Best Books Of 2020: Morals of the Stories

Contemplating core values in five of 2020’s best books

The volatile year of 2020 has finally passed, with unsolved challenges ahead. But, let’s start a new, hopeful, optimistic, and beautiful 2021 Lunar New Year. From these books’ compelling pages, we can contemplate the brighter values of life and gain positive energy.

The Beauty of Your Face – Sahar Mustafah

This novel was listed in the New York Times’s top 100 popular books of 2020.

The story is about a Palestinian American woman named Afaf Rahman, who is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls. One morning, a shooter suddenly appears and attacks the school. During the confrontation with the shooter, Afaf Rahman listens to his terrifying progress and recalls her memories of struggling with pain and losing her loved ones. In the end, amid excruciating dark pain she found light, triggered by her father’s singing. That was when she regained her hope in life and faith in her religion.

The storyline, powerful expressions, and social issues explored are sure to fuel an emotional reaction and bring the reader a deeper perspective of life.

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Breasts and Eggs – Mieko Kawakami

Mieko Kawakami has written many best-selling novels in Japan. Famous author Haruki Murakami once confided that Kawakami was his favorite young writer.

Breasts and Eggs is about three women – the storyteller, her sister Makiko, and Makiko’s daughter, Midoriko. Set in stuffy, hot Tokyo, Breasts and Eggs recounts the strange reunion between these women, who suffer from their own secret pains. Makiko is heartbroken when she can’t accept her body after giving birth and is obsessed with the idea of having breast augmentation surgery. Her daughter, Midoriko, is constantly battling with pre-puberty fears. The storyteller has an ongoing struggle with her indefinable identity. After 10 years, they meet again, and their stories raise new problems, and new concerns.

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Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time – Ben Ehrenreich

This is a book about the end of time, both literally and figuratively. Desert Notebooks reveals the price humans have to pay for their rapid, unimaginable destruction to the environment.

When reading the last page of the book, the question is raised, as residents of Anthropocene, how can we cope with the end of the world and learn from human history? or is there anything under that desert and sand that allows us to act properly in time?

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The Dragons, The Giant, The Women:
A Memoir – Wayétu Moore

This memoir by Wayétu Moore recounts how she escaped the First Liberian Civil War and built a new life in America.

Her journey recalls a brutal war, a Black immigrant woman’s arduous childhood, her years of integration in Texas, and her trip back to Liberia. The book is an account of the author’s search to find her so-called “home” during a chaotic and troubled time. What stands out is her unwavering belief in the power of love and family.

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Everywhere You Don’t Belong – Gabriel Bump

The first novel written by Gabriel Bump combines wit and grief.

The story follows Claude McKay Love, an average child with a painful past living on the South Side of Chicago. After being abandoned, he faces violence and riots, and suffers from heartbreak and pressure in society. Bump carefully sculpts Love’s candid emotions every time he goes through difficulties and challenges. A comically dark coming-of-age story from a promising young author.

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