This year is/was, in short, a trip. One way to escape our own reality was to immerse ourselves in that of another via reading anything and everything. Straight from SPL staff to you, we present our Recommended Reads of 2020. The books in this list, published this year (or late 2019), grasped our attention through the trials and tribulations that became 2020. It certainly was a memorable one, wasn’t it? Enjoy these reads!
Watching From the Dark by Gytha Lodge
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
“It’s a fast-moving, innovative urban fantasy with Lovecraftian undertones and cultural commentary. If you know and love New York City, you’ll have more insights into the characterizations (literally) of the city and its boroughs, but even those of us who have only visited or learned about New York City through media can appreciate Jemisin’s sly humor and sense of place. I also HIGHLY recommend the audiobook read by Robin Miles. She’s a wonderful narrator who gives each character a distinct personality,” Dana.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
“This book is escape reading at its best. Imagine a world filled with every story ever told from every period of history and time; all of these stories are collected in a magical world that exists under our feet. And if you’re very lucky, you can just open a door (the right door) and enter it….,” Tammy.
Network Effect by Martha Wells
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
Harleen by Stjepan Šejić
“Not only the best depiction of Harley Quinn, hands down the best art also,” Becky.
Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
“This beautiful novel, written in verse, is a coming of age story about Michael who is mixed race and British. The novel starts with Michael as a young boy who desperately wants a Barbie but instead is given a Ninja Turtle. We follow him through his adolescent and teenage years all the way to college where, along the way, he begins to more fully understand his own identity and passions. It ends with a drag show where Michael fully embraces his new drag persona as the Black Flamingo- and this is when, as a reader, my heart was bursting,” Katie.
Disability Visibility : First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century, edited by Alice Wong
“I highly recommend this book of essays and writings from folks in the disability community. Edited by Alice Wong who is a disabled Activist and creator who, among other things, started the Disability Visibility Project and is part of the #CripTheVote movement. For those of you still committed to diversifying your reading and want to include more marginalized voices, check it out. This is one book from 2020 I will be thinking about for years to come,” Katie.
You Matter by Christian Robinson
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
The End of the Day by Bill Clegg
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
“This is the sequel to Tomi Adeyemi’s fantastic West-African inspired fantasy novel, Children of Blood and Bone. I recommend this book because it is some of the best and most unique fantasy fiction I have read recently. The characters in this book grow and change; some for better, some for worse,” Gina.
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
“I picked this book up because it had the word “Djinn” in the title and I am attracted to books with magical realism. The young characters in the story are also interested in the presence of djinn but what they find becomes much darker. This story is a peek into the utter poverty of many in India and how they fight to live and find some joy in their lives. Beautifully written and so important, I recommend this book to all,” Eva.
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
“The main character in The Girl with the Louding Voice is a fighter. She does not give up and she is faced with incredible adversity! Her incredible, infectious spirit drives this novel and despite the very heavy subject (human trafficking), she lifts us up and we cheer her on,” Eva
The Cold Millions by Jess Walter
“Everyone you know is reading it, but it really is that good! This is a compelling, touching story about a fascinating period in Spokane history. Check out the acknowledgements for leads on other books about the time,” Vanessa.
The Couch Potato by Jory John
The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey
Speak Up by Miranda Paul and Ebony Glenn
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“I saw this book in numerous articles and decided to see what all the hype was about. Let me tell you, it was worth it. This gothic horror left me feeling spooked, charmed, and anxious for the lead character to succeed; and despite the conflicting emotions, I was on the edge of my seat through it all,” Skyler.
The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl
Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik
“Each book is well-written. The world building is consistent. The storyline follows the youngest “von Hasenberg” sibling. As the youngest daughter, she is seen as spoiled, frivolous, and flighty. Her image allows her to follow her true abilities and work as a spy for her family,” Michele.
Pharma: Greed, Lies and the Poisoning of America by Gerald Posner
“This book gives a clear picture of the opioid crisis and how the Sackler family gained influence and success in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, it describes how those within the drug industry, government agencies, and scientists have exchanged their responsibility to public health for greed.” Catherine.
We Have Been Harmonized by Kai Strittmatter
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
“This haunting horror novel is brutal, bleak, and beautifully written. A wrenching story of four Native teenage boys and how a tragic event from their youth follows them into adulthood. Visceral and very scary,” Kathryn.
Green On Green by Dianne White and Felicita Sala
“This sweet and calming picture book celebrates the changing seasons and a growing family with dreamy, rhythmic verse and lush illustrations. A lovely and joyous read for people of all ages,” Kathryn.