The Best Books of 2020

This terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year was not actually that rough on books. Sales throughout the early months of quarantine were up over 2019’s numbers, even when you figured in the sizable new market for educational titles in parents scrambling to home-school their children. However, the pandemic has delivered body blows to bookstores, some of them mortal. The long-term effects of this loss on a system in which local booksellers and publicity tours remain one of the best ways to launch a debut author won’t be clear for a while. When book sales were up in 2020, the bump went to known quantities, the established authors who already rule the bestseller lists. Nevertheless, many people took the pandemic as an occasion to get some reading done, and fortunately, there were plenty of splendid new books to feed that urge.
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