Feast Your Eyes on the Top 20 Books to Read in 2020

From contemporary twists to A-lister approved fiction and more, we've handpicked 20 of the best books to curl up with this year.

By Jake Thompson Apr 23, 2020 11:00 AMTags
E-Comm: Top 20 Books to Read in 2020

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There's nothing like curling up with a new read. It's time to escape into new worlds full of rich characters and stories to give you some January motivation.

From a contemporary twist on Homer's Odyssey to A-lister approved fiction to the highly anticipated Hunger Games spinoff novel, we've handpicked 20 of the best food-for-thought books to jump-start your 2020. Some are available now, and others for pre-order. Our favorite? My Year of Rest and Relaxation's Ottessa Moshfegh's sophomore effort: Death in Her Hands.

Can't decide on just one? Why not have reading on-the-go with an Kindle Unlimited or Audible membership?

Check out our picks below! 

17 Celebrity-Loved Books to Read Right Now

An Orchestra of Minorities Hardcover by Chigozie Obioma

Narrated by a guardian spirit, this rich book tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman, Ndali, attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Saving her life, the two fall in love, this novel is a contemporary twist of Homer's Odyssey

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

There's a reason this is Reese Witherspoon's January book pick: Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.

Los Angeles in the 1960s and '70s was the pop culture capital of the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA. This book is a page-turner addiction.

Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh

Curl up with a new fiction favorite! We recommend Ottessa Moshfegh's highly anticipated 2020 novel that's available for pre-order! If you loved My Year of Rest and Relaxation, you're not going to want to miss this suspenseful tale about an elderly widow whose life is upturned when she finds a cryptic note on a walk in the woods that ultimately makes her question everything about her new home.

99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai

This book is about a lot of things. A dog on the loose. A boy yearning to connect to his family's roots. A country in the midst of great change. And a vibrant exploration of the power of stories—the ones we tell each other and the ones we find ourselves in.

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture.

The Water Cure: A Novel Hardcover by Sophie Mackintosh

A haunting, riveting debut, The Water Cure is a fiercely poetic feminist revenge fantasy that's a startling reflection of our time.

American Dirt: A Novel Hardcover by Jeanine Cummins

Imagine if you owned a small bookstore and a charming man, Javier came in and picked out four of your favorite novels? What if you also found out he was the the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. That's exactly bookstore owner Lydia's troubles when her husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. 

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Written in luminous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking and beautiful novel, startling and provocative, about the possibilities contained within a human life—if only we are awakened to them. 

Followers by Megan Angelo

Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss—a striving, wannabe A-lister—who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. But it's a plan where people can get hurt...

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

From the acclaimed, best-selling memoirist, novelist and host of the hit podcast Family Secrets, comes a memoir about the staggering family secret uncovered by a genealogy test: an exploration of the urgent ethical questions surrounding fertility treatments and DNA testing, and a profound inquiry of paternity, identity, and love.

You Know You Want This:

You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them. Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex and a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for "something mean." 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison.

The Mirror & the Light by Hillary Mantel

In this wrap-up to Mantel's trilogy on the life of Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn has been separated from her head, and the blacksmith's son from Putney is sitting pretty. But not for long: rebels rouse in England, traitors scheme abroad, invasion remains a constant threat, and Henry VIII's third wife dies delivering his much-wanted son. Henry might demand loyalty, but he's loyal to no one, so Cromwell must watch his back.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don't speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling. Then Kacey disappears...

Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner

Part coming-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener's memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games. 

The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah

Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter—radicalized by the online alt-right—attacks the school.

The Better Liar: A Novel Hardcover by Tanen Jones

When a woman conceals her sister's death to claim their joint inheritance, her deception exposes a web of dangerous secrets in this addictive new thriller for fans of Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn, and Paula Hawkins. Available Jan. 14, pre-order now!

Craving more books? Check out these true crime must-reads and beach read faves!

—Originally published Jan. 3, 2020, at 3:00 a.m. PT