The best books I read in 2020

The last newsletter of 2020.

For the final edition of the newsletter in 2020, I rounded up my favorite books of the year. Most of the books I read this year were fiction — with everything going on in the world this year, I felt like fiction offered a much-needed escape from the real world. So most of my fave reads this year were fiction, with a couple nonfiction picks as well.

Enjoy, and see you all in 2021! ✨

My favorite books of 2020

I read 31 books in 2020. (It would have been more if I hadn’t spent several weeks/months doggedly trying to finish my quarantine goal of reading Anna Karenina!)

Fiction

The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett: This is the best book I read this year, hands down. It’s about twin sisters who are Black but pass for white, and pursue two very different lives as they grow up.

Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid: This book felt incredibly timely; it’s about a bougie white family, the young Black woman they hire to be their kids’ nanny, and all the drama that follows.

Self Care, Leigh Stein: A book that felt extremely 2020. It’s a satire of the girlboss-influencer world focused on two women running a wellness social media startup that feels like a cross between Goop, The Wing, and Instagram.

Leave the World Behind, Rumaan Alam: Just a great total escapist read about a Brooklyn family going on vacation that… well, I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but it gets a bit apocalyptic.

Trust Exercise, Susan Choi: This was last year’s National Book Award winner and with good reason. It’s a terrific, confusing, mindfuck of a story about students at a performing arts high school. I’m still thinking about the ending nearly a year later.

Non-fiction

Uncanny Valley, Anna Weiner: A memoir of working in tech that’s a fascinating and well-written look at Silicon Valley’s warped culture.

Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport: This was the book I needed this year to force me to reconsider my relationship to social media.

What I wrote

I published one last story in 2020 last Monday, a feature about the rise of all those DTC cookware brands you see everywhere on Instagram. It’s a fun one!

What I’m reading

The spectacular rise and fall of 2020’s favorite wine, The Cut.

How SoulCycle lost its soul, Vox.

Living With Karens, The Cut. When your supposedly progressive, utopian suburb is anything but.

2020 felt like a “wasted year” for many young adults, Vox.

Are you sure you want to go back to the office? NYT. Honestly, I have kind of loved the freedoms of working from home.

Kim Kardashian the year of unchecked privilege-checking, The New Yorker.

The journalist and the pharma bro, Elle. If you haven’t already read this, what are you waiting for?

What I’m cooking

For Christmas, I made overnight french toast casserole for breakfast, and then I made slow cooker brisket, cheesy potato gratin, and a shaved brussels sprouts salad for dinner, plus creme brulee pie for dessert (highly recommend using a storebought frozen pie crust for this — makes the recipe really simple and easy!)

Some other random things I cooked last week included this cabbage and farro salad, and this kale, pecorino, lemon, and almond salad.

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