2020 was a rough and tough year for all of us, be we kids or adults. This was the time when art, poetry, music, and words actually came to save us. We needed an escape, and we found that in books, TV shows, music, and movies.
Readers finally got time to read more books while life seemed to be on hold. And people who have never picked up a book in their life found the ink on papers magical. It might have been a difficult year for all of us, but we can’t deny that it was a good year for us readers. We got such brilliant books in all genres written by such talented authors that we still can’t forget some of these stories.
In case you missed out on any of the great books from that year, do not worry because this list right here contains some of the best, must-read books worthy of your time. These books might have been released years ago, but they are still popular and still relevant, even in 2022.
We have got books that will teach you something, books that will make you feel good or terrify you, books that might provide you with some answers, and books that might give you a break from your mundane lives. So get ready to have a TBR as high as the Eiffel Tower by the time you read this article.
Darling Rose Gold- Stephanie Wrobel
Rose Gold has spent all her life thinking she was seriously ill since she was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair, and practically lived at the hospital. But, one day, she learns the truth: her mom Patty Watts is a liar. Patty spent five years in prison for her crimes, but when she returned, she begged her daughter to take her in. Surprisingly, she welcomes her home, but her mom doesn’t know what awaits her.
Long Bright River: A Novel – Liz Moore
Kacey and Mickey, once inseparable, find themselves at odds and not speaking anymore. Kacey lives on the streets in the vise of addiction while her sister walks on those same streets on her police beat. Kacey disappears from nowhere, and Mickey becomes obsessed with finding the culprit and her sister before it’s too late.
Recollections Of My Nonexistence: A Memoir- Rebecca Solnit
In this memoir, Rebecca describes her formation as a writer and feminist in the 1980s in San Francisco. She recounts her experience of being poor and hopeful and how punk rock helped her. Seeing the violence against women and having been on the receiving end of this treatment herself, she recalls how she contended with all that while becoming a writer and a public voice for women’s rights.
Writers & Lovers: A Novel- Lily King
The thirty-one-year-old woman, Casey Peabody, has arrived in Massachusetts with no plan. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits table in Harvard Square. She recently lost her mother, her love affair wrecked her, and she has been writing her novel for six years now. On top of all that is wrong with her right now, she falls in love with two different men who could provide her very different way of life. Now, she will be challenged to fight for the life she wants, but will she win or fail?
The Mercies- Kiran Millwood Hargrave
In Finnmark, Norway, a twenty-year-old woman, Maren Bergensdatter, watches the sea break into a reckless storm drowning forty fishermen, including her father and brother. The women of Vardø are left to fend for themselves since the men’s folk has been wiped out. Three years later, Absalom and Ursa come from Scotland. Ursa sees something in Maren and in Vardø that she has never seen before: independent women. Pushed together, Ursa and Maren realize they are drawn to each other, but the whole island is closing on them. What will they do to survive?
Dreamland- Nancy Bilyeau
Peggy comes from one of the richest families in America, but she would rather work than keep up appearances with socialites and her controlling family. However, when she learns that the freedom she has been yearning for isn’t so far away, she takes her chance. In Coney Island, she falls for a troubled pier-side artist of humble means. When bodies begin to mount up on the island, she will realize that her family can get with anything, even murder.
Such A Fun Age- Kiley Reid
Alix Chamberlain has always gotten what she wanted because she has worked hard for it. With her brand, she teaches other women how to do the same as well. But, when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted one night, Alix is shocked and pledges to make things right. When the video of this confrontation brings someone from Alix’s past back to her life, both women will have to relearn everything they thought they knew about themselves and each other.
My Dark Vanessa: A Novel- Kate Elizabeth Russell
At the young age of fifteen, Vanessa becomes entangled in an affair with her English teacher, Jacob Strane, which doesn’t end well for her. After seventeen years, amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, Jacob gets accused of sexually abusing a former student. When the student reaches out to Vanessa, she is forced to decide what that affair and Jacob meant to her.
Wandering In Strange Lands: A Daughter Of The Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots- Morgan Jerkins
In this book, Morgan recreates her ancestors’ journeys across America in search of a better life. Between 1916 and 1970, almost six million Black Americans left their homes in the South to migrate to the North, West, and Midwest. Following their migratory routes from places such as Georgia and South Carolina to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California, Morgan gives the readers a look at America’s past as well as the present and her journey to understand her northern and southern roots.
Death In Her Hands: A Novel- Ottessa Moshfegh
Vesta, an elderly woman, is on her routine daily walk with her dog when she notices a note. Carefully pinned to the ground with a frame of stones, the note says: her name was Magda, nobody will ever know who killed her, it wasn’t me, here is her dead body. Vesta is new to town, and she doesn’t know many people. But she wants to know who this Magda was and what happened to her. Vesta, who is barely fine after losing her husband, will she be able to stomach the explanation behind everything, or will her condition deteriorate even further?
Stray: A Memoir- Stephanie Danler
When Stephanie’s Sweetbitter was published with great success, she knew she should have been happy. Instead, she felt incapable of it and emotionally shut down. After a decade away, honing the practice of apathy, she returned to California, and this book is an account of that emotional journey. She writes about her alcoholic mother, an addicted father, and her own problems, which led her to discover the bounds of forgiveness of her parents but mostly of herself.
Too Much: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today- Rachel Vorona Cote
A woman who eats too loudly is too much, while a woman who shows raw, unfiltered emotions is too much as well. A woman who talks is too much, and a woman who yells is certainly too much. Women have been constrained for so long, but in this book, you will read a story of how women from then and now have taken back their power and how they have learned to draw power from their reservoirs of feeling. Everything that makes women “too much” is what actually makes us “us.”
Home Before Dark- Riley Sager
Almost twenty-five years ago, Maggie Holt moved to Baneberry Hall with her parents, Ewan and Jess as a kid. But, within three weeks, they dashed out of that Victorian estate in the dead of night. In his non-fiction book called House Of Horrors, Ewan recounts what happened at the estate. At present, Maggie, a restorer of old homes, has returned to the estate to renovate and sell it. But, when she experiences strange things that are straight from her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote wasn’t just fiction.
I Hold A Wolf By The Ears: Stories- Laura Van Den Berg
This book consists of eleven stories on misogyny, violence, and the impossible economics of America, presenting a collection of women on the verge who are trying to grasp what’s left of their life. These women are grieving, divorced, hyperaware, searching, vulnerable, and unhinged, and their stories will linger in the mouth and minds of readers like rotten, fragrant fruit.
You Exist Too Much: A Novel- Zaina Arafat
A twelve-year-old girl in Bethlehem is yelled at by a group of men. When the girl informs her mother she is queer, her mother tells her, “you exist too much.” The girl grows up from being a blushing teenager to a sought-after DJ and an aspiring writer, but life still isn’t easy for her. In Brooklyn, when she moves into an apartment with her first serious girlfriend, things begin to go wrong. She stumbles upon The Ledge, an unconventional treatment center that identifies her affliction as “love addiction,” where she begins to learn the similarities between herself and the people around her.
A Burning: A Novel- Megha Majumdar
In this debut book, Megha talks about class, fate, corruption, and justice. Jivan is a Muslim girl. She gets accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train based on a careless comment she made on Facebook. PT Sir, an opportunistic gym teacher, finds his own ascent linked to her fall. Lovely has the alibi that can set Jivan free. But, it might cost her everything she holds dear. So what will she do?
How Much Of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel- C Pam Zhang
Ba died in the night, and Ma is already gone leaving Lucy and Sam orphaned. The two siblings are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence with no one to count on. As they set off to bury their father, they encounter things that will change their lives.
What Would Frida Do? A Guide To Living Boldly- Arianna Davis
This book explores Frida Kahlo, the artist, and the feminist icon’s signature style, outspoken politics, and boldness in love as well as art. It celebrates her larger-than-life persona. She was a woman who loved passionately and lived ambitiously. Frida refused to hide in her husband’s shadow, and in the book, each chapter reveals how she overcame obstacles. Frida Kahlo stands as a brazen symbol of daring creativity today, and this is a guide encouraging women to persevere, to create fearlessly, and to stand by their own truths and ideals.
The Guest List- Lucy Foley
One wedding, several guests, and one dead guest. What’s happening at this wedding? On an island off the coast of Ireland, the groom and the bride are getting married. A rising television star and a magazine publisher, you could say it’s a wedding for a magazine. Everything is perfectly planned, but as champagne is popped and festivities begin, things go wrong, and one guest ends up dead.
American Dirt- Jeanine Cummins
Lydia lives in Acapulco with her son, Luca, and her journalist husband. Their lives aren’t lavish, but they enjoy their comfortable lives. Until one day, her husband writes an article on the newest drug lord. The drug lord used to be Lydia’s friend once upon a time, but now they are no more friends. The man kills everyone, but Lydia and her son survive. They are hanging by a thread, hoping they will find a safe place to hide in the USA, but how long can they run and hide?
In Five Years- Rebecca Serle
If we told you that whatever you think your life would look like five years from now, it’s all incorrect and false, would you trust us? When Dannie Kohan goes to sleep after accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal and nailing her job interview, she feels peaceful that she’s right on track. But when she wakes up, it’s the same night, but it’s 2025, five years in the future. After an hour or so, she wakes up again, and everything is fine and normal except that she can’t shake off what happened. Soon, four years and a half have passed, and Dannie meets the man from her vision for the first time. What will her life look like now?
Hamnet- Maggie O’Farrell
It’s the 1580s in Warwickshire when Agnes, a woman as feared as she is sought after, settles with her husband in Henley Street, Stratford. She gives birth to three children. One daughter, Susanna, and later twins, one boy, and a girl, Hamnet and Judith are born to the married couple. Hamnet, the boy, aged eleven, died in 1596. A few years later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet which becomes one of the most popular books ever written. Based on Shakespeare and his wife, this book must be on your list if it isn’t already.
Mexican Gothic- Silvia Moreno- Garcia
Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to save her from a mysterious doom. She heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside where her cousin resides. Noemi might not be a perfect rescuer for her cousin, but she is a smart and tough woman with an indomitable will. She’s not afraid of anyone. The only ally she has in the place is the family’s youngest, shy and gentle son, who wants to help her. She discovers dark secrets filled with violence and madness but is mesmerized by the world of High Place. She might find it hard to leave the place.
All My Mother’s Lovers- Ilana Masad
Twenty-seven-year-old Maggie Krause lost her mother, Iris, in a car crash. On returning home, she discovers a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and her dead mother’s will with five sealed envelopes. Each of these envelopes is addressed to a mysterious man Maggie has never heard of.
As she begins a journey to deliver these letters by hand, she discovers her mother’s second and hidden life she knew nothing about. She doesn’t know what to tell her father and brother, who are back in their home. But more than that, how will she deal with her own relationship when her whole world has been turned upside down?
Self Care- Leigh Stein
When Maren Gelb tweets something terrible about the President’s daughter, she is put on a company-imposed digital detox. CEO of Richual, a wellness start-up, Devin Avery, needs her to be present fully for their next round of funding.
Meanwhile, an indispensable employee, Khadijah Walker, has a secret that might expose the company, and a board member is about to get dragged into a misconduct scandal that might destroy the company fully. The people struggle to be good people while also doing good business, but at some point, they must fail to stand up again.
There are so many good books that we’d like all of you readers to get to read, but these are our top picks that we think you should read. These books have been read by several readers across the globe, and we believe that you would enjoy these selected books as well.
Whether you are a hopeless romantic or a real nerd about literary fiction, give these books a try. Who knows, you might end up enjoying these books that are out of your comfort zone!
Coming back to our aforementioned statement, tell us how many books ended on your TBR! Because we definitely have a TBR bigger now than we did before we started writing this article. Also, which books are you excited to read? We are excited to read so many books that we might end up in a reading slump again. *sigh* But we hope you have a great reading week ahead.