49 Best Fiction Books of 2020

Here are the 49 best fiction books of 2020 according to Google. Find your new favorite book from the local library with one click.

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1. The Vanishing Half

by: Brit Bennett
Release date: Jun 02, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2020 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES * THE WASHINGTON POST * NPR * PEOPLE * TIME MAGAZINE* VANITY FAIR * GLAMOUR “Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye.” —Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal “A story of absolute, universal timelessness …For any era, it’s an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it’s piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be….” – Entertainment Weekly From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

2. Homeland Elegies

by: Ayad Akhtar
Release date: Sep 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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A “profound and provocative” new work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Disgraced and American Dervish: an immigrant father and his son search for belonging—in post-Trump America, and with each other (Kirkus Reviews). One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2020 Finalist for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction A Best Book of 2020 * Washington Post * O Magazine * New York Times Book Review * Publishers Weekly “Passionate, disturbing, unputdownable.” —Salman Rushdie A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home. Ayad Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a country in which debt has ruined countless lives and the gods of finance rule, where immigrants live in fear, and where the nation’s unhealed wounds wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerrilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one—least of all himself—in the process.

3. The Glass Hotel

by: Emily St. John Mandel
Release date: Mar 24, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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LONGLISTED FOR THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE #1 national bestseller New York Times bestseller From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it. Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later, Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the wilderness of remote British Columbia, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

4. The Mirror and the Light

by: Hilary Mantel
Release date: Mar 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 883
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Shortlisted for The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 The long-awaited sequel to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, the stunning conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall trilogy. ‘A masterpiece’ Guardian ‘It is a book not read, but lived’ Telegraph ‘Her Cromwell novels are, for my money, the greatest English novels of this century’ Observer ‘If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?’ England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour. Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him? With The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.

5. Hamnet

by: Maggie O’Farrell
Release date: Jul 21, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER OF THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “[An] exceptional winner…. It expresses something profound about the human experience that seems both extraordinarily current and at the same time, enduring.” –Martha Lane Fox, Chair of The Women’s Prize for Fiction judges TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A PLAGUE THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART. England, 1580. A young Latin tutor–penniless, bullied by a violent father–falls in love with an eccentric young woman: a wild creature who walks her family’s estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles on the Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband. His gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when their beloved twins, Hamnet and Judith, are afflicted with the bubonic plague, and, devastatingly, one of them succumbs to the illness. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time, Hamnet & Judith is mesmerizing and seductive, an impossible-to-put-down novel from one of our most gifted writers. Published as Hamnet in the US and the UK.

6. Real Life

by: Brandon Taylor
Release date: Feb 18, 2020
Number of Pages: 336
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A FINALIST FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE AND THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE JOHN LEONARD PRIZE A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE “A blistering coming of age story” —O: The Oprah Magazine Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Public Library, Vanity Fair, Elle, NPR, The Guardian, The Paris Review, Harper’s Bazaar, Financial Times, Huffington Post, BBC, Shondaland, Barnes & Noble, Vulture, Thrillist, VICE, SELF, Electric Literature, and Shelf Awareness A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice. Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he is working uneasily toward a biochem degree. An introverted young man from Alabama, black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends—some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But over the course of a late-summer weekend, a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with an ostensibly straight, white classmate, conspire to fracture his defenses while exposing long-hidden currents of hostility and desire within their community. Real Life is a novel of profound and lacerating power, a story that asks if it’s ever really possible to overcome our private wounds, and at what cost.

7. Deacon King Kong

by: James McBride
Release date: Mar 03, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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One of Barack Obama’s “Favorite Books of the Year” Oprah’s Book Club Pick Named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and TIME Magazine A Washington Post Notable Novel From the author of the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird and the bestselling modern classic The Color of Water, comes one of the most celebrated novels of the year. In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and, in front of everybody, shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range. The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, James McBride’s funny, moving novel and his first since his National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird. In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood’s Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself. As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters—caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York—overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion. Bringing to these pages both his masterly storytelling skills and his abiding faith in humanity, James McBride has written a novel every bit as involving as The Good Lord Bird and as emotionally honest as The Color of Water. Told with insight and wit, Deacon King Kong demonstrates that love and faith live in all of us.

8. Luster

by: Raven Leilani
Release date: Aug 04, 2020
Number of Pages: 240
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Winner of the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Winner of the 2020 National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize for Best First Book Winner of the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Fiction Winner of the 2021 Dylan Thomas Prize Finalist for the 2021 PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel Longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction Longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Longlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction A New York Times Notable Book of the Year Named Best Book of the Year by O: the Oprah Magazine, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Town and Country, Amazon, Indigo, NPR, Harper’s Bazaar, Kirkus Reviews, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping Sharp, comic, disruptive, and tender, Luster sees a young Black woman fall into art and someone else’s open marriage. Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties—sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She’s also, secretly, haltingly, figuring her way into life as an artist. And then she meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including an autopsist wife who has agreed to an open marriage—with rules. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscapes of contemporary sexual manners and racial politics weren’t hard enough, Edie finds herself unemployed and falling into Eric’s family life, his home. She becomes a hesitant friend to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie is the only Black woman who young Akila knows. Razor-sharp, darkly comic, sexually charged, socially disruptive, Luster is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life in a tumultuous era. It is also a haunting, aching description of how hard it is to believe in your own talent and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way.

9. Shuggie Bain

by: Douglas Stuart
Release date: Feb 11, 2020
Number of Pages: 430
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WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD A stunning debut novel by a masterful writer telling the heartwrenching story of a young boy and his alcoholic mother, whose love is only matched by her pride. Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Shuggie’s mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie’s guiding light but a burden for him and his siblings. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a philandering taxi-driver husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good—her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamorous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion’s share of each week’s benefits—all the family has to live on—on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes’s older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to care for her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. Shuggie is meanwhile struggling to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that he is “no right,” a boy with a secret that all but him can see. Agnes is supportive of her son, but her addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her—even her beloved Shuggie. A heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love, Shuggie Bain is an epic portrayal of a working-class family that is rarely seen in fiction. Recalling the work of Édouard Louis, Alan Hollinghurst, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, it is a blistering debut by a brilliant novelist who has a powerful and important story to tell.

10. Leave the World Behind

by: Rumaan Alam
Release date: Oct 06, 2020
Number of Pages: 256
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A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick! Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award (Fiction) A Best Book of the Year From: The Washington Post * Time * NPR * Elle * Esquire * Kirkus * Library Journal * The Chicago Public Library * The New York Public Library * BookPage * The Globe and Mail * EW.com * The LA Times * USA Today * InStyle * The New Yorker * AARP * Publisher’s Lunch * LitHub * Book Marks * Electric Literature * Brooklyn Based * The Boston Globe A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong. From the bestselling author of Rich and Pretty comes a suspenseful and provocative novel keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis. Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other?

11. Mexican Gothic

by: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Release date: Jun 30, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “It’s Lovecraft meets the Brontës in Latin America, and after a slow-burn start Mexican Gothic gets seriously weird.”—The Guardian IN DEVELOPMENT AS A HULU ORIGINAL LIMITED SERIES PRODUCED BY KELLY RIPA AND MARK CONSUELOS • FINALIST FOR THE LOCUS AWARD • NOMINATED FOR THE BRAM STOKER AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker • Vanity Fair • NPR • The Washington Post • Tordotcom • Marie Claire • Vox • Mashable • Men’s Health • Library Journal • Book Riot • LibraryReads An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . . From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico. After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind. “It’s as if a supernatural power compels us to turn the pages of the gripping Mexican Gothic.”—The Washington Post “Mexican Gothic is the perfect summer horror read, and marks Moreno-Garcia with her hypnotic and engaging prose as one of the genre’s most exciting talents.”—Nerdist “A period thriller as rich in suspense as it is in lush ’50s atmosphere.”—Entertainment Weekly

12. Piranesi

by: Susanna Clarke
Release date: Sep 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 272
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New York Times Bestseller Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction World Fantasy Awards Finalist From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality. Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house. There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known. For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.

13. Transcendent Kingdom

by: Yaa Gyasi
Release date: Sep 08, 2020
Number of Pages: 256
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Yaa Gyasi’s stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national bestseller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama. Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford University’s School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behaviour in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to hard science to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written and emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.

14. A Burning

by: Megha Majumdar
Release date: Jun 02, 2020
Number of Pages: 240
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A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK! A New York Times Notable Book For readers of Tommy Orange, Yaa Gyasi, and Jhumpa Lahiri, an electrifying debut novel about three unforgettable characters who seek to rise—to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies—and find their lives entangled in the wake of a catastrophe in contemporary India. In this National Book Award Longlist honoree and “gripping thriller with compassionate social commentary” (USA Today), Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely—an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor—has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear. Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism. An extraordinary debut.

15. How Much of These Hills Is Gold

by: C Pam Zhang
Release date: Apr 07, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2020 LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST FOR THE 2020 CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE WINNER OF THE ROSENTHAL FAMILY FOUNDATION AWARD, FROM THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND LETTERS A NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION “5 UNDER 35” HONOREE NATIONAL BESTSELLER “Belongs on a shelf all of its own.” —NPR “Outstanding.” —The Washington Post “Revolutionary . . . A visionary addition to American literature.” —Star Tribune An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush, two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape—trying not just to survive but to find a home. Ba dies in the night; Ma is already gone. Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future. Both epic and intimate, blending Chinese symbolism and reimagined history with fiercely original language and storytelling, How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a haunting adventure story, an unforgettable sibling story, and the announcement of a stunning new voice in literature. On a broad level, it explores race in an expanding country and the question of where immigrants are allowed to belong. But page by page, it’s about the memories that bind and divide families, and the yearning for home.

16. Weather

by: Jenny Offill
Release date: Jan 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 224
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From the author of the nationwide best seller Dept. of Speculation–one of the New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of the Year–a shimmering tour de force about a family, and a nation, in crisis Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree. But this gives her a vantage point from which to practice her other calling: she is a fake shrink. For years she has tended to her God-haunted mother and her recovering addict brother. They have both stabilized for the moment, but Lizzie has little chance to spend her new free time with husband and son before her old mentor, Sylvia Liller, makes a proposal. She’s become famous for her prescient podcast, Hell and High Water, and wants to hire Lizzie to answer the mail she receives: from left-wingers worried about climate change and right-wingers worried about the decline of western civilization. As Lizzie dives into this polarized world, she begins to wonder what it means to keep tending your own garden once you’ve seen the flames beyond its walls. When her brother becomes a father and Sylvia a recluse, Lizzie is forced to address the limits of her own experience–but still she tries to save everyone, using everything she’s learned about empathy and despair, conscience and collusion, from her years of wandering the library stacks . . . And all the while the voices of the city keep floating in–funny, disturbing, and increasingly mad.

17. The Pull of the Stars

by: Emma Donoghue
Release date: Jul 21, 2020
Number of Pages: 304
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In Dublin, 1918, a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu is a small world of work, risk, death, and unlooked-for love, in “Donoghue’s best novel since Room” (Kirkus Reviews). In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney. In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work. In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

18. Caste

by: Isabel Wilkerson
Release date: Aug 04, 2020
Number of Pages: 496
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“”As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power–which groups have it and which do not.” In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people–including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others–she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of America life today”– Provided by publisher.

19. The Death of Vivek Oji

by: Akwaeke Emezi
Release date: Aug 04, 2020
Number of Pages: 256
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Electrifying.” — O: The Oprah Magazine Named a Best Book of 2020 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, USA TODAY, Vanity Fair, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Shondaland, Teen Vogue, Vulture, Lit Hub, Bustle, Electric Literature, and BookPage What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew? One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom. Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

20. Long Bright River

by: Liz Moore
Release date: Jan 07, 2020
Number of Pages: 496
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ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR, PARADE, REAL SIMPLE, and BUZZFEED AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK “[Moore’s] careful balance of the hard-bitten with the heartfelt is what elevates Long Bright River from entertaining page-turner to a book that makes you want to call someone you love.” – The New York Times Book Review “This is police procedural and a thriller par excellence, one in which the city of Philadelphia itself is a character (think Boston and Mystic River). But it’s also a literary tale narrated by a strong woman with a richly drawn personal life – powerful and genre-defying.” – People “A thoughtful, powerful novel by a writer who displays enormous compassion for her characters. Long Bright River is an outstanding crime novel… I absolutely loved it.” —Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Girl on the Train Two sisters travel the same streets, though their lives couldn’t be more different. Then one of them goes missing. 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, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey’s district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit–and her sister–before it’s too late. Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.

21. My Dark Vanessa

by: Kate Elizabeth Russell
Release date: Mar 10, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Russell manages a brutal originality. . . . [an] exceedingly complex, inventive, resourceful examination of harm and power.” —The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice “To call this book a ‘conversation piece’ or ‘an important book’ feels belittling . . . [it] is so much more than that. It’s a lightning rod. A brilliantly crafted novel.”—The Washington Post A most anticipated book by The New York Times • USA Today • Entertainment Weekly • Marie Claire • Elle • Harper’s Bazaar • Bustle • Newsweek • New York Post • Esquire • Real Simple • The Sunday Times • The Guardian Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer. 2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher. 2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed? Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

22. A Children’s Bible: A Novel

by: Lydia Millet
Release date: May 12, 2020
Number of Pages: 224
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Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Apple Books, Literary Hub, The Millions, and The Week An indelible novel of teenage alienation and adult complacency in an unraveling world. Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s sublime new novel—her first since the National Book Award long-listed Sweet Lamb of Heaven—follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion. Contemptuous of their parents, who pass their days in a stupor of liquor, drugs, and sex, the children feel neglected and suffocated at the same time. When a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, the group’s ringleaders—including Eve, who narrates the story—decide to run away, leading the younger ones on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside. As the scenes of devastation begin to mimic events in the dog-eared picture Bible carried around by her beloved little brother, Eve devotes herself to keeping him safe from harm. A Children’s Bible is a prophetic, heartbreaking story of generational divide—and a haunting vision of what awaits us on the far side of Revelation.

23. Death in Her Hands

by: Ottessa Moshfegh
Release date: Jun 23, 2020
Number of Pages: 272
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“[An] intricate and unsettling new novel . . . Death in Her Hands is not a murder mystery, nor is it really a story about self-deception or the perils of escapism. Rather, it’s a haunting meditation on the nature and meaning of art.” -Kevin Power, The New Yorker From one of our most ceaselessly provocative literary talents, a novel of haunting metaphysical suspense about an elderly widow whose life is upturned when she finds an ominous note on a walk in the woods. While on her daily walk with her dog in a secluded woods, a woman comes across a note, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground by stones. “Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.” But there is no dead body. Our narrator is deeply shaken; she has no idea what to make of this. She is new to this area, alone after the death of her husband, and she knows no one. Becoming obsessed with solving this mystery, our narrator imagines who Magda was and how she met her fate. With very little to go on, she invents a list of murder suspects and possible motives for the crime. Oddly, her suppositions begin to find correspondences in the real world, and with mounting excitement and dread, the fog of mystery starts to fade into menacing certainty. As her investigation widens, strange dissonances accrue, perhaps associated with the darkness in her own past; we must face the prospect that there is either an innocent explanation for all this or a much more sinister one. A triumphant blend of horror, suspense, and pitch-black comedy, Death in Her Hands asks us to consider how the stories we tell ourselves both reflect the truth and keep us blind to it. Once again, we are in the hands of a narrator whose unreliability is well earned, and the stakes have never been higher.

24. Memorial

by: Bryan Washington
Release date: Oct 27, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, O, the Oprah Magazine, Esquire, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, Real Simple, Kirkus Reviews, Electric Literature, and Lit Hub “A masterpiece.” —NPR “No other novel this year captures so gracefully the full palette of America.” —The Washington Post “Wryly funny, gently devastating.” —Entertainment Weekly A funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you’re supposed to be, and the limits of love. Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson’s a Black day care teacher, and they’ve been together for a few years—good years—but now they’re not sure why they’re still a couple. There’s the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other. But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike’s immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it. Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they’ve ever known. And just maybe they’ll all be okay in the end.

25. Memorial Drive

by: Natasha Trethewey
Release date: Jul 28, 2020
Number of Pages: 224
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An Instant New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Notable Book One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2020 Named One of the Best Books of the Year by: The Washington Post, NPR, Shelf Awareness, Esquire, Electric Literature, Slate, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and InStyle A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became. With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985. Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.

26. The Office of Historical Corrections

by: Danielle Evans
Release date: Nov 10, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR An O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF 2020 FINALIST FOR THE STORY PRIZE LONGLISTED FOR THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE ONE OF THE NEW YORKER BOOK CRITIC’S FAVORITE FICTION OF THE YEAR “Sublime short stories of race, grief, and belonging . . . an extraordinary new collection . . .” —The New Yorker “Evans’s new stories present rich plots reflecting on race relations, grief, and love . . .” —The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice “Danielle Evans demonstrates, once again, that she is the finest short story writer working today.” —Roxane Gay, The New York Times–bestselling author of Difficult Women and Bad Feminist The award-winning author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self brings her signature voice and insight to the subjects of race, grief, apology, and American history. Danielle Evans is widely acclaimed for her blisteringly smart voice and X-ray insights into complex human relationships. With The Office of Historical Corrections, Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters’ lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters who are experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love, and getting walloped by grief—all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history—about who gets to tell them, and the cost of setting the record straight. In “Boys Go to Jupiter,” a white college student tries to reinvent herself after a photo of her in a Confederate-flag bikini goes viral. In “Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain,” a photojournalist is forced to confront her own losses while attending an old friend’s unexpectedly dramatic wedding. And in the eye-opening title novella, a black scholar from Washington, DC, is drawn into a complex historical mystery that spans generations and puts her job, her love life, and her oldest friendship at risk.

27. Jack

by: Marilynne Robinson
Release date: Oct 28, 2020
Number of Pages: 466
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“A new Gilead novel that tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the beloved, erratic, and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister from Gilead, Iowa”–

28. Beach Read

by: Emily Henry
Release date: May 19, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! “Original, sparkling bright, and layered with feeling…”—Sally Thorne, author of The Hating Game A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters. Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

29. Rodham

by: Curtis Sittenfeld
Release date: Jan 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 432
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“In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise … Then she meets a fellow law student named Bill Clinton. A charismatic Southerner, Bill is already laying the groundwork for his political career. In each other, Hillary and Bill find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced. In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times. Although she turned him down more than once, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton. But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s [novel], Hillary follows a different path”–

30. A Girl Is A Body of Water

by: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Release date: Sep 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 560
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“Makumbi is such an honest, truthful writer. . . . I loved every single page.” —Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage A Best Book of the Year at TIME; The Washington Post; O, the Oprah Magazine; BBC Longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize In her thirteenth year, Kirabo confronts a piercing question: who is my mother? Kirabo has been raised by women in the small Ugandan village of Nattetta—her grandmother, her best friend, and her many aunts—but the absence of her mother follows her like a shadow. Seeking answers from Nsuuta, the local witch, Kirabo learns about the woman who birthed her, who she discovers is alive but not ready to meet. Nsuuta also helps Kirabo understand the emergence of a mysterious second self, a headstrong and confusing force inside her—this, says Nsuuta, is a streak of the “first woman”: an independent, original state that has been all but lost to women. Kirabo’s journey to reconcile these feelings, alongside her desire to reconnect with her mother and to honor her family’s expectations, is rich in the folklore of Uganda and an arresting exploration of what it means to be a modern girl in a world that seems determined to silence women. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s A Girl is a Body of Water is an unforgettable, sweeping testament to the true and lasting connections between history, tradition, family, friends, and the promise of a different future.

31. Wow, No Thank You

by: Samantha Irby
Release date: Mar 31, 2020
Number of Pages: 336
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“‘Country crock’ first published, in different form, in Nasty women: feminism, resistance, and revolution in Trump’s America (Macmillan Publishing Group, 2017), and ‘Hysterical!’ first published, in slightly different form, in Gay Mag on April 10, 2018”–Title page verso.

32. The Midnight Library

by: Matt Haig
Release date: Sep 29, 2020
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Between life and death there is a library. When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

33. When No One Is Watching

by: Alyssa Cole
Release date: Sep 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 368
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Rear Window meets Get Out in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed and New York Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning… Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo. But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised. When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

34. It’s Not All Downhill From Here

by: Terry McMillan
Release date: Mar 31, 2020
Number of Pages: 368
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • After a sudden change of plans, a remarkable woman and her loyal group of friends try to figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of her life—from Terry McMillan, the bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting to Exhale NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MARIE CLAIRE AND GOOD HOUSEKEEPING • “Poignant, funny and full of life, this is a balm for troubled times.”—People Loretha Curry’s life is full. A little crowded sometimes, but full indeed. On the eve of her sixty-eighth birthday, she has a booming beauty-supply empire, a gaggle of lifelong friends, and a husband whose moves still surprise. True, she’s carrying a few more pounds than she should be, but Loretha is not one of those women who think her best days are behind her—and she’s determined to prove wrong her mother, her twin sister, and everyone else with that outdated view of aging wrong. It’s not all downhill from here. But when an unexpected loss turns her world upside down, Loretha will have to summon all her strength, resourcefulness, and determination to keep on thriving, pursue joy, heal old wounds, and chart new paths. With a little help from her friends, of course.

35. A Promised Land

by: Barack Obama
Release date: Nov 17, 2020
Number of Pages: 768
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A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINEE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times • NPR • The Guardian • Marie Claire In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil. Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office. Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden. A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective—the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

36. Utopia Avenue

by: David Mitchell
Release date: Jul 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 608
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The hotly anticipated new novel from the internationally bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas. Utopia Avenue may be the most extraordinary British band you’ve never heard of. Emerging from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967 and fronted by folksinger Elf Holloway, guitar demigod Jasper de Zoet and blues bassist Dean Moss, Utopia Avenue released only two LPs during its brief blazing journey from the clubs of Soho and draughty ballrooms to Top of the Pops and the Top 10; to Amsterdam, Rome and a fateful American fortnight in the autumn of 1968. David Mitchell’s new novel is the story of Utopia Avenue and its age; of riots in the street and revolutions in the head; of drugs and thugs, schizophrenia, love, sex, grief, art; of the families we choose and the ones we don’t; of fame’s Faustian pact and stardom’s wobbly ladder. Do we change the world or does the world change us? Utopia means ‘nowhere’ but might it be somewhere, if only we knew how to look?

37. All Adults Here

by: Emma Straub
Release date: May 04, 2020
Number of Pages: 368
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR A PARADE BEST BOOK of 2020 * A GOOD HOUSEKEEPING BEST BOOK of 2020 A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK! “In a time when all we want is hope, it’s a beautiful book to reach for.” -Jenna Bush Hager “Literary sunshine.”—New York Times “Brimming with kindness, forgiveness, humor and love and yet (magically) also a page turner that held me captive until it was finished. This is Emma Straub’s absolute best and the world will love it. I love it.” —Ann Patchett A warm, funny, and keenly perceptive novel about the life cycle of one family–as the kids become parents, grandchildren become teenagers, and a matriarch confronts the legacy of her mistakes. From the New York Times bestselling author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers. When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence? Astrid’s youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence. And her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid’s thirteen-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most. In All Adults Here, Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.

38. Hidden Valley Road

by: Robert Kolker
Release date: Apr 07, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
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OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NATIONAL BESTSELLER The heartrending story of a mid-century American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand–even cure–the disease. Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the dream. After World War II, Don’s work with the US Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years there was an established script for a family like the Galvins–aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony–and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen in one family? What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institutes of Mental Health. Their shocking story also offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy and the premise of the schizophrenogenic mother, to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amidst profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. Unknown to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment and even the possibility of the eradication of the disease for future generations. With clarity and compassion, bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker uncovers one family’s unforgettable legacy of suffering, love and hope.

39. Uncanny Valley

by: Anna Wiener
Release date: Jan 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES’S 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2020. Named one of the Best Books of 2020 by The Washington Post, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, ELLE, Esquire, Parade, Teen Vogue, The Times (UK), Fortune, Glamour, Town & Country, Apartment Therapy, Good Housekeeping, Electric Literature, Self, The Week (UK) and BookPage. One of Amazon’s Best 100 Books of 2020. A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a January 2020 IndieNext Pick. “A definitive document of a world in transition: I won’t be alone in returning to it for clarity and consolation for many years to come.” –Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion The prescient, page-turning account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener—stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial–left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress. Anna arrived amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building. Part coming-of-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. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry’s shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment. Unsparing and incisive, Uncanny Valley is a cautionary tale, and a revelatory interrogation of a world reckoning with consequences its unwitting designers are only beginning to understand.

40. The Splendid and the Vile

by: Erik Larson
Release date: Jan 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 608
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Bleak Expectations — The Rising Threat — A Certain Eventuality — Dread — Blood and Dust — The Americans — Love Amid the Flames — One Year to the Day — Epilogue.

41. The Guest List

by: Lucy Foley
Release date: Jun 02, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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A REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST THRILLERS OF 2020 “I loved this book. It gave me the same waves of happiness I get from curling up with a classic Christie…The alternating points of view keep you guessing, and guessing wrong.” — Alex Michaelides, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient “Evok[es] the great Agatha Christie classics…Pay close attention to seemingly throwaway details about the characters’ pasts. They are all clues.” — New York Times Book Review A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie from the New York Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party. The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner – The bridesmaid – The body On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed. But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast. And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

42. The Mercies

by: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Release date: Feb 11, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
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The women in an Arctic village must survive a sinister threat after all the men are wiped out by a catastrophic storm in this “gripping novel inspired by a real-life witch hunt. . . . Beautiful and chilling” (Madeline Miller, bestselling author of Circe). When the women take over, is it sorcery or power? Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the skies break into a sudden and reckless storm. All forty of the village’s men were at sea, including Maren’s father and brother, and all forty are drowned in the otherworldly disaster. For the women left behind, survival means defying the strict rules of the island. They fish, hunt, and butcher reindeer—which they never did while the men were alive. But the foundation of this new feminine frontier begins to crack with the arrival of Absalom Cornet, a man sent from Scotland to root out alleged witchcraft. Cornet brings with him the threat of danger—and a pretty, young Norwegian wife named Ursa. As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence. “The Mercies has a pull as sure as the tide. It totally swept me away to Vardø, where grief struck islanders stand tall in the shadow of religious persecution and witch burnings. It’s a beautifully intimate story of friendship, love and hope. A haunting ode to self-reliant and quietly defiant women.” (Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize winning author of Shuggie Bain)

43. The Only Good Indians

by: Stephen Graham Jones
Release date: Jul 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From USA TODAY bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones comes a “masterpiece” (Locus Magazine) of a novel about revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition. Labeled “one of 2020’s buzziest horror novels” (Entertainment Weekly), this is a remarkable horror story that “will give you nightmares—the good kind of course” (BuzzFeed). From New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones comes a novel that is equal parts psychological horror and cutting social commentary on identity politics and the American Indian experience. Fans of Jordan Peele and Tommy Orange will love this story as it follows the lives of four American Indian men and their families, all haunted by a disturbing, deadly event that took place in their youth. Years later, they find themselves tracked by an entity bent on revenge, totally helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

44. The Thursday Murder Club

by: Richard Osman
Release date: Sep 22, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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A New York Times bestseller | Soon to be a major motion picture from Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment “Witty, endearing and greatly entertaining.” —Wall Street Journal “Don’t trust anyone, including the four septuagenarian sleuths in Osman’s own laugh-out-loud whodunit.” —Parade Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves A female cop with her first big case A brutal murder Welcome to… THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?

45. The Girl with the Louding Voice

by: Abi Daré
Release date: Feb 04, 2020
Number of Pages: 384
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A READ WITH JENNA TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK! “Brave, fresh . . . unforgettable.”—The New York Times Book Review “A celebration of girls who dare to dream.”—Imbolo Mbue, author of Behold the Dreamers (Oprah’s Book Club pick) Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and recommended by The New York Times, Marie Claire, Vogue, Essence, PopSugar, Daily Mail, Electric Literature, Red, Stylist, Daily Kos, Library Journal, The Everygirl, and Read It Forward! The unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself, The Girl with the Louding Voice is a simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant tale about the power of fighting for your dreams. Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, Adunni never loses sight of her goal of escaping the life of poverty she was born into so that she can build the future she chooses for herself – and help other girls like her do the same. Her spirited determination to find joy and hope in even the most difficult circumstances imaginable will “break your heart and then put it back together again” (Jenna Bush Hager on The Today Show) even as Adunni shows us how one courageous young girl can inspire us all to reach for our dreams…and maybe even change the world.

46. The Evening and the Morning

by: Ken Follett
Release date: Sep 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 928
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#1 New York Times Bestseller An Amazon Best Book of 2020 A thrilling and addictive new novel–a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth–set in England at the dawn of a new era: the Middle Ages “Just as transporting as [The Pillars of the Earth] . . . A most welcome addition to the Kingsbridge series.” –The Washington Post It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns. In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined. A young boatbuilder’s life is turned upside down when the only home he’s ever known is raided by Vikings, forcing him and his family to move and start their lives anew in a small hamlet where he does not fit in. . . . A Norman noblewoman marries for love, following her husband across the sea to a new land, but the customs of her husband’s homeland are shockingly different, and as she begins to realize that everyone around her is engaged in a constant, brutal battle for power, it becomes clear that a single misstep could be catastrophic. . . . A monk dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a center of learning that will be admired throughout Europe. And each in turn comes into dangerous conflict with a clever and ruthless bishop who will do anything to increase his wealth and power. Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, Follett’s masterful new prequel The Evening and the Morning takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins.

47. Sex and Vanity

by: Kevin Kwan
Release date: Jun 30, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with a glittering tale of love and longing as a young woman finds herself torn between two worlds–the WASP establishment of her father’s family and George Zao, a man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with. On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have the view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Curzio Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin, Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases. Daughter of an American-born-Chinese mother and blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucy is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

48. Party of Two

by: Jasmine Guillory
Release date: Jun 23, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
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A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking in this New York Times bestseller. Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist—it is chocolate cake, after all. Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble—not just some privileged white politician, as she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?

49. Interior Chinatown

by: Charles Yu
Release date: Jan 01, 2020
Number of Pages: 288
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Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He’s merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy–the most respected old that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that’s what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more. Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet.

Last updated on October 17, 2021