Top 5 Favorite Books of 2020

Earlier this week, I talked about my Top 5 Biggest Book Disappointments of 2020. I specifically decided to call out BOOK disappointments, because otherwise the entire year would’ve been featured on that list!

Just me trying to make it through 2020 in one piece…

I really shouldn’t complain. While this was a total dumpster fire of a year, I did get a chance to read a ton of great books! When the pandemic first began, I really struggled to settle into a new routine and adjust to this “new normal.” My reading definitely took a nose-dive because I just couldn’t focus on my books with everything happening in the world. Thankfully, by the Summer months I got myself back on track! Deciding which books to feature here really was a challenge! I’m going to keep the summaries short but I’ve included a blurb about what my this book so great (in my opinion). After that long intro, it’s time to talk great books!! (My list will be in my reading chronological order through the year, starting January to December).

Kicking off this list is Oona Out Of Order by Margarita Montimore! What an absolute joy and refreshing deviation from my standard genres! This was a story about a woman who, starting on her 19th birthday, begins living her life out of order. Each birthday she time hops to a different age, 19 – 54 – 37 – 78. What really made this a memorable reading experience were the life lessons and fantastic quotes sprinkled throughout this novel. Each year Oona lives teaches her something which I found to be interesting and applicable to my life. Montimore also had some truly noteworthy quotes, my favorite being: All good things end, always. The trick is to enjoy them while they last. As I look into 2021, this is something that’s going to stick with me. Savor these enjoyable moments because you never know how long that are going to last.

Next up we have House In The Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune. A good friend of mine recommended this book to me and I am so glad she did! Cerulean Sea is the story of a social work name Linus, who handles orphanages for “special children.” One day Linus gets a high-priority assignment and is asked to travel to a very… unique… orphanage. There he meets an eclectic group of people that turn his entire life upside down. Each of the children has a very distinct personality that adds so much charm and dimension to the story. To put it simply, this book is perfection. While this was a work of fiction, Klune does an incredible job weaving in relevant parallels to what’s happening in today’s world (like prejudice and discrimination). If you’re looking for a feel-good story, look no further than The House In The Cerulean Sea!

Starting last year, I decided I wanted to read all of the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. I started off strong, reading The Mortal Instruments trilogy (Part 1, Books 1 – 3), The Infernal Devices trilogy and started The Mortal Instruments Part 2 (Book #4, City of Fallen Angels). This year, I finished off the last 2 books in part 2 of The Mortal Instruments, the supplemental short story bind ups and moved onto The Dark Artifices. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare was my favorite entry in this world to date. The writing was engaging and the plot centered around a mystery. It was a wild ride from the first page to the very last! What really cemented this book’s spot on my Top 5 list was the fact that it was nearly 700 and it didn’t feel nearly that long. The story was meaningful and there wasn’t fluff or filler. I’m currently reading Lord of Shadows and I’m anxious to see where the story goes from here!

My next book, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, was a bit of a toss up. I was conflicted including this because it has already received SO much praise this year already. If you haven’t heard of this book (first of all, where have you been?), it’s the story of Adeline LaRue who makes a deal with a Dark God to change her fate and have the life she always dreamed of. The catch? As soon as Addie leaves your vision, you forget her… until she finally meets someone who remembers. Similar to Oona Out Of Order, Addie LaRue is not my typical genre of book but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was an epic story, that needed to be told, and Schwab crafted it would masterful precision. I was nervous about how this was all going to wrap up but the ending was utter perfection. It was a great culmination to a fantastic tale

Finally, rounding out this list is, Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman. This was one of the last books I read this year and I ENJOYED IT. I’ve read several of Bachman’s other works (A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry). Both of these novels were wonderful and definitely tugged a bit at the heartstrings. I went into Anxious People expecting a lighthearted and funny story about a bank robbery gone wrong. This wasn’t quite what I got. The novel had a much more serious and somber tone since suicide plays a large role in the plot. There was a large cast of characters but Bachman did a great job giving each one a distinct voice so you never mixed them up. While suicide is at the center of the book, the story manages to be uplifting and center on healing. Give this one a whirl if you need a little optimism in your life.

I would like to cheat and add one final “Honorable Mention” which is Atomic Habits by Jame Clear. It’s really hard to put this book up against some of the incredible fiction I’ve previously mentioned but I had to still mention this book. I absolutely loved it and thought the advice was so applicable. Clear does a great job making the advice relatable and useful (as opposed to most of the other self-help / development books I’ve read). He’s easy to connect to and doesn’t come across as condescending. A MUST read if you’re looking to build new, or break existing, habits!

And there you have it! My Top 5 Favorite Books of 2020. While this year wasn’t quite exactly what I was hoping it would be, I learned a little and ended up reading a lot. I’m hopeful that 2021 will be the year we’ve all earned and deserve!

Have you read any of my favorites? What did you think? Any recommendations on “Must Read” books for 2021? Leave your favorites in the comments – let’s face it, my TBR is never going to shrink!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

10 thoughts on “Top 5 Favorite Books of 2020

  1. Holy wow it’s awesome that you caught up on the Shadowhunters books this year. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while! I think they’re one of the more intimidating series on my TBR if I’m being honest. With that series, I feel that if I don’t understand all of the connections between characters in the first read through I’m afraid that I won’t enjoy the series as much as everyone else.

    You’ve got some good books on this list! This entire list is on my TBR, lol. I’m glad that you enjoyed them!

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    1. AWESOME!! I definitely think you’re in for some real treats with these books! As for the Shadowhunter Chronicles, you’re 100% correct. The books all build on each other. I did a ton of research as to how I should approach them before I started because I didn’t want to spoil anything for myself on accident. I did a modified version of “publication order”: Mortal Instruments (1-3), Infernal Devices, Mortal Instruments (4-6), Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy (Don’t read this synopsis if you haven’t read any of the other books), The Bane Chronicles, Dark Artifices then The Scrolls of Magic or The Lost Hours (this order doesn’t really matter). It’s a great series! The earlier books are a little slower but I am loving the Dark Artifices. I’m about 200 pages into Lord of Shadows.

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      1. I look forward to reading the Dark Artifices! I believe I need to read CoFA and Clockwork Princess, and then move on with the rest of the shadowhunter world. I think publication order is the way to go with this one!! Also, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the tip! Don’t read the synopsis for The Shadowhunter Academy until after I’ve finished the entire Mortal Instruments series? Or is that the Mortal Instruments and the Dark Artifices?

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      2. Read the entire Mortal Instruments series (1-6) BEFORE reading Shadowhunter Academy! Something happens in the finale of City of Heavenly Fire that plays a large part in Shadowhunter Academy.

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  2. I read Atomic Habits in 2019 and re-read it in January 2020 just so that I could refresh my understanding because this book seriously changed my life. I am so glad that you enjoyed it too! It is one of my favorite books to recommend.

    Anxious People is a Bachmann I haven’t read yet and you have me so interested!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. I love the idea of self help / development books but most of them end up disappointing me. Atomic Habits, however, was SO GOOD! I’m glad I’m not the only one to think so. If you’ve read any other books similar to this, I’m open for suggestions!

      I think you’re going to LOVE Anxious People, save that for when you need a feel-good story to give you a boost! Happy New Year!!

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      1. I did eventually read The Power of Habits simply because I found myself fascinated by habits but, truthfully, Atomic Habits is my absolute go-to. His website and twitter are so good too!

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    1. I completely understand not getting into Cassandra Clare’s books! I personally started with The Mortal Instruments and it actually took me 2 attempts to get through City of Bones (I started it YEARS ago and never finished it). If you started there, the books do get better! You also aren’t required to start there and could try The Infernal Devices. A lot of people like that one. My personal favorite has been The Dark Artifices (but you have to get through a lot of books to be able to read these because of backstory).

      If you read one book from this list, make it The House In The Cerulean Sea. Absolutely AMAZING. Definitely a feel good read that you’ll zip through! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I love talking books (as you can see)!

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