2020 In Books!

We done got readered! (just kidding, mom, I know how to form sentences.)

(I think.)

FIFTY.FIVE.NOVELS. That’s what we (well, Ashlee and I) read this year. 55! I’m not sure if it was (is?) the combination of being home ALL THE TIME, or needing to escape reality, or the cerebral slack-slash-forgiveness in other life departments, or all of the above, but here we are. Books.

A lot of books.

And I’m more than fine with it.

So these are all the books I read this, year, but not exactly in this order. This group is first, yes, but starting with The Perfect Nanny and moving up. But backwards and reverse and inside out. Make sense?

Just kidding.

I’m also on Good Reads if you need yet another thing to add to your life.

So, out of this first group my absolute FAVES (not favs) are The Great Alone (obviously), The Giver of Stars (ugh), The Most Fun We Ever Had (want more like this!), The One (omggggg), and The Nightingale (well duh).

But I also really loved Regretting You, Such a Fun Age and Our Little Lies, holy cow.

Basically I’m going to be zero help today.

Okay this round was gu-uuud (said like Cousin Eddie). If I absolutely must pick favorites (please, hold me back) it’s going to be Heartburn (just a dang delight), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (give me more of this!), Verity (can’t stop thinking about that ending), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (just beautiful), Bridges of Madison County (I’d never read it!), The Lies that Bind (such delicious Giffin), and 28 Summers (such delicious Hilderbrand).

But all of them were so good! Which again, doesn’t help.

Ooooooo solid round. Okay, favorites would be: Never Have I Ever (so gross but you can’t stop), The Guest List (DO IT), The Scent Keeper (super sniffers unite!), Home Before Dark (the cover glows, guys), The Shining (only because I’d never read it), and One By One. And anything Hilderbrand. And the Vanishing Half was incredible, too!

Again, zero help.

The final round, leading us into the holidays. Most of the Christmas reads were cozy and snuggly, but my favorite two were In a Holidaze and Twelve Dates of Christmas. Read them next year!

The Memory Wood is also fantastic. (not a holiday book) So wild. And again with Elin. I love anything she touches. Heart Bones was a great read, as well!

Yes, you are correct, I’m no help at all.

Oh, you want a top 10 of the whole year? Seriously?

Alright, here goes nothing.

(and in no particular order because you know I cannot emotionally handle that right now.)

28 Summers

The Guest List

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


The Great Alone

The Lies That Bind

The Most Fun We Ever Had

The Giver of Stars

Home Before Dark

(all that linking hurt my head)

So here’s what ahead! I will say, I started Winter Garden and realized, uhhhh I’ve read this. Not this year or 2019, but a while back. Before Bev’s Imaginary Book Club. I can’t remember when exactly (and that makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills because I REMEMBER E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G), so it’s shelved. But it’s really really great, so read it!

I’m 70 pages into Mexican Gothic and absolutely loving. Anything in an ancient decrepit ghostly mansion with a giant dusty chandelier and I’m obviously in.

Okay, your turn! Tell me what your absolute favorite reads of this year were. And what I should add to my ever-growing 2021 list. Also, here are all of my previous Book Club Blog Posts Not Sure Why I’m Capitalizing All Of This.

See you next year with a brand new mixtape and a fun recipe to kick off 2021! Also, who here plans on being in bed by 9pm tomorrow night? Just me?


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38 Responses to 2020 In Books!

  1. Jennifer Cowan December 30, 2020 at 8:17 am #
    My top for 2020 Kitchens of the Great Midwest The Stationary Shop Long Bright River The Vanishing Half As Bright as Heaven I Liked my Life I agree with your list except for Hilderbrand (I don't read her) and I haven't read Home Before Dark...going on my TBR. Looking forward to Mexican Gothic, glad to hear you are enjoying it!
  2. Quinn December 30, 2020 at 8:19 am #
    A year in the books! I love historic fiction, and Ken Follett really delivers w/ the Century Trilogy (first book follows characters through WWI, second book follows their children through WWII, and so on). Probably learned more from these books than high school history (or maybe I just forgot). His Kingsbridge series is also outstanding: book one (which is the most recent release) starts in 998ad, Pillars of the Earth is like the 1100’s, and so on again. But all these books have perfect details, action and romance! Then there’s Kate Quinn’s the Huntress, which I DMed you about cuz it’s too good! Cheers!
  3. LACY December 30, 2020 at 8:40 am #
    I read all of the Ruth Ware books. Thanks, Bev and Ashlee for the rec. The Lying Game was the best in my opinion. I read The Magicians trilogy, which I had started years ago, and was talked into trying again by Ashlee. I reread all the Grisha trilogy for the tenth time and the 2 spin-off series, getting me VERY excited for the forthcoming Netflix show. I dove into Alice Hoffman for the first time. Gorgeous, lush writing. My hands-down favorite book of the year was The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Hoffman. Part Magical realism, part historical novel set in Coney Island in the early 1900s. Amazing.
  4. Susan Reynolds December 30, 2020 at 8:53 am #
    Haha! I love it - “going to be zero help today...”. That’s totally me. If you haven’t read Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross - it is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. It totally took me by surprise and became one of those books where finding another to read afterward was tough (because what was going to be as good as that?).
  5. Kate December 30, 2020 at 9:01 am #
    My favorites that weren’t on your list (and a bunch were) are Circe, Becoming, A Woman is No Man, Eleanor Oliphant, The Dutch House, One to Watch. So many good ones! These weren’t just 2020 published books but I just read them in 2020.
    • Maureen January 1, 2021 at 8:43 am #
      Circe was one of the most beautifully written books ever! I told Bev she needs to read it!
  6. Brie December 30, 2020 at 9:10 am #
    So many good ones this year ? a few that I would highly recommend to read are... The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. One of the most well written, interesting stories I’ve read to date. Another (have you read in previous years?) This a tender Land by William Kent Krueger, and his newer novel, Ordinary Grace. The Stationary Shop by Marian Kamali and The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. Both two of my top favs this year. And then a few good ones for the in between, get you happy in between the more intense reads are Love and Gelato and Love and Olives both by Jenna Evan’s Welch. Too many to choose from and to decide between. Excited for American Gothic too!! Happy reading
  7. Amy December 30, 2020 at 9:44 am #
    Great list! My favorites this year: Know My Name by Chanel Miller, Devolution by Max Brooks, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, Last Flight by Julie Clark, and I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown.
  8. Kelly Griffith December 30, 2020 at 10:42 am #
    I love your book posts! One of my favorites I read this year is one from a few years back, Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner. I could NOT put it down. I also loved Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, You, Me, Everything by Catherine Isaac, Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, and A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler. If you haven't read any of those, check them out!
  9. Smitha December 30, 2020 at 11:01 am #
    You must read Beach Read! And Sundown Motel and Night Swim.
  10. Amy December 30, 2020 at 11:03 am #
    I loved so many of these! The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one of my all time favorite books. I added 28 summers to my list. It’s been a while since I read Elin. And I agree on the Lies that Bind. So good!
  11. Shelby December 30, 2020 at 11:20 am #
    So many great books! My absolute favorites of the year that I HIGHLY recommend are Home going by Yaa Gyasi, Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, Not What I Expected by Jewel E Ann.
  12. S December 30, 2020 at 12:41 pm #
    I’ve read so many of these along with you this year and loved them! My favorites (that haven’t been mentioned here) were The Book of Longing and American Dirt. I also just finished the book “Pretty Things,” I think you’d like it, if you haven’t read it yet!
  13. Ashley December 30, 2020 at 12:45 pm #
    My favorites this year were Last Flight, The Flatshare, The Family Upstairs, and The Great Alone. I felt like I read wayyyy too many 3-3.5 star books this year (should finish at 68 books total), which was kind of a disappointment. Hoping to find more favorites in 2021!
  14. Liz December 30, 2020 at 12:50 pm #
    I love these lists/reading wrap ups! Favorites from my year that I think you would also enjoy: The Switch by Beth O’Leary, when No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole, The Good House by Anne Leary, A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight Books on my list for next year: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, The War Widow by Tara Moss, The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher Happy New Year!
  15. Claire December 30, 2020 at 4:12 pm #
    I can’t remember but have you read anything by Tana French? AMAZING. Her Dublin Murder Squad books are my faves. Start with In the Woods. But the second is actually my favorite. Her writing...ahhh. Just do it!
    • Bev Weidner December 31, 2020 at 7:08 am #
      I'll add them to the list, thank you!
  16. Kara December 30, 2020 at 6:37 pm #
    Adding some of these to my TBR list!! My favorites from this year were A Gentleman in Moscow, Summer of ‘69, Verity, In a Holidaze, and Home Before Dark! Currently finishing up 12 Dates of Christmas and it’s super cute! My suggestions for 2021 are any of those plus No Exit, The Unhoneymooners, Where the Crawdads Sing, Twice in a Blue Moon, The Silent Patient, The Last Time I Lied, and Lying in Wait! Can’t wait for the New Year filled with reading more books!!!
    • Bev Weidner December 31, 2020 at 7:08 am #
      I've read most of your suggestions, but I'll the few that I've not! (Where the Crawdads will forever be a favorite.)
  17. Adrienne December 30, 2020 at 8:08 pm #
    Thank you so much for condensing and sharing! I get so busy I sometimes miss you updates and this makes me feel in the know! Please, I beg you, read The French Exit. It’s a refreshing delight of a book and I think it will appeal to your sense of humor. Also (an oldie) - Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. It’s a doozy, but it changed my life. Can’t wait to dig into your recommendations!!
    • Bev Weidner December 31, 2020 at 6:54 am #
      Just added both, thank youuuu!
    • Maureen January 2, 2021 at 8:13 am #
      Adrienne, who is the author for The French Exit? There is also a book called French Exit so just want to be sure I’ve got the right one. Thanks!
  18. Lindsay December 31, 2020 at 5:16 am #
    Can you link to your Goodreads acount?
  19. Anonymous December 31, 2020 at 7:06 am #
    I too have been on a reading binge! Some of my favs were “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” by Tom Franklin, “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” by Alice Harrow, “Rules For Visiting” by Jessica Francis Kane and “The Weight of Ink” by Rachel Kadish. Promptly adding some of your recs as well as those in the comments to my already burgeoning Want to Read list in my Goodreads account!
  20. Amanda December 31, 2020 at 11:31 am #
    Totally agree on Verity!! So so wild. Another Colleen Hoover book that I’ve loved is Maybe Someday. I also read the sequel when I learned it existed because I couldn’t stop thinking about and wondering what happened to the characters. Like they were real people ?
  21. Abby January 1, 2021 at 7:55 am #
    Our book lists are so very similar! I’ve read a handful of these and am looking forward to some of your recommendations! I’m on Goodreads as well and just started following you — I have all of my books listed there and would recommend so many. A few of my favorites are The House in the Cerulean Sea, The Midnight Library, Harry’s Trees, Nothing to See Here, and Daisy Jones & The Six. Happy Reading!!
  22. Tracy January 2, 2021 at 3:47 pm #
    zi highly recommend The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. One of my favorites this year. I didn't want it to end! Read it!
  23. taylor January 3, 2021 at 8:55 am #
    i really loved a sky painted gold. kind of gatsby-esque. the scent keeper was in my top 3 for the year. it was just so vivid!
  24. Emma January 7, 2021 at 10:11 am #
    My recent favorites I think you would love (based on the above): Save Me the Plums, We Came Here To Forget, Daisy Jones And The Six, Calypso.
    • Tif January 12, 2021 at 11:21 am #
      Save me the Plums - YES! I love everything Ruth Reichl. Delicious and Garlic & Sapphires are my other 2 faves from her. When the pandemic started, I read everything Elin H I could get my hands on. It was the only thing I could focus on and it helped a LOT. My faves are Blue Bistro, 28 Summers, The Perfect Couple, and The Identicals. Other 2020 favs were Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, Red White & Royal Blue, Rodham, The Heir Affair, and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.
  25. Petro January 20, 2021 at 9:04 am #
    I lack formal education. So I'm left with the feeling that I'm smarter than everyone around me but that if I ever got around really smart people—people who went to universities and drank wine https://clubessay.com/essay-writer-free and spoke Latin—that they’d be bored as hell by me. It’s a lonely way to go through life.
  26. Ornaments January 25, 2021 at 12:51 am #
    I’ve read a handful of these and am looking forward to some of your recommendations! I’m on Goodreads as well and just started following you. There is also a book called French Exit so just want to be sure I’ve got the right one. This a tender Land by William Kent Krueger, and his newer novel, Ordinary Grace. The Stationery Shop by Marian Kamali and The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. Both two of my top favs this year.
  27. Maha March 11, 2021 at 1:07 am #
    FIFTY.FIVE.NOVELS. That’s what we (well, Ashlee and I) read this year. 55! I’m not sure if it was (is?) the combination of being home ALL THE TIME, or needing to escape reality, or the cerebral slack-slash-forgiveness in other life departments, or all of the above, but here we are. Books.
  28. Victoria April 28, 2022 at 12:36 pm #
    Wow! What a nice collection you got! I love reading and writing as well! My favorite topic for writing essays and reading books is family. Recently I found some essay ideas on studydriver, check them if you want! The family is the most important part of our lives, it's a pity that not everyone understands that.
  29. laura March 11, 2023 at 4:03 am #


  1. Top Ten Moments of 2020 | Bev Cooks - January 27, 2021 […] reading goal! I made a goal to read 40 books in 2020, after reaching that exact same goal in 2019. But I got to […]

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