Book RecsJan 6, 2021

The Happy Place 5:
Books that Kept Us Afloat in 2020


I’m so damn excited to introduce you to a brand new monthly feature on the blog!
The Happy Place 5 is a feature that is not only going to be a lot of fun, it also means a lot to me personally, because it came to be as a spontaneous idea from what I like to call my “c***d support group”(actually named “The Happy Place”), a Discord server that I started with a couple of close bookish friends in 2020 and that was meant as a happy-things-only place, to just chat and have fun, which ended up being a real life saver in 2020.

So what exactly is The Happy Place 5, you ask? Each month, a bunch of my blogging friends and I will post our Top 5 books for a given topic/theme, giving you lots of awesome book recommendations (including some guest post/lists from those of our group who don’t have a blog). We already have a quite a few topics in mind and I can tell you: it’s going to be amazing! (Am I going to put a queer twist on pretty much every topic? Probably…)

With the start of the new year and the nature of our chat group in general, it only felt natural to start with the topic of “Books that kept us afloat in 2020”. Make sure to check out my friends’ post as well! They are all linked below.

The Top 5 Books That Kept Me Afloat in 2020

A Pale Light in the Black by K.B. Wagers

I already read Pale Light for the first time late in 2019 but because it’s such a feel good book for me (and because it came out in 2020), I picked it as a reread in 2020. While there is still danger, high stakes, evil guys and more, overall A Pale Light in the Black is just so full of positive vibes and people not being assholes. Definitely one of my “feels like coming home” books, with characters that feel like family.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Cerulean Sea is the most precious, the most feels-like-a-hug kind of book I have ever read and was exactly what 2020 needed. This a book I’ll get back to many, many times when I need a pick-me-up book for sure. The House in the Cerulean Sea is such a wholesome book, you can’t but feel like you’ve just been hugged.

The October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire

A big part of 2020 had me not want to read at all but a real life saver was Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. I’ve already been a huge fan of her books for quite some time now and slowly making my way through her long backlist, but October Daye came kind of as a surprise. I’m not often picking urban fantasy and especially not books including fae, but I call this series an absolute favorite now. So many precious characters, the overall found-family theme, and the casual queerness in the land of the fae, this was the series I went back to when I needed a push towards reading again in 2020.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that V.E. Schwab’s newest release was a big hit for me. Addie is a very different book to all the others we’ve got to read so far though, and for me personally, it was a perfect book for 2020. Addie is all about what we value in ourselves and wanting other people to care enough about us to be remembered. While the previous books mentioned caused the happy feels I desperately needed in 2020, Addie on the other hand gave me different kinds of feels, but much needed ones just the same. Books that make you go “Same!” are always needed, but I appreciated them even more in 2020.

Network Effect by Martha Wells

It always seems somewhat weird to call an AI/robot one of the most relatable characters ever but that’s just how it is. More Murderbot just always cheers me up and that in 2020 of all years we didn’t get a new novella but a whole-ass novel was just the best thing to happen to us. And considering that friendships were more precious than ever in 2020, watching Murderbot’s character growth towards excepting others as friends…. *tears in my eyes*

Check out my friends’ Top 5 lists

I hope you are all going to have as much fun with this new feature as we do! We’re looking forward to many more Happy Place Top 5 lists.

What was a book that kept you afloat in 2020?

8 replies to “The Happy Place 5: Books that Kept Us Afloat in 2020”

  • All here for the queer twists 😀 ! I really have to take a closer look at A Pale Light, that hasn’t really been on my radar yet and I should better get starting on Murderbot. It’s not like I couldn’t, I think I have the first four books both in English and in German … With Cerulean Sea, I wanted to wait for the paperback which will be out in Feb (and is already preordered, yay!) and all your talk about October Daye gets me ever closer to checking it out. Somehow, I missed the fae aspect which is always a plus for me! However, I’m a little put off by how many books there are already. That’d be quite the commitment! And then there’s Addie for which I had been looking forward to so much since this seems like just my kind of story but I just haven’t managed to get to it yet. That’s kind of the bane of my most anticipated reads these days …

  • I love that we all have so much overlap hahahaha. And hell yeah to the queer twists, always here for it. Murderbot was definitely a consideration for my list – I love that series so much. Definitely stoked to get to both Addie and Pale Light :))))

  • I love that we share two books and one author in our lists! I was delighted when I saw your post and Mackenzie’s and even though we didn’t plan or knew before hand, we kind of say the same thing about Cerulean Sea.♥ I still need to read Network Effect and Addie LaRue but I’m looking forward it and of course, I’ll be catching up with Toby Daye soon!
    Thanks for creating the space that lead us to this, I’m excited about all of it!

  • Steph // bookplaits

    Jan 6th, 2021

    I’m sad I couldn’t get into October Daye!! But I haven’t given up… will give it another go at some point and hope something clicks so I can join you all in raving about the books too. ?

    The House in the Cerulean Sea was the perfect balm to read in 2020. Thanks to you and everyone else for recommending it so often, hehe.

  • It took me the longest time to fully realise that The House in the Cerulean Sea is a very different book from The Cerulean. Somehow, because reviews had scared me off The Cerulean, I didn’t pay any attention to THITCS. It only clicked a couple fo weeks ago but now the record’s straightened out for me, and now I’ve gotta check it out too since it turned out one of your faves of 2020. Hoho.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *