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My Year in Books {2020}


2020 has been a year. What is there to say about it that hasn't already been said? While I'm excited to move on to 2021, I want to look back on the past twelve months first. Since 2015, I've shared a series of posts that I call "My Year in ______" to highlight my favorite things from the year. It's one reason I always look forward to December! There were a lot of things I didn't love about 2020, but I am excited to spend the next week talking about some of the good things. Today, it's all about books! • Books in 2016, 20172018, and 2019

In 2020, I've finished 168 books. Although it's less than last year, I'm pleased with that number. I had a baby in February and wondered if it would disrupt my reading as much as my firstborn did back in 2016. But I think being better prepared + my changing reading habits contributed to a steadier pace throughout the year. Thank goodness for audiobooks because my year in books would have looked very different without that format.

I'd love to squeeze in two more books to end the year 170, but we'll see what happens! Every year I break up my list of favorites a little differently. I decided to go by genre this year, even though they aren't evenly divided. I settled on 20 favorites – 15 fiction and 5 non-fiction – which represents 12% of what I read this year. If you'd like to know what would make my Top 10 for Top Ten Tuesday, you'll see a red heart () following those titles.

HISTORICAL


1. Betty by Tiffany McDaniel   A heartbreaking, gorgeous story with vivid storytelling, a strong  voice, and an unforgettable heroine. This was an emotional gut punch, and I loved everything about it (including the audio). 

Honorable Mentions: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes and Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

FANTASY


2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – This felt like a modern fairy tale, and I loved how it went back and forth in time. The tenacious heroine anchoring the story cemented this as a favorite and future re-read.

3. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas – I had mixed feelings about this book until I got to the last 25%, which packed a punch. But it still earned a spot because I keep thinking about the story and characters! 

Honorable Mention: Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

MYSTERY


4. Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith  I loved this mystery, and the journey to get to the final reveal was amazing. Plus, the dynamic between Cormoran and Robin that had me clutching this book like a giddy schoolgirl. 

5. The Trespasser by Tana French  This take-no-shit female detective was a force to be reckoned with, and I loved how French used a sense of paranoia to to keep my on my toes. I highly recommend this on audio!

6. A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson – An addicting, thrilling story that kept me hooked! The heroine's inquisitive personalty, sense of humor, and pursuit of justice made this a standout mystery.

7. How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny My favorite Gamache! Penny delivered on a storyline that she'd been building from the very first book with a high-stakes search for answers that had me racing to finish. 

CONTEMPORARY


8. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane  Heartwarming, emotional perfection. The romance was adorable, but I love how it focuses on the heroine's personal growth first and foremost. A favorite from McFarlane!

9. The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez  The only book on my list that I read twice this year! It was the comfort read I needed in the midst of 2020's craziness. It had me grinning, swooning, and tearing up, too.

10. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig  A charming surprise! The premise was clever, and Haig structured the story in a way that kept the pace moving. I loved how it explored choices, regrets, and how to fully live.

11. Beach Read by Emily Henry It had so many elements I love: great backstories, quippy banter, a fabulous female friendship, a fun premise, and a surprising amount of emotion. I love romances with depth! 

12. Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis  A charming book blew me away! I swooned, cried, and wanted to reach into the book to hug this heroine. I finished this with a huge grin on my face and immediately bought the audio.

13. The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan   The much-anticipated sequel to The Royal We didn't disappoint! It was the perfect blend of thought-provoking scenarios and dramatic, dishy fun.

14. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – I love sensing that every single character has a story, no matter how long they spend on the page. A book about what it means to be human with some fun surprises along the way.

15. Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan   This is a little long and slow, but it totally worked for me. I love how it explored motherhood, marriage, class, and privilege. The characters were so well developed!

Honorable Mentions: The Comeback by Ella Berman, Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin, You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle, Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan, and Headliners by Lucy Parker 

NON-FICTION


16. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb – An insightful book about therapy, what it means to be human, and how we cope with pain, our pasts, and try to change our future. It read like fiction, in the best way.

17. Know My Name by Chanel Miller Miller's infuriating and heartbreaking memoir about her sexual assault and subsequent trial and sentencing is written with so much honesty, insight, and emotion. I think of it often.

18. I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott  I felt like I read this book at the exact right time in my life and loved how Philpott discussed memory, time, and identity in such a wise, relatable and funny way.

19. Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl – The more I read, the more I found myself immersed in Renkl's beautiful storytelling and keen view of the world. A moving book about loss and grief that made me cry.

20. The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi – The genius of Adachi's methodology is that it's practical, applicable to any situation, and helps you identify what matters to YOU. I look forward to re-reading it!

Honorable Mentions: Busy Toddler's Guide to Actual Parenting by Susie Allison, Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel, The Real Jane Austen by Paula Byrne, and Stir by Jessica Fechtor

What was your favorite book of 2020?
Are any of these on your list? Or on your TBR pile?

10 comments

  1. I have to read that Tana French novel this next year!

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  2. I love the Robin/Strike dynamic so much! Can't wait to see where she goes with it

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  3. I've heard so many good things about The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

    My post.

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  4. I just added Lazy Genius to my wish list. Thanks!

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  5. Beach Read made my favorites list, too. And I can't wait to read Haig's Midnight Library because he's also a favorite author. Great list! :)

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  6. Anxious People made my list today, too. Such a good read!

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  7. Addie LaRue and A Good Girl's Guide To Murder were both on my list this week too.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/top-ten-tuesday-296/

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  8. What a great collection of books. Beach Read was brilliant and just barely didn't make my list this week.

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  9. Congrats on the baby! I’m looking forward to reading Addie LaRue and finding out what the hype is about. Happy 2021!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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