Best Books of 2020 So Far

Best Books of 2020 So Far


Though 2020 hasn’t been quite the reading year I was hoping for (my distracted mental state, lack of time to read, and not quite as great a crop of books as last year), I’ve still got 10 excellent books to share with you!

I’ve read 47 books (3 more than last year at this point) and liked 83% of the books I read (about the same as last year). My average star rating is 4.01 (although, this is skewed high because y’all know I don’t finish many books I don’t like) and I’ve read five 5 star books this year (compared to 7 at this point last year). Despite these stats seeming mostly the same or better than last year’s, I think I feel like this year’s reading hasn’t been as solid because I haven’t read as many 5 star books. We’ll see what happens by the end of the year.


I also wanted to share where I am with my diversity stats so far this year. 17% of my books read are by authors of color (better than my 12% last year). But, let’s face it…12% and even 17% are not good enough. So, I’m committed to increasing this number by the end of the year.

34% of my books read are diverse books (meaning feature marginalized characters, but this includes other categories of marginalization like LGBTQIA, etc), compared to 25% last year.

I’ve also broken out my diversity stats for May and June only (i.e. when I renewed my focus on reading books by authors of color and specifically black authors):

  • Books by Authors of Color: 25%
  • Books by Black Authors: 19%
  • Diverse Books: 44%

I will continue to be transparent with y’all about my diversity stats as the year progresses.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

My Best Books of 2020 So Far

Craigslist Confessionalby Helena Dea Bala (Out July 7, review and podcast episode to come)
A collection of deeply raw, personal, and true stories collected via a Craigslist ad…

Long Bright River by Liz Moore (my review)
A literary police procedural with some character-driven family drama thrown in…

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (my review)
An uncomfortable, totally messed up, horrifying, heartbreaking, yet riveting debut novel…

Saving Ruby Kingby Catherine Adel West (review to come)
The incredible 5 star debut novel I JUST finished…

Stray by Stephanie Danler (my review)
One of the most raw memoirs I’ve ever read, yet immersive and riveting…

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe (my review)
A dark coming of age story featuring two endearing characters who are outsiders in their own ways…

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000’s by Andy Greene (my review)
A much welcome brain break for me during quarantine…

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (my review)
A gorgeously written story about race, family and identity, told through the eyes of four unforgettable women (the Vignes twins and their respective daughters)…

Untamed by Glennon Doyle (review to come)
The book that was like going to therapy during quarantine and a must read for women…

We Wish You Luckby Caroline Zancan (my review)
A campus novel with out of this world writing (and my first 5 star book of 2020!)…

Honorable Mention…

Open Book by Jessica Simpson (my review)
The most surprising book of the year…

What are your favorite books so far this year?

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Best Books of 2020 So Far


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  1. Great list, Sarah! Gonna have to check out that Office book for sure!

    Posted 6.30.20 Reply
  2. sarah wrote:

    I am SOOOOO excited for the craigslist book!! And I adored untamed and my dark Vanessa and long bright river and knockout queen!!! great picks!!

    Posted 6.30.20 Reply
  3. Katherine K DiAntonio wrote:

    Great list. I agree with you on many of them. I think the author is wrong for My Dark Vanessa. It was written by Kate Elizabeth Russell. 🙂

    Posted 6.30.20 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Aaah – of course she is! Thanks for pointing that out. I used last year’s list as a template and forgot to update that one. I’ve updated it now.

      Posted 6.30.20 Reply
  4. Resh wrote:

    Fantastic round up. I want to read The Vanishing Half but didn’t pick it up because of the hype. Looks like everyone is loving it. I’ll have to take a look

    Posted 6.30.20 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I read it before all the hype, but had my own internal hype because I loved The Mothers so much.

      Posted 6.30.20 Reply
  5. Becca Buncie wrote:

    Some of my favorites have been – Autoboyography, The Grace Year, Night Road, The Giver of Stars – all backlist books. My favorites that have been published in 2020 are – The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Summer Darlings, In Five Years & Little Secrets,

    Posted 6.30.20 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I’ve got Slaying Vampires on hold at the library!

      Posted 6.30.20 Reply
  6. Lindsay wrote:

    Open Book was a surprise for me, too! I gave it 4 stars. My top 5 books this year (so far) are I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and The Mothers by Brit Bennett.

    Posted 6.30.20 Reply
  7. Great list, Sarah. I wish I hadn’t forgotten about We Wish You Luck on my list. I’m in the middle of Craigslist Confessional right now and I really like it, but don’t know that it would have made the mid-year list.

    Posted 6.30.20 Reply
  8. Melissa Cushman wrote:

    LOVED The Vanishing Half and I’m in the middle of Saving Ruby King and it’s amazing so far! I tried listening to Long Dark River, but it didn’t work for me on audio, will probably try again in print at some point. I personally didn’t like The Knockout Queen, even though I quite liked To Fang With Love. Too scared to read My Dark Vanessa, and can’t wait for Craigslist Confessional to come out!

    Posted 6.30.20 Reply
  9. The Vanishing Half is on my Best Of list too 🙂

    I can’t wait to read Stray. My mother ordered me a signed copy from Barnes & Noble but of course her trip to see me in the UK had to be canceled, so I’m not sure when I’ll get hold of it…

    Posted 6.30.20 Reply
  10. Liz Dexter wrote:

    I added Saving Ruby King to my wishlist and The Vanishing Half will be one of my top books of the year I think. Love your diversity stats. I have read 15% books by POC this year and 20.5% diverse subjects.

    Posted 7.1.20 Reply
  11. I DEFINITELY agree with Vanishing Half and Long Bright River. I also loved The Office book, especially since I grew up in Sctanton.

    Posted 7.2.20 Reply
  12. Rachel Amsbary wrote:

    HI Sarah, I’ve been a listener and patreon supporter for a while and always enjoy your frank honesty when reviewing a book. That said, I tried Untamed on your recommendation and found it deeply flawed and unpalatable to the point that I DNF’ed it. I know readers approach books differently, but why do we continue to praise the most privileged, white, normative, upper class of them for their petty life’s trials tied into cute bows? I just hope that in your commitment to reading more BIPOC you can also turn your excellently honed critical skills to examine race, class and privilege in all its forms, even when it shows up as a woman (bestselling author) married to another woman (soccer star) who was proposed to after asking for her hand in marriage from the parents (gag). Thanks for listening!

    Posted 7.20.20 Reply

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