Best books of 2020 (published in 2020)

For all its many, many faults, 2020 was a great year for reading. I had plenty of time for it, meaning I got through a whopping 107 books. I rediscovered a love for audiobooks. And a glut of incredible new titles meant that I already had something exciting and fresh to read (and a great selection on my library’s Libby meant that there were always new ones coming in on my hold lists, so I read more newly-released titles this year than in some other years), along with my endless list of to-reads from years past.

In fact, I read so many great books this year that I found it really hard to narrow down my favourites. I’ve decided to split my list into two parts: books published in 2020, and books published earlier than 2020.

So whether you’re looking for something hot off the press or a modern classic, here are my picks for best of the year, starting with books newly released in 2020.

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What I Read in October

Bad weather and a new lockdown meant October was another great reading month. There’s nothing better than curling up with a book when you have nothing else to do and the wind is howling outside. Here’s what was on my reading list this month:

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One More Thing by BJ Novak (2014): 4/5 stars

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There’s a video on Youtube of BJ Novak telling the story of “Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Bicycle.” It’s pretty grainy and the sound quality isn’t that great… and I’ve watched it enough times that when I reached the story in Novak’s first story collection,¬†One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, I could hear his voice in my head and could probably have recited the story nearly by heart myself.

Maybe that’s a sign I’ve followed BJ Novak’s career too closely, along with the fact that I recognised a few of the collection’s shorter “stories” as originally being from his Twitter account, but ever since I started watching¬†The Office and Ryan Howard became one of my favourite characters on the show even in his most hate-able moments (that blond hair), I’ve been a big fan. So in fairness, this is a pretty biased review, as I already knew his sense of humour and writing style was in my wheelhouse.

Regardless, I loved this book, and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish reading it. Every time I thought “I’ll stop after this story, save the rest for the next day,” I found myself reading another. Some were longer, while others were only a few lines (for example, “The Literalist’s Love Poem”: Roses are rose. Violets are violet. I love you.). The thing that I found most engaging about the collection was the tone.

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