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Patrick Key is a non-profit fundraiser by day, and an avid book reader by night. His claim to fame is being on The Oprah Show for her book club. Patrick’s Instagram account has been our publisher’s go-to place for good reads for the past 5 years (since he recommended the amazing A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara).

Read on for Patrick’s top 10 fiction reads of 2020 — and at the end, we have a shortened West Side Story with his Hell’s Kitchen Happy Places.

Patrick recommends supporting west side bookseller 192 Books in Chelsea (at 192 10th Avenue). During the pandemic, they are open daily 11am-5pm for limited browsing.

For your reference, links giving more details on the books go to GoodReads.com (owned by Amazon).

Patrick has read 26 books this year and he says: “there have been so many amazing stories!” Here are his choices and comments.

#1 My favorite book of 2020 is American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. A gripping story about motherhood and immigration. I literally couldn’t put it down. Oprah’s Book Club did a fabulous two-part series for Apple TV on the book, the controversy, and immigration. Check it out. 

#2 book is Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker. The incredible true story of a family with 12 children (10 boys and 2 girls) and six of the boys have schizophrenia. It’s so compelling and a great read!! 

#3 is The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré and it’s the beautiful story of Adunni and her journey for freedom. So good!! 

#4 is The insanely powerful The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi a gorgeously written story of friendship and identity. Wowza. 

#5 Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. The book explores the relationship between a mother and her son and the impacts of addiction. [It’s just won The Booker Prize too!]

#6 The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, a fascinating look at twin sisters’ different choices and how those choices impact their lives. Incredible. 

#7 The wonderful book, Boys of Alabama by Genevieve Hudson, an original and moving story about friendship and identity in the ever-complicated deep south 

#8 is Luster by Raven Leilani, a unique and gorgeously written story about complicated relationships. 

#9 The Searcher by Tana French. No one’s better than Tana French for drawing you into a mystery — and before you realize, you’re knee deep in suspense!

#10 is Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. So fun and touching. Just the lift I needed. An amateur bank robbery goes wrong and 10 people are held hostage at an apartment viewing. Funny, and touching and amazing characters.


HELL’S KITCHEN HAPPY PLACES

Pier 84. Gorgeous park on the Hudson River. Summers and the sunset hustle dancing on Sunday nights are amazing. It’s the favorite of my hubby, Dan, and our dogs Rothko and Molly. [Don’t forget the whale!]

Schmackary’s. The cereal cookie. Okurrrrrrrr.

Small businesses like November 19 and Fine and Dandy. Such great stores. People with businesses living their dream.

Sullivan Street Bakery. The potato pizza.

The Farmers Market on W43rd Street (between 9/10th Avenue). Every Saturday from May-Dec fresh veggies and wonderful people.

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1 Comment

  1. Loved this. Patrick Key is a true Hell’s Kitchen denizen and book aficionado. Adored his recommendations. For the record, Pier 84 is one of my favorite spots as well.
    —Charles (Chuck Gomez) Author “Cuban Son Rising”

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