My 50 Favorite Books of 2020

2020 is almost over!

This has been a hell of a year for many reasons. While I published two things, I had horrific writer’s block for TDD’s sequel, work was a constant struggle and of course the entire situation with the pandemic and the country.

I am so grateful that I had books (and my wife, and the creatures) to help me survive mostly intact.

As an indecisive conglomeration of two raccoons in a trench coat (the third ran off to join a broadway showtunes band), there is no way I can choose a top 10. I read (at this point) almost 170 books this year, with a crap ton of five-star reads. There’s no way to whittle down to 10 from there. No. Way.

Initially I planned on doing a series of posts breaking up my favorite books into genres, and then I realized that was a lot of work, so here’s one giant wrap-up of my top 50 books (pretty sure it’s 50, my math might be off but whatever I read a lot of great books this year and I’m going to celebrate them all!)

Science Fiction

I did read a bit of science fiction this year, but I was kinda underwhelmed? 2019 was mind-boggling in SF releases, and this year I read mostly favorite authors and didn’t want to read a whole lot of suffering and hardship. My attention span could not hold a ton of hard SF, and weird affected writing styles tended to mean an automatic DNF (the exception being Harrow the Ninth, which I still cannot decide if I loved or loathed). But I loved these.

  • The Seep by Chana Porter
  • The Interdependency Trilogy by John Scalzi
  • Network Effect by Martha Wells

Fantasy

I had thought that this year was a smashing success for science fiction, I was bowled over by the realization that so many of my favorites this year were fantasy! So much amazing fantasy!

And I read a lot of books that were long-time lingerers on my TBR, which became new favorites! I’m so excited to have read these authors, and to add new authors to my auto-read list.

  • The City We Became by NK Jemisin
  • The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
  • Jade City and Jade War by Fonda Lee
  • Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee
  • Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir
  • The Midnight Bargain by CL Polk
  • Witchmark by CL Polk
  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
  • The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by KS Villoso
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

Horror

Before 2020, I rarely read horror, and what few forays I had were disappointing (at best). While I did read some horror books that were massive disappointments (looking at you, The Haunting of Hill House), I found some favorites in authors of color, who added such depth to the genre, and provide some really fantastic insight, commentary and tweaks to established subgenres of horror. Plus, of course, zombies by the zombie queen.

  • Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
  • World Departed by Sarah Lyons Fleming
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Romance

2020 was also the year I read a lot of romance. There is something so comforting in knowing that there’s going to be an HEA, and that while most MCs go through a lot (contemporary romance is not all fluffballs and silliness), there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

This was the year that I found Alyssa Cole, and read nearly everything by her! I love her romances, I loved her horror book, and I’m looking forward to everything else she puts out!

  • The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks
  • A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
  • You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry
  • Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
  • One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Young Adult

While I found a lot of love in genres I didn’t normally read, I had a further falling out with YA. While there were so many amazing books being published, so few actually hit the sweet spot for me. I felt that for many of them, they would have done better and hit their beats cleaner, if the main characters had been aged up (*cough cough* These Violent Delights). However, I did find some that were absolutely delightful. I wished I had had all of these growing up.

  • The Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson
  • I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Graphic Novels

Graphic novels hold a dear place in my heart, and I love reassuring parents that graphic novels and comics are reading, and are very important for children to read because they assist so much in various forms of literacy.

  • This Place edited by Kateria Akiwenzie-Damm
  • The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
  • Check, Please! 1 and 2 by Ngozi Ukazu
  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang

Nonfiction

Audiobooks are how I consume nonfiction, and there were a bunch that I read thanks to my long commute! So many amazing nonfiction reads, and I just want to gush about each and every one of them! A mix of history, self-help and social justice reads, which is…eclectic, yes, I know.

  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Grit by Angela Duckwork
  • Range by David Epstein
  • Unfuck Your Brain by Faith Harper
  • How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr
  • Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
  • Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Memoirs and Biographies

Prior to this year I didn’t read many memoirs or biographies, mainly because it feels uncomfortable and weird to read about a real person’s life in great detail. However, I found that I love funny memoirs, particularly if they are written by people like Samantha Irby or Jenny Lawson, who are just as fucked up as me and write how I wished I could write.

  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • Minor Feelings by Cathy Party Hong
  • Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
  • Tomorrow Will be Different by Sarah McBride

What were your favorite books of 2020?

12 thoughts on “My 50 Favorite Books of 2020

  1. I have not read many of these.. But so many are on my TBR!
    Highest on my TBR are Jade City, Black Sun, The Bone Shard Daughter, Cemetery Boys and The Murderbot series!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are so many good books here that I can’t wait to check out! I loved Juliet Takes a Breath + A Princess in Theory, and I’ve added The Seep to my TBR thanks to this list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! OMG Juliet Takes a Breath + A Princess in Theory were SO GOOD. I hope you love The Seep! I was randomly crying in the weirdest places and then laughing at the absurdist humor (the fucking brochure) and it was the softest wild ride.

      Also I probably should have put the links to the reviews for these but…I did not.

      Like

  3. I’m amazed by the various genres you read. I mostly stay in my YA cave, occasionally consuming the odd classic or fiction book that would appeal to a YA reader. I’m really feeling like I need to expand my genres in 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

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