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Mabuhay! I'm an Asian American writer (Back Kicks And Broken Promises, Abbott Press, 2012), martial artist and teacher who was born in The Philippines, raised in Hong Kong and ended up in New Jersey.

03 January, 2021

My Ten Favourite Books of 2020

 My Ten Favourite Books Of 2020


I don’t think I’ve posted one of these in a couple of years so, as part of my personal resurgence and return to the things I love, I’ve decided to resurrect my annual ‘ten favourite books’ list. Since it’s been a while, I just want to remind you that this list is not based on what was published in this post’s titular year but, rather, of the books I read in that year. In fact, only two books on my list were published in 2020. Moreover, the list, with the exception for the first one, is not in any particular order. They aren’t ordered, for example, in what I think to be the best written. I have neither the expertise nor the authority to do that. Far be it for a self-published novelist and blogger to judge anyone’s literary aptitude. 


What this list represents are the books that resonated with me the strongest. I thoroughly enjoyed each one and they’re all brilliant. As with pretty much anything, what often crosses our paths isn’t what’s new or what we want or think we want. Instead, we’re often led to what we need. Regarding the book I’ve placed at number one, it’s been on my radar for several years but I don’t think I read it until now because I wasn’t at the right place to read it before now. The things that mean the most or the things that bring you the greatest joy aren’t always the latest thing but, rather, the thing you need the most when you need it the most. As far as the book at number one, it’s the one that hit me the hardest; down to my core and made me ask the most questions of myself. Having said that, what’s one reader’s classic may be another’s pulp, so it’s quite subjective really. 


So, without further ado, here’s my list of favourite books I read in 2020. I can’t wait to see what 2021 brings. 


On Writing: A Memoir of the Craftby Stephen King (2010, Scribner)

America Is In The Heart: A Personal Historyby Carlos Bulosan (2019, Blackstone Publishing, audiobook; originally published 1946)

The One and Only Ivanby Katherine Applegate (2021, HarperCollins)

Eastman Was Hereby Alex Gilvarry (2017, Viking)

KillingCommendatoreby Haruki Murakami (2018, Knopf)

Carmela Full of Wishesby Matt de la Peña(2018, G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)

Murder in the Squash Court by Jonah Barrington (1982, Stanley Paul Hardcover)

99 Ways to Die(Taipei Night Market, #3) by Ed Lin (2018, Soho Press)

Loveboat, Taipei(Loveboat, Taipei, #1) by Abigail Hing Wen (2020, HarperAudio)

Lucky – Anil Nayar’s Story: A Portrait of a Legendary Squash Champion by Jean Nayar (2020, Five Rivers Press)