Top Books Read in 2020

2020 bit it on many counts, but it did invite me to have much time to be at home reading. Did I take up the offer? Let’s compare this one to recent years, for all types of books:

  • 2020 — 147 books read
  • 2019 — 183
  • 2018 — 101
  • 2017 — 225

I landed a little under the average of the previous three years. My guess is that the writing time 2020 also let me have was well used. As for that 2018 dip? That year, I read fewer but, on average, longer books.

Of the 147 books for 2020, what stuck with me the most? What still needles me for attention?

Find the following books at your local store listed at or shop online through or (These links may provide a small monetary benefit to the referrer.)

Series: C. J. Box’s Joe Pickett series reigned. A long series rarely captures me, but Box had me hooked on his game warden from book one. In 2020, I read books one through sixteen, and I’m saddling up (sic) for the rest.

Standalone Fiction: This Town Sleeps is Dennis E. Staples’s lovely, somewhat experimental novel of a man trying to choose his best location. With honesty, he addresses childhood, family, extended friends, and love (or is it desire?).

Science Fiction: Una McCormack’s Picard: The Last Best Hope was joy after joy: a world I wanted to know more about, and the author really cared about the way sentences flowed. The book is a writer’s dream of witnessing another writer choose words, build sentences, and craft paragraphs.

Nonfiction: Do you ever get drawn to take notes as you read? The Sociology Book (Tomley and Hobbs) pulled me to do that. This was a marvelous tour of thinkers who have shaped modern sociology.

Teen / Young Adult: The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta and Camp by L. C. Rosen didn’t shy away from the lives of queer young adults. Set in different places with different concerns and styles, the two novels are perfect to witness realistic paths of self-discovery.

Middle Grade: Jerry Craft’s New Kid managed to be about important issues by showing characters in the midst of them. It’s a great read to explore what situations someone may experience when they change surroundings and wonder if they have to change too.

Picture Book: Simona Ciraolo’s Shy Ones and Jacob Grant’s No Pants! hold their own in any pile of picture books. Shy Ones is heartfelt, about what it means to be shy and how it’s not necessarily something that needs much fixing. No Pants! offers smiles all around as a child doesn’t want to wear pants (read: jeans, trousers, and the like, not underpants). Our hero is reminded of their requirement yet discovers a more complicated truth.

Read more about the importance of the writing ecosystem here.

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