My Favorite Books of 2020

11 January 2021

2020 would have been a much harder year to get through if it wasn't for reading. Keeping up with my reading goal was a great way to keep my mind off of things that were happening in my life and in the world around me. While I didn't read more than I normally do in a year, I'm still extremely glad I was able to exceed my goal of 60 slightly with finishing 64 books! 


I'm planning on doing a more in depth post about my reading stats, because I tracked everything in a lot more detail this year. But until then I wanted to write my favorite post to put out every year: my favorite books of the year! I love reflecting back on what stories have stuck with me ever since I first read it, and I love recommending the best of the best so that you can maybe find a new favorite yourself from my experiences.


This list doesn't include any rereads, and it's not strictly books that were released this year. It's just the best books I picked up for the first time in 2020. As you'll see, this was the year I got back into reading big books. All my favorites, except one, are well over 500 pages, and I can't say I'm mad about it!


11/22/63 - Stephen King


When it came to picking my number one favorite of the year, this book and my second choice are extremely close. I go back and forth every day over which on I prefer more, but when I really force myself to decide between them, my heart says it's this one. Besides being my first introduction to Stephen King, I loved the overall concept of a time traveler attempting to change a historical event for the greater good. The relationships and character work done in this book is perfect, and the ending broke me. There were some parts that seemed to drag while I was reading, but looking back I can see how everything in the plot had a purpose to build the characters and the world building dynamics of the time travel. I have a full review of this book up with all my detailed thoughts, but this has and will continue to be a book that I will think about often.


The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton


The first book I read in 2020! I may be a completely different person than I was when I read this one, it has stuck with me through the whole year. It's a book that won't be for everyone. It's extremely dense historical fiction with a very large cast of characters, but I absolutely love all of it! At face value, this story is a mystery set during the New Zealand gold rush, but there's so much more to it. There's romance, crime, manipulation, and a magical realism aspect to it. You have to pay more attention when you read this book, but it's so worth the effort! This may be the book I'm most excited to reread in the new year to catch all the nuances I missed the first time. I have a full review written on this book if you want to hear me talk more about how much I love it!


A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin


This series, books and TV show, defined a large part of my summer. My husband and I binged the whole series, and I became obsessed. When I was extremely annoyed with the way the show ended (don't even get me started on that), I decided to read the books in the small hope that George R. R. Martin will release the true ending and I'll finally feel satisfied. This is truly a classic fantasy series that explores the complexities of medieval politics. It also explores morality and human nature through the memorable characters and the choices they make. It's so dark and interesting and I totally understand all the hype surrounding this story!


Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster - Jonathan Auxier


Jonathan Auxier may have become my favorite middle grade author this year. I read Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes several years ago, but I had never picked up any more of Auxier's work until this March. All I can say is that I am so glad that this was the book I was reading when the world was ending. It's such a comforting middle grade read, but it's so smart. It follows the heartwarming story of a young chimney sweep who deals with abandonment. She is given a monster to take care of and through teaching the monster the ways of life she grows up too. It's so whimsical for kids, but still deals with real emotions and issues that even adults can relate with. I loved it!


The Great Hunt - Robert Jordan


This may be the first time that a middle book in a series has made it to my favorites list. I started the long journey of reading through the Wheel of Time series this year, and so far this second installment is my favorite!  While the first book was fun, it was very trope-y, and it wasn't until I read The Great Hunt that I finally started to realize why people obsess over this fantasy series so much. The world and the magic system is so unique to any other fantasy book I've ever read. Each book adds to the epic scale and the characters have been developing so well. I can't wait to continue chipping away at these books and sharing my thoughts on them this next year!


The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch


I somehow got invested in multiple unfinished fantasy series this year. The Lies of Locke Lamora blew me away with just how smart it was. This is a fantasy series that's more motivated by the characters than the plot or world building. There's hardly any magic in this first book at all. Scott Lynch is building something that is so unique in how the world of The Lies of Locke Lamora is so small. It's not huge in scope or epic in its adventure. The characters are extremely flawed and it can be hard to root for them at times, but you become so attached to them. The story is also not told in a linear way, but in flashbacks and flashforwards. You learn a little bit at a time about what's going on, and in the end your mind is blown! I can't believe I haven't read the sequels to this book yet, but I'm definitely prioritizing them in 2021.


Words of Radiance - Brandon Sanderson


Yet another sequel on this list? What's happening to me? I read The Way of Kings last year, and while I liked it, I didn't get obsessed with The Stormlight Archive series in the first book. This book changed that, though. Since I was already attached to the characters and understood the world from the first book, this installment really expanded on the plot and the deeper character motivations. There's a reason why so many people say that this one is their favorite in the series. There are some truly iconic moments that happen. I couldn't help but gasp out loud at some parts. Yet again, this is another series I must continue soon to get caught up for whenever the next release comes out.

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What do you think of my list? Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear what your favorite books of 2020 were!


Read about my previous favorite books of each year:


My Favorite Books of 2019

My Favorite Books of 2018

My Favorite Books of 2017

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