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Top 10 Books I Plan to Read in 2020

Top 10 Books I Plan to Read in 2020

I titled this post "Top 10 Books I Plan to Read in 2020," so I need to start with a couple important caveats to explain what this list is and what it isn't.

First caveat: This list is not the same as my list of the top 10 books I WANT to read in 2020. When left to my natural book-reading instincts, I read only fiction...and certain types of fiction. I intentionally push back on that when developing a plan-to-read list each year. I've also discovered that I prefer listening to nonfiction books on audio during my commute to work, so the nonfiction options below all have audio options.

Second caveat: I'm book obsessed, so developing this list took me down multiple rabbit holes. (How am I supposed to not click on things like "New fiction from your favorite authors in 2020" and "Top 100 books everyone should read"?) I pared options down to the well-rounded list below by relying on recommendations from people I trust and ensuring I covered a couple different types of books that will benefit me in different ways. But I also cheated. I included several bonus choices beyond the Top Ten below, and I'm also planning another Top Ten soon specifically for new books coming out in 2020. 

Third, and final, caveat: This list does not include all the books I'll read in 2020, and the books below won't even be the first 10 I read. I have five books on my dresser right this minute that didn't make the list. I won't get into the Murphy's Law of the library reserves - ok, just for a quick minute: how do all of the books always come in at the exact same time?! I listed my dresser-books below just in case you're interested.

I'm also going to try to get back into my Goodreads this year for a better record of what I want to read and what I've already read. 

1. The Giver of Stars


I'm a major Jojo Moyes fan, so I flipped when I saw she had a new book at the end of last year. It's a must-read for me. 

Update: Read it and really liked it. Interesting look back at a little known piece of history and a tribute to strong women.

2. Evie Drake Starts Over

This recommendation came from our friend Sally at Real Mom Nutrition. She posted a list of books she loved in 2019, and it included Where the Crawdads Sing, so I know I can trust her taste in books.

3. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

A good friend whose taste in books I trust completely gave me this title. It's by the author of A Man Called Ove, and I loved the quirky main character in that book, so I'm excited to see what's in store here. I also need to read Backman's Bear Town. I've heard loud and clear that an interest in hockey isn't needed to appreciate the book, but I still haven't gotten to it yet.

Update: Backman has his own unique style, and conversations with friends lead me to believe you either like it or you don't. I do, and this one had some fantasy qualities as well. It also includes the character Britt-Marie from Britt-Marie is here if you want to hear more about her life.

 4. The Hate U Give

I've heard all about this one, and I need to read it. It gets five stars on Amazon - not sure I've ever seen a book get 5 stars with thousands of ratings. My tween son also has an interest in reading it, and I need to read it before I give him the green light because his school librarian recommended that.

5. Daisy Jones and the Six

I'm usually up on the top new fiction, but a student recommended this one, and imagine my surprise when I realized it was a huge hit and I'd never heard of it. I'm imagining the book version of the movie Almost Famous, but we'll see.

Update: I read this book in one day during a pandemic reading binge. It did not disappoint.

6. The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel

This pick takes me out of my typical genres, and it came highly recommended when we asked readers for top books. It was put forward as in someone's top five of all time and the reviews online seem to back that up. 

7. Olive Kitteridge 

I feel slightly the same about Pulitzer Prize-winning novels as I do about Oscar Award-winning movies: worried I won't like/get them. But as a writer, I want to check out this award-winning work (plus, Oprah gave it a thumbs up, so there's that).

Now on to the nonfiction...

8. Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People 

This recommendation came from Kristie, and I think it's just what I need to live up to my word of the year: positivity. Setbacks in my life and difficult people tend to be the top reasons I get irritable. 

If you use Audible, listen to the audiobook.

 
9. Don't Keep Your Day Job

I'm intrigued how this one will strike me since I'm an entrepreneur who loves my side gig but also happens to really love my day job. This was also a recommendation from a reader, so I'll report back on whether it inspires any new revelations.

If you use Audible, listen to the audiobook.

10. The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World's Most Successful People Launched Their Careers 

Teaching at a university, I watch the evolution of higher education first-hand. American society has shifted so heavily to students pursuing higher education, and while I'm a huge proponent of life-long learning, I certainly don't think college is the only way to gain knowledge or find a career. It also isn't the best fit for every kid. A student recommended this book about other pathways to success that aren't school - the third door - and as a teacher and a mother of tweens, I'm interested to jump into this one.

If you use Audible, listen to the audiobook.

 

Runners Up (told you I cheated):

Bonus #1: What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance

I typically don't go for memoirs, but this was on Kristie's list. The description did intrigue me, and the reviews gave it a thumbs up.

Bonus #2: Rosemary Simpson's Gilded Age Mystery Series - What the Dead Leave Behind, Lies That Comfort and Betray, Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets

From the title to the cover, this isn't a series I would usually pick up. But a reader recommended these and started by saying it wasn't something she ever would have normally read. That stuck with me, so I'm included them as a bonus and a way to try something I normally wouldn't.

Other Things I Read and Enjoyed in 2020:
I'm trying to be better about staying update on my Goodreads and we love to talk books on our Facebook page.

 

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