Every major news outlet is publishing great lists right now, so I can just offer up what I know (from recent reading) to be worth your time.
Hilary Mantel’s third book about Thomas Cromwell is top of my list – if you haven’t read the first two books, start with Wolf Hall and work your way up to The Mirror and the Light – be sure to read some profiles of the author, whose obsession with bringing this historical figure to life, is epic.
Lily King’s Euphoria was a big book club choice a few years ago, and returns with a novel with a terrifically drawn lead – a 31 year-old woman whose mother has just died and whose life is changing gears. The New York Times’ recommends the book for its latest Group Text online-book-club, and a blurb on the book from a local book group leader, Julie Robinson, whose Literary Affairs blog is a good place to find new book ideas.
Julian Barnes became obsessed with a John Singer Sargent painting that was visiting London, and has just published a book about it, The Man in the Red Coat tells the stories behind the painting, Dr. Pozzi at Home, which happens to hang right at The Hammer Museum. It’s a compelling painting, which makes you want to know about the subject- a Belle Epoque gynecologist named Samuel Pozzi, who was popular in high society, and also made considerable strides for women’s medical practices. Here is a review and it’s also a good chance to explore the work of John Singer Sargent.
Oprah’s third book for 2020 caused a kerfuffle about who is truly “allowed” to tell the story of a particular group of people. That book, American Dirt, is a best-seller but I veered towards this lyrical tale the covers similar ground… that of the migrant children at the border. I highly recommend Lost Children Archive for the author’s poetic style, and her deeply profound subject matter. How can we not do something to help these families?