It's no surprise that Daily Beast and Scouted readers love a good book. Everything from political memoirs to guides to being more limber, there are so many good reads that we've talked about this year.
So, we decided to put a list together of the most-bought books of 2020, from you our readers. These make great gifts, but will also help round out anyone's winter reading list.
A Promised Land
“If you’re the sort who’s going to read A Promised Land, you won’t leave knowing much more about the first three years of Barack Obama or the first three years of his presidency than you did 700 pages earlier. It’s a book about message control, and a model of it by someone who won the presidency thanks in large part to his mastery of it. So it’s often Obama’s asides and omissions and ellipses that are most telling, including his repeated nods to how he hadn’t actually accomplished much in politics, besides winning elections, before being elected president, and mentions of the prospect of someone assassinating America’s first Black president.”
Hidden Valley Road
“There really is something pretty remarkable about how the Galvin family, through six diagnoses of schizophrenia, stuck together. I for one, was left wondering not only how this was possible, but what I could learn from that, whether in thinking about my relationship with my own family, or even just my relationships with myself, especially at a time like right now”
Eat a Peach
“While the book came out during an unprecedented time for restauranteurs (and everyone), throughout the book, Chang promotes the idea that cooking in a restaurant has been and always will be a sisyphean, uphill battle. Throughout the memoir, Chang details his battles with depression and self-doubt he faced all while creating the Momofuku empire, as well as the personal work he has done to improve, not just as a chef, but in his personal life.”
“In 2014, the same year as the protests in Ferguson, MO over the death of Michael Brown, Claudia Rankine published Citizen. It was, and is a tremendous work that has gone on to win award after award and change the life of many. Just Us comes out at an eerily similar time in our country. And it builds on many of the themes of its predecessor. It includes conversations with strangers, friends, and family that are everyday interactions, yet ones that leave its author and its reader spellbound, transfixed by the gulf between them, between us. While it doesn’t provide answers, or prescriptions to those issues, it does an unrivaled job of engaging its reader in the beginning of a conversation that is of unparalleled importance.”
Chair Yoga for Seniors
“If you’re working from home right now, chances are that you don’t have the best set up. I’m dealing with back pain and stiffness constantly and am looking for an alternative to just going to town with a massager. That’s where Lynn Lehmkuhl comes in. This retired yoga instructor discovered chair yoga, a low impact form of yoga meant for seniors. But, because we’re all in need of some realignment, it’s really for everyone.”
Too Much and Never Enough
“You can learn all the kinds of trees, but still miss a deep understanding of them. After reading this book for the first time, I ventured into the woods and was amazed by the story each tree held. I think their age is something that is easy to overlook, and this wonderfully woven novel will make sure you take a moment, or two, to appreciate them a little more.”
The Vanishing Half
“One night in 1954, the 16-year-old Vignes twins disappear from Mallard, a Louisiana town founded by a former slave fathered by the man who owned him whose residents, over generations, have developed an “obsession with whiteness.” In 1968, one of the twins returns, bringing her young daughter who is “black as tar;” years later, the other twin is discovered living in L.A. passing as white. What unfolds is a powerful and thought-provoking family saga told over four decades that examines the legacy of racism in the Jim Crow South and the reverberations of the choices each of the Vignes women makes to survive.”
"Sometimes getting lost in a story about what’s going on right now is all I can bear. In many ways, it’s a great way to compare against the current situation. When Shen Fever hits New York, most decide to flee. But those dedicated to their routine (AKA our narrator) keep behaving like everything is normal. Originally dubbed a satire, Severance is a masterpiece of a work that upon re-reading this week, made me laugh until my ribs ached. And also cry. Definitely cry.”
The Room Where it Happened
“Some of the most damning allegations from the former national security adviser’s tome included Trump begging Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him get re-elected by buying more U.S. agricultural products, and the claim that he was willing to end criminal probes against Turkish and Chinese companies to ‘in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked.’”
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