My Favorite Books of 2020


I’ve parked myself at my little desk in the living room. I sent my youngest upstairs. It’s 1pm on a Sunday, and he’s already been playing video games for two hours. My husband and I have told the kids this is their “yes” week. We’ll let them do whatever they want, so long as it doesn’t harm anyone. Truthfully, we’re all exhausted, having just arrived home from North Carolina after attending my father-in-law’s funeral. The week of visiting was long, the service was sad, the drive home was one of the worst I’ve ever had to do. Over fourteen hours of driving, since we got caught in an east coast storm that pummeled us with four hours of pouring rain followed by three hours of white-out, zero-visibility snow. We almost got in an accident when the truck in front of us slid on the ice and turned around BACKWARDS in our lane, but then somehow catapulted himself across three lanes of traffic before crashing into the side rail instead of us. So, yeah. “Yes” week it is. We’ll deal with the forthcoming blindness later…

I don’t feel like personally reflecting on this year—or at least not just yet. I’m too tired, too raw, to make any real sense out of it. So I’ll put that on hold. I could do a December recap, since I did finally publish some book reviews. But there’s only so much energy to go around at this point, and what I really want to do is list some of my favorite reads of 2020.

I read 127 books this year or 40,000 pages. Wow, right? That’s a lot of reading. And I rated roughly 50 of those books as 5 ladybugs. In fact, my average rating was 4.3, which feels pretty high given the circumstances of 2020. I think it’s safe to say that books have helped me get through the year, for sure.

As for my favorites. Guys, there have been many…

FICTION

My favorite book of the year was Migrations. Just so phenomenal.

But I had some other good ones. Just Like You (I haven’t written my review yet…), The Book of Two Ways, The Girl with the Louding Voice, and Nothing to See Here were some favorites. I also loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (2017) and The Lager Queen of Minnesota (2019).

Honorable mentions: This This Time Next Year (no review written yet), Happy and You Know It, Oona Out of Order, The Dutch House (2019), Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes, Paris Never Leaves You, and The Grace Kelly Dress.

NONFICTION

I haven’t written reviews for a bunch of these, but oh well.

My favorite nonfiction book of the year was Wintering (no review yet). Such a beautifully written book about taking things slow from October to March. I loved every word, every page. It was a reminder for me to slow down and chill out.

Other good ones were Decoding Boys, The Conscious Closet, Martha Stewarts’ Organizing (no review yet), Dying Well (1997), White Fragility (2018), and Love Poems for Anxious People (no review yet).

MEMOIR

I read a few great memoirs this year. Kitchen Confidential (2000, no review yet), Minor Feelings (no review yet), See No Stranger, Motherhood So White (2019, no review yet), Good Talk (2019), and Notes on a Nervous Planet (2018, no review yet) were my top six.

ROMANCE

Last Couple Standing was my favorite romance of the year. Although, now that I think about it, it’s probably more general fiction than romance.

Other good ones are How to Fail at Flirting, The Roommate, Only When It’s Us and its sequel Always Only You, The Lies That Bind, The Sea Glass Cottage, The Simple Wild (2018) and its sequel Wild at Heart, and Undercover Bromance.

THRILLER

Mystery/thriller is a new genre for me, but there were a few that I really liked: Don’t Look for Me (no review yet), The Last Flight, and The God Game.

TEEN

My favorite YA book was definitely Tweet Cute. I’m reading Emma Lord’s second book (to be published in January 2021!) right now.

I also liked The Black Flamingo (2019), With the Fire on High (2019), and Most Likely.

So there you have it, folks. So many good books. I wish I had been able to read The Vanishing Half and Transcendent Kingdom, since both are landing on many Book of the Year lists. But I’ll get to them in 2021 for sure. Any books that you think I missed?

6 thoughts

  1. The Girl with the Louding Voice was on my best-of, too, hooray! And you’ll get to The Vanishing Half so all good. I’m glad you had a good reading year and drew some comfort from your books.

    Liked by 1 person

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