LibraryReads Top Recommended Titles for 2020 (provided by Shelf Awareness)


LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 titles public library staff across the country love. These are their Favorites of Favorites choices for 2020:


The Vanishing Half: A Novel by Brit Bennett -. "Centering on two twin light-skinned black girls who grew up in a strange town in the Jim Crow South, this book explores racism, colorism, sexism, and familial relationships through the interweaving storylines of vivid and complicated characters. For fans of Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson." --Pamela Gardner, Medfield Public Library, Medfield, Mass.


Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman -. "What happens when a group of house hunters is taken hostage by an incompetent bank robber? Not what you expect. Filled with quirky, troubled characters, Backman's latest shows us what most people need is kindness, understanding and one another." --Janine Walsh, East Meadow Public Library, East Meadow, N.Y.


Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson -. "A magisterial overview of how caste has been implemented in three different places. This is an important look at how the U.S., Nazi Germany, and India implemented caste and how it affects each country. Don't think that this is a dry academic read; Wilkerson is a genius with words and incorporates her own experiences throughout the book. For readers of Stamped and The New Jim Crow." --Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, Va.


Dear Edward: A Novel by Ann Napolitano -. "A dear, dear wonderous novel. Edward is The Miracle Boy, the only survivor of a plane crash. As he struggles to navigate the landscape of his new life, we hear the voices of those who didn't make it. Napolitano is an amazing writer who deserves a wider audience. For fans of Did You Ever Have a Family (Bill Clegg), The Grief of Others (Leah Hager Cohen), and The Friend (Sigrid Nunez)." --Jennifer Dayton, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, Conn.


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab -. "Addie is an adventurer and not ready to settle for village life, so she makes a deal with the devil. Instead of relinquishing her soul, however, she becomes immortal, and also completely forgotten by anyone who meets her. Then, after a lonely 300 years, she meets Henry. For fans of the Shades of Magic series, The Time Traveler's Wife, and Life after Life." --Patti Lang, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Ariz.


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia -. "A perfect gothic mystery with an updated sensibility that will appeal to the modern reader. Noemí is a Mexico City socialite in the 1950s. When her father receives a disturbing letter from his niece, he sends Noemí to check on her cousin at the remote house where she is living--a grotesque and rotting English-style mansion, built on dirt imported from England by the colonialist eugenicist family she has married into. Lush descriptions and the creepy atmosphere make this a good choice for readers who liked The Witch Elm, The Little Stranger, or The Haunting of Hill House." --Lorena Neal, Evanston Public Library, Evanston, Ill.


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig -. "At a seminal moment in her life, Nora visits a unique library. Every book she chooses is one that she becomes part of and is a possible life she might have led. There are adventures, close calls, and joy. Give this totally engrossing page turner to fans of Here and Now and Then (Chen) and Life after Life (Atkinson)." --Deborah Margeson, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, Colo.


My Dark Vanessa: A Novel by Kate Elizabeth Russell -. "A Lolita for the #MeToo era, it's unsettling, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. The narrative shifts from 2000, when Vanessa gains admission to an elite New England prep school, to 2017, when she tries to come to terms with her experience, her role in it, how it's affecting her present, and the choices she faces to find resolution and move forward. For fans of Notes on a Scandal (Heller), Trust Exercise (Choi), and His Favorites (Walbert)." --Michelle Sampson, York Public Library, York, Me.


The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson -. "Once again Larson's new book is nonfiction that is as hard to put down as the best fiction. The book recounts the early days of Churchill as prime minister when France fell to Germany and the British Empire stood alone against Hitler. For readers who like John M. Barry (The Great Influenza) and David King (Death in the City of Light)." --Celia Morse, Berkley Public Library, Berkley, Mich.


Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi -. "Gyasi is a force of a writer and in her new novel, Gifty is a Ph.D. student of neuroscience fueled by the need to understand her brother's addiction and mother's depression. For fans of Imagine Me Gone (Haslet) and Chemistry (Wang)." --Kari Bingham-Gutierrez, Olathe Public Library, Olathe, Kan.


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List provided by Shelf Awareness

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