(Some Of) WYPR's Favorite Books Of 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 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
The Post Mistress by Sarah Blake
The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It by Robert Reich
The Unexpected Spy by Tracy Walder
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.