2020 yielded my best reading year since childhood. I had an initial goal of 50, changed it to 75 a few months in, and ended up with 99. I tried so hard to get that 100th book in, but I struggled through my last one I started before the end of the year. Here are my top picks in backwards ranking order.
10. The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate: I never thought about how freed slaves needed to be reunited with family members that had been scattered after the Civil War. I enjoyed the characters in this story and I loved how it changed my perspective. Wingate is an engaging writer. (historical fiction)
9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: The first word that comes to mind is lyrical. I listened to the audio version of this book, which I highly recommend. The story felt truly ethereal and stretched my imagination. (fantasy)
8. The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson: This book was absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable, but I loved it. I next to never laugh out loud at a book; however, I was nearly rolling at some points. (fiction- humor)
7. The Whisper Man by Alex North: I hate reading a book called a thriller and feeling bored. This book delivers on its promise of thrills. The story felt genuinely creepy and definitely kept me guessing. (thriller)
6. Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One by Raphaelle Giordano: Imagine life coaching in fiction form. If you feel stuck in a rut with your life, this book offers generous and sound advice through the fictional account of a character named Camille. The author brilliantly used her own life experience to create an enjoyable reading experience with practical ideas you can use in your own. (women’s fiction)
5. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance: I love a good, true success story. Hearing about someone overcoming difficult circumstances makes me feel so inspired. If you enjoyed Educated, you should like this one, too. (memoir)
4. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: If you watched the movie, you definitely should still read the book. The level of detail is so much greater. 2020 has shown us that the United States still has a loooong way to go with race relations. This book shines a light in dark places. I have so much admiration for people who show the willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of others. So good! (autobiography)
3. Blessed Are the Misfits by Brant Hansen: Can you think of a book that you finished and you’ve thought, “This author gets me.” That’s how I felt at the end of this book. I simply felt understood. If you are an introvert with a tendency to be socially awkward, I highly recommend this book. Extroverts shouldn’t bother. (Christian nonfiction)
2. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: I loved this book because I related to the main character, a teen girl named Stevie, in so many ways…loves mysteries, slightly socially awkward, highly anxious, etc. This book felt like a slightly more grown up version of Nancy Drew. I read all three in the series and cannot wait for the fourth one to come out. (young adult mystery)
1. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig: I appreciate books that make me think deeply. This book blew my mind at every turn. I’m still thinking about it days after reading it. The ideas that life is a series of choices that we have more control over than we think and that regrets are such a waste of time really resonated with me. If you or someone you love struggles with depression and/or suicidal thoughts, I highly recommend this book to show how much life is worth living. (fantasy/science fiction)
I’m struck by the diversity of genres that I read this year. I hope you find one of your next favorite reads from this list.