It’s a time-honored tradition around here to tell everyone what books are worth their time reading. It’s practically my entire personality. And as we say goodbye to the worst year on record, I looked back at my list of books read in 2020 and smiled because I spent most of the year comfort-reading my favorite romance novels. But I did read enough to give you all a pretty nice list of my favorite books of 2020: The Shittiest Year of Our Lives.
Favorite Books of 2020
Tough Guy by Rachel Reid
You better believe I pre-ordered this bad boy and was ready for it as soon as it downloaded to my phone. It was early in January, and it made 2020 look very promising indeed. Because, if you don’t know, Rachel Reid’s Game Changers series are PERFECT romance novels, and I’d been waiting MONTHS for this one. (If you haven’t read Heated Rivalry, the 2nd in the series, you are missing out on the most perfect romance novel, maybe ever. Go now.).
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Yes, I finally finished Kushiel’s Dart (which I started back in like 2014). AND IT WAS VERY WORTH THE WEEKS I SPENT ON IT. Perfect high fantasy, fantastic world building, and the swooniest of romances. Just a gorgeous and heart-breaking story. There are chapters that literally stomp on your chest and those that make it dance. Reading it and loving it is probably what made me not that enamored with *the It Fantasy Romance of the year* that you will see on everyone’s list. It just didn’t compare to how good Kushiel’s Dart really is.
The City We Became by NK Jemisin
I already told you what an incredible and indelible story this is. It is still defining the standard for great SFF novels for me. So imaginative, so ambitious, so right.
The novel is rife with myth and grit and honesty and community. The characters vary widely and yet feel like home-grown goodness. The fantasy is in the affinity for NYC. If you love New York, even an idealized, outside picture of it, you’ll root for it and this book.
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
This is probably one of those books that had it been written when I was a teenager, and had anyone in my conservative Christian circles found out I had a copy, I would probably have been forced to confess my sins in front of the congregation. In other words, Jesus is a swoony hero in this, and I was into it. In truth, the book is about women, their societal standing, their dreams, their lives and their bonds. It was gorgeous and beautiful and made me weep.
Gideon (and Harrow) the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir
I hate to repeat myself, but let me repeat myself: I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY GIDEON THE NINTH. So much so that I could not read other books for quite some time after I finished with the sequel, Harrow the Ninth. I had to start reading Gideon all over again. The books are confusing and terrifying and funny and engrossing. I didn’t know how to stop and I was struggling to keep going.
The third book in the trilogy isn’t expected until 2022, so I’m fully expecting to be able to make my 2021 Reading Challenge with no problems because I will not be in a book coma via lesbian necromancers.
The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances Fitzgerald
Woo, doggy. If a book about Jesus having a wifey would get me in a tangle with my childhood beliefs, this one decided to flush that tangle down the toilet where it belongs. Meticulously researched and wholly readable, The Evangelicals was my reading opus of 2020, taking the history of the American church from the Puritans to the Tea Party apart at the seams. I wish I could make every single person who attends church in the United States read this book. They should know where they truly came from.
What were your favorite books of 2020? Yes, I plan on being judgey about your answers.
Beth is the proud sponsor of two little women and a huge fan of fandom. She took 3 years of Latin in high school and now speaks fluent pretension, which fully explains her current preference for gay wizard regency novels. She will roll over for a giant book with a map in the front. She takes comic book recommendations every day but Wednesday and TV recommendations never (she knows what's good).