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Bettendorf Public Library: A year in the life of an obsessive reader

Bettendorf Public Library: A year in the life of an obsessive reader

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Several years ago, because of my obsessive need to read, I wanted to take the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. That challenge led to a write up on the library website and a good number of followers interested in the good books, the mediocre books, and even the bad books that I critiqued and reviewed.

Each year since then I have continued with the challenge. Although one would think in a year like 2020 that I would far exceed my normal number of books -- it is a fact that it turned out to be my most challenging year to complete. Due to space limitations, I am only including here my 5 star favorites for the year. To see a complete list of the good, the bad, and the ugly, my 52 week list will be posted with individual reviews in its entirety on social media via Facebook and on the library’s website at You can follow us on Goodreads at Bettendorf Library to keep up with all our staff favorites.

Of the historical fiction genre

#1 This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger…This was my absolute favorite book of the year. Oh my word, I loved this book! I've been suggesting it to EVERYONE who cares to listen! I love historical fiction regardless but on occasion, you come across one that puts you in the mind of the characters, makes you feel their emotions, and this is one of those books.

#2 The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah... My thoughts/feelings about Kristin Hannah's book are almost always "I LOVE THEM" as I did with this one as well. It may in fact be one of my favorites. I'm sorry that it's over.

A warning, however...if you're looking for a happy and uplifting read this is not the book for you.

#3 The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer… I've not read much by this author but I most definitely intend to read more. I really love "faith" based books AND historical fiction so it seems the writings of Kim Vogel Sawyer are right up my alley.

In Depression-era Southern America where life is tougher than tough, it takes a gaggle of horseback librarians and a whole lot of faith to bring a downtrodden community together. Delightful story.

Of the mystery/thriller genre

#4 through 8 The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon, I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, The First Mistake by Sandie Jones, The Last Flight by Julie Clark and Run Away by Harlan Coben. All 5 star reads in my book! Creepy, twisty and completely unpredictable.

Of the Amish mystery genre

#9 Shamed (#11 in the Kate Burkholder series) by Linda Castillo… I just love this series...I hope it never ends. Warning…not for the squeamish reader!

And my choice for non-fiction

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey… I've rarely met a "self-help" book that I actually liked, let alone loved, but this book was fabulous.

See Chris’ full lists for the past five years at


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