My 2020 in Reading

I read 153 books this year in a 50/50 split between audiobooks and other formats. Being unemployed helped that along, didn’t do much for me in terms of my mental health. But there were so many good reads consumed and published this year, I had to make two lists. Enjoy!

Top 20 Lists

Books That Came Out in 2020

The books are in alphabetical order. Any book marked with an * means that it was featured in the 2020 Bookish Hype Train Post.

  1. The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller
    • Gentrification, whale ghosts, disaster gays
    • Beautiful and horrifying
  2. Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby
    • Getaway driver trying to turn his life around gets pulled in for one more job
    • Perfect pacing and well–rounded characters
  3. The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea G. Stewart
    • Multi-POV story about the decline of an empire with magical bots and clever rebels
    • Features a very good animal companion
  4. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
    • Cosmic horror in which people have magical-girl-type transformations into avatars of entire cities
    • Audiobook is god-tier
  5. Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko*
    • DJ Aspirin accidentally becomes a dad to a little girl with a deadly teddy bear
    • Some deals are best left unstruck
  6. The Deep by Alma Katsu
    • A dual-timeline novel about a woman who has the misfortune of being on both the Titanic and Brittanic
    • Ghosts and human treachery galore
  7. Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
    • Made me cry so many good tears about big queer feelings
    • Trans teen get a happily ever after
  8. The Fortress by S.A. Jones
    • One year of indentured servitude as penance and reform
    • Still thinking about it ten months later
    • Erewhon Books’ debut novel!
  9. Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal
    • A goth af novel about a sketchy church and two best friends who run away to join the circus
    • The world-building includes gender auras around characters which include nonbinary genders
  10. The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
    • Hope amid tragedy as two teens pick up the pieces of their lives after a school shooting
    • The shooting is mentioned, most of the book is deeply interior
  11. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
    • Hits every trope of a gothic haunted house novel but instead it takes place in Mexico
    • I would die for Noemi
  12. Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst
    • What’s awesome? Demon racing
    • Intricate novel that accomplishes many incredible twists and world-building in one stand-alone volume
  13. The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke
    • Lesbian witches who are gay
    • Clever use of interiority as Sideways lets the reader in more and more as her friendship circle deepens
  14. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
    • Enemies-to-lovers which makes use of the trope extremely well
    • Main characters’ goals are in direct opposition of each other and sometimes you’re rooting for both
  15. The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
    • First contact novel with excellent anxiety rep
    • Aliens have banned books, but a young girl finds a deep emotional connection with an alien
  16. The Tower of Fools by Andzrej Sapkowski
    • A deeply sarcastic narrative that thinks its protagonist is a total shithead
    • Wonderfully Eastern European
  17. The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez
    • Gorgeously gay literary sci-fi
    • Carving your own path after being a peon for so long
  18. When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey
    • Hiding a body is hard when no one knows you’re magic
    • The power of gay friends
  19. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
    • An ill-begotten hunting trip has consequences several years down the line
    • Best execution of the ‘final girl’ trope
  20. Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky
    • An acolyte punchesd her god
    • But it’s told entirely from the POV of NPCs in the world

Books That Came Out Before 2020

I read enough books this year that I wanted to highlight some other highly enjoyable reads. I also didn’t feel like running statistics on it (sorry).

  1. Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (2018)
    • A reread
    • Just as good the second time, had way more emotions about Soq than on my first reading
  2. A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers (2019)
    • This book is so ridiculous and indulges in it
    • Eat, Pray, Love but she’s a cannibal
  3. The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle(2012)
    • Local man winds up in a psych ward
    • There’s something in the basement that’s literally Satanic
  4. The Good House by Tananarive Due (2006)
    • Family tragedy and generational trauma
    • Great narration, incredible terrors, definitely looking forward to a reread
  5. Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (2013)
    • Upstate New York is haunted af
    • Do not open the witch-corpse’s sewn-shut eyes
  6. The Hunger by Alma Katsu
    • The fictional Donner party book
    • Is it human madness or is it something supernatural? The answer is yes
  7. The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon (2018)
    • An incredible cult book
    • Fast read that stays with you
  8. The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown (2009)
    • The nonfiction Donner party book
    • Going west was a bad idea in general, it didn’t need to be made worse
  9. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (1997)
    • An account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster
    • Leaves the reader in absolute awe of Everest
  10. Kushiel’s Dart (Phedre’s Trilogy #1) by Jacqueline Carey* (2001)
    • I went into this book with so much hype
    • It definitely lives up to the hype
  11. Labyrinth of Ice by Buddy Levy (2019)
    • An account of the least-tragic Northwest Passage expedition
    • Still ended in cannibalism
  12. Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham (2019)
    • An account of the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster
    • The administrative, political companion to Voices from Chernobyl
  13. The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #2) by Seth Dickinson (2018)
    • Gut-wrenching and politically intricate
    • Spends most of its time processing the end of Book 1
  14. Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers (2014)
    • Murder nuns in an alternate version of medieval France
    • Definitely my favorite of the trilogy
  15. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (2018)
    • Retelling of King Lear
    • Powerful women, men who make bad decisions, fairy-tale-esque magical atmosphere
  16. Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall (2018)
    • Found-footage novel of a disappeared teenager
    • Horrifying with excellent queer rep
  17. Ruse (Want #2) by Cindy Pon* (2019)
    • Sequel to Want, takes place in Shanghai
    • A perfectly-paced cyberpunk science fiction
  18. We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett (2019)
    • Fantasy!Twentieth-century Russia
    • Magic planes and compelling female friendships
  19. White Tears by Hari Kunzru (2017)
    • Two dudes “appreciate” classic records
    • Cultural appropriation bites them in the ass
  20. The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso (2019)
    • Bitch queen betrayed as she goes to meet her husband
    • A book expertly driven by plot twist after plot twist and some of the greatest food descriptions I have ever read

Authors I’ve Interviewed This Year

Here’s a recap of all the Blog Interviews I did

What are some of your favorite reads? Tell me about your year in reading.

Happy reading and Happy New Year,
Jo

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