I’ve rounded up the 5 book list you should have read in 2020. The pandemic presented the perfect opportunity for me to dive back into books. In 2020, I was the all or nothing reader — I’d finish 3 books in 4 days and then wouldn’t pick up another book for two months.
I’m still working on carving out more reading time in the new year. Though it doesn’t help that I’m a night owl reader. I’ll pick up a book at 10pm or 11pm and read until the wee hours of the morning.
I finished 16 Books in 2020, right on par with my goal. I was on pace to blow my goal out of the water but at the beginning of the pandemic, I like many people fell out of my normal routine.
These are the 5 books that really stood out this year. The asked me to think differently, to do more. They surprised me in ways I hadn’t expected and I’d recommend them unequivocally.
P.S. They aren’t presented here in any particular order (I’m terrible with ranking books).
The Book List
I’m sure you’re probably going to see this on many books I loved round ups. Untamed was an unexpected gem that I read right at the beginning of quarantine. It was March; my trip to Cuba has just gotten cancelled; and the world was preparing to shut down for what we now know was an indefinite amount of time.
What I loved about Untamed is the unfeathered authenticity with which Glennon Doyle writes. I laughed and cried multiple times throughout these stories. And I read the book so fast that a few months later I went back and read parts of it again. I recommend Untamed to all women. Within it the book, through the stories, I found encouragement that being who you are is not easy but it is well worth it. I think you will too.
I feel that I should note, that I’m usually not a sci-fi reader. As stuffed with books as my shelves are only a handful of books could even possibly be considered science fiction. Still, off the recommendation of a good friend, I picked up An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (AART) and was enthralled from start to finish.
Not only that, I loved it so much so that I very quickly followed up with the sequel, A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (ABFE). While the premise of the book is based in science-fiction and fantasy what captivated me about both AART and ABFE was how much it was also a contemporary social critique. Throughout, his fast-paced writing Green builds a beautiful story clearly based in fiction that has just enough factors of reality to give you pause.
I’d recommend for anyone who has thought that science-fiction isn’t the genre for them but wants to get lost in a new and different type of story.
Personally, I believe that this book should be required reading for just about everyone. I marathon read I’m Still Here, for no other reason than I could not put the book down.
Part of the 2020 story is the social unrest that we continue to work through. The accurate learning of our history and the collective unveiling of the racial divide that continues to plague us. A pandemic of another kind if you will.
If you picked up any of the many anti-racist reading books that spent time atop the NYT Bestsellers list this summer, I deeply believe you need to also need to add Austin Channing Brown’s memoir to your list. Her story highlights the slightly more insidious ways in which race often shows up. For example, in the “well-meaning” comments, the interpretation of feedback, or even preconceived expectations.
Undoubtedly Politics had to show up on this list. Not only did 2020 offer an election like no other. But rather, the call to civic action has been stronger now than I remember in the past. Reading Our Time is Now was like a marching order to get in the arena.
Catapulted to a household name by an election that was marked by deep inequality, Stacey Abrams in her book calls us all in to protect and advocate for the most sacred of rights — our right to vote. Moreover, she tells of what is at stake if we don’t fight. This year politics has felt weighty. Even I, a political wonk of sorts, have easily been pushed to sarcasm and cynicism, with growing feelings of helplessness and entrenched unfairness.
I’m glad that Our Time is now found its way into my life as the last book of 2020. Reading it renewed my faith that this fight is worth it and demands all of us. If this year has pushed you to the proverbial political brink, I recommend this book to you as a reminder of why not only is it is worth it – it’s necessary.
Lastly, on the list is She Said. Shockingly, She Said was the first book I finished in 2020. The mere fact I’m still talking about it after *gestures broadly* everything that has happened is a token that this book had to make this list. She Said tells the story of breaking the Harvey Weinstein scandal. It is a story that shows of the power of unrelenting journalism, truth, and courage.
Especially in a year where the media has been under constant criticism, and despite the fact that 2017 seems like a lifetime ago — there’s no doubt that this book is worth reading. If you remember the shockwave that was the Weinstein story, this book will only make you appreciate it more.
What’s on your Book List?
Thus, we’ve reached the end of my 2020 top 5 book list. I’m looking forward to more reads in this coming year. I’ll have a post up soon about what I’m looking forward to reading but in the mean time….what was on your best of read list this year?
Let me know in the comments, I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
P.S. some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means if you purchase I will earn a small commission. Think of it as Amazon smile but the donation helps pay me pay for a coffee.