I struggle with a Best Books list every year, just as I refuse to choose a “favorite” book. This was a year of cognitive dissonance in reading choices. I wanted nothing more than to better understand pandemics, viruses, and politics. At the same time, I just wanted to escape. More often than not, the former won out. 

As a result of those factors, I can’t pick just one 2020 favorite. In fact, I can’t even narrow it down to four or five choices. So, I have a long list for you from the books I read in 2020. 

I’m restricting myself to one sentence to describe each choice and of course you can go visit the original review. Like the original year of this book blog project, I’m using my categories—Relax, Resist, Learn—as a guide.


  • Sorcerer to the Crown: unique premise that blends historical fiction and fantasy, my favorite kind of combination
  • In Pieces: a well-written Hollywood memoir with grit, heart, and minimal salacious gossip
  • A Knock at Midnight: at the end I was cheering for the author and her clients
Historical fiction
  • Other People’s Pets: crackling good writing in a feel-good family and self-realization story
  • Gun Island: so amazing that I’m planning to read two more of his books in 2021


Social Justice


Medical memoir
Chronic illness
Everything else

Without intentionally trying to, I’ve chosen 20 books. That’s a fitting end to a year we all wanted to intensely to leave in the rearview mirror. Cheers to reading great books in 2021!

p.s. If you’re looking for a list of “best of” lists from 2020, check this one out on LitHub.