2020 only began, and it feels like we are stuck at home since forever. It’s nice to find a hobby to follow during the lockdown. And if you have the knack for it, reading books is one of the most fun and easiest one. Writers publish thousands of books each month. It can be overwhelming to choose the best one. So, here’s a pick at the best new books of 2020 that are worth reading.
1. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall:
While tearing down the pseudo feministic approaches seen by the movement of white feminists, this book calls for solidarity. In the book, the writer calls out white feminists and points down the reals struggle faced by poor, disabled, and women of colour. However, this book is not critical but also points down approaches to solve such issues. A book of 2020, you must read if you want to get a broader perspective.
“My wish is that every white woman who calls herself a feminist will read this book in a state of hushed and humble respect … Essential reading” Elizabeth Gilbert.
2. The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel
This book was the most awaited finale of Thomas Cromwell, Mantel’s trilogy about King Henry VIII’s right-hand-man. If you love drama, you are going to love the historical novel series. This book is a story about when the minister is more powerful in ways compared to king Henry VIII himself.
The Financial Times called it “majestic and often breathtakingly poetic,”
3. Brother & Sister by Diane Keaton
From the beloved actor and writer of the book Then Again, Brother & Sister is a story of her relationship with her younger brother Randy. With the book, Diane Keaton has painted a picture of family bonds and affection in the book. This book is about how a brother, who once shared a bunk bed with her ended up becoming so distant. For a writer to share such a personal side to the story is very bold but captivating. In terms of storytelling, this book is one of the best ones in 2020.
“A brave memoir . . . Keaton takes a long, hard look at her relationship with her younger brother, Randy, whose descent into mental illness parallels her climb to the stratosphere of stardom.”
—Elisabeth Egan, The New York Times Book Review
4. Motherwell: A Girlhood by Deborah Orr:
Before she died in November 2019, the journalist Deborah Orr, she had managed to write down a remarkable memoir. However, the book was only published in January 2020. The candid and self-revealing aspect of the book is heartbreaking to an extent. A book is written with such honesty and disclosure gets the best of any reader.
“A masterpiece of self-exploration,” and its “greatness lies mainly in the psychological dimension, in the vivid portrait of her parents’ narcissism and the just-as-vivid portrait of her own”
–Andrew O’Hagan, the Guardian
5. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey:
This book is a story about a woman who had to witness her lover and best friend get hung. She ends up running away and landing a job as a librarian. Only later, she realizes that the so-called librarians weren’t right in the eyes of the government.
“A good old-fashioned horse opera for the 22nd Century. Gunslinger librarians of the apocalypse are on a mission to spread public health, decency, and the revolution.”
6. Little Gods by Meng Jin:
If you are looking for a book that takes you down the emotional roller coaster, this is the perfect book of 2020. Liya, who becomes an orphan at the age of 17 after her mother- Su Lan, dies unexpectedly goes back to China to unravel the story of her mother. In the book, she tells the story of Su Lan from the perspective of other people in her life.
“Reminiscent of Ferrante…are Jin’s protagonist’s larger-than-life talent, drive, and perversity. In her intelligence, vulnerability, volatility, desperation, narcissism, and self-destructiveness, Su Lan — despite her voicelessness — is as complex a protagonist as any I can recall…Little Gods expands the future of the immigrant novel.”
–New York Times Book Review
7. Cleanness by Garth Greenwell:
This book follows Garth’s well-acclaimed novel What Belongs to You. The story widens the character of the US teacher living in Bulgaria. The protagonist narrates the stories and memories of his sexual encounters, attractions & doubts. This book is a mood changer that manages to dive into the emotional depth, which only a few other writers can reach.
“Cleanness is, quite simply, a work of genius that will change the way you understand the world and your place in it.”
―Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post
8. Creatures by Crissy Van Meter:
The day before, when Evangeline is preparing for her upcoming marriage, her life is hit by three extreme events. She is taken aback when her fiance, who is a fisherman, mysteriously disappears on the sea. Followed by her mother, who had been out of her life, comes back. Right when things couldn’t go any more wrong, a beached whale dies and washes up on the shore of the island where she is living. All these things lead to Evangeline rethinking all the choices that she has made in her life till now.
“Van Meter’s debut is an unwavering triumph . . . A coming-of-age that’s as human as it is wild.”
—The New York Times Book Review
9. House of Glass by Hadley Freeman:
Through the book, Journalist Hadley Freeman uncovered the secrets and her family’s history. The story presents the horror that her Jewish grandmother faced during World War II, who ran away from Europe to the USA. The story is the depiction of the horrors of being of Jewish identity in the 20th Century. This sensational book is easily one of the top books so far if not of all time.
“A triumph of research, of accomplished and pacy writing, and thoughtful analysis…As good as East West Street by Phillippe Sands and The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal. A wonderful achievement.”
—The Bookseller (Book of the Month)
10. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell:
Inspired by the story of Shakespeare’s only son, Maggie O’Farrell wrote Hamnet based on the tragic story of his premature death. The novel paints the lives of parents whose marriage is impacted and on the verge of brink due to parental grief. This story is certainly something that should be read. Perhaps no other book would compare to this masterpiece in terms of the emotional bond that this story shares. This tops the chart for the best book of 2020 so far.
“Blisteringly brilliant… You’ll lap up this intricately told story of grief, love and the bond between twins,”
I’m pretty sure these are not the only good books that we get to read. And it certainly won’t be the last of them. Hopefully, these best books of 2020 so far will help you spend your time better during the pandemic. Reading is one of the best ways to pass the time. If you only recently started reading books, you can start small with books that are easy to read. You can also try the list of books that can help you broaden your perspective.