Like everyone else I’ve spent more time home in 2020 than I could have ever imagined. With all this time at home has come a ton of books and some extra time to actually read them. My list of favorites is growing again so it’s definitely time for another book list.
It took me a while to narrow them down but I think I’ve got it down to my top 12 of 2020. Full disclosure, it takes me way too long to finish blog posts these days. While working on this post I may have read a few more books so there’s a 2021 pick or two on this list.
Here’s everything I’ve loved lately that you should absolutely add to your wish list, put on hold at the library or run out and buy:
Sing, Unburied, Sing and every other Jesmyn Ward book
You guys Jesmyn Ward is amazing. Her writing reads like poetry and every other sentence leaves me wondering how she does it. Not only is her writing beautiful but her stories are so important. I’ve learned so much about being black in America that I didn’t know but should have. I tried to narrow down my favorites of hers so far and I think it might be this one although I still have two more to read.
Behold the Dreamers
Behold the Dreamers tells the story of a Cameroonian man who immigrates to the US in search of the American Dream. Aside from being a perfectly told story I learned so much from this book about what we take for granted as American citizens. Definitely the reality check I needed at a time when it’s not always easy to find the silver lining.
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
I am not one to read a book more than once. I read this book in a day and then read it again with my kids. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere tells the story of a family living in the 8th Ward during Hurricane Katrina. The hardships this family went through were truly hard to fathom. A great way to expose my kids to a part of our not too distant history and give them a glimpse of what these families went through.
Such a Fun Age
This book made me completely reexamine myself while telling an excellent story. Such a Fun Age is the story of a white middle/upper class family who hires a black nanny for their daughter. The mother things that she is progressive and has no racial bias but the entire storyline challenges what she thinks about herself. It’s an excellent read for white women, even if we think we don’t need to examine our racial bias, this book will illustrate how much we do.
American Dirt has come under much controversy that I wasn’t even aware of until I started reading all the comments on Goodreads. I have to include it in my list for this year though because it was an absolutely amazing page-turner. If some of the details of the book are not accurate I still feel that the overall goal of the book was met with flying colors. The eye-opening plight of people seeking safety by crossing illegally into the US is so well-told in this book that I still have not stopped thinking about it. The author shared several charities at the end of the book that help immigrants in tangible ways. Because of this story our family has gotten involved and immigration is more common conversation in our house than it ever was before.
Thousandth Floor series
If Gossip Girl was set in the future this series would be it in three books. I totally enjoyed the escape of these stories this year. A world set years into the future where the richer you are, the higher a story you live. Absolutely loved it for page-turning escape.
The Guest List
I love a book that pulls me in from the first page, especially these days when my mind is going a million places. The Guest List tells the story of a destination wedding that slowly unravels. Alternating between quite a few characters the story unfolds but the storyline was not hard to follow as it is sometimes when told from many different voices.
Do not start reading this book if you have anything pressing to do for the following 24 hours. I read this one at the beginning of the pandemic and even though the world was crazy I was able to immerse myself in the book. I’ve since read several of John Marrs’s books but none drew me in like this story of what it would be like if there was a genetic test that could be done to determine our true soulmate in the world.
The Vanishing Half
Everyone is recommending this one so I’m sure this isn’t the first you’ve heard of it. I won’t reexplain the plot if you’ve already heard it. The Vanishing Half is the story of twin sisters who live separate lives, one identifying as black, the other white. It’s another book that challenged my views on race and class and a must read this year.
The Thirteenth Tale
I added this to my favorites of the year before I even finished the book. If I hadn’t read it on my kindle I would have hugged the story once it was over. The Thirteenth Tale is an older book but one I read at the perfect time. It’s the story of a famous author who hires a young writer to scribe her autobiography. The storytelling is so rich all I wanted to do was wrap up in a blanket and read for hours on end.
My Dark Vanessa
I have to admit that if I had known the full premise of this book I don’t think I would have read it. This book was as troubling as it was important. My Dark Vanessa is the story of a student who is seduced by her teacher and the mental toll it takes on her life. Seeing the story unfold through the eyes of the student was completely eye-opening. I wasn’t even halfway through when the gravity of what sexual abuse victims feel became so much more clear. An excellent read for the “Me Too” era we are in.
The Sugar Queen and all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books
I don’t know about you but I can’t get enough warm and fuzzy this year. Normally around Christmastime I read one of Allen’s books but this year I was ready for one long before. Sarah Addison Allen’s books are always entwined with a bit of magic and are the perfect stories to get lost in at a time like this. They’re wholesome and light but not fluff at all. If you need stories to get lost in read every single one. I’ll just be over here waiting for her to write a few more.
Let’s talk more books…
If you ever want to connect with me to talk books and find all the best book deals out there you can join me in my Facebook group Books Under Four. I post all my favorite books when I see them on sale and pop in to talk about my favorite subject with all of my favorite people.
We would love to have you join us!
Check out my previous book lists here:
- 8 Books you need to read
- What books to read next
- My favorite books of the year
- Lets go shopping for books
- 12 Books you should read this year
- 10 Books to read this summer
- 12 Books you must read
Powered by Facebook Comments