lost Friends letters to the editor, a plea to anyone reading or hearing their story, the family they seek to find some word from, or about, knowing that the possibilities are slim, and how often names were changed along the way as names may have changed along the way Pastors were requested to read these pleas to their congregationsAt the very least, we must tell our stories, mustn t we Speak the names You know, there is an old proverb that says, We die once when the last breath leaves our bodies We die a second time when the last person speaks our name The first death is beyond our control, but the second one we can strive to prevent As this story begins, the initial timeframe is 1875, in Louisiana, with Hannie Gossett sharing her story, through the retelling of a dream a memory of when she was six years old and watching buyers gather to buy her family a little at a time, she sees them being carted off one by one and two by two, listening as her mother recites their names, and the names of those who took them, and where they were being taken Along with Hannie, the stories of Lavinia, the daughter of Hannie s former owner, along with Juneau Jane, Lavinia s half sister, the daughter of Lavinia s father and Juneau Jane s mother, who was also owned by Lavinia s father The other timeframe in 1987, also in Louisiana, and this time is shared through a new teacher, Benedetta, Benny, Silva, teaching students from seventh to twelfth grade Students who don t want to be there, and frequently don t show up She begins searching for a way to motivate these students, to reach them on some level so that they will want to learn It is a struggle, for both the students, and the teacher, until she discovers a book that will change everything There s so much , but this is the kind of story that deserves to be discovered by each reader Very moving stories are shared in both timeframes, and the Lost Friends letters are especially poignant, as these are letters that were written by real people who were searching for their lost loved ones lost because their families were scattered, one from another, by those that purchased them as slaves, sending husbands away from their wives, mothers from their children Listen, the road seems to admonish Listen I have stories.Pub Date 07 APR 2020Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group Ballantine Ballantine Books


  8. DeAnn DeAnn says:

    5 just right starsThis dual storyline book drew me in right away I found both storylines interesting and the characters fascinating They connected in a fantastic way and the conclusion of this book was done just right.The storyline from the past features Louisiana and Texas post Civil War and still a very tumultuous time in this country We have three unlikely characters thrown together on a quest to track down the head of the Louisiana plantation One character is Lavinia, the spoiled daughte 5 just right starsThis dual storyline book drew me in right away I found both storylines interesting and the characters fascinating They connected in a fantastic way and the conclusion of this book was done just right.The storyline from the past features Louisiana and Texas post Civil War and still a very tumultuous time in this country We have three unlikely characters thrown together on a quest to track down the head of the Louisiana plantation One character is Lavinia, the spoiled daughter next up is the illegitimate Creole daughter Juneau Jane and finally, a former slave from the plantation, Hannie These women set out on a dangerous journey to figure out what has happened to Mr Gossett Throw in dangerous men, marshals, soldiers, and river voyages and you have a journey to take with these young women.We learn of the tragic past for Hannie torn apart from her large family when she was very young as they were stolen and sold off at different auctions all through the south This journey might shed some light and help her find some of those lost family members.The modern day story features a woman trying to carve a niche as a new teacher at an impoverished school in Louisiana This town is already wary of strangers, Benny finds it tough to connect with her students who have little interest in books like Animal Farm and don t see the relevance to their lives today She starts to find a way to get them all interested in their family history and hopes to connect that to writing and literature, but it stirs up a lot of the past that some in town would like to see buried and forgotten.If you are a fan of historical fiction, this book is for you I loved Before We Were Yours and this one is just as good Highly recommended.Thank you to NetGalley, Lisa Wingate, and Random Ballantine for an early copy of this one to read in return for an honest review This one is out 4.7.2020


  9. Brenda Brenda says:

    When still a child Hannie had seen her complete family sold to other plantation owners, leaving her alone on the Gossett plantation, filling her days with work from dawn to dusk Hannie had kept Miss Lavinia, daughter of the plantation owner, company as her slave when Lavinia was a baby In 1875, at eighteen years old, Hannie accompanied Miss Lavinia and Juneau Jane, Lavinia s free born Creole half sister on a journey the three of them took in search of answers.After encountering ruthless men at When still a child Hannie had seen her complete family sold to other plantation owners, leaving her alone on the Gossett plantation, filling her days with work from dawn to dusk Hannie had kept Miss Lavinia, daughter of the plantation owner, company as her slave when Lavinia was a baby In 1875, at eighteen years old, Hannie accompanied Miss Lavinia and Juneau Jane, Lavinia s free born Creole half sister on a journey the three of them took in search of answers.After encountering ruthless men at one of their stops, Hannie became the rescuer As they journeyed further, always on the trail of Mister William Gossett, their troubles were many But along the way Juneau Jane started jotting in a book they named The Book of Lost Friends where advertisements were published in the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a Methodist newspaper, and the many names and details which were collected, paralleled Hannie s own story of losing her Mama and eight siblings Benedetta Silva arrived in Augustine, Louisiana in 1987 for her position at the local school Benny was an English teacher, and at first, she didn t think it was the job for her The children took no notice of her, but she knew if she didn t find the answers, she would be out of a job The Mississippi river town had a history, and when she discovered the old Gossett homestead near to the cottage she was renting, Benny was intrigued Gradually, Benny and her students discovered a story of ancestors a story of three young women, a long and tragic journey, and a book The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate is a heartfelt, intriguing story of the days of slavery, the Civil War, and connections A story of cruelty, of sadness, of heartbreak and a string of beads I found Hannie to be an amazing character her courage and determination was outstanding The diary entries within this book are actual advertisements which were found in the Book of Lost Friends which Hannie and Juneau Jane carried with them throughout the journey And the Author s Notes at the end explains how it all came about Highly recommended.With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review


  10. Kerrin Parris Kerrin Parris says:

    The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate unfolds two parallel narratives one contemporary and the other set in the 19th century after slaves have been emancipated The prologue opens with a student who is afraid to give a speech to an audience This scene is repeated in the epilogue The teacher encourages her student by saying Where will they hear the story if not from you the story of being stolen away from family Of writing an advertisement seeking any word of loved ones, and hoping to save The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate unfolds two parallel narratives one contemporary and the other set in the 19th century after slaves have been emancipated The prologue opens with a student who is afraid to give a speech to an audience This scene is repeated in the epilogue The teacher encourages her student by saying Where will they hear the story if not from you the story of being stolen away from family Of writing an advertisement seeking any word of loved ones, and hoping to save up the fifty cents to have it printed in the Southwestern Paper so that it might travel through all the nearby states and territories How will they understand the desperate need to finally know, Are my people out there, somewhere The first story is set in 1875 It is narrated by Hannie Gossett, a former slave on the Gosswood Plantation in Augustine, Louisiana The plantation s owner, Mr Gossett has been gone a little too long, and there is a worry that he has died in Texas Hannie wants to find the sharecropper papers showing the land she and her friends have been working will belong to them next year Through a series of unfortunate events, Hannie ends up on a wild journey with Lavinia, the plantation owner s legitimate daughter, and Juneau Jane, his illegitimate half black daughter Hannie continues on the journey propelled by her hope of finding her family that she was torn away from during slavery I especially enjoyed the part of the journey through Fort Worth, Texas which was known as Hell s Half Acre because of the violence and lawlessness.The contemporary story is set in 1987 It follows first year teacher Benedetta Benny Silva who has just moved to Augustine, Louisiana from California She is an English teacher who needs to work at a low income school for debt forgiveness of her student loans Augustine is a town where people are immediately divided into groups based on race and income The students at Benny s are unruly and uninspired One of the students tells her about a library full of books at an abandoned plantation house Benny gets permission from the young grandson who has inherited the house to use the books in her classroom The library contains records of slave births, sales, and deaths From there, an idea springs to life to have Benny s students research their family history and give a live presentation of their findings However, many in the community do not wish for that history to be remembered.The author begins each chapter with actual advertisements that were placed by former slaves who are trying to find their families These are very poignant.5 Stars Book Club Recommended This will definitely be one of my favorite reads of 2020