Terri Schichenmeyer | Contributing Writer

Youve got a little extra time this month, and you dont want to waste it.

You want to read something good, the possibilities are endless, and the best place to begin is with these Best Books of 2020 titles.


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman starts out kind of weird, as if it consists of half-thoughts. Stick around a few more pages, though, and youll be rewarded with a hilarious, sweet, wild tale of a robbed bank, a real estate open house and heart. Put this at the top of your list, if you love novels.

Both Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab involve women in situations that are dark and dangerous. In the Nesbit book, a Pilgrim village holds secrets that are not discussed, and the wife of the town troublemaker knows too much. In the Schwab novel, a headstrong young woman makes a decision she might regret for the rest of her very long life. Theres a hint of feminism in both books, and theyll both give you shivers for months after you finish them.

Fans of thrillers will eat up The Last Flight by Julie Clark, a tale of an abusive husband, swapped identities, and murder — or maybe not. If you like heart-pounding cat-and-mouse tales, this is your book … only here, you sometimes dont know which is the cat, and theres an extra, menacing mouse.

A wide, sweeping experiment in tolerance is at the heart of Under the Rainbow by Celia Laskey. Acceptance Across America, an LGBTQ organization, is about to see if they can change the hearts and minds of bigots in Small-Town America by moving a handful of gay men and lesbians to Big Burr, Kansas. This novel, told from the POV of the towns residents, is full of humor, love, secrets, haters, strife and everything else you want in a novel.


How to Astronaut: Everything You Need to Know Before Leaving Earth by Terry Virts is fun and lighthearted, and will put you back in touch with your inner child, the one that really wanted to grow up to be an astronaut. Its filled with inside information, fun facts, a bit of memoir, and its timely. Space Force, anyone?

Pet lovers absolutely should not miss Good Boy by Jennifer Finney Boylan, a memoir of life and family told in seven dogs that Boylan lived with and loved. What lands this book on the list is that Boylan will make you reminisce about all the Good Boys (and Girls) youve loved and lost, too.

Speaking of books that make you think, Were Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy by Elijah Cummings with James Dale is the perfect book to read at the end of a tough political year. Written literally as Cummings was dying, this book is full of calming words that can help heal. If you feel beaten up by the past few months, this book is a balm for your soul.

While The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War by John Chick Donohue & J.T. Molloy may seem like a romp, its much more. Back when Donohue was a merchant seaman, he volunteered to take a beer to each of the hometown neighborhood boys in Vietnam. Finding them was half the problem; war was the other half. This is the consummate buddy book, and it cant be missed.

Anyone whos a sucker for a good Mother-and-Child book will love Like Crazy: Life with My Mother and Her Invisible Friends by Dan Mathews, who renovated a Victorian house and moved his mentally-ill, elderly mother in with him. Shes charming and funny, but shes also a handful. Read it. Bring tissues. Enough said.


Readers shouldnt be surprised that two of this year’s Best of books are from author Nic Stone. First, Clean Getaway is the story of a young boy whose grandmother takes him on a cross-country tour of places that held meaning for her — but theres more than just a tour” involved in this great middle-grade novel. Then, older teens will love Stones Dear Justyce, a story told in letters from a young man in prison to his friend, who chose another life path.

And finally, 8-to-12-year-olds will absolutely adore Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, with pictures by Jon Klassen. Its the story of Badger, an introvert, who allows Skunk, a definitely outgoing soul, to move in to his quiet house as a favor to Badgers Aunt Lula. Kids will love the humor in this book, as the two of them learn to adjust to one anothers peccadilloes and become friends. Hint: Youll love it, too.

And there you have it: a bakers dozen of cant-miss reads to get you through the winter. Seasons Readings!