Saturday, December 26, 2020

My Top 20 of 2020: The Books that Powered Me Through a Pandemic and a Derecho (Along with Carbs and Cocktails)

 I'm trying very hard not to fall into the trap of thinking once it's 2021 things miraculously get better for all of us. As it is, I'm tiptoeing through the last five days of 2020 holding on tight to my partner's hand and seeing what each day brings. 

This was, officially, the first Christmas I've had where I've enjoyed cocktails at noon while opening gifts in my jammies. Just an FYI: a grasshopper tastes delicious on Christmas Day. 

As I was lounging around this morning, I started thinking about my top ten books for 2020. I looked at my list, and knew it would be hard to narrow it down, but I thought I'd give it a try. 

It didn't work.

So, in keeping with 2020 and all the topsy-turvy things it brought us, I've decided to present my Top 20 for 2020. I read some pretty good stuff, I must say. I didn't get into much non-fiction, or even historical fiction. I need to be better about reading more diverse voices. However, I see a lot of books that helped me forget all the troubles and worries this past year, even if only for a hour or two. For that, I am so very grateful. Even those weeks where I struggled to finish anything, books helped me tremendously. I present to you my Top 20 for 2020:

I've deliberately not put them in order because darn it all, that's just simply too tough for me to decide. However, I will say The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James and Wife After Wife by Olivia Hayfield are definitely my top two. A haunted motel, and a modern retelling of Henry VIII and his wives are certainly two very different novels, but they were fantastic and I've thought about them all year. 

The Bear, oh, the bear. It caught me by surprise and was just beautiful. It's short, so it won't take you long to read. However, it will get you in all the feels. Mexican Gothic was just flat out gothic horror with a twist, and I absolutely love Silvia Moreno-Garcia's writing. Alice Hoffman's Magic Lessons: I gulped it down. I can't get enough of her witchy tales. 

The Underground Railroad definitely gave me plenty of visceral reactions. Astounding, and profoundly moving. Brilliant. Colson Whitehead deserves every accolade he gets. If you've never read Abbi Waxman, I'm here to tell you to start. Her smart-aleck, sassy ladies are a delight to read. The Midnight Library will have you wondering "what if?" over and over. The Chill was so damn good. Ghostly grudges are not pretty. 

I hope you get a chance to read some of my favorites from 2020. My TBR list for 2021 is already filling up fast for January. I didn't get to read everything I had piled up at home; some books I started and couldn't finish. I've been trying hard to give myself a break this year for not finding my reading groove. I've thought about the reading choices I make, and why. I've felt like I can do better in looking outside my reading comfort zone and exploring more authors and cultures-and more genres. 

I was happily surprised to receive a healthy gift card balance for Christmas to indulge in my book buying habits. Let's see if I can manage to make those gift cards last into Spring. 

What are your favorite reads of 2020? What do you look forward to reading in 2021?

I wish all of you a very Happy New Year, filled with plenty of time to read or listen to your books, and a wish for health and peace for all. 

Thank you for your continued support! 

The Bookalicious Babe💕💕


  1. Nice list!! I enjoyed reading The Underground Railroad too!!

    1. It was way overdue! But wow what a powerful novel.

  2. I am so out of the reading loop. I just finished The Midnight Library, but I am going to add some of your books to my list. Maybe I can get out of my slump?

    1. Those slumps can be difficult. I had quite a few this year. It can take me a bit to find a novel that kicks me into reading gear. I usually pick up something humorous and contemporary. Sometimes even historical fiction does the trick.