Like many people, I spent much of 2020 tapping into an old hobby of mine: reading. While I love to read, it’s sometimes hard to find the time to sit down and truly enjoy a book. Throughout the pandemic, I found myself with much more free time, though, which allowed me to indulge in this favorite pastime once again.

When I reminisce on my favorite book of 2020, The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez comes to mind. I read this 365-page book and its sequel, The Happy Ever After Playlist, in a week. Yes, these were both rom-coms, but they include tough topics that brought tears to my eyes. These are definitely two books you should put on your must-read list! Several of my colleagues spent the year reading as well, so we’ve rounded up 11 of our favorite books from the past year to add to your winter reading list.

And, these are not all published in 2020, but our round-up of favorites read, or re-read, this year.

Our Favorite Books of 2020

The Dutch House

“My favorite book is The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I loved this book so much! This book draws you in from the beginning with a winding story spanning generations of families, all centered around this one special house. Definitely a must-read!” — Emily Beene, SB Regional Account Executive

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett was a 2020 favorite of Emily Beene.


“My favorite book of 2020 is Untamed, by Glennon Doyle. It’s a memoir with short, easy-to-read chapters filled with anecdotes from a dynamic woman whose personal life resonates because she’s funny and flawed and vulnerable — essentially, she’s us, with an uncanny knack for unearthing the perfect words to honor and express her innermost truth. Here’s the thing about Untamed … it’s not meant to sit on a coffee table to look pretty or impress guests. It’s meant to be dog-eared and worn from flipping through the pages more times than you can count, and to be reread on the days when you need a reminder that you’re very much alive, and you’re not alone, and you’re more than enough.” Jenna Bratcher, SB Nashville Lead Writer & Associate Editor

“Another vote for Untamed by Glennon Doyle! I started this book right when quarantine hit, and I loved every page of it. If you’re wanting to learn to be more courageous, stand up for yourself, and quite frankly, be a badass, this is a must-read. Glennon is witty, she’s funny and teaches you not to be afraid getting outside of your comfort zone.” — Katelyn Caughron, SB Memphis Customer Success Representative

Favorite books of 2020: Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Untamed by Glennon Doyle was a staff favorite this year!

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

“I loved I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. The author, Michelle McNamara, was a journalist and dedicated a lot of her life to researching the Golden State Killer. She actually coined the nickname “Golden State Killer,” and the book contains all of her research and notes about the crimes. I love everything true crime and was familiar with the case before I read the book, but it was still fascinating to read. Plus, the HBO series “I’ll Be Gone in The Dark” is based on the book!” — Brianna Goebel, SB Editorial Assistant

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara is a must-read for true crime fans.

RELATED: Renée Hicks Puts a New Spin on Book Club

The Paris Hour

The Paris Hours by Alex George is set in dreamy 1920s Hemingway-debauchery-era Paris and takes place over the course of just 24 hours. It follows four main characters and their stories run parallel until they all intersect in the most incredible way at the end. It’s just so good.” — Zoe Yarborough, SB Staff Writer

The Paris Hours by Alex George is a favorite of SB staff writer Zoe Yarborough.

The Dream Daughter

“I am loving The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain. I’m currently reading this book and cannot put it down. This is a story of a woman’s love for her child, her family and her husband. Through heartbreak, health scares, giant life-altering mistakes, 9/11, the Vietnam War, time travel and more, this book keeps you guessing and is surprisingly relatable. I’m procrastinating finishing it because I don’t want it to be over!” Megan Casey, SB Director of Marketing

Favorite books of 2020: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain is a holiday break must-read.

Where the Crawdads Sings, What Alice Forgot, The Immortalists & The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens started out a bit slow, but once it got going, I couldn’t put it down. The writer builds such vivid images for the reader and has a fun and fantastic way of leading you in one direction to flip a 180. Loved it!

“Additionally, I loved What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I was hooked by this one within the first chapter. The main character is really relatable yet slightly off-putting and mysterious in a very interesting way. This read was thought-provoking, funny, sad, surprising, cute and an overall fun read.

“Honorable mentions to The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, which offered the most unsatisfying conclusion I’ve read in a long time. I’m not sure if I even liked the book, but it does make you think about fate, coincidence and your own life path, which is interesting. Also, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, which is the prequel to The Hunger Games series. I read this one on vacation, and it reminded me why I loved the original series so much when I was younger.” — Bailey Torkelson, SB Editorial & Marketing Assistant Manager

Where the Crawdads Sing was a page-turner for Bailey Torkelson.
Bailey describes What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty as a “fun read.”

RELATED: 6 New Novels to Curl Up With This Winter

Rogue Lawyer

“This is hard because I read all the time! I suppose one of my favorites this year was Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham. It’s about a lawyer who defends people other lawyers won’t go near.” — Cindy Acuff, SB Regional Sales

SB account executive Cindy Acuff is an avid reader, but her top pick for 2020 is Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham.

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown

“My favorite book of the year was Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner. If you watch “The Crown” (and I LOVE “The Crown!”), her character was featured in season three. She was a maid of honor at the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, and she was also a lady-in-waiting (and close friend) of Princess Margaret — which is how she’s featured in “The Crown.” I LOVE memoirs, autobiographies and biographies, especially those about or written by people who aren’t famous but were eyewitnesses of history in one way or another. This book perfectly fits the bill, and her life story is amazing!” — Melissa Thompson, SB Regional Account Executive

Fans of “The Crown” will want to add Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown to their reading list.

Enjoy any or all of these books as you cozy up this winter!


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About the Author
Taylor Justice

A proud Magic City resident, University of Alabama alum, and self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, Taylor enjoys exploring the 205 and sharing the true magic that lies in her beloved city of Birmingham.