Never be without a good book in hand when you add these books to read in 2020 to your reading list!
I realize we are now a month and a half into 2020, but better late than never right?
Ok fine, I owed you a book list about a year ago. I know. Life though, y’all.
Since it has been that long since I’ve shared some of my latest good reads, it does mean I have a pretty good long list of books for ya. If this list doesn’t at least take you into May, then you really need to find another hobby – and that’s coming from an avid reader herself. 😉
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Best Books to Read in 2020
The Unqualified Hostess by Whoopi Goldberg
Yes, I am starting with this book and no, it’s not your typical “reading” book. It is more of a coffee table book, but ya’ll it’s so much more than a coffee table book. My best friend gave me this for Christmas and I immediately fell in love with Whoopi’s entertaining mantra. If you follow me on Instagram and saw me blubbering over it around Christmastime, you know what I mean. In theory it’s an entertaining book, but this is an entertaining book for those of us who don’t set the perfect tables, are a bit quirky and our main goal is to create magic for our loved ones – especially around holidays. I don’t always read every coffee table book I get, but I read every. single. word. of this one within the first few days of having it. I laughed, I cried and I was so damn inspired. So get this for yourself and then give one as a gift too. Trust me, it’s one of the best books to receive. Find it here.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Utterly captivating. That’s the only way I know how to describe this one. Oh my stars, ya’ll. This book sucked me in and made me want to abandon ship and just read it all day. It’s centered around an old Hollywood starlet who is “coming clean” about all her husbands after being reclusive for years. It’s not a “Hollywood” story though. It shows the incredible strength of one woman, how she will go to any lengths to protect her family and how she finally is able to live her truth. Find it here.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
If you’re a reader and you haven’t heard of this book, then go buy it right this minute. If you have heard of this book and have yet to read it, what the heck is wrong with you? Oh honey, this one. This one is a book that is going to stand the test of time. This is one that our grandkids are going to read. It’s a heartbreaking, yet beautiful coming of age story about Kya, the marsh girl, who is so much more than meets the eye. Find it here.
The Guests on South Battery by Karen White
I was finally able to get a little caught up on the Tradd Street series by Karen White. If you’ve read any of my previous book recommendations, you know I love a well written ghost story that isn’t cheesy. Karen White has always done a phenomenal job at doing just that with this series and The Guests on South Battery was no exception. As with other books in this series, there’s an old house in Charleston involved and mysterious folks arriving into town – along with spirits. Find it here.
Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
I’ve read a few different Joshilyn Jackson books over the past year and this was one of my favorites. 30-something year old Leia returns to her aging grandmother’s home to get her affairs in order. Leia stumbles upon a secret her grandmother had kept for a lifetime that will shake not only her to her core, but the small southern town her grandmother’s family helped to build. Find it here.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
If you love historical fiction, then you are going to eat this book up. This one probably makes it into my top 25 favorite books of all time reading list. It follows the Foss children from Memphis in the late 30’s who are placed illegally into the Tennessee Children’s Home. The children soon realize they must fight not only to stay together, but to stay alive. The book is based on the real-life Georgia Tann scandal. Find it here.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
This book is set in both California and Virginia, spans five decades and shows just how much impact a chance meeting can have not only on one’s life, but on one’s entire family’s life for lifetimes to come. It’s raw, heartbreaking, but humorous and sweet as well. Find it here.
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
I know. I should have read this one long ago, however as many of you know I only discovered Pat Conroy about five years ago. And as any reader of Pat Conroy also knows, his books are deep and moving and sometimes it’s best to space them out. That being said, I don’t think that “deep and moving” is hardly adequate enough for The Prince of Tides. It’s beyond anything else I’ve ever read and is more than a masterpiece. It’s another one that will stand the test of time and is in my top five best books of all time list. The book spans four decades of the Wingo family siblings in the small South Carolina town they were born in. It’s incredibly tragic and beautiful at the same time. There is a movie and it’s a good movie. If you haven’t read the book though, you are missing out. Find it here.
Nine Lives by Dan Baum
A fantastic book for anyone who has a special place in their hearts for New Orleans. Dan Baum tells the story of the people of New Orleans through the lives of nine different New Orleanians who have withstood both Hurricane Betsy in the 60’s and Hurricane Katrina. It shows their ultimate courage, strength and how New Orleans will always rise again. Find it here.
Voodoo Dreams by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Another one set in New Orleans, this is a fictional story of the one and only, Marie Laveau. If you don’t have an interest in New Orleans or Voodoo culture, you won’t like this. If you do have an interest, you will find it incredibly wild and intriguing. Find it here.
Southern Spirits by Angie Fox
Don’t let the cover fool you here. Yes, I thought that cartoon type drawing was super cheesy too, but I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading the book. This one was recommended to me by a friend and I’ve always liked every book she’s recommended to me, but yes, I did doubt her on this one. I shouldn’t have. It was a good one. Once you get started, you’ll find it hard to put down. I think I whizzed through this book in two or three days. It’s set in the south, complete with haunted properties and spirits who are growing dangerous. Find it here.
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
Another one by Joshilyn Jackson, this one explores three often hot topics of the south: religion, football and racism. Arlene must return home to Alabama after being away for a decade. She’ll soon discover what she thought happened wasn’t all of what happened. Find it here.
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
This one came out in the 90’s but it’s a goodie. It was a new book to me and while it took a little while to really get into it and understand what was going on, when I closed the book at the end, it was one of those “How do I go on with my life after reading this book?” It starts in ancient days and goes all the way through present day, well present day in the late 80’s. It’s a riot, but it’s also a testament to the beauty of really living. Find it here.
Cemetery Road by Greg Illes
When Greg Iles wrapped up his Natchez Burning trilogy, it was also another moment of “How do I go on?” He came through for me though with Cemetery Road. Set in a small Mississippi town, it packs it all in: corruption, heartbreak, long kept secrets and one man willing to set the record straight. Find it here.
Now it’s your turn. Hit me with your latest good reads in the comments so I can add them to my own 2020 reading list!
Still need more books to add to your list? Here’s some of my past reading lists if you’re new around here:
Latest Good Reads No. 1
Latest Good Reads No. 2
Latest Good Reads No. 3
The Best Southern Books
More Favorite Southern Books
The Best Ghosts, Witches and Such Books
I am definitely going to read the Evelyn Hugo book you mentioned.
And a couple of my absolute favorites:
The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc. It has everything and you will not be disappointed:)
Fox’s Earth. An older book, but it also has everything you would want in a good book:)
I read tons but only keep a few that I really enjoy. These two will always be on my shelf, comfortably living next to Gone With The Wind and everything Stephen King has ever put into words:)
I LOVED the Evelyn Hugo book!! I’m going to check out these you mentioned right now! Thanks!
Yes, Yes, YES to Where the Crawdads Sing! One of my favorite books ever!
The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck – it’s been a couple (or 3?) years since I read it, but it was a fantastic read. Look it up!
In Pieces is Sally Field’s autobiography. Enlightening if you love the whole Burt Reynolds-Sally Field thing! I do.
Flat Water Tuesday by Ron Irwin – LOVED
The Healing by Jonathan Odell — BETTER than The Help (to me)
I read so much that I don’t remember ALL the books, just the ones that stay with me.
Oh my gosh, wasn’t Crawdads just amazing?! Going to add The Pecan Man to my list – someone else has mentioned that one to me before too! I was wondering about the Sally Field bio – will add it too! I’m going to check out the others now! Thanks!
So timely! I just joined a book club.
Cynthia Bowman says
Try some Christopher Moore!
Oh he looks interesting!
Let’s take the Long Way Home by Gail
Caldwell – my all time favorite about a wonderful friendship.
Added to the list!
I am just now finishing a Greg Iles book, “Sleep No more” omg! I don’t even know what’s going on! I love it. I’ve never read him before, but will now. I enjoy Joshilyn Jackson, I’ve read all of hers. I’ve only read that one Pat Conroy and you’re right, a reader must read that. Thank you for the suggestions. I need some as I’ve read most of what I can find by my favorites. I would love to suggest Robert Crais to y’all, he’s my absolute favorite, after Judy Blume of course;) She will always remain #1 in my heart. I’ve read her novels for adults and they are just as wonderful as anything she wrote for the younger crowd. Plus, I’m southern and she gave me a taste of the Yankee life:)
OMG – Sleep No More was SO good!! Greg Iles is great! Love him! I have one of the Judy Blume adult novels – In the Unlikely Event? – I just haven’t read it yet. I’ve got to! And I’ll look up Robert Crais! Thanks!
Ciddy D. says
Interested to hear your opinion on The Dutch House by Ann Patchett! It’s her latest.
Bonus: Tom Hanks reads the Audible version.
Etta and Otto and Russell and James. By Emma Hooper.
JOSHILYN JACKSON IS MY FAVORITE AUTHOR EVER!! I was so glad to see her on your list twice. gods in Alabama was recommended to me by my high school English teacher in 10th grade and now I’ve read every novel of hers. Have you read The Opposite of Everyone?
I have Where the Crawdads Sing on my Audible to listen to at work, but I haven’t been able to start it yet.
Christine McTague says
Thank you for this reading list. I read and read and than read some more. The Prince of Tides is my all time favorite book. It is beautifully written prose. It is a masterpiece.
Such a masterpiece. I couldn’t agree more on that one. Hands down, one of my all time favorites.