I don’t want to beat a dead horse, here, but 2020 has not been my best year from a “quantity of books read” perspective, and I missed my Goodreads goal by a pretty decent margin. That said, I did read quite a few really excellent books that I would (and have) gladly recommend be added to your TBR for 2021. So, without further ado, I present my 2020 Book Superlatives.

Most Likely to Make You Think

Back in February I finally read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It made me so angry, on so many levels, and that was before the summer brought racial inequality back to the forefront of public consciousness with the George Floyd murder. The Hate U Give is about a young woman who witnesses one of her oldest friends being shot to death by the police, and her struggle to find her place in the whirlwind of indictments, protests and social unrest the murder brings to her city. It’s an uncomfortable, painful, beautiful read.

Other books to make you think:

Most Likely to Make you Laugh AND Cry

I know I was late to the party with Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid but, oh, man I really loved this book. It reads like a retrospective Rolling Stone article, and outlines the rise and fall of Daisy Jones & The Six. There were parts where I outright laughed, and then right there at the end I burst into tears. If you love character driven stories the way I do this book is definitely worth the hype. Give it a shot!

Other good ones to make you laugh AND cry are:

Most Likely to be an Enjoyable Journey into Non Fiction

Among the many crap hands 2020 dealt us was the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Immediately after she passed away I borrowed The Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik. If you even remotely like politics, feminism, family, politics, or the court system this book is for you. The great thing about this biography is how the authors wove together existing stories, interviews and historical data into a story that’s appealing to a wide variety of readers. You don’t have to know much about law or politics to find RBG’s story compelling. She was one hell of a lady, and her voice will be missed.

Other good Non Fiction I recommend are:

Most Likely to Read In One Sitting

When I picked up Colleen Hoover’s Verity all I really knew about it was that Goodreads readers and the FB groups I’m in loved it, and it was a bit of a thriller. I read this one back in January, and it’s definitely a super fast read. I started it on a Saturday night and finished it on Sunday. It’s a page turner, and while I had some issues with parts of it (I mean, people don’t fall in love that quickly), it was incredibly suspenseful in parts and deeply disturbing in others. It would make a great “between heavy reads” break because even with the suspense there’s nothing too meaty here – it’s a beach read type book: fast moving and interesting. Give it a shot!

Other good ones in this vein include:

Most Complicated Family Experience

The Dutch Houseby Ann Patchett was one of my absolute favorite books I read this year. It was a beautifully written story about the complications of family, divorce and loss. In the story, Danny and his sister Maeve are basically kicked out of their family home by their stepmother, following the loss of their father at an early age. It’s about codependency, tenacity and the complicated bonds of family and how that shapes your life and choices. I literally cannot recommend the audiobook, read by Tom Hanks, enough. If you think you’re not an audiobook person? Try this one. You’ll love it.

Other complex family stories you may want to consider are:

Most Enjoyable Books That Defy Categorization

I read so many books this year that just defy categorization, but were among my favorite reads of the year:

  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab is about a girl cursed to be forgotten by everyone she has ever, or will ever know. I couldn’t put it down, but didn’t really want it to end. And it ended in a way where there could very easily be a sequel, but I hope there isn’t one.
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern is about stories, and doors with lost or missing keys and what’s behind them. It’s confusing, and beautiful and I didn’t know what the hell I was even reading until I was done and just felt… satisfied, in a very strange way. I loved this book.
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I legitimately don’t know how to even describe this book, but it was so, so good. It’s strange, and nostalgic, and challenges you to think about whether magic and mystery is gone, or whether we’ve just forgotten how to find it.

Most Satisfying Ending to a Series

Oh, man – I sat here and thought and thought about which book I would include here as my “top” and honestly? I think I have to go with The Toll by Neal Shusterman. All three books in this series made me hold my breath as I was reading them. As I shared in my review of the series, this whole story feels like a cautionary tale of where we’re heading if we continue to elevate technology and glue ourselves to devices. Put your phone down. Step away from the AI. Read these books and be spellbound by the world building. Man, I loved them – I’m sad that it’s over.

And I know I’m breaking the pattern of how I’ve listed my choices here, but I have to say that Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas was as satisfying an ending to Throne of Glass as there could have been. I will miss reading about Aelin Galathynius and all of the others, but with the 7th installment of the series, Sarah J Maas gave her readers everything they could have possibly wanted as she wrapped up this epic series. It was excellent.

So, there it is – my not-so-short list of my favorite reads from 2020. Have you read any of the books on the list, yet? If not, which one did you add to your 2021 TBR?

Happy reading, and I’ll see you in 2021!!

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