The result is a scrupulously observed and quietly damning exposé of the yawning gap between an industry’s public idealism and its internal iniquities. 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. by David Baldacci. View the Top 100 best sellers for each year, in Amazon Books, Kindle eBooks, Music, MP3 Songs and Video Games. Produced by Lauryn Stallings. Read the best new books released, and yet to come, in 2020. 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. Discover our top 10 books in five categories, then explore the lists in full. ... keep an eye on this list of the top new books to watch out for in 2020. … At its rollicking heart is Deacon Cuffy Lambkin, a.k.a. 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. | Read the review. 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. 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. Fiction | Little, Brown & Company. 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 … This is a short book but a rich one with a profound theme. Your winner—by five votes—is The Midnight Library, author Matt Haig’s wildly inventive blend of literary and speculative fiction… $27. Follow New York Times Books on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar. 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. He returns frequently to the subject of his father, a Pakistani immigrant and onetime doctor to Donald Trump, seeking in his life the answer to a burning question: What, after all, does it take to be an American? Margaret Busby, chair of this year’s judging panel, discusses the six books … Buy Now: Shuggie Bain on Bookshop | Amazon. Why on earth would he do such a thing? New year, new novels to add to our TBR lists. $30. 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. Dec 13, 2019 Amazon. In 900 richly detailed pages, The Mirror & The Light lays out the downfall of Thomas Cromwell, consigliere to King Henry VIII and powerbroker of the Reformation. But Wiener’s unobtrusive perch turns out to be a boon, providing an unparalleled vantage point from which to scrutinize her field. An eloquent new entry to literature on that most vital of subjects, identity, The Vanishing Half is the novel of the year. While each chapter is its own contained short story, some interlink. 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. Buy Now: I Hold a Wolf by the Ears on Bookshop | Amazon. When Stella decides to pass for white, the sisters’ lives diverge, only to intersect unexpectedly, years later. There’s 30-year-old Natsu, her older sister Makiko and Makiko’s daughter Midoriko. Nonfiction | Random House. 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 … Buy Now: The Mirror & the Light on Bookshop | Amazon. The novel, a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Booker Prize, is a gut punch. In moving between their three voices, Majumdar reveals the intersections of their ambitions and fears, coalescing into an unnerving investigation of corruption, class and tragedy. In her exquisitely plotted debut novel, Megha Majumdar writes with absorbing urgency as she details Jivan’s plight. | Read the review | Listen: Lydia Millet on the podcast. 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. The New York Public Library is proud to present our Best Books of 2020. 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. Mantel’s Cromwell is a character for the ages—rough-edged yet introspective, with a mind as sharp as an axe. $26.95. 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. ]. | Read the review | Listen: Ayad Akhtar on the podcast. Our list of favorites, fiction and nonfiction. Fiction | Riverhead Books. 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. The novel is a portrait of unspeakable grief wreathed in great beauty. Where Reasons End is the heartbreaking story of Yiyun Li’s most … Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. 3 weeks on the list. Every so often we are gifted a novel that combines deep intelligence, meticulous prose and something profound to say about the state of our world. Against the backdrop of a city neglected by the government and in decline, Shuggie and Agnes wrestle for control over their lives, often finding themselves swept away by the waves of her addiction. Her Henry, meanwhile, is an apt reminder that self-pitying men with oversized egos enjoyed power long before the present. Illustration by Luis Mazon. With so many amazing fiction books on the market, it can be hard to know which book is right for you. 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. But what begins as generational comedy soon takes a darker turn, as climate collapse and societal breakdown encroach. 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. A translator herself, Matsuda knows how to play with language, infusing her narrators with memorable idiosyncrasies. You can unsubscribe at any time. Nonfiction | MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The first chapter, “1833: Miscegenation,” revolves around John Quincy Adams and his obsessive hatred of Desdemona. In the slim and propulsive novel, teenager Evie narrates the group’s struggles in the midst of apocalyptic levels of devastation. Nonfiction | Doubleday. “Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, … War has led to many of civilization’s great disasters but also to many of civilization’s greatest achievements. $27. Updated: November 19, 2020 3:04 PM EST | Originally published: November 19, 2020 10:36 AM EST, Georgia Election Official Calls Out Trump. In Millet’s latest novel, a bevy of kids and their middle-aged … | Read the review. Debuted: October 22 2020. This diverse guide lists 10 of 2020’s top-rated fiction 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. Books are both solace and inspiration. That understated and witty touch is what makes this short story collection, translated to English by Polly Barton, so special. “For a family, schizophrenia is, primarily, a felt experience, as if the foundation of the family is permanently tilted,” Kolker writes. Discover Amazon’s Top 100 best-selling products in 2012, 2011, 2010 and beyond. Buy Now: Deacon King Kong on Bookshop | Amazon. He invites the reader inside his head as he ponders life-or-death issues of national security, examining every detail of his decision-making; he describes what it’s like to endure the bruising legislative process and lays out his thinking on health care reform and the economic crisis. By Corinne Sullivan. Looking for a great novel? The result is a reimagining of traditional tales as part of a broader narrative about women and power. Lindsay Baker rounds up BBC Culture’s picks. | Read the review | Listen: James McBride on the podcast. Mantel’s evocation of Tudor England and her ear for political drama were just as immersive as ever, and the book climbed to the top of bestseller lists in the U.S. and U.K. Check out our list of 100 notable books of 2020. Don and Mimi Galvin had the first of their 12 children in 1945. Start planning those reading lists for the new year with this bumper selection of forthcoming fiction for 2020. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our. Fiction | Alfred A. Knopf. 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. Nonfiction | Crown. 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. 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! All Rights Reserved. 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. By Christopher Borrelli. It’s all around us, influencing everything we see and do; it’s in our bones. The 10 Best Books of 2020: It was an off year for the arts, but not for books. It’s an action with terrible consequences, as she’s taken into custody and accused of aiding the attackers. By signing up you are agreeing to our. Fiction | W.W. Norton & Company. And the year’s best fiction offered many paths toward greater understanding and meaningful escape. 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. A mystery story, a crime novel, an urban farce, a sociological portrait of late-1960s Brooklyn: McBride’s novel contains multitudes. All of these books … Reading fiction in 2020 was an act of defiance—of turning our attention away from the catastrophes playing out around us to engage in a quiet, imaginative act. Browse Amazon’s “Best … MacMillan argues that war — fighting and killing — is so intimately bound up with what it means to be human that viewing it as an aberration misses the point. Buy Now: The Vanishing Half on Bookshop | Amazon. Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Frontline Health Workers Are TIME's 2020 Guardians of the Year, Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2020 TIME USA, LLC. | Read the review | Listen: Anna Wiener on the podcast. His father and two older siblings have left home, long before he can. 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. 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. ... General fiction. House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1) Sarah J. Maas (Goodreads Author) An unexpected error has occurred with your sign up. While Natsu was measured and judgmental in narrating the story of her sister’s obsession with perfecting her image, she is now uncertain and confused by her own fears about aging. $25.95. 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. This year’s Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction was the closest contest in the history of the awards. Fiction | Riverhead Books. Matsuda updates traditional Japanese ghost stories for the contemporary era, giving agency to previously voiceless female characters and playfully breaking down gender roles and stereotypes still so pervasive in Japanese culture today. Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart With an unfailingly light touch, Millet delivers a wry fable about climate change, imbuing foundational myths with new meaning and, finally, hope. Her thoughts on the burgeoning natural disaster capture the dual personalities of a sulking teen, sick of her parents, and a young person forced to grow up too fast. The sixth book in … turning our attention away from the catastrophes, The 10 Best YA and Children’s Books of 2020. | Read the review | Listen: Robert Kolker on the podcast. The Best Books to Look Out for in 2020: Non-Fiction. It’s been a bumper year for books, from dystopian fiction and memoir to powerful stories about race and identity. 15 best books of 2020 to read now. MacMillan writes with impressive ease. The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, Erik Larson. “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. 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. The whole neighborhood is buzzing with the news: Sportcoat pulled a .38 from his pocket and blew the ear off of the boy he used to coach in baseball. 3. Buy Now: Homeland Elegies on Bookshop | Amazon. In Homeland Elegies, Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar gives readers just that in the story of a man very much like himself, who shares his name and was born to Pakistani immigrants in the American Midwest as Akhtar was. And listen to us on the Book Review podcast. 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. Please try again later. $28. 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. Soured on her job as an underpaid assistant at a literary agency in New York, Wiener, then in her mid-20s, heads west, heeding the siren call of Bay Area start-ups aglow with optimism, vitality and cash. In her first novel published in English, Japanese author Mieko Kawakami follows three women and their relationships with their changing bodies. 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. 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. Pick up one of these. An easy, elegant writer, he studs his narrative with affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world leaders and colleagues. $29.95. $27. 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. Suddenly, she’s gone, leaving a devastated Desiree behind. 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. 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. He takes two huge cultural hyper-objects — Shakespeare and America — and dissects the effects of their collision. 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. 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. 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. Buy Now: Where the Wild Ladies Are on Bookshop | Amazon, Read More: The 100 Must-Read Books of 2020. Although some people spend the time leading up to the … | Read the review | Read our profile. A series of unglamorous jobs — in various customer support positions — follow. | Read the review. 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. Practically every page of her book is interesting and, despite the grimness of its argument, even entertaining. Then, Kawakami shifts the story forward, picking up 10 years later and focusing on Natsu as she is single but considering motherhood. Of course, the books you like to read will depend on your own unique preferences. A Children’s Bible. ... December 10 2020. McBride describes their world in densely packed, rhythmic specificities, fixating on the community’s rich local history and the voices that populate it. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission. 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. Buy Now: Breasts and Eggs on Bookshop | Amazon. $28. 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. 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. 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. 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. What sets it apart from his predecessors’ books is the remarkable degree of introspection. Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li. $45. Their interactions are relayed through the dry voice of Natsu in scenes filled with blunt and witty dialogue. Douglas Stuart’s acclaimed debut novel draws heavily … 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 … Each chapter centers on a year with a different thematic focus. * The request timed out and you did not successfully sign up. Paperback Trade Fiction. While the grown-ups indulge (pills, benders, bed-hopping), the kids, disaffected teenagers and their parentally neglected younger siblings, look on with mounting disgust. It’s historical fiction, but dazzlingly literary in its ambitions and dramatic in the cut and thrust of its dialogue. We found the best fiction books of 2020, ranging from historical fiction to romance, fantasy, and even creepy thrillers and mystery. 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. The editors of The Times Book Review choose the best fiction and nonfiction titles this year. May 10 Walk The Wire: David Baldacci: May 17 Camino Winds: John Grisham: May 24 The … Write to Lucy Feldman at email@example.com, Annabel Gutterman at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ciara Nugent at email@example.com. Even the deacon himself doesn’t seem to know. | Read the review, [ Want more? Please attempt to sign up again. WALK THE WIRE. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from t… A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick! 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. 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. Buy Now: A Children’s Bible on Bookshop | Amazon. 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. In describing these anxieties, Kawakami takes a stirring look at the expectations put on women by the world and by themselves. The Best Fiction Books Coming Out in 2020. The Waterstones Round Up: November's Best Books . Wiener’s stylish memoir is an uncommonly literary chronicle of tech-world disillusionment. Every year, the Booker Prize judges whittle a year’s worth of fiction down to a shortlist of six books, each competing for the title of the best novel of the year. No matter what fiction books you like best, there's a hot … The Best Books to Look Out For in 2020: Children's and Young Adult. 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. Chicago Tribune | Dec 03, 2020 at 6:00 AM . Bennett has constructed her novel with great care, populating it with characters, including a trans man and an actress, who invite us to consider how identity is both chosen and imposed, and the degree to which “passing” may describe a phenomenon more common than we think. 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