My Top 20 Books of 2020

This year presented a conflict for many readers: more time to read but more distractions than ever. The pandemic and presidential election combined to make it hard to concentrate on long-form reading, what with the obsessive need to stay informed pulling readers away from the books they were desperately trying to read.

As a result, I read fewer books than last year. Most of my favorite books were published this year, but several are from 2019. So this is simply a list of the 20 books by women that I enjoyed and/or admired the most in 2020. If you’re surprised by the omission of some acclaimed books published in 2020, it could be that I haven’t read them yet. There’s a good chance you’ll see several 2020 books on my 2021 list.

I haven’t done a mini-review about why I chose each book because (a) I’ve already reviewed some of them and (b) anyone reading this blog is probably already familiar with most of these books. And there’s a wealth of info about all of them at your fingertips.

You can support Read Her Like an Open Book and independent bookstores by purchasing books mentioned here using this link:

In alphabetical order by author:

The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett (Riverhead Books)
The Undocumented Americans – Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (One World Books)
Dominicana – Angie Cruz (Flatiron Books)
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo (Black Cat/Grove Atlantic)
The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions)
What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance – Carolyn Forche (Penguin Press)
Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
Writers & Lovers — Lily King (Grove Press)
Animal Spirit: Stories — Francesca Marciano (Pantheon)
The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone – Felicity McLean (Algonquin Books)
The Dutch House – Ann Patchett (Harper Perennial)
Fresh Water for Flowers – Valerie Perrin (Europa Editions)
The Dragons, The Giant, The Women — Wayetu Moore (Graywolf Press)
Once Removed: Stories – Colette Sartor (University of Georgia Press)
The Everlasting — Katy Simpson Smith (Harper)
A Prayer for Travelers – Ruchika Tomar (Riverhead Books)
The Taste of Sugar — Marisel Vera (Liveright)
The Yield — Tara June Winch (Harper Via)
How Much of These Hills is Gold – C Pam Zhang (Riverhead Books)

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