Sunday, January 10, 2021

Abby's 2020 Book Awards

      Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to my living room for my 2020 book awards, the most unimportant and arbitrary awards show Ever Produced! I got the idea to do my own bookish awards from Daniel Greene, a Youtuber who puts out an awards show every year, so shout-out to him!

     I'm going to give these awards out in no particular order. The only qualification for these books is that I must have read them in 2020, though they can be published in any year, and they must not be rereads. Because that would be unfair. I'm not going to give an award in every single genre and subgenre, just the ones that really stood out. There's going to be far too many to say much about each, but you can easily find synopses of each on Goodreads or Amazon.

So without further ado....

The award for Best Fantasy goes to....

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Absolutely spectacular book. From the magic system to the main character, to the feel of the world, I ate it up. 

The award for Best Sci-fi goes to....

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Aliens and Social Media Theory. This book and its sequel: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor are hilarious and incredibly thoughtful. Big conversation starters.

The awards for Best Afrofuturism and Best Cover go to

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden

It's fairly rare that I read something that feels derivative of nothing. Just entirely original. This was space travel at its most quirky and imaginative. Also SUCH a beautiful cover. 

The award for Best Plague Book goes to...

Severance by Ling Ma

Plague originates in China? Zombie Apocalypse? Heavily literary? Sounds perfect.

The award for Best Classic goes to...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Netflix adaptation is less good, but still good. All the feels in this story of healing from WWII and German occupation.

The award for Best Food Book goes to...

Mast Brothers Chocolate by Rick and Michael Mast

The photographs. The recipes. The CHOCOLATE. Yummy. 

The award for Best Middle Grade goes to...

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This little book had HEART, adorable characters, and a really intriguing plot. 

The award for Best Nonfiction goes to... 

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carryrou

This book was fascinating. Holy crap. 

The award for Best Series I Completed in 2020 goes to...

The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner

This YA Fantasy series is excellent all the way through, and Return of the Thief was a fantastic way to wrap it up. 

The award for Best Audiobook goes to...

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is already my favorite nonfiction author, and content-wise this is my favorite of his books, but on top of that, the audiobook is produced like a podcast, read by the author, and just an audio treat.

The award for Most Immersive Book goes to...

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I could see, hear, smell, taste and touch the events of this book. Not really. But I Felt like I could.

The award for Best YA Fantasy Book goes to...IT'S A THREE-WAY TIE

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

These are staples of the YA genre, that I'm just now getting around to reading.

The award for Best YA Sci-fi goes to...

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

This was Excellent. Incredible aerial fight sequences. Intriguing plot. Top-tier. 

The award for Best YA Contemporary goes to...

Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson

This is a really cute story told entirely in text messages. I read it in one sitting and adored it. 

The award for Now I'm Most Excited to See the Movie goes to...

Dune by Frank Herbert

Between reading the book and watching the previews that have dropped, Dune is officially the movie I'm most excited for in 2021. 

The award for Most Impact On My Life goes to...

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Netflix show led me to the book which got me off on a whole Tidying/Minimalist kick on Youtube, and I adore how my house looks as a result. I will write a whole blog post on this in a month or so when I can really see and quantify the results. 

The award for Best Political Book goes to...
Blackout by Candace Owens

Candace's perspective on race and race politics is unique, well-written, and well-argued.

And on that note, the award for Most Controversial Book I Read This Year goes to...

Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier

Whenever there's a big hubbub (and there is/was a BIG hubbub), I like to see what it's about. This is not a Conservative book or an anti-trans book. It's a well-presented perspective/set of concerns on young girls seeking transition. I don't agree with all of it, but I think it's an important part of the conversation. 

And now to lighter things! 

The award for Best Contemporary Romance goes to...

Beach Read by Emily Henry

More literary than your typical Romance novel, I couldn't put this book down. 

The award for Best Historical Romance goes to...

A Rogue of One's Own by Evie Dunmore

Evie, who has graciously provided me with ARCS (Advanced Reader Copies) of her books, produces well-researched, well-written, smart Historical Romance. Planning to reread this one soon. 

And finally the award for Best Christmas Book goes to...

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

A modern day Christmas Carol, this one had a ton of heart and paid the sort of homage to Dickens that makes a Lit. major's heart sing. 

And that's it, everyone! Out of the 356 books I read in 2020, these are the ones that rose to the top, the ones that continue to occupy my thoughts, and the ones I'm most likely to recommend to friends and reread in the coming years. 

I hope you enjoyed! Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions about a book I awarded or simply want to know a little bit more. I wouldn't universally recommend some of these to everyone, so use your judgement!

Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? What books would you have awarded? 

See you next time, friends!

Coming Soon: I Discovered I Love Reading Romance, Here's Why


  1. I love The Night Circus, I need to check out some of these.
    Great choices!