Wednesday, December 30, 2020

My Favorite Books of 2020

Okay, guys....we're finally almost done with 2020. So close!

And while I have a lot of grievances with this year, my reading experience is not one of them. I had a definite lull at the start of quarantine - I couldn't shut my mind down enough to get lost in any one else's story. The world just seemed so dangerous and unknown at the time - nothing else mattered.

But despite that, I beat my personal record for books read in a year. I'm a little bummed I didn't make it to 100 (darn you, quarantine lull!) because that's a personal goal of mine...but there's always next year!

I also expanded my reading horizons. Mostly thanks to Book of the Month (how did I ever live without it?) and a friend with a similar voracious love of books. So some of my favorites for the year are typical (love love a good romance), but there were some surprises, too. 

So here's what blew my socks off this year. (In no particular order.)

Best books of 2020 | www.jennrych.com


In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
I just said that these were in no order, but this may be my favorite. I can't even explain why? There's just something about this particular love story...all wrapped up in Christmas and a little bit of the supernatural. *Chef's kiss!* I first read this book as an e-arc through NetGalley over the summer, and loved it so much that I bought a BOTM copy when it was the top choice in December. I've never purchased a book that I'd already read...I feel like I've crossed an obsessive line, haha. I re-read it a few weeks ago and it was just as good as the first time. Love love love it, and I recommend it constantly. (See my original review here.)

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Sigh, Fredrik Backman! This man understands life. He GETS how beautiful even the ugly and hard parts are. And not only that, he is skilled at articulating his understanding. He has a gift, truly. This was such a great book in so many ways. It was full of complicated relationships and mistakes, but it also had humor and heartwarming interactions. It was his most quickly-moving book, too. His books normally take a while to digest, but this was such a smooth-flowing treat. I adored it. (So did Matt! I had him read it and he said it was one of his top 2 of the year!)

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
This book was the biggest departure from my usual preferences....but something was urging me make this my BOTM pick in October. I'm so glad I did! The first half of the book moved slowly - full of an abundance of details and names set in the 1700's. It required a lot of attention and patience. However, as Addie's life took a new path in modern day America and we got to see her working towards the resolution to her predicaments, I was hooked. Invested. Enthralled. Even through the slower parts, this book was gorgeous - both in craft and story. It was a whole experience, and you should definitely add this to your list in 2021 if you didn't get to it this year. (See my original review here.)

My favorite books of the year! | www.jennrych.com

Beach Read by Emily Henry
Another BOTM pick! So are the three above. I think that means that Book of the Month knows what they are doing! This one had such an adorable premise - dueling writers, a hate to love scenario, reinvention of lives, and an indulgent romance. Though I wish it had actually been a little bit more beachy than it turned out to be, I enjoyed this book SO much. (See my original review here.)

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
This is a gorgeous book. I might be a little biased, as the writer has spent many of her years in my area so she feels like a bit of a hometown hero, but this was so well done! It's part memoir, part nature-based non-fiction, part poetry, and all beautiful. I adored it. Reading it was a whole vibe. (See my original review here.)

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Backman, my man! That's almost enough to explain why it was a favorite. Again, it's his ability to capture the human condition with beautiful words and his talent for putting his characters into unique, evolving situations that made this a favorite for me. It moves a bit slow (as I feel some of his other books have as well), but it's so beautiful and well-done that I didn't mind. I cried. It was gorgeous. (See my original review here.)

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley
This one is harder for me to recap because I read it allllll the way at the start of 2020 - in another world. One without a pandemic and endless repetitive days conducive to reading. My perception of...well, everything...has changed so much since then that it's hard to even remember my mind back in January. I know that I adored the mixture of the supernatural dream world mixed with the longing and love tied up in all of these characters, and I was totally gutted by how this book ended. (It's coming back to me now...ah, the hurt! The adoration!) This book rides a rollercoaster of emotion and leaves you wanting to know how, why, when, and why again. I loved it. (See my original review here.)

Becoming by Michelle Obama
This one was a favorite less because of the content (though it was very interesting and informative) but more because of the gorgeous way Michelle Obama writes. She tells a story with grace and poise and beauty with little bits of humor woven in - the same way she presents herself in life. Reading this book was calming and comforting in an unexpected way, and for a while gave me an intentional and flowing lens with which to see my own daily life. It's so well done. Listening to her, whether through the written word or a televised speech, is always a treat. (See my original review here.)

Matt asked me to name my very favorite book from this list and I couldn't. Best I could do was top 4, and I'll leave you to guess which four those are. ;)

SO - did you read any of these and love them too? What were your favorite reads of the year? Let me know so I can check them out while I'm building my 2021 list! 



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