Top Ten Favorite Reads, 2020!

This week we’re looking back at the year and thinking about our favorite reads. These are presented in the order in which I read them.


Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owns. An absolutely unforgettable mix of character drama and nature writing, Crawdads shows off its author’s science background, using it to create one of the most memorable main characters I’ve ever encountered: Kya, the “marsh girl”.

The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis. A review of the four Greek understandings of love. I’m presently re-reading this one in hopes of finishing my review before the new year ticks over.


American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins. A novel inspired by the migrant crisis, Cummins takes readers on a desperate northward flight of a mom and child, who barely escaped the butchering of their family at the hands of a drug kingpin.

The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence, Richard Wrangham. How can a species so consistently capable of beauty and moral greatness also be capable of moral outrages like mass murder?


12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Jordan Peterson. A challenging and deeply philosophical book for those struggling to find meaning.


How Dante Can Save Your Life, Rod Dreher. An intensely personal, and absolutely lovely, journey with Dante and an author trying to make peace with his father and still reeling from his sister’s death.

The Coddling of the American Mind, Jonathan Haidt & Greg Lukianoff. Two authors examine the plunging mental health and resiliency of American youths, and the related disintegration of civil discourse.


The End of October, Lawrence Wright. Published right around the time COVID-19 sent everyone running for toilet paper and covering everything in hand sanitizer, End of October is an end-of-the-world pandemic novel with strong science bones.

Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe in Conspiracy Theories, Rob Brotherton. Read in honor of the many election & corona conspiracies out there this year, Brotherton’s title reveals how our brain’s native shortcuts make lunatics of us all.

A Bright Future: How Some Countries have Solved Climate Change and How the Rest Can Follow, Joshua Goldstein & Staffan Qvist. On the necessity, not merely the option, of deploying nuclear energy to combat global warming.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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11 Responses to Top Ten Favorite Reads, 2020!

  1. lydiaschoch says:

    Suspicious Minds sounds good!

    My post.

  2. readingbifrost says:

    I need to pick up End of October. I’m the kind to watch Twister during a tornado or set up a projector by the pool and watch Jaws. 2020 has been one long Doctor Who marathon, and reading pandemic books during a pandemic is just up my alley. I already hit up The Andromeda Strain again. Happy New Year!

    • I’m the same way! Last year when we had a series of hurricanes go through Alabama, I kept reading hurricane books (Isaac’s Storm, etc). Nader weather always makes me want to pop Twister into the player, too! ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy New Year!!

  3. Cyberkitten says:

    Quite a few Pandemic/Post-Apocalypse books for me this year with many more to come in ’21. A few more from your list too. As usual my reading plans & best of will be following from Saturday onward.

  4. Mudpuddle says:

    a handful of old Ace SF doubles to kick off with, anyway…

  5. I also enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing. It was a highlight of the year for so many.

  6. Susan says:

    Looks like you found some great reads this year. Here’s to discovering more great ones in 2021!

    Happy TTT!


  7. A great list that includes several books I’d like to read. The only one on your list I have read is How Dante Can Save Your Life and if the others are as good as that one I better put them all on my list.

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