2020: Fiction 📚 Review

To view other 2020 review posts (including non-fiction, comics, and magazines), visit the main post here.


I read 37 works of fiction this year. I enjoy reading fiction in a variety of formats: paper, audio, and ebook. A good narrator (such as James Marsters for the Dresden books) really makes an audiobook come alive.

I try to get my physical books via Bookshop.org to support independent sellers. If I cannot find directly there, my next search is on Indiebound, for the same reason. I have collected my 2020 recommendations (both fiction and nonfiction) on a Bookshop list for easy perusal. That, and all of the individual book links, are affiliate links.

For audiobooks and ebooks, I recommend checking your local library using Overdrive/Libby to borrow the digital books. Many digital booksellers have not adopted a good way for us to pass on, resell, or share digital books like we can with physical books (despite it being easier), so I recommend supporting the library system first.


  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie - This was a re-read. I upgraded this to a rare 5-star when I re-read with my spouse this year. (mentioned in last year’s review)
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon - This is the start of a trilogy of novels in the Alien universe (not movie adaptions, but tied-in), and I’m a sucker for things in the Alien universe. I listened to a version that was recorded as an audio drama, and it was very well done.
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal - my micro review
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Toll (Arc of the Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman - three years in a row (book 1, book 2), this trilogy ends up on my recommendations list. I’ve now bought the series in a hardback boxed set.
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris - not much to say here, other than the usual advice: the book is better than the movie.
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Strain - Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan: my micro review
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Caliban’s War (Expanse #2) by James S. A. Corey - still very much enjoying this hard-scifi-with-horror-thrown-in. I hope to catch up more before I try the show, again.
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Gravel Peril (Dresden #3) by Jim Butcher - This was a re-read. This is where the series really starts to pick up.
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir - my micro review
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Summer Knight (Dresden #4) by Jim Butcher - This was a re-read. I enjoy the twists and turns and escalations in this one.
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Binti by Nnedi Okorafor - this novella is a captivating struggle, wherein the protagonist is first of her people head to the the greatest academy in the galaxy
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Shadows by Alex North - my micro review
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett - through paths that were traveled differently, we learn a lot about family, race, and ambition
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates - this was my first foray into “magical realism” books

Other Books

Here are the other at-least-3-star books that I read in 2020. Books that are unfinished, I abandoned, or I only gave 2 stars are omitted.


What did you read this year? What do you recommend?

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🔍 Took another kayak on the creek. Can’t get too far in either direction with the current water level, but confirmed we have tons of crawdads and mussels. Saw a cool huge turtle shell.

Also figured out the sneks (common watersnakes) like to hang out on the beech & sycamore roots.

Reflecting on this today. 🕊

📑 Sunday Quote 🕊

This game is gonna be up there with the Snow Clasico in terms of memorable and surreal #USMNT games ⚽️

Explainer: this was a CONCACAF Nations League game, where USA are defending champs. They were playing El Salvador, who had not beat the USA since 1992. It was a messy and clumsy and chaotic game due to the field being terribly muddy. El Salvador scored first and was up. USA got a bad red card. Then El Salvador got one for at attack that ended in a long muddy slip’n’slide. USA drew the game in overtime.