The Most Anticipated books of 2020: What to Read this Year
2020 is here and we know that choosing what book to read and dedicate your time to can be a tricky business. So we asked all the publishers, we scoured the news, we talked to the Brookie community, and we came up with the top 20 most anticipated books of 2020. Trust us when we say choosing only 20 titles was ridiculously challenging!
If we missed the one you’re most excited about, please tell us! DM us on Instagram or comment below.
1. Long Bright River by Liz Moore (Jan. 7th)
Named a ‘Most Anticipated Book’ of 2020 by every media outlet under the sun (Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Marie Claire, PopSugar, Bustle, Forbes), Moore’s self-assured Philadelphia-set crime novel is a compelling portrayal of two siblings on different sides of the law, as well as a portrait of grief, sisterhood, and community in despair. This mystery will have you flipping through the pages at lightning speed.
2. Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener (Jan. 14)
BooknBrunch itself is a startup in the tech world; a platform that uses technology to help connect people IRL. Naturally, a coming-of-age, journalistic memoir and brilliant social critique about a young woman in the world of Big Tech made our list. Some have said this is “like Joan Didion at a startup.” A first-person glimpse into the high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition and wild fortune? Yes, please!
3. Followers by Megan Angelo (January 14)
In this masterful debut, we take a trip into the future to explore our high-tech and internet-obsessed culture. Followers is an electrifying story of two friends, the dark choices they make, and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever. This novel dives into the dark side of social media in all its glory. Addictive. Fun. Terrifying. If you read Vox and are familiar with the genius of author Christina Dalcher, then you’ll know that when she says Angelo’s scathing dystopian tale is “an eerie masterpiece”, she means it.
4. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (January 21)
Cummins’ portrayal of Lydia and Luca, a mother and son forced to leave their Mexican home, gives a face to migrants everywhere who flee violence and near-certain death in search of only one thing: a chance at life.
American Dirt is the kind of book that stays with you for a while after you read it. It simultaneously explores current issues surrounding immigration while also being a beautiful novel about the connections between people in extraordinary circumstances. Stephen King calls it “extraordinary.”
In her new novel, Ahdieh brings us back to 1872 in New Orleans, a city plagued by vampires and death. This novel is atmospheric and exactly what you’d expect from a vampire novel in New Orleans. Celine, a refugee from Paris, is living in a convent when one of her roommates is discovered dead. Celine must battle with her attraction to a dangerous stranger while trying to stop a string of brutal murders.
5. My Mother, A Serial Killer by Hazel Baron, Janet Fife-Yedmans (Jan.28)
Can’t get enough true crime? Add this one to your list! My Mother, A Serial Killer is a gripping and shocking story of a serial killer mother, and the brave daughter who brought her to justice.Baron’s author bio reads this: “Hazel Baron lives in country New South Wales with her husband Bill, the man she married to get away from her mother. They have four children, six grandchildren and have fostered 100 children.”
6. The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica (Feb. 18)
Netflix has bought the rights to this story, looking to make it into a feature film. The Other Mrs. is a brilliant labyrinth of deception and family secrets, each one more shocking than the last.
7. Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee (March 3)
This smart, and utterly engrossing story is about love, addiction, mental health, and what it truly means to be a teenager. A crafty reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina, this novel encapsulates the dizzying, magnificent, heart-pounding experience of first love and first heartbreak.
8. The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich(March 3)
The Night Watchman is based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather, who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C. This powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humour, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.
9. We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry (March 3)
From the author of widely acclaimed She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, this novel is a comic tour de female force about a 1980s field hockey team that forms a coven of witches. The ‘80s happen to be one of our favourite decades – so this setting is irresistible. Barry captures teen girl-dom in all its furious messiness, from big hair to Heathers to coming into one’s glorious own despite society’s stale notions of femininity. Witchcraft + reckless abandon = yes!
10. The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind By Jonah Berger (March 10)
We couldn’t build out a 2020 list without including at least one business book. From the author of New York Times bestsellers Contagious and Invisible Influence comes a revolutionary approach to changing anyone’s mind. Everyone has something they want to change. Whether you’re trying to change one person, transform an organization, or shift the way an entire industry does business, this book teaches how to become a catalyst.
11. Extra Time: 10 Lessons for an Ageing World by Camilla Cavendish (March 10)
Fun fact: By 2020, for the first time in history, the number of people aged 65 and over will outnumber children aged five and under. It’s around the corner, yet our systems and society are lagging behind this new reality. Cavendish gives us an optimistic, practical book about the potential for humans to live longer, more fulfilling lives. We love books written by award-winning journalists that are well researched and clearly argued. When Arianna Huffington says it’s “…an inspiring and essential read,” you listen.
12. Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel (March 17)
Weaving between two narrators and a beautiful split time-frame, this is a compulsive thriller. Woods crafts a dark, shocking, and unputdownable page-turner of a debut about a mother and daughter – and the lengths to which a daughter will go to find independence. If you’re into exploring dark complicated relationships with your mother, this will be your jam.
13. The Herd by Andrea Bartz (March 24)
In the age of coworking spaces like Riveter, we could not help but be magnetized to this one. Welcome to the Herd, an elite members-only coworking space teeming with feminism and empowerment. Until, that is, the founder mysteriously disappears. Bartz constructs a brilliant and complex cast of female characters starring in this “feminist thriller.” A book to inhale in one sitting.
14. Betsey: A Memoir by Betsey Johnson, Mark Vitulano (April 7)
Betsey Johnson is a style icon who has been rocking the fashion industry with her badass designs since the 1960s. She is a one of kind visionary who has remained relevant for over 40 years. The best and most outrageous dress ever purchased by BooknBrunch cofounder Daniela Kelloway for her 16-year-old prom was a Betsey Johnson. It’s still a gorgeous dress to this day. Renegade single mom, empire builder, cancer survivor, celebrity contestant on Dancing with the Stars–there’s a fountain of wisdom behind that Johnson tutu.
15. Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore (April 7)
Elizabeth Gilbert asks of this book, “How can a writer burst out of the gate with this much firepower and skill?”. A gritty take on gender, violence, and class in a Texas oil town in 1976, this story plumbs the depths of darkness and fear, yet offers a window into beauty and hope. Darkly funny, tender, and vulnerable, this novel is told through alternating points of view of characters who burrow into your heart. A reminder that the stories we tell ourselves are what keep us alive.
16. Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty (April 14)
Jay Shetty, social media superstar and host of the #1 podcast On Purpose, distills the timeless wisdom he learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life. If 2020 is about anything, it’s about gaining clarity and living life with the utmost heart and meaning. If you don’t know Shetty, he’s an extremely irresistible speaker and host who is Making Wisdom Go Viral. As Russell Brand says, “He has the eyes of a Bengali tiger and the mind of a sage.”
17. Memoirs and Misinformation by Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon (May 5)
Everyone is talking about this one! Jim Carrey is the main character in his debut novel that is ‘semi-autobiographical.’ Carrey says, “None of this is real and all of it is true.” While we’re not quite sure what to make of that description, we are intrigued and cannot wait to find out.
Official description: Carrey and co-author Vachon have fashioned a story about acting, Hollywood, agents, celebrity, privilege, friendship, romance, addiction to relevance, fear of personal erasure, our “one big soul,” Canada, and a cataclysmic ending of the world–apocalypses within and without.
18. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (May 5)
The Hunger Games prequel will no doubt be an instant blockbuster! The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place during the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games, 64 years before the epic literary love triangle between Katniss, Gale, and Peeta began.
19. The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles (June 2)
Isn’t it always the books that are based on true stories that grip us the most? Based on the true story of the American Library in Paris, The Paris Library is a mesmerizing and captivating novel about the people and the books that make us who we are, for good and for bad, and the courage it takes to forgive.
20. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Sept.15)
A lyrical depiction of a Ghanian family living in Alabama, Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression, addiction, and grief. It’s a novel about faith, science, religion, and love. Exquisitely written and emotionally searing, if you read her debut Homegoing then you know it introduced Gyasi as a major talent. This powerful follow up is raw, intimate, and deeply layered work.
The Year 2020 Is Coming In Hot
there are so many incredible books to read in 2020! Our list might be a bit heavy on the thrillers, memoirs, and dystopia, but we can’t help but choose books that suck us right in. Inhale. Open. Think. Learn and Grow.
We think that 2020 will be a year of clarity, and our book stack will likely be more out of control than usual–but we can’t wait to read the books that made our list and share our thoughts on them with you!
In the meantime, if you’re mulling over your future and want 2020 to be a year of clarity for yourself, consider joining us at these Vision Boarding sessions. These are intimate sessions where you’ll be guided through a life assessment exercise and provided materials to create a unique physical vision board for yourself. Something to catapult your ideas and remind yourself what you truly want in life.