2020 Book Roundup

In these unprece-

Naaah never mind. We ain’t doing that. I’m sick of that phrase. I want things to be precedented again. I admire the brave people trying to get their heads around the cluster-cuss that was this year. Real understanding takes time and perspective, though, and I don’t have either of those things yet. 

What I do have is a list. Y’all know how I love a list. I kept track of what I read this year. I’m frankly surprised at the numbers. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was totally unable to read, and lost a solid month. Then, at the end of the year, I kept starting books and setting them aside because I couldn’t get into them. And yet when it is all said and done, I read a whole lot of books.

I’ll say the same thing I say to you every year: don’t read books you don’t like. Just don’t. It says nothing about you if you dislike a classic, or the popular thriller your best friend loved, or the self-help book everyone else swears by. Life is short, the book will always be there, and you can always come back to it someday if you want to. For now, read what you love.

These are the books I finished this year. (The list of books I started and set aside is easily twice as long.) By definition, I liked all of them. That’s why I finished them. The ones with the asterisks would most likely go on my Best of the Year.


One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

The Emissary by Yoko Tawada *

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin *

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett *

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield *

The Water Method Man by John Irving

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo *

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne *

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Remains of the Day by Kasuo Ishiguro

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson *

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore *

So the Path Does Not Die by Pede Hollist

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas



(I finished “The Crown” on Netflix and then went on a royal tear.)

The Day Diana Died by Christopher Andersen

The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown

Working for the Royals by Brian Hoey

HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style by Elizabeth Holmes *

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith

The Secret Guests by Benjamin Black (Fiction, but fits here) *



Snow in April by Rosamunde Pilcher

His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare

Pumpkin: A BBW Thanksgiving Romance by Megan Wade

Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale

The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

Rapper’s Delight: The Mogul Series Book One by Kenya Goree Bell

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean *



A Trick of the Light (Book 7)

The Beautiful Mystery (Book 8) *

How the Light Gets In (Book 9)

The Long Way Home (Book 10)

The Nature of the Beast (Book 11)

A Great Reckoning (Book 12)



Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

The Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

Obsessions: An Anthology of Original Fiction, Ed. By Mark Leslie

Shift Work: Kilhaven Police Book 1 by H. Claire Taylor and Brock Bloodworth

Same Old Shift: Kilhaven Police Book 2 by H. Claire Taylor and Brock Bloodworth

Shift Out of Luck: Kilhaven Police Book 3 by H. Claire Taylor and Brock Bloodworth

Deep Shift: Kilhaven Police Book 4 by H. Claire Taylor and Brock Bloodworth *

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole



The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

To Night Owl from Dog Fish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo *

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Guts by Raina Telgemeier

Dry by Neal Shusterman

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon *

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds * 

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling



On Earth, We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong *

 Mothers of Sparta by Dawn Davies * 

Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Johnathan Van Ness *

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon *

The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh



Dune by Frank Herbert

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler



Memory & Dream by Charles De Lint

Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee

Deerskin by Robin McKinley



Hikes in Southern California by

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus by Richard Preston (This should count as a thriller; it was straight up the scariest book I’ve ever read.)



The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Big Dreams, Daily Joys: Set Goals, Get Things Done, and Make Time for What Matters by Elise Blaha Cripe

The Essential Enneagram by David Daniels and Virginia Price

Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert



High Tea by Sandra Hinchliffe

The Hot Sauce Cookbook by Rockridge Press

Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson



Marion’s 25, Part II by Marion Hill



The Cannabis Spa at Home by Sandra Hinchcliffe

The Cannabis Pharmacy by Michael Backes

Grow Your Own by Nichole Graf

The Essential Cannabis Book: A Field Guide for the Curious by Rob Mejia



How to Write Nonfiction by Joanna Penn

The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan by Stephanie Chandler

Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives, and Other Introverts by Joanna Penn

Launch to Market by Chris Fox

Your Author Business Plan by Joanna Penn



Podcasting for Dummies by Tee Morris

Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting by Eric Nuzum

So You Want to Start a Podcast by Kristen Meinzer

Audio for Authors by Joanna Penn

Most of these links lead to BookShop, where my storefront includes all of the books we discussed on the Best Book Ever Podcast, as well as my Top Ten books for the last several years.  Bookshop is a great way to support your favorite Indie Bookstore, and if you use my link, I will make a few pennies at no extra cost to you. Same set up for Amazon – please consider using my affiliate link there, not only for books but any shopping you do there. Thank you so much for supporting my work!

Leave a Reply