My Favorite Reads Of 2020 (Give Me All The Books!)

Oh, you need a holiday read? Might I suggest one of these? From historical fiction, to self-help, and even an amazing children's book sprinkled in for good measure, here are my favorites from 2020.
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Managing editor Brooke Klauer is back, sharing her most favorite books from the past year. Are any of these on your list? 

The only thing I've bought for myself this holiday season (and, actually, for most of 2020) is books. Which, is to say, my local library is still closed to keep us all safe. Curbside pick-up is available but strolling the aisles is not. So while I've missed the random pick-up-and-flip-through finds, I was able to discover a few new-to-me books that I adored.

Below are my favorite reads from the past year, ones I would read again in a heartbeat. As always, my to-read stack is towering, but please share your recommendations! I'm ever ready and always willing to crack open a new book.

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

One of my top ten books of all time. You've heard me say it before, and I'll say it again: You must read this book. It's a sweeping historical narrative that follows ancestors as lives diverge and, ultimately, coincide. It's beautiful, haunting, and every chapter left me wanting more. Buy here

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

An utter delight from start to finish. Everything escapism needs to be right now, to the tune of the rock n' roll 60s. "I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else's muse. I am not the muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story." YES. Buy here

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

This came recommended by my brother-in-law, and I'm so glad it did. It changed my thought process this year especially, as we were forced to evaluate what really matters. I took copious notes throughout. "We aren't looking for a plethora of good things to do. We are looking for our highest level of contribution: the right thing the right way at the right time." Buy here

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Always Home: A Daughter's Recipes and Stories by Fanny Singer 

I chatted with Fanny Singer earlier this year about her part-memoir, part-cookbook, and could not have enjoyed both her and her book more. Her narrative is gorgeous and I can attest that the recipes really are delicious. "It's not really about beauty in the end, but about care. If food is plated carefully, it will almost always be beautiful." Life lesson. Buy here

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The Art of Showing Up: How to Be There for Yourself and Your People by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

I picked this up and put this down over the entire course of the pandemic (so, ongoing), which is a compliment. This book had the answers I so desperately needed during this solitary, and frankly devastating, time. Buy here

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Wolf Pack: How to Come Together, Unleash our Power, and Change the Game by Abby Wambach

My sister-in-law gifted my daughter the young reader's edition and we flew through it together. A fist-pumping affirmation that who we are is who we were born to be. (Remember, you were always the wolf.) Buy here 

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Where to Begin by Cleo Wade

This year was overwhelming in all the ways, compounded upon by the election season and general feelings of "but what can I do?" Enter Cleo in her infinite wisdom. (See also: Heart Talk.) Hers was the voice I needed to hear, reassuring as ever: "Give what you can give and do what you can do." Buy here 

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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Kidd is one of my very favorite authors (Secret Life of Bees is another top ten of all time) and her latest novel did not disappoint. The narrator is Anna, Jesus's wife. The story is enthralling, the writing enchanting. Buy here

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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I was torn on this one, as my editor knows. However, I do think it's a story worth visiting and digesting (especially as a white woman). It's a thought-provoking look at race and where our own blinders may lie. Buy here

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Stella Endicott and the Anything-is-Possible Poem by Kate DiCamillo

I've read this no less than four times since the spring—and it should be noted both with and without my children. It's full of heart, optimism, and strength, which comes as no surprise from author Kate DiCamilo (we adore Mercy Watson in our house). "It cheered her up to think about surprises and patterns, and about courage and curiosity, and also about how anything was possible, anything at all." Buy here

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Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy by The School of Life Press 

This book taught us all the things during quarantine—and I cannot overstate that. A sample of my favorite chapters: Don't Expect Too Much; Why Grown-up Life Is Hard; What Is Normal Isn't Normal; Maybe You Are Just Tired; No One Knows... (See what I mean? Everything.) Buy here

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How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute by KJ Dell'Antonia

I'd all but given up on my "parenting" in 2020, but I just finished this book which GAVE ME HOPE. We can do this, fellow parents. We can enjoy our kids! We can have fun together! It may not be easy, but it will always be worth it. Buy here

And next up, these are in the queue, ready and waiting:

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett 

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I've Loved) by Kate Bowler

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

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