Publishers Weekly started the annual parade off before Halloween with its lists. This page offers a portal to categories such as mystery/thriller, poetry, romance, various children’s levels, and YA.
Barnes & Noble got in on the action during the first week of November. Here’s its portal to various lists.
Bill Buford, the writer and former fiction editor at The New Yorker, once said: “Stories protect us from chaos, [and are] essential to the way we make sense of our lives.” Given the tumult of this past year, we’ve needed stories more than ever. And fortunately, while 2020 has fallen wildly short of many expectations, it’s been a boon for readers who enjoy great books.
From Erin Kodicek, editor of Amazon Book Review, comes this list of the top 10 books of the year. The list includes both fiction and nonfiction. And, since it’s from Amazon, you’ll find many links to other lists that might suit you.
Both fiction and nonfiction choices from the book folds at The Washington Post, with links to associated “best books of 2020” links.
Another offering from The Washington Post, also with associated links.
And here’s The Washington Post’s list of the year’s best nonfiction.
Yes, Oprah weighs in with fiction and nonfiction titles.
This list from The New York Times includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
“The End of the World Review” formulated this list to contrast with the New York Times list above, which is heavily weighted toward the giant publishing conglomerates.
The New York Public Library offers lists for adults, for kids, and for teens. There are also Spanish lists and information on books available in accessible formats (e.g., digital talking books and braille editions).
“From cookbooks to grocery-store exposés, these new books will tempt palates and fuel curiosity”
From Smithsonian Magazine.
From the BBC Culture desk.
From The Guardian, this is the portal page to lists in fiction, children’s books, crime and thrillers, science fiction and fantasy, memoir and celebrity books, politics, ideas, sport, nature and science, poetry, comics and graphic novels, art, food, and stocking fillers.
Recommendations from Sophie Roell, editor and one of five founders of Five Books.
This page features the best of the best.
“The fiction and nonfiction, old and new, that kept us going.” From The New Yorker. The books that comprise this list are not necessarily new publications from 2020.
This is BookRiot’s portal to its lists of best books in these categories: children’s, comics, fantasy, fiction, horror, mystery/thriller, nonfiction, poetry, romance, science fiction, young adult.
Choices from Adam Woog, crime and mystery fiction columnist for The Seattle Times.
This list contains only a few titles, with a link to the full list of 20. I’ve included this link because the article begins with a brief description of how the Amazon Book Review selects its best books of the year: “there’s no formula. It’s just us, reading new books by authors we love, reading books recommended by publishers, or reading books because we just like the look, or the description, of that particular book.”
NPR offers a big list of books that allows you to apply all different kinds of filters to find something that’s just right for you or for some lucky gift recipient. And just in case you can’t find anything published this year that quite fills the bill, you can also consult the best books of years past (back to 2013).
AudioFile has its list of the best audiobooks of 2020. Here Audible, the audiobooks arm of Amazon, offers its list of the top 10. At the bottom of the page are links to other categorical lists, such as fiction, comedy & humor, memoir, self-development, and mysteries & thrillers.
“The Times’s staff critics give their choices of the best fiction and nonfiction works of the year.”
From The New York Times.
From Jamie Canavés for Novel Suspects: “The way I judged this year’s list was rather simple: what are the thriller books and mystery books published this year that I read and am I still thinking about? In a year that felt a decade long, it seemed like a good way to set the bar.”
Here’s another list from The Guardian: “Our panel of writers – who all published books this year – share their favourite titles of 2020.”
From Emily Temple for LitHub: “We Lived Through 2020 and All We Got Were These Really Good Books.”
Of all the unique occurrences of 2020 that Temple lists (and the first paragraph is worth reading just for this list), my favorite is this one: “We all watched every TV show ever created and then complained about them on the internet.” I say this after watching all seven seasons of The 100, a show with an interesting premise that outlived that premise by four seasons and ended up with a totally stupid conclusion.
From Esquire: “The best fiction and nonfiction of the year covers everything from teenage sexuality to Big Tech, while also telling deeply human stories of identity, romance, and family.”
I always take special interest in this list because the books are chosen not by critics or professional associations but by ordinary readers like you and me.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown