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Best Books of 2020

Best Books of 2020

Update: Since the year is about to end, we've asked around again to see what new titles bookworms all around consider to be the best of the year. Check out the books we added below! 


With everything happening in the world, all kinds of stories have become a comfort to people now more than ever. And although 2020 brought in dystopian events, it has also brought in new stories, new books to line our shelves and keep us company. We asked around to find out what's the best one bookworms have read so far. Check out their recommendations below. 


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

VE Schwab has a flawless way of weaving timelines and her lyrical prose makes it even more delightful to read! Addie/Adeline, the protagonist, embodies a universal "humanness" that most, if not all, can relate with. The thirst for freedom, the longing for immortality, the need to belong, be remembered and make a mark. The things we are willing to do and trade for just a taste of those.

300 years. 3 centuries. Such length of time can do amazing and gruesome things to a human but our Addie makes me proud of her. She had done countless things that can make even a hardened pirate blush, undergone circumstances only those who have witnessed history unfold over several eras firsthand can relate (aka no one). She lived different lives but no one can remember her (except for one). That was both her curse and her gift. And I love how she circumvented it. She showed me rules will always, always have loopholes and can be bent if not broken. I just love her! I love her wit and defiance. I admire her grit.

The story also delves into the fluidity of gender, mental health issues, artworks that inspired Addie's character and pointed out few historical events with amazing specificity. This is another thought-provoking and enjoyable read I cannot recommend more.

- Jenny, Bookworm Corner

  

 The Neil Gaiman Reader by Neil Gaiman

The Neil Gaiman Reader by Neil Gaiman

The Neil Gaiman Reader is a career-spanning collection of stories curated by fans, for fans. It’s the perfect entry point for first-time readers, and includes short stories and excerpts from his longer masterpieces like American Gods and Neverwhere. Even long-time readers will find comfort in revisiting old friends (and meeting a few new ones) in this collection. I recommend getting the hardcover: you’ll definitely wear this book out with many readings.

- Clifford, First Look Club 

 

 Stakes Is High by Mychal Denzel Smith

Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream by Mychal Denzel Smith

Stakes is High: Life after the American Dream, the second book of the writer and commentator Mychal Denzel Smith, is a sobering examination of America — the nation, the idea, and the promise. In a series of essays, he sought to clear the illusions of the past to understand the uncertainties of the present and call for a just future. The process put into and the purpose of the book is an essential blueprint for people in search of the real meaning of nationhood and nation-building. 

- Jowana, First Look Club

 

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

What makes A Deadly Education fresh and relevant is that the familiar magic school themes of popularity, achievement, romance are always positioned within a deep understanding of the power structures of its world. The events of the novel are always anchored on real consequences for all the characters and the rest of the magical world even though the school is physically cut off from everything else. It's a magnificent start to what is shaping up to be a solid fantasy series.

- Ilia, Fully Booked

 

How Should One Read a Book? by Virginia Woolf

How Should One Read a Book? by Virginia Woolf

The concluding piece from The Second Common Reader is singled out and packaged in this charming hardcover. Here, Woolf slithers gracefully through the intricacies of subjectivity, context, creativity, interrogations, pleasures, and profundity that are involved in reading. This is an incredibly insightful and approachable work that teaches readers how to have richer and more intimate encounters with books.

- Pam, Fully Booked

 

The Last Hours: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

The Last Hours: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Chain of Gold has got to be the best book of the year. I love Cassie and the world of Shadowhunter so much, and this new series didn’t let me down. First pages into the book and I felt an instant connection with the characters. This book made me cry and laugh so much that I had to put it down just to collect my thoughts- the turn of events made me an emotional wreck. Chain of Gold gave me my much-needed Herongraystairs content and it's probably one of the reasons why it's such a delight to breeze through this magnificent book. Can't wait to see what happens next in Chain of Iron!

- Lhezca, Fully Booked

 

You're Not Listening by Kate Murphy

You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy

In a fast-paced world where everything is instant, experiences and memories are digital, and people all talking and wanting to be heard, now more than ever, it’s important to listen—and to really listen. A lot of us think we are good listeners, but this books distills what it really means to listen, communicate, and forge relationships. I find this a timely and eye-opening read in a time when we genuinely need to connect and listen to those around us.

- Nicole, Fully Booked

 

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

Interior Chinatown easily invites with its perceptive dark humor. Mimicking the tone of white people stereotyping Asian people, Charles Yu plays with racial stereotypes to subvert it. This is a fresh and significant addition to the Asian immigrant discourse that is rich in wit, historical awareness and filial tenderness.

- Pam, Fully Booked

 

 The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

I picked up the book because of its interesting premise and sped through it because I loved the characters, their stories and how the author wove them into each other’s lives. Aside from being an enjoyable read, the book made me wonder, if I was the one who had picked up that green notebook, would I have had the courage to tell my own story.

- Denise, Fully Booked

 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

I adored Emily St. John Mandel's previous novel, Station Eleven, and approached this new one with the hesitation that it might not meet my expectations. I am thrilled to be wrong. Mandel's writing has matured, her voice even more keen, her scenes richer. Mandel is able to weave layers of realities in her novels; her characters always on the cusp of transitioning and transforming—yet still fully themselves. This is a story about a Ponzi scheme and the kingdom of money, which one might initially consider as academic and pedantic but trust Mandel. She is leading you somewhere rewarding.

- Ilia, Fully Booked

 

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo-VillavicencioThe Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo-Villavicencio

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo-Villavicencio

I am drawn to immigrant stories because Filipinos are one of the world's major labor exporters. We all have family elsewhere—across oceans, across timezones. Cornejo-Villavicencio tells stories of immigrants, mostly from Latin America. Her portraits of undocumented migrants are haunting and powerful—with a keen journalistic sensibility of providing relevant context, combined with a specific and unabashed point of view. This book is by no means a "comfortable read" and should be taken in doses but readers must not look away from pain and despair.

 - Ilia, Fully Booked

Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker

Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker

Quiet books where "nothing" happens apart from a slow blossoming relationship and realizations grasped through that new relationship are my jam. Here in the Real World is a perfect book for introverts who want to read about fellow introverts with rich inner lives who connect and build something together. In a year that has felt alienating, this book is a real balm for the soul.

- Ilia, Fully Booked

 

Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

Audrey Lee is a skip and a hop away from her dream of an Olympic medal for women's gymnastics. Still, the road to the podium is paved with a sexual assault scandal upending her team's world, persistent back injuries, and a cute snowboarder providing a welcome distraction. Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli is a sports and girl power drama that's fluffy and hard in all the right parts—and absolutely sticks the landing.

- Reina, First Look Club

 

The Silence of the Bones by June Hur

The Silence of the Bones by June Hur

Looking for an atmospheric and gripping historical fiction mystery set in ancient Korea? Look no further than the eerie and exquisite debut novel of June Hur. 

- Jowana, First Look Club

 

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Casey Peabody is an aspiring writer, grappling with her mother’s death and struggling to make ends meet under her crushing student loan debt. Yet Casey clings to the one thing that keeps her going: her novel, which she has been working on her novel for six years now. “I don’t write because I think I have something to say. I write because if I don’t, everything feels even worse.” Writers & Lovers is Lily King’s ode to those who choose a life of art, whatever the price.

- Jean, First Look Club

 

Pulp by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Pulp by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are the Lennon-McCartney of crime fiction. In their latest graphic novel, Pulp, post-Prohibition pulp writer Max Winters gets drawn into a story that somehow mirrors the Wild West yarns that he writes. They say life imitates art, but in this case, it just might be the other way around. Another winner from the minds behind Criminal and The Fade Out.

- Clifford, First Look Club

 

If It Bleeds by Stephen King

If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Some of the best Stephen King stories are the short ones. In the tradition of Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, If It Bleeds collects four novellas that’s all killer, no filler. Even the oddball of the bunch, “The Life of Chuck” is a great read. Fans of King’s Bill Hodges trilogy and The Outsider will find fanservice with the titular story, featuring Holly Gibney in a solo adventure. Overall, I’d say the book is all rat.

- Clifford, First Look Club

 

John Constantine: Hellblazer, Vol. 1: Marks of Woe by Simon Spurrier and Aaron Campbell

John Constantine: Hellblazer, Vol. 1: Marks of Woe by Simon Spurrier and Aaron Campbell

Marks of Woe collects the first story arc of the new ongoing Hellblazer series, which directly takes off from the landmark 300-issue original Vertigo run. In this new series, John Constantine remains the conman that he’s always been. Transplanted into contemporary times and forced to deal with the machinations of a new yet very familiar nemesis. I can’t recommend this series enough.

- Clifford, First Look Club

 

Front Row at the Trump Show by Jonathan Karl

Front Row at the Trump Show by Jonathan Karl

Front Row at the Trump Show is written by Jonathan Karl, ABC News' chief Washington correspondent and chief White House correspondent. His book is a fascinating look at both Donald Trump's political career and what it's like to be part of the White House press corps. It is especially notable for its examination of Trump's personality and character, and how those have influenced how the White House (and, consequently, the highest levels of the federal government) is run. Anyone interested in politics and journalism will find this to be a worthwhile read.

- Jed, First Look Club

 

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

The Mirror and the Light concludes Hilary Mantel's award-winning Thomas Cromwell trilogy after more than 10 years. The story centers on the final years of Thomas Cromwell's illustrious career and life as a statesman, reformist, and friend to Henry VIII. The novel and trilogy highlight the important role that Cromwell played in the formation and development of England in the 16th century as well as the fickleness not only for the monarchy but the populace.

- Hidie, Bookworm Corner

 

The Wedding Dress by Danielle Steel

The Wedding Dress by Danielle Steel

It's a story set at the height of the Great Depression, the stock market crash of '29, which is similar to what we are facing now in the time of pandemic. People lost jobs, the economy dwindled and the life situation of people were deeply affected. People during the Great Depression were forced to sell all their valuables and had become witnesses to devastating losses. It's a novel not much talked about in reader's community in the Ph that truly deserves a spotlight and inclusion in every book lover's reading list of 2020. So far, it's the best book of 2020 for me.

- Ryan, Bookworm Corner

 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Collins' prequel to the original The Hunger Games trilogy, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is one of those rare books that you can finish in just 24 hours but you won't because it is too good and too engrossing to finish so swiftly. You would want to savor every moment, every page. Ika nga nila sa wikang Filipino, namnamin ang bawat sandali. Just don't expect another The Hunger Games repeat with all its action and thrill.

Instead, Collins set out a daunting task of explaining the evil behind the original antagonist President Corionalius Snow as he descends from a child victim of the Dark Days civil war to a ruthless young man bent on regaining his fallen family's power through treachery, manipulation, and, yes, murder. This task Collins was able to achieve remarkably well despite the sudden lack of action after the first half of the book before it rapidly ascends at the end.

The way the book concluded made me uncertain as to whether this will be a trilogy in its own right or just a single spin off, the same way Solo was just a story to the main Skywalker Star Wars saga. Considering Collins' well-footed name in the industry, however, it should not come as a surprise if it will as book publishing is still a business.

I have a lot more to say about the book but for now, I will leave you with these words: It is a must-read to all Hunger Games and young adult genre fans out there.

Cheers!

- Rob, Bookworm Corner

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

It’s like a hug in book form, and exactly what we need in these uncertain times.

- Cecille, Bookworm Corner


What's your best read of 2020 so far? Share your picks in the comments! 



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