Best Books of 2020

pictures of the word best in a variety of colors and objects, also a stack of books with a hat, glasses and tie with the words best of the best


With all the adult books that were published this year, how do you pick the best 20? I decided to go to the ‘experts’. I found 15 lists of the best, must-reads of 2020 from a variety of newspapers, magazines, websites, and book review journals. After compiling them together, I came up with the 20 books below. But there was one book that made more lists than any other, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. If you find a book you love and want to read something similar, try our eSource NoveList. Happy Reading!


book cover of Caste
book cover of The Cold Millions
book cover of Deacon King Kong

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

Caste: the origins of our discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter

Deacon King Kong by James McBride

book cover of Hamnet
book cover of Hidden Valley Road
book cover of Homeland Elegies

The Dead are Arising: the life of Malcolm X by Les Payne

Hamnet: a novel of the plague by Maggie O’Farrell

Hidden Valley Road: inside the mind of an American family by Robert Kolker

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

book cover of Leave the World Behind
book cover of Luster
book cover of The Lying Life of Adults

Just Us: an American conversation by Claudia Rankine

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Luster by Raven Leilani

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

book cover of The Mirror and the Light
book cover of Sharks in the Time of Saviors
book cover of Such a Fun Age

Memorial Drive: a daughter’s memoir by Natasha Trethewey

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

book cover of The Vanishing Half
book cover of What are You Going Through
book cover of Writers & Lovers

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

What are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez

Writers & Lovers by Lily King


There are 100+ fabulous books that didn’t make this top 20 list. Check out the websites below for each complete list of 2020 titles favored by critics, editors, readers, and reviewers. Also, take a look at Literacy Hub's Ultimate List which takes 41 Best Books of 2020 lists and finds out which books where on at least 6 lists - 63 titles. You can read some of the periodicals below for free using our eSources: Flipster, RBdigital, The New York Times, and NewsBank. Wonder what your library loving neighbors are reading? Check out our 2020 Top Checkouts blog.




Good Housekeeping

Goodreads Choice Awards

Kirkus Review

Library Journal

National Book Award Finalists

The New York Times

O, the Oprah Magazine




USA Today

Vanity Fair

The Washington Post


By BethN on June 3, 2021