Everything I Read in 2020, Ranked by Genre.

Everything I Read in 2020, Ranked by Genre.
bracelets are holst + lee!

It’s a big week of books content over here! Earlier in the week, I published everything I read in December, now it’s time to talk about the full year.

This year, I read 96 books (compared to 83, last year). I wasn’t sure how this year would compare to last year as there were stretches where I was so anxious that I could not focus on anything so found myself re-watching old favorites on TV. But the more I think about it, it tracks. I started listening to audiobooks on my walks/when doing chores to read more non-fiction, and even though I had a hard time concentrating I overall did have a lot more time on my hands. Of the 96 books I read, 36 (38%) were by BIPOC authors. This is a huge focus for me and I’d like for this number to be higher in 2020 so please tell me your favs (especially thrillers and mysteries) in the comments section.

To keep this post from being an actual novel, I didn’t include any descriptions but if you want my review, just type the name of the book into the search bar of the blog. You can also browse my Book Club page which has shorter descriptions of each book. Also! I changed the titles from “best” to “my favorite,” as these are just my personal views of the books I read. I’m by no means a literary critic or expert, I just love to read and these are my opinions.

Everything I Read in 2020

My favorite non-fiction from this year

I read 17 non-fiction books this year as opposed to just 9 non-fiction books last year. As I mentioned above, this has a lot to do with starting to listen to audiobooks (I love a memoir via audiobook). I starred the ones that I listened to… there were 8, which funny enough makes up the difference.

I didn’t feel comfortable ranking these as they are all important, and it’s difficult to compare an important, educational anti-racist book to an amazing memoir, you know? Or how do you possibly compare Jessica Simpson’s memoirs with Obama’s? I enjoyed them equally, for very different reasons. I’d highly recommend any of these, with the exception of Uncanny Valley. I did not enjoy that book at all, and frankly do not understand all the hype around it.

Memoirs / Biographies
Anti-racism non-fiction
Other non-fiction

My favorite thrillers + suspense from this year

I read 30 thrillers this year, up from 25 last year. I would say the first 13 are no-miss. And I really fell in love with Tiffany D. Jackson’s books this year. Their a little YA-ish but they’re so dark that I didn’t list them under YA.

  1. The Last Flight, by Julie Clark
  2. The Wife Upstairs, by Rachel Hawkins
  3. White Ivy, by Susie Yang
  4. Monday’s Not Coming, by Tiffany D. Jackson
  5. Allegedly, by Tiffany D. Jackson
  6. Grown, by Tiffany D. Jackson
  7. You Are Not Alone, by Greer Hendricks + Sarah Pekkanen
  8. When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
  9. The Wife Stalker, by Liv Constantine
  10. Pretty Things, by Janelle Brown
  11. Invisible Girl, by Lisa Jewell
  12. The Lies We Told by Camilla Way
  13. Long Bright River by Liz Moore
  14. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix
  15. Lakewood, by Megan Giddings
  16. Home Before Dark, by Riley Sager
  17. The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica
  18. The Guest List, by Lucy Foley
  19. The Last House Guest, by Megan Miranda
  20. Reputation, by Sara Shepard
  21. A Good Marriage, by Kimberly McCreight
  22. People Like Her, by Ellery Lloyd
  23. My Sister The Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  24. Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
  25. When the Lights Go Out, by Mary Kubica
  26. Perfectly Famous, by Emily Liebert
  27. Before She Was Helen, by Caroline Cooney
  28. Follow Me, by Kathleen Barber
  29. He Started It, by Samantha Downing
  30. Sleeping with Strangers by Eric Jerome Dickey

My favorite light reads from this year

I read 28 lighter reads this year (up from 25 last year).

  1. One to Watch, by Kate Stayman-London
  2. Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
  3. Destination Wedding, by Diksha Basu
  4. The Boys Club, by Erica Katz
  5. The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, by Lori Nelson Spielman
  6. If I Never Met You, by Mhairi McFarlane
  7. You Had Me at Hola, by Alexis Daria
  8. Feels Like Falling, by Kristy Woodson Harvey
  9. Big Summer, by Jennifer Weiner
  10. The Comeback by Ella Berman
  11. Older by Pamela Redmond
  12. Rodham, by Curtis Sittenfeld
  13. The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
  14. Our Stop, by Laura Jane Williams
  15. Would Like to Meet, by Rachel Winters
  16. The Lies That Bind, by Emily Giffin
  17. Ties that Tether, by Jane Igharo
  18. Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein
  19. Happy and You Know It, by Laura Hankin
  20. The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes, by Elissa R. Sloan
  21. The Roommate, by Rosie Danan
  22. The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley
  23. This Time Next Year, by Sophie Cousens
  24. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
  25. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, by Josie Silver
  26. The Boyfriend Project, by Farah Rochon
  27. On The Island, by Tracy Garvis Graves
  28. Cobble Hill, by Cecily von Ziegesar

My favorite Young Adult Books from this year

Note: Some of these are also thrillers, I’ve starred those!

  1. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  2. Majesty, by Katharine McGee
  3. The Cousins by Karen McManus*
  4. They Wish They Were Us, by Jessica Goodman*
  5. Genuine Fraud, by E. Lockart*
  6. I’ll Give You The Sun, by Jandy Nelson
  7. Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson
  8. Deadly Little Scandals, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes*
  9. Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
  10. Admission, by Julie Buxbaum
  11. The Twin, by Natasha Preston*

My favorite more serious fiction

This is kinda just a catch-all for fiction books that are not light and historical fiction (Usually it gets its own category but I actually only read one historical fiction book – The Nickel Boys, so lumped it in with the rest!) I would HIGHLY recommend all of these books – there’s not a dud in the bunch.

  1. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
  2. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
  3. The Girl With The Louding Voice, by Abi Daré
  4. The Talented Miss Farwell, by Emily Gray Tedrowe
  5. An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin
  6. Patsy, by Nicole Dennis-Benn
  7. The Book of Longings, by Sue Monk Kidd
  8. The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel
  9. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
  10. The Changeling, by Victor Lavalle

PS – last year’s list… and 2018’s list, too!


photo of me by Allie Provost.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. 2020 was an up and down reading year for me too. But your and BOP’s recommendations definitely supplied some favorites. I thought Destination Wedding was fantastic!

    1.7.21 Reply
  2. Stacey:

    Love this breakdown! I agree that One to Watch was my top light read too this year. Can’t wait for more Jasmine Guilllory’s new book later this year! Transcendent Kingdom is my list to read next.

    1.7.21 Reply
  3. Love your book reviews! Thanks for the list 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    1.7.21 Reply
  4. Brooke Kruger:

    I love how you list out these, thank you.. I have read many of your top picks in my 88 reads in 2020. I track all my reads at my insta: @brookebookclub in case you are looking for other ideas.
    I also am liking your podcast and the Facebook group for ideas..

    Happy 2021 and happy reading.

    1.7.21 Reply
  5. Betsy:

    I just bookmarked this list – thank you! I have been focusing on reading more diverse voices for the last few years, so I appreciate having this to refer to (also discovered Tiffany D Jackson this year – love her books!)

    Some of my favorite BIPOC books I read last year were YA, including Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, Punching the Air, This Is How I Fly (which maybe was this year?) and Before the Ever After. All outstanding and definitely capable of capturing the attention of adult readers. Anything by Ibi Zoboi or Jacqueline Woodson is great. Also, Sharon Robinson (Jackie Robinson’s daughter!) has a YA book called Child of the Dream that I loved.

    Not BIPOC, but I just finished reading two books by British author Holley Bourne, Pretending and It Only Happens in the Movies. The latter is YA, but I thought both were interesting and had great discussion points. I was impressed at what she brings to the genres of YA and women’s fiction and look forward to more by her.

    I have horrible insomnia and recent events only exacerbated it . With a job, two kids, and a marriage to maintain, I still read 101 books last year. Is stress reading a thing? If so, I am doing it and your recommendations and lists were a wonderful asset to me in 2020. Here is hoping that 2021 is on the upswing and we have better and brighter days ahead from the brokenness.

    1.7.21 Reply
    • Thank you so much for the recommendations! I think stress reading is very much a thing. Here’s to a hopefully brighter year ahead.

      1.7.21 Reply
  6. Amanda C Block:

    Loved reading this list and enjoyed the way you organized it!

    1.7.21 Reply
  7. MSS:

    96 books is incredible! I read 27 this year–7 of which you have listed above and I must give you (and Becca) credit for getting me to read more than I usually do. I especially appreciate your dedication to promoting anti-racist and BIPOC authors. The Nickel Boys was my favorite read this year per your recommendation. My literary world has broadened, which is really one of the only good things to happen in 2020. Truly a bright spot, so thank you.

    1.7.21 Reply
    • I loved The Nickel Boys so much too – glad you enjoyed it!!! Cheers to a hopefully brighter 2021 🙂

      1.7.21 Reply
  8. I love your book recommendations! can’t wait to read some of these!
    I read promised land last year and loved it, now I’m digging into Michelle’s.

    1.7.21 Reply
  9. Maggie:

    I just finished Long Bright River five minutes ago. Wow. What a book.

    I read 71 books, about twice as much as I read in 2019. I attribute most of the increase to starting to use the Libby app about halfway through the year. I’m happy to read much more if I don’t have to pay Amazon ~$15 a pop for every Kindle book. I also made a few select purchases through Bookshop.org when I wanted a physical book to share after I finished reading it.

    I frequently refer to the book club page here on your blog and sort by Black authors, so thank you for keeping such good track of things in a very organized manner.

    1.7.21 Reply
  10. Mollye:

    Literally one of my favorite posts you do every year! Some good ones on here to check out. Thanks Grace & happy new year!

    1.7.21 Reply
  11. Allysa Z:

    My favorite post of the year! *heart eye emoji* thanks for sharing!! Now time to treat myself to a new murder 🙂

    1.7.21 Reply
  12. Hadley:

    My top ten of the year were……….
    The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne (I cried), The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing – Mira Jacob (LOVED), Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stewart, Wow No Thank You by Samantha Irby, A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne, The Glass Hotel – Emily St John Mandel, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, Rodham – Curtis Sittenfeld, The Gone World – Tom Sweterlitsch & Out by Natsuo Kirino.

    Thanks so much for this list! Have added many holds to my library list.

    xo Hadley

    1.8.21 Reply
  13. Jenn:

    My holds list at the library is now full thanks to this comprehensive list! Thanks so much for putting this together, Grace. Looking forward to following along with your reads again this year.

    1.8.21 Reply
  14. Amanda:

    Thank you for this list! I always look forward to your recommendations

    Also, those bracelets you’re wearing in the pic are amazing — could you share details of them? Thank you!

    1.8.21 Reply
  15. Carlota:

    Omg I was just looking for some new books to read, thank you for the list!

    1.10.21 Reply
  16. Brandi:

    Thanks for the list (and all the book lists) Grace! I have been in a place where I wasn’t reading as much… haven’t been able to stay focused on things lately (especially reading) but this weekend I looked up this list and starting picking. I’ve read The Last Flight, The Wife Upstairs and One to Watch since Sunday night! All great! I still haven’t accomplished many real life things this week but I have checked out of my own head at least! Ha! Thanks for the work you put into the book lists and your blog :).

    1.30.21 Reply
  17. Karen:

    I have an idea: recommendations for free reading through Amazon prime? I spend way too much money on books and while I know that will always be the case, I am trying to make an effort to utilize prime more for reading but am overwhelmed by the amount of books offered.

    2.19.21 Reply
  18. Donna:

    Love this post so much! Didn’t read as much in 2020 as I normally would (studied for my licensing exam and watched tons of TV). I also read The Other Mrs., The Last House Guest, Reputation, A Good Marriage and Darling Rose Gold. The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda was also pretty good! Currently reading and loving Know My Name and The Heir Affair.

    As always, love your recommendations! Will be picking up The Cousins and Genuine Fraud this week.

    2.23.21 Reply