(Some Of) WYPR's Favorite Books Of 2020 | WYPR

(Some Of) WYPR's Favorite Books Of 2020

Dec 23, 2020

2020 has been a year for the record books. And thankfully, it's also been a year filled with good books as many of us have turned to turning pages as a means of escape during this difficult year.

If you're looking for a new read to lead you into 2021, WYPR's staff have you covered with 21 great titles. Why not 20 books for 2020? Trust us, we tried. There were just too many good ones to choose from!

Check out our book reviews, author interviews and recommendations below. 

The List

The Angel and the Assasin: The Tiny Brain Cell that Changed the Course of Medicine by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter

Deacon King Kong by James McBride 

Exit Thru the Afro by Jalynn Harris

Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City by Erica L. Green and Wes Moore

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar 

I Got A Monster: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Corrupt Police Squad by Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg 

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

The Lost Shtetl by Max Gross

Memorial by Bryan Washington 

Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder by John Waters 

My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers 

Order from Chaos: The Everyday Grind of Staying Organized with Adult ADHD by Jaclyn Paul 

The Post Mistress by Sarah Blake 

The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It by Robert Reich

The Unexpected Spy by Tracy Walder

Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers Won the Vote and Insisted on Equality for All by Martha S. Jones

What You Need to Know About Voting and Why by Kim Wehle 

White Ivy by Susie Yang

White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert P. Jones 

We asked some of our staff what books they read and loved this year.
Mark Gunnery
Credit Mark Gunnery

Mark Gunnery, WYPR producer

Book pick: Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany 

Why: This catastrophic year was a perfect time to reread Samuel R. Delany's 1975 experimental science fiction novel Dhalgren, about a city where an unnamed crisis has upended life and where squatters, social outcasts, and the unlucky few who couldn't flee have to create new ways of being together in order to survive.

Hear more: Listen to Mark's interview with Samuel R. Delany here

Lisa Morgan
Credit Lisa Morgan

Lisa Morgan, co-host of The Weekly Reader and producer of Your Maryland 

Book pick: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart 

Why: A brilliant coming-of-age love story about an alcoholic dreamer on the dole and her fiercely loyal, queer son in late 80’s Glasgow. And winner of The Booker Prize. I loved it.

Hear more: Listen to Lisa and The Weekly Reader's Marion Winik discuss Shuggie Bain here

Camilla!
Credit Carolyn Jewell

Carolyn Jewell, WYPR director of membership, and her daughter Camilla

Book pick: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle 

Why: The reason why Camilla likes this book so much is she loves the anticipation of the animal sounds. She gets very excited and then quickly tries to turn the next page.

John Lee
Credit Jamyla Krempel

Bonus content: Cute pictures of polar bears

John Lee, WYPR's Baltimore County reporter

Book pick: Washington by Ron Chernow 

Why: Chernow is the same guy who brought you Alexander Hamilton which led to a little show on Broadway. I love Chernow's biographies. He moves the story right along. I have wanted to read a biography on Washington for a long time and learned a lot about his life. For instance, I did not know he came very close to dying during his first term which would have been devastating for our country. He was our indispensable man. But Chernow also effectively lays out Washington's complicated conflict over being a slave owner. 

Isabelle Diffendall, intern in WYPR's membership department

Book pick: I Will Save You by Matt De La Peña.

Why: I like to read horror, mysteries, biographies, fiction, suspense, and thrillers. This year for school I read I Will Save You and enjoyed it.