Trudy’s Best Books of 2020

This year, I read somewhere between 90-95 books, which is lower than previous years — and lower still when you realize that a sizeable chunk (maybe close to 20?) or those 90+ were rereads of old favourites. There were weeks during the height of the COVID lockdown here in March/April when I couldn’t wrap my brain around any new reading and just reread books I already knew and loved and felt safe with. Despite that, I did manage to read some stunning new books this year.

I found it super hard to narrow down even just my fiction reads to a Top Ten list this year — I went through my reviews for the year and made a note of all those that were “five star reviews” in my mind (not that I give stars, but you know what I mean). That left me with a Top 16, which would be fine except … I just like round numbers, multiples of five, Top Ten lists generally.

The ten novels I finally narrowed it down to as absolute favourites are listed below with links to my reviews. They’re listed in the order that I read them during the year, not in a ranking from 1-10 – that would be impossible!

Top Ten Fiction:

  1. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
  2. The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel
  3. The Book of Longingsby Sue Monk Kidd
  4. The Empire of Goldby S.A. Chakraborty
  5. Some People’s Childrenby Bridget Canning
  6. Hamnet and Judithby Maggie O’Farrell
  7. Piranesiby Susanna Clark
  8. Jackby Marilynne Robinson
  9. Watching You Without Meby Lynn Coady
  10. Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi

As I said, very tough choices. Some great books got left off the list, but you can look back through all my reviews for the year to see all the ones I raved about.

I wanted to do non-fiction as a separate list this year, because although I didn’t read as much of it (and thus have only a Top Five not a Top Ten), there were some real stand-outs on that list too.

Top Five Non-Fiction:

  1. What the Oceans Remember, by Sonja Boon
  2. How to Be an Antiracistby Ibram X. Kendi
  3. The Skin We’re Inby Desmond Cole
  4. Pale Riderby Laura Spinney
  5. Nativeby Kaitlyn Curtice

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