The Best Books of 2020

It’s the time of year when book reviewers and readers compile lists of the “best books”.  But one list doesn’t fit all, because every reader has different interests and tastes.  So here are some lists to peruse to help you search for your new best book.

The first set of lists pop you straight into the library catalog, making it easy to put items on hold so you can check them out.  The second group of recommendations are from the American Library Association and popular publications like the New York Times, NPR, and Time magazine.

Lists in the Library Catalog

Award Winners

A comprehensive list of awards from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom for all ages, in all genres, including the Coretta Scott King Award, Gold Dagger Award, Nebula, Lambda Literary Award, and many more.

The New York Times Notable Books 2020, opens a new window 

A PDF of the entire NY Times Notable Books list, with links to the library catalog.  You can download this list to save or share.

Best Fiction Books 2020

includes titles from The New York Times and the Goodreads Choice Awards









Best Mystery Books 2020

includes titles from Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times, and Goodreads Choice Awards









Best Science Fiction Books 2020

includes titles from Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times, and Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Nonfiction Books 2020

includes titles from The New York Times









More Lists!

American Library Association Notable Books for Adults 2020

Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation’s readers a list of 25 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader.

American Library Association Notable Children’s Books 2020

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. This list includes titled for children from birth to age 14.

The Atlantic:  The 15 Best Books of 2020

The memoirs, novels, and poetry that stood out most, from The Atlantic Cultural Desk.

BBC Best Books of the Year 2020

BBC associate editor in the Culture department shares her best picks of the year.

Book Riot

This list includes a variety of genres: horror, mystery, fantasy, as well as young adult and children’s selections.

Chicago Public Library: CPL the Best of the Best Books 2020

“Every year, our librarians evaluate the year’s new books and select the very best.”

The Guardian

Another British entry into the best book lists: the Guardian lists also provide genre and children’s selections.

NPR’s Book Concierge: What Would You Like to Read?

NPR provides over 20 subject filters that you can “mix and match” along with eight years of titles to explore providing nearly 2,500 recommendations from NPR staff and trusted critics.

New York Public Library Best Books 2020

This list is created by librarians and includes recommendations for children, teens and adults.  There are some sub-lists that include the ten best titles in Spanish for children and titles that are in accessible formats.

New York Times Critics Top Books 2020

The Times’s staff critics give their choices of the best fiction and nonfiction works of the year.

New York Time 100 Notable Books of 2020

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

O, The Oprah Magazine:  Best Books of 2020

These Are the best books of 2020, according to O, The Oprah Magazine

San Francisco Chronicle: Best Cookbooks of 2020 

San Francisco Chronicle: 10 books by Bay Area authors that should be on your holiday list

Time Magazine: The 100 Must-Read Books of 2020

“The fiction, non-fiction and poetry that deepened our understanding, ignited our curiosity and helped us escape.”

Washington Post: The Best Books of 2020

This list starts with what Post editors consider the 10 most outstanding of many excellent books and scroll down to genre and subject matter lists.

Written by: Linda

Photo Credits:  Main photo by Kourosh Qaffari; inset photo by Giancarlo Corti