Favorite Books of 2020

While the blog’s been on unplanned hiatus due to Covid-era weariness and needing to place my attention on other things, there’s been some reading going on here.

Here are my top 10 favorites this year…

Fiction

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

3 words: literary, complex, introspective

Give this book a whirl if you like… literary fiction, novels by Black authors, stories of immigration, scientists doing experimental research, exploring faith vs science, novels about depression

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

3 words: heartwarming, quirky, character-driven

Give this book a whirl if you like… stories of found family, fantasy for readers who don’t love fantasy, orphanages, amazing teachers, LGBTQIA+ fiction, #ownvoices, books about kindness

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

3 words: absorbing, layered, character-driven

Give this book a whirl if you like… #ownvoices contemporary/historical fiction, stories about race, books about twins, novels with two timeframes, stories about loss, interwoven narratives

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

3 words: irreverent, surprising, engaging

Give this book a whirl if you like… a touch of magical realism, first person narratives, twins, unconventional nannies, quirky characters, politicians in fiction, female friendship

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

3 words: clever, layered, creative

Give this book a whirl if you like… blend of Gothic horror and contemporary realism, smart humor, dual narratives, LGBTQIA+ fiction, boarding school setting, Hollywood setting, meta-fiction, footnotes in fiction, horror novels for people who don’t like horror novels

Nonfiction

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

3 words: narrative, absorbing, poignant

Give this book a whirl if you like… learning about the Great Migration, narrative nonfiction, lyrical writing, #ownvoices nonfiction, individual stories interwoven in a larger historical context

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

3 words: joyful, quietly enthusiastic, encouraging

Give this book a whirl if you like… developing a philosophy for living, envisioning the worst so you can appreciate what you you have, finding peace, diminishing anxiety

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

3 words: powerful, thoughtful, thought-provoking

Give this book a whirl if you like… learning about anti-racism, actionable guidance, Black authors, a blend of sociology and memoir, #ownvoices nonfiction, introspective narratives, an invitation to become a better human 

The Passage of Power by Robert A. Caro

3 words: in-depth, psychological, heroic

Give this book a whirl if you like… reading about the JFK/LBJ transition, LBJ’s first months in the presidency, a person being his best self, moving from despair to triumph, political power

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

3 words: practical, encouraging, totally do-able

Give this book a whirl if you like… customizable tactics for adding good habits and eliminating bad ones, research-backed strategies, a conversational tone, small steps that can make a big difference

What were your favorite books this year? I’d love to add them to my TBR…

 

11 thoughts on “Favorite Books of 2020

  1. Hoping you’ve had a great holiday despite the COVID fatigue. I’m ready to move in to 2021!
    Great list of books. My husband is actually reading Atomic Habits right now and he’s really enjoying it.

  2. rosemarykaye

    My favourite books of last year include the stunning novella (Mslexia award winner) Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer, The Village by Marghanita Laski (republished by Persephone), The Last Hillwalker by John D Burns and Ghost Trees by Bob Gilbert.

    Plain Bad Heroines sounds very intriguing – I’ve never even heard of it before. Must investigate!

    • Hi RosemaryKaye. What a great list of books! I’m super intrigued by Joan Smokes. I just finished reading The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans — a novella and stories. And the title novella was amazing.

  3. Michele

    I will be trying a few of your nonfiction favorites. Kendri’s book also made my favorite list for last year, along with Citizen: An American Lyric (Claudia Rankine), Girl, Woman, Other (Bernardine Evaristo), Where The Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens), and an older book I discovered, No-no Boy (John Okada).

  4. So glad you had the energy to do a Best of post for the year! I always get a giggle out of that Kevin Wilson title (I say that a lot to move little boys along when we’re walking outside–yes, a stick, very exciting, move on, nothing to see here…) and I have got to read The Warmth of Other Suns one of these days.
    Take care of yourself!! Always glad to see you whenever you do blog. We all get to that point where it’s not real regular posts, yet it is too hard to give up our little online corners…

    • Hi Citizen! Great to hear from you, and I hope you & yours are doing well. It’s been quiet here on the blog. In the midst of Everything, it’s one thing I can let go — even though it’s kind of a gap in my life when I’m not hanging out here with all you good people.

      The Kevin Wilson title is absolute perfection. And I can’t wait till you read The Warmth of Other Suns. It blew me away. I wish I could read it again for the first time — that’s how good.

      I’ll keep taking care, and please, you do, too. Talk to you again soon —

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