Favorite Books of the Year – so far

Best Books of the Year...so far

We are a little over halfway through the year – thank goodness.  I think it’s safe to say that everyone on the whole planet will be happy once 2020 is over.  

In taking a look at the books I have read so far this year, I have had fifteen 5 star books out of 61 books read (25%)!  This number may seem a little high, but I think knowing my own self, and my reading tastes, has helped me achieve this high positive rate.  Plus with this being my Year of Historical Reading, I am reading almost exclusively in the genre that I love most.

Before I give my top books from my 5 star reads, I thought it would be good to let you know my review guidelines:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 star – must read for everyone!

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 star – must read for fans of this genre, great writing, great plot

⭐⭐⭐ 3 star – good book for fans interested in this time period, may not be a huge fan of a plot point or writing style 

*I don’t give 1 or 2 star reviews.  If I am not enjoying a book that much, it is typically a DNF (do not finish) for me.  

If you’d like to see more of my recommendations, check out Goodreads and Instagram, where I post the books I am reading in real time.

**All book links below are to Bookshop.org, an Amazon alternative. This link is an affiliate link where I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.


Drumroll please….my top books of the year so far are:


Historical Fiction

For Adults:


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: This book about subsequent generations from two half-sisters in Ghana is at once heartbreaking and hopeful.  


Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon: One of the best books I have read about World War II-era France (and I have read A LOT of these types of books!), this plucky woman in the French Resistance, based on a real person, is a true heroine of the war.  


For Teens:


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson: A book in verse with exquisite prose, the challenges faced by the main character are overwhelming but the way she copes is admirable.  


The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys: I love sweeping novels that take the reader through years and locations.  I especially loved this one about an unknown-to-me time period (Franco’s Spain).


Middle Grade:


The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis: While dealing with a hard subject, the horrific bombing of an African-American church in Birmingham, the main story is about a family with sibling squabbles, school issues, and friend drama.  This would be a great book for any virtual schooling you may be doing this fall.


Blood on the River: James Town, 1607 by Elisa Carbone: If your child is learning about early American history this fall, just hand them this book!  It contains a story built around the actual events that happened in Jamestown in 1607.  Check out my Travel with Books video about the sites you can visit related to the book!


Historical Nonfiction


The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff: I listened to this on audio, and I highly recommend this version.  It’s hard to believe that teens today have no real idea how it felt to be alive on 9/11, and this book is a gripping introduction to the terror that day brought to all Americans.


The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin: Full of pictures and stories from the millions of items in the Smithsonian’s collections, everyone can find something of interest in this book!


I hope my reading in the second half of 2020 is as successful as the first!  What’s on your favorites list so far for 2020?



3 thoughts on “Favorite Books of the Year – so far

  1. This looks like a fantastic list! Love “Watsons go to Birmingham”. I think I’ll have to add “Blood on the River” and “The Fountains of Silence” to my reading list. 🙂

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