Top Ten Tuesday: Standout Books of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is top ten reads of 2020. I got back into reading this year in a big way. I read many more books than I have in the past few years, thanks to quarantine (especially in spring when everything was closed). I also read some stellar books that reminded me why I’ve always loved reading, and prompted me to read more and seek out amazing finds (and to also DNF ones that aren’t speaking to me – why waste time?) Without further ado…

Writers & Lovers by Lily King – One of my favourite books of the year, and maybe of all-time. It truly captures, unlike any other book I’ve read, that period in your late 20s/early 30s, when you’re trying to figure your life out. When all your friends seem to be in long-term relationships or married or having kids while you’re still dating around. When your friends have given up on their creative aspirations while you’re still slaving away at your novel or chasing after other creative pursuits. When you’re trying to get by and things keep piling up – heartbreak, grief, health scares. It was so relatable to me for many, many reasons, and is inspiration for exactly the kind of novel I aim to write.

Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty – When I was a teen, I loved reading Jaclyn Moriarty’s children’s and young adult novels, like The Year of Secret Assignments and Feeling Sorry for Celia. This is her first adult novel, and it has her usual quirky charm and clever wit. It is original and magical, funny and heartbreaking all at once. One of those rare novels where you have absolutely no idea where it’s headed – and where seemingly unconnected characters and plot points combine wonderfully at the end.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane – This book tackles some heavy topics such as mental illness and alcoholism, but it is an ultimately redemptive novel about family and forgiveness.

Lie With Me by Philippe Besson – Like a pared-down, straightforward version of Call Me By Your Name. It shot me like an arrow through the heart – I dare you not to cry at the last lines.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did, as I’m not usually a fan of romance novels, but this was genuinely delightful. Full of millennial sass, charming banter, political optimism, and an adorable enemies-to-lovers story.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – I read this as part of a virtual company book club one of my coworkers organized, and I’m so glad I did! It was so well-written, and I could not stop turning the pages.

Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski – A poetic, lyrical, moving, emotional, literary debut set in Communist-era Poland. One of those books you read slowly because you don’t want it to end.

We the Animals by Justin Torres – A coming-of-age story about three rambunctious brothers, half-white and half-Puerto Rican, told in the form of short stories or snippets from their strange and tumultuous childhood.

Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti – Deb Caletti never disappoints, and this is no exception. An important YA thriller about self-discovery, internalized misogyny and sexism, and the male gaze.

Have you read any of these books? What were your favourite reads of the year?

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Standout Books of 2020”

  1. Red, White & Royal Blue was SUCH a fun book! I don’t read too many straight-up romances, but I’m so glad I picked it up. Definitely a highlight of my reading year, as well!


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