Books from 2020

I read more books this year! Maybe because of 2020? Maybe because I figured out how to move Libby books from my iPad to my Kindle? Maybe because a student wanted to to a tutorial on James Baldwin, and I had to read a lot to catch up? Maybe because #BlackLivesMatter inspired me to read more Black writers? Maybe because there was just so much good writing out there this year? Who knows! I just know I really read some wonderful writing–a lot of it was heavy and sad, but some of it was light and fun. My top 10 are bolded below.

1) Good Talk (Mira Jacob)
2) Borderlands/La Frontera (Gloria Anzaldua)
3) Olive, Again (Elizabeth Strout)
4) George Washington Gomez (Americo Paredes)
5) Normal People (Sally Rooney)
6) Girls and Sex (Peggy Orenstein)
7) Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories (Sandra Cisneros)
8) Lost Children Archive (Valeria Luiselli)
9) Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Balli Kaur Jaswal)
10) The Sun and Her Flowers (Rupi Kaur)
11) blu (Virginia Grise)
12) In the Dream House (Carmen Maria Machado)
13) The Assistants (Camille Perri)
14) Untamed (Glennon Doyle)
15) All the Single Ladies (Rebecca Traister)
16) Wow, No Thank You (Samantha Irby)
17) Red at the Bone (Jacqueline Woodson)
18) A Kind of Freedom (Margaret Wilkerson Sexton)
19) Such a Fun Age (Kiley Reid)
20) Women Talking (Miriam Toews)
21) Tightrope (Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn)
22) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)
23) Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)
24) One Night in December (Josie Silver)
25) The Nightingale (Kristen Hannah)
26) The Penderwicks at Last (Jeanne Birdsell)
27) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (JK Rowling)
28) Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng)
29) The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Suzanne Collins)
30) The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
31) Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)
32) The Jetsetters (Amanda Eyre Ward)
33) Saga Book 2 (Brian K Vaughn)
34) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling)
35) The Salt Line (Holly Goddard Jones)
34) All Boys Aren’t Blue (George Johnson)
35) The Giver of Stars (Jojo Moyes)
36) So You Want to Talk about Race (Ijeoma Oluo)
37) The Devil Finds Work (James Baldwin)
38) Juliet Takes a Breath (Gabby Rivera)
39) This is How it Always is (Laurie Frankel)
40) That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story (Huda Fahmy)
41) Native Country of the Heart (Cherríe Moraga)
42) Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson)
43) Rodham (Curtis Sittenfeld)
44) [Un]Framing the Bad Woman (Alicia Gaspar de Alba)
45) The Pull of the Stars (Emma Donoghue)
46) All Adults Here (Emma Straub)
47) Go Set a Watchman (Harper Lee)
48) I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin/Raoul Peck)
49) Confessions of a Book Burner (Lucha Corpi)
50) The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)
51) Dept. of Speculation (Jenny Offill)
52) The Unwinding of the Miracle (Julie Yip-Williams)
53) Notes of a Native Son (James Baldwin)
54) There There (Tommy Orange)
55) The Color of Water (James McBride)
56) Interior Chinatown (Charles Yu)
57) The Vanishing Half (Brit Bennett)
58) The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Deesha Philyaw)
59) Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
60) Transcendent Kingdom (Yaa Gyasi)
61) The Undocumented Americans (Karla Cornejo Villavicencio)
62) Afterlife (Julia Alvarez)
63) Memorial Drive (Natasha Trethaway)
64) The Heir Affair (Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan)
65) They Called Us Enemy (George Takei)
66) Beach Read (Emily Henry)

This isn’t to say that the others aren’t good. I struggled to condense it to 10. Looking forward to the books of 2021. What were your favorites this year? I’d love to hear about them.



  1. I just started James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and it is so good that I was thinking of trying to read more of his works this year. Of the ones you read, what would you recommend?

    1. I only read his non-fiction, because that was the independent study I led, but of the non-fiction, I really liked the collection, The Cross of Redemption–lots of great stuff about writing, and kinds of Englishes and just thoughtful on each point. Good shorter essays for thinking about in bursts. Baldwin is so fascinating!

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