We’ve all seen the memes. Those GIFs of Leonardo DiCaprio toasting the camera in his Jay Gatsby best, accompanied by some variation on the phrase “The roaring ‘20s are back!” But what if we weren’t living in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel? What if, spoiler alert, we weren’t huge fans of dying? It’s 2020 and we’re here to definitively say: your decade does not need to be roaring. So here are a few book recommendations for our kind of party.
The Soaring ‘20s
If you’re looking to have a Soaring ‘20s, look no further than our favorite aviation books. You can’t go wrong with Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, a young adult novel about a British spy pilot living in Nazi-occupied France in World War II. And if reading about war is a little heavy for your New Year’s taste, pick up Promised the Moon by Stephanie Nolan. Bet you thought there were only men training to visit the moon, huh? This book tells the true story of the Mercury 13 astronaut trainees – the first women in the space race.
The Snoring ‘20s
If you’re more interested in a Snoring ‘20s, spend a little time with our favorite books about relaxation. Warning: they’re way too good to put you to sleep! Start with My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, a fictional account of a woman who decides to give everything up for an entire year and just sleep and sleepwalk through. It’s as magnetic as it is grotesque. If you’re looking for more practical advice, spend some time with How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, a fascinating look at resisting the 24/7 productivity trap by doing – get this – absolutely nothing. Odell looks at doing nothing as an act of resistance. And you just might agree.
The Oaring ‘20s
If the Oaring ‘20s are more your speed, check out some of our favorite books about boating. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown tells the story of the University of Washington men’s crew team – a team that went on to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It’s a fascinating tale, but one dense with history and tales of Nazi occupation. If you’re looking for a fictional nautical adventure, you can’t go wrong with the swashbuckling tale of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – especially if your only exposure to this classic novel comes in the form of a Muppet movie. We love the Muppets! This book is dark.
The Mooring ‘20s
If you saw Little Women over the holidays, you might be in a mood to traipse around the moors – maybe even for an entire decade. The Mooring ‘20s celebrates everything a phone-free society does: long dresses with muddy hems – and long letters to go with them. It’s difficult to choose between two of our favorite 19th century novels, so we’re recommending them in tandem: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.