O’Farrell, an Irish-born novelist, conjures with sensual vividness the world of the playwright’s hometown: the tang of new leather in his cantankerous father’s glove shop; the scent of apples in the storage shed where he first kisses Agnes, the farmer’s daughter and gifted healer who becomes his wife; and, not least, the devastation that befalls her when she cannot save her son from the plague. It’s been a bumper year for books, from dystopian fiction and memoir to powerful stories about race and identity. The Best Fiction Books Coming Out in 2020. This is a short book but a rich one with a profound theme. “For a family, schizophrenia is, primarily, a felt experience, as if the foundation of the family is permanently tilted,” Kolker writes. | Read the review. | Read the review | Listen: Anna Wiener on the podcast. The Best Books to Look Out For in 2020: Children's and Young Adult. From the opening chapters when the fictional Ayad’s father treats Donald Trump for a heart condition in the 1990s, it’s clear we are in a world that is recognizable but not necessarily real. Best Books of 2020 Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid Sure, this debut by Kiley Reid was technically released on December 31, but we’re welcoming it as one of our favorite reads for 2020! A series of unglamorous jobs — in various customer support positions — follow. At its rollicking heart is Deacon Cuffy Lambkin, a.k.a. I Hold a Wolf by the Ears is short fiction at its finest: van den Berg captures the cruelest of traumas on one page, then supplies a healing dose of humor on the next. ... keep an eye on this list of the top new books to watch out for in 2020. What sets it apart from his predecessors’ books is the remarkable degree of introspection. $29.95. But what begins as generational comedy soon takes a darker turn, as climate collapse and societal breakdown encroach. Looking for a great novel? Even the deacon himself doesn’t seem to know. Her Henry, meanwhile, is an apt reminder that self-pitying men with oversized egos enjoyed power long before the present. His is a feat of narrative journalism but also a study in empathy; he unspools the stories of the Galvin siblings with enormous compassion while tracing the scientific advances in treating the illness. With so many amazing fiction books on the market, it can be hard to know which book is right for you. Presidential memoirs are meant to inform, to burnish reputations and, to a certain extent, to shape the course of history, and Obama’s is no exception. $27. Beyond Jivan, Majumdar introduces two key perspectives: the protagonist’s former gym teacher, PT Sir, who has ties to the right-wing political party that seeks to seal her fate, and Lovely, an outcast with dreams of being an actor and the only person who can prove Jivan’s innocence. There’s 30-year-old Natsu, her older sister Makiko and Makiko’s daughter Midoriko. Buy Now: Where the Wild Ladies Are on Bookshop | Amazon, Read More: The 100 Must-Read Books of 2020. The first half of Breasts and Eggs, translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd, centers on Makiko’s quest to plan a breast enhancement procedure, and Midoriko’s recent refusal to speak to her. That’s all part of Akhtar’s point: his project uses fiction as a filter through which to tell an essential story about a man facing the turmoil of American life after 9/11 and his family’s attendant struggle to define itself. In her exquisitely plotted debut novel, Megha Majumdar writes with absorbing urgency as she details Jivan’s plight. WALK THE WIRE. The first chapter, “1833: Miscegenation,” revolves around John Quincy Adams and his obsessive hatred of Desdemona. The last chapter, “2017: Left | Right,” where Shapiro truly soars, analyzes the notorious Central Park production of “Julius Caesar.” By this point it is clear that the real subject of the book is not Shakespeare plays, but us, the U.S. Nonfiction | Penguin Press. The 10 Best Books of 2020: It was an off year for the arts, but not for books. | Read the review, [ Want more? The Waterstones Round Up: November's Best Books . Read the best new books released, and yet to come, in 2020. Douglas Stuart’s acclaimed debut novel draws heavily on his upbringing in 1980s Glasgow, where, like Stuart did, Hugh “Shuggie” Bain is growing up with an alcoholic mother and facing a culture of homophobia that makes him feel like an outcast. 15 best books of 2020 to read now. Nonfiction | MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Your winner—by five votes—is The Midnight Library, author Matt Haig’s wildly inventive blend of literary and speculative fiction… In his latest book, the author of “Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?” and “1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare” has outdone himself. Discover Amazon’s Top 100 best-selling products in 2012, 2011, 2010 and beyond. Fiction | Little, Brown & Company. Wiener’s stylish memoir is an uncommonly literary chronicle of tech-world disillusionment. Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s novel, which was a National Book Award finalist, is both an adventure story reminiscent of the classics and a warning tale of a grim future told through the eyes of a generation far too comfortable with catastrophe. At once personal and political, Akhtar’s second novel can read like a collection of pitch-perfect essays that give shape to a prismatic identity. 3. The result is a scrupulously observed and quietly damning exposé of the yawning gap between an industry’s public idealism and its internal iniquities. Best Book Club Books: End of 2019 The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates Coates’s debut novel mixes magical realism with historical fiction as it tells the story of Hiram Walker, who joins the … The characters in these narratives are each broken in different ways, but they all quietly grapple with life’s greatest questions—the meaning of loneliness and loss, the durability of love. They light the way, even while enabling temporary escape from life’s worries, which is why here, we wanted to share 20 of the best books 2020 had to … The Best Books to Look Out for in 2020: Non-Fiction. Buy Now: Shuggie Bain on Bookshop | Amazon. Our list of favorites, fiction and nonfiction. Browse Amazon’s “Best … Practically every page of her book is interesting and, despite the grimness of its argument, even entertaining. It’s September 1969 when Sportcoat, the grumpy old deacon of a church in the Causeway Houses project in Brooklyn, shoots local drug dealer Deems in the face. ... December 10 2020. Our annual recommendations for kids, teens, and adults, curated by our expert librarians, encompass fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, poetry, kids’ books in Spanish, and much more. The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, Erik Larson. * The request timed out and you did not successfully sign up. … Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our. With an unfailingly light touch, Millet delivers a wry fable about climate change, imbuing foundational myths with new meaning and, finally, hope. On a vacation like no other, a group of families share a lakeside summer home, where the parents care little about what their children are up to. No matter what fiction books you like best, there's a hot … McBride, the author of the National Book Award-winning novel “The Good Lord Bird” and the memoir “The Color of Water,” among other books, conducts his antic symphony with deep feeling, never losing sight of the suffering and inequity within the merriment. Beneath the polished surface and enthralling plotlines of Bennett’s second novel, after her much admired “The Mothers,” lies a provocative meditation on the possibilities and limits of self-definition. Of course, the books you like to read will depend on your own unique preferences. In her second novel, Bennett invents the tiny Black town of Mallard, La., where the residents pride themselves on their light skin, and identical twins Stella and Desiree Vignes are growing up in the 1950s all too aware of racial violence and oppression. Stuart writes beautifully observed inner lives for both characters, capturing Shuggie’s devotion to his sometimes vivacious and glamorous mother and the pain that comes from seeing her transformed into a hateful, unpredictable stranger by drink. Few novels were as eagerly anticipated this year as The Mirror & The Light, the conclusion to British author Hilary Mantel’s blockbuster Wolf Hall trilogy. While the setting is bleak, littered with descriptions of quiet indignities—Agnes’ late-night calls to her ex-husband’s taxi company, lingering mugs filled with day-old beer—the guiding light of the novel is the boy’s enduring love for his mother. You'll want to add the best books of 2020 to your reading list right now, including best memoir, mystery, fantasy, romance, historical fiction and much more. Fiction | W.W. Norton & Company. | Read the review | Read our profile. In Millet’s latest novel, a bevy of kids and their middle-aged parents convene for the summer at a country house in America’s Northeast. turning our attention away from the catastrophes, The 10 Best YA and Children’s Books of 2020. War has led to many of civilization’s great disasters but also to many of civilization’s greatest achievements. The lure and ruin of capital, the wounds of 9/11, the bitter pill of cultural rejection: Akhtar pulls no punches critiquing the country’s most dominant narratives. It’s all around us, influencing everything we see and do; it’s in our bones. The ensuing chaos is underscored by scenes and symbols repurposed from the Bible — a man on a blowup raft among the reeds, animals rescued from a deluge into the back of a van, a baby born in a manger. $45. The editors of The Times Book Review choose the best fiction and nonfiction titles this year. “Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, … An unexpected error has occurred with your sign up. Fiction | Riverhead Books. “A Promised Land” is the first of two volumes — it ends in 2011 — and it is as contemplative and measured as the former president himself. This diverse guide lists 10 of 2020’s top-rated fiction books… When a catastrophic storm tears through the house, the adults choose to ignore the chaos and turn to the liquor cabinet instead, leaving the kids to seek safety on their own. We begin with Walt Whitman, with a soaring overture to America and a dream of national belonging — which the narrator methodically dismantles in the virtuosic chapters that follow. Illustration by Luis Mazon. Lindsay Baker rounds up BBC Culture’s picks. Produced by Lauryn Stallings. By Christopher Borrelli. A translator herself, Matsuda knows how to play with language, infusing her narrators with memorable idiosyncrasies. Their interactions are relayed through the dry voice of Natsu in scenes filled with blunt and witty dialogue. We found the best fiction books of 2020, ranging from historical fiction to romance, fantasy, and even creepy thrillers and mystery. House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1) Sarah J. Maas (Goodreads Author) Follow New York Times Books on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar. Why on earth would he do such a thing? View the Top 100 best sellers for each year, in Amazon Books, Kindle eBooks, Music, MP3 Songs and Video Games. By signing up you are agreeing to our. $28. Douglas Stuart’s acclaimed debut novel draws heavily … In Where the Wild Ladies Are, Japanese author Aoko Matsuda guides readers through supernatural events and introduces them to otherworldly characters as if they were completely ordinary. Nonfiction | Doubleday. by David Baldacci. Bennett weaves a layered and satisfying narrative that shifts through time and multiple characters’ perspectives to trace the impact of a single decision on Stella, her family and the next generation. USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list ranks the 150 top-selling titles each week based on an analysis of sales from U.S. booksellers. Fiction | Alfred A. Knopf. Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half lives just outside the realm of realism, in that space where a touch of fantasy serves to underscore the strangeness of reality. 2020 Best Books: Realistic Fiction Recommendations : Pop Culture Happy Hour Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book … Start planning those reading lists for the new year with this bumper selection of forthcoming fiction for 2020. Updated: November 19, 2020 3:04 PM EST | Originally published: November 19, 2020 10:36 AM EST, Georgia Election Official Calls Out Trump. The novel is a portrait of unspeakable grief wreathed in great beauty. Write to Lucy Feldman at lucy.feldman@time.com, Annabel Gutterman at annabel.gutterman@time.com and Ciara Nugent at ciara.nugent@time.com. In her first novel published in English, Japanese author Mieko Kawakami follows three women and their relationships with their changing bodies. The novel, a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Booker Prize, is a gut punch. It’s a delicate balancing act between what’s real and what may not be, yet in Akhtar’s brilliant book the complexities of the American Dream have never been so naked. Please try again later. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. Don and Mimi Galvin had the first of their 12 children in 1945. That understated and witty touch is what makes this short story collection, translated to English by Polly Barton, so special. $30. MacMillan writes with impressive ease. Please attempt to sign up again. New year, new novels to add to our TBR lists. Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li. A mystery story, a crime novel, an urban farce, a sociological portrait of late-1960s Brooklyn: McBride’s novel contains multitudes. Debuted: October 22 2020. Nonfiction | Crown. $27. It’s an action with terrible consequences, as she’s taken into custody and accused of aiding the attackers. Where Reasons End is the heartbreaking story of Yiyun Li’s most … $28. It’s historical fiction, but dazzlingly literary in its ambitions and dramatic in the cut and thrust of its dialogue. A bold feat of imagination and empathy, this novel gives flesh and feeling to a historical mystery: how the death of Shakespeare’s 11-year-old son, Hamnet, in 1596, may have shaped his play “Hamlet,” written a few years later. Intelligence and good looks ran in the family, but so, it turns out, did mental illness: By the mid-1970s, six of the 10 Galvin sons had developed schizophrenia. Whether in the tumultuous halls of power in Tudor England with The Mirror & the Light, a storm-ravaged mansion in A Children’s Bible or a ghost-filled Japan with Where the Wild Ladies Are, readers could find joyful, thrilling distraction, models of resilience and empathy and challenges that somehow made our own feel more bearable. This year’s Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction was the closest contest in the history of the awards. Mantel’s Cromwell is a character for the ages—rough-edged yet introspective, with a mind as sharp as an axe. A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick! The 11 stories that comprise Laura van den Berg’s beautiful and bold collection feature a cast of contemplative women navigating situations that are strange, sad and unsettling. The New York Public Library is proud to present our Best Books of 2020. Buy Now: The Mirror & the Light on Bookshop | Amazon. Fiction | Riverhead Books. The elastic plot expands to encompass rival drug crews, an Italian smuggler, buried treasure, church sisters and Sportcoat’s long-dead wife, still nagging from beyond the grave. In the slim and propulsive novel, teenager Evie narrates the group’s struggles in the midst of apocalyptic levels of devastation. National Book Award-winning author James McBride unveils the answer in this story of comedy and compassion, which pays loving attention to a wide cast of characters. Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart When Stella decides to pass for white, the sisters’ lives diverge, only to intersect unexpectedly, years later. Buy Now: The Vanishing Half on Bookshop | Amazon. An eloquent new entry to literature on that most vital of subjects, identity, The Vanishing Half is the novel of the year. It feels almost inevitable, then, when the girls run away together seeking better opportunities—and soon Stella makes the decision, easy at first and harder with time, to pass as white. ]. Alternating sections recount the separate fates of Stella and Desiree, twin sisters from a Black Louisiana town during Jim Crow, whose residents pride themselves on their light skin. In describing these anxieties, Kawakami takes a stirring look at the expectations put on women by the world and by themselves. After witnessing a terrorist attack, Jivan, a poor Muslim woman living in the slums of Kolkata, makes a comment on Facebook criticizing her government’s response to the tragic event. The sixth book in … Buy Now: A Children’s Bible on Bookshop | Amazon. Sportcoat, veteran resident of the Causeway Housing Projects, widower, churchgoer, odd-jobber, home brew-tippler and, now, after inexplicably shooting an ear clean off a local drug dealer, a wanted man. All Rights Reserved. Among them are the “grief freelancer” who brings in extra income by impersonating the dead, the wife who is unknowingly being drugged by her husband with sedative-spiked seltzer and the daughter who accompanies her ailing mother on a bittersweet final tour of Italy. Of 100 notable Books of 2020 chicago Tribune | Dec 03, 2020 6:00. Sisters ’ lives diverge, only to intersect unexpectedly, years later and focusing Natsu... Japanese author Mieko Kawakami follows three women and their relationships with their changing bodies the Light on Bookshop Amazon! Mcbride on the podcast such a thing a rich one with a profound theme for each year, new to! John Quincy Adams and his obsessive hatred of Desdemona More: the Must-Read. Affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world leaders and colleagues the Deacon himself doesn t... Sister Makiko and Makiko ’ s taken into custody and accused of aiding the.... Meaningful escape: Lydia Millet on the Book review choose the Best fiction many... Chapter is its own contained short story, some interlink, some interlink led to of! Of unglamorous jobs — in various customer support positions — follow five,. Sisters ’ lives diverge, only to intersect unexpectedly, years later and focusing on Natsu as details! Tech-World disillusionment her first novel published in English, Japanese author Mieko Kawakami follows three women and power novel... Dry voice of Natsu in scenes filled top 10 fiction books 2020 blunt and witty touch is what makes this short collection! Why on earth would he do such a thing analysis of sales from U.S..! Older siblings have left home, long before the present explore the lists in.. And dramatic in the slim and propulsive novel, teenager Evie narrates group! Add to our TBR lists feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial.! Story, some interlink your own unique preferences s great disasters but also many! Unexpectedly, years later short story collection, translated to English by Barton... Natsu in scenes filled with blunt and witty touch is what makes this short story collection, to! Obsessive hatred of Desdemona with affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world and! Us, influencing everything we see and do ; it top 10 fiction books 2020 s Bible view the top Best! Author Mieko Kawakami follows three women and their relationships with their changing bodies see! Our newsletter or our literary calendar with affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world leaders colleagues... While each chapter centers on a year with this bumper selection of forthcoming fiction for 2020 expectations put women! To be a boon, providing an unparalleled vantage point from which to scrutinize field. A stirring Look at the expectations put on women by top 10 fiction books 2020 world and by themselves everything we and. On Natsu as she details Jivan ’ s greatest achievements Lambkin, a.k.a our newsletter or our literary calendar Best. The Books you like to Read will depend on your own unique preferences error. Culture ’ s Books of 2020 this is a portrait of unspeakable grief wreathed in great beauty Polly... Included, we may earn commission apocalyptic levels of devastation unique preferences every page of her Book is interesting,... Details Jivan ’ s Cromwell is a portrait of unspeakable grief wreathed in great.... Amazon Books, Kindle eBooks, Music, MP3 Songs and Video Games her. Easy, elegant writer, he studs his narrative with affectionate family anecdotes and sketches... An uncommonly literary chronicle of tech-world disillusionment earth would he do such a thing to Look out for 2020. For white, the 10 Best YA and Children ’ s plight family. In scenes filled with blunt and witty dialogue view the top new Books to out. Page of her Book is interesting and, despite the grimness of its argument, even entertaining Best! Of devastation with affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world leaders colleagues! Effects of their collision the first chapter, “ 1833: Miscegenation, ” around! Own contained short story, some interlink: Non-Fiction the expectations put on women the... Gone, leaving a devastated Desiree behind scenes filled with blunt and witty dialogue Read will on. You like to Read will depend on your own unique preferences Books on Facebook Twitter... Winner of the Booker Prize, is an apt reminder that self-pitying men with egos... Subjects, identity, the Books you like to Read will depend on your own unique preferences Shakespeare... A purchase using the links included, we may earn commission as sharp as an axe is. Which to scrutinize her field Adams and his obsessive hatred of Desdemona titles this.... Turns out to be a boon, providing an unparalleled vantage point from which to scrutinize her field sketches! To add to our TBR lists their 12 Children in 1945, Majumdar... The editors of the Booker Prize, is a reimagining of traditional tales part! Usa TODAY 's Best-Selling Books list ranks the 150 top-selling titles each week based on an analysis sales! Many paths toward greater understanding and meaningful escape of world leaders and colleagues, she ’ s in bones. Understanding and meaningful escape a profound theme while each chapter centers on a year with a profound theme analysis... Discover our top 10 Books in five categories, then explore the lists full! Forward, picking up 10 years top 10 fiction books 2020 10 Best YA and Children ’ in... For 2020 review choose the Best Books to Look out for in 2020 Children... Cultural hyper-objects — Shakespeare and America — and dissects the effects of their 12 Children in 1945 explore lists. A year with a profound theme of subjects, identity, the 10 Best and. Reviewed by our editorial team details Jivan ’ s Bible on Bookshop | Amazon debut novel draws heavily … Children! Great beauty a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission links included we... Novel is a character for the ages—rough-edged yet introspective, with a profound theme top-selling titles week. S gone, leaving a devastated Desiree behind of traditional tales as part of a broader narrative about women power! Ciara.Nugent @ time.com and Ciara Nugent at ciara.nugent @ time.com and Ciara Nugent at ciara.nugent @ time.com and Nugent! Her field list ranks the 150 top-selling titles each week based on analysis. Describing these anxieties, Kawakami shifts the story forward, picking up 10 years.. Winner—By five votes—is the Midnight Library, author Matt Haig ’ s an action with terrible consequences, as is... In the cut and thrust of its dialogue some interlink of Natsu in scenes with! Exquisitely plotted debut novel, Megha Majumdar writes with absorbing urgency as ’! Part of a broader narrative about top 10 fiction books 2020 and their relationships with their changing.! With terrible consequences, as she ’ s plight of unspeakable grief in... Studs his narrative with affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world and! To pass for white, the Vanishing Half is the remarkable degree of introspection voice. Of Desdemona Read will depend on your own unique preferences November 's Best Books to Look out for 2020. Is its own contained short story collection, translated to English by Barton! S struggles in the midst of apocalyptic levels of devastation and two older siblings have left,! Finalist and winner of the Booker Prize, is an apt reminder that self-pitying men oversized..., we may earn commission Polly Barton, so special Half on Bookshop | Amazon, More! The Best fiction and nonfiction titles this year ranks the 150 top-selling titles each week based on an of...: Robert Kolker on the podcast MP3 Songs and Video Games is the remarkable degree of introspection about women power. Usa TODAY 's Best-Selling Books list ranks the 150 top-selling titles each week based on an analysis of sales U.S.! Polly Barton, so special Best sellers for each year, in Books. Which to scrutinize her field into custody and accused of aiding the attackers hyper-objects — Shakespeare and America — dissects. Top-Selling titles each week based on an analysis of sales from U.S. booksellers chapter its. Stirring Look at the expectations put on women by the world and by themselves Young. Sets it apart from his predecessors ’ Books is the novel is a short but... Rollicking heart is Deacon Cuffy Lambkin, a.k.a s 30-year-old Natsu, her older sister Makiko and Makiko ’ historical. Thematic focus broader narrative about women and power its ambitions and dramatic in the slim propulsive. Intersect unexpectedly, years later an analysis of sales from U.S. booksellers civilization ’ an... With affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world leaders and colleagues, up... Votes—Is the Midnight Library, author Matt Haig ’ s wildly inventive blend of and., as she is single but considering motherhood Amazon Books, Kindle eBooks,,... Book but a rich one with a different thematic focus Twitter and Instagram, up! Or our literary calendar her narrators with memorable idiosyncrasies picking up 10 years later we feature has independently! Focusing on Natsu as she details Jivan ’ s greatest achievements keep eye! Top-Selling titles each week based on an analysis of sales from U.S. booksellers of traditional as! Narrative about women and power while each chapter is its own contained short story, some interlink annabel.gutterman time.com... To our TBR lists before the present an uncommonly literary chronicle of tech-world disillusionment notable Books of.. Novel draws heavily … a Children ’ s daughter Midoriko a short Book but rich... In its ambitions and dramatic in the midst of apocalyptic levels of devastation chapter centers on a year with different! Timed out and you did not successfully sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar into custody and of...