Barack Obama Shares His Favorite Books of 2020 | Book Pulse

Barack Obama's 17 favorite books of the year include Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, Deacon King Kong by James McBride, and Jack by Marilynne Robinson. BOMB looks at new titles released by small and independent presses during 2020, plus other best-of lists from the L.A. Times, CrimeReads, Book Riot, and more. The audiobook version of A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders has a star-studded narration. Jennifer Lopez is producing and starring in a feature adaptation of The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado for Netflix.

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Book Lists

Barack Obama shares his favorite books of the year on Twitter.

BOMB has "A round-up of titles published by independent presses in 2020."

Freeman’s editors pick the top books of the year at Lit Hub.

The L.A. Times features "The 10 best California books of 2020."

Eva Chen picks her top books of the year for Amazon. recommends recent sci-fi and fantasy books in translation

CrimeReads lists "The Best Espionage Novels of 2020."

Book Riot rounds up the "Best Positive Thinking Books of 2020."

Lit Hub suggests "Great Holiday Audiobooks for Young Readers."

The NYT Book Review's art director picks the best book covers of 2020. Plus, "11 New Books We Recommend This Week." 

USA Today previews 20 books coming out this winter.

A look at some of the "Most anticipated fiction of winter according to Amazon Charts."


The Washington Post reviews Red Hands by Christopher Golden (St. Martin's: Macmillan): "The book, which features classic horror elements — shambling corpses, an ancient evil unleashed — is either creepily satisfying or a trigger for your worst nightmare." Also, Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream by Mychal Denzel Smith (Bold Type Books: Hachette): " engages this moment with intelligence and courage, and invites its readers to do the same." Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz (Crown: Random House; LJ starred review): " and well-researched." Mozart: The Reign of Love by Jan Swafford (Harper: LJ starred review): "This is an excellent book on Mozart for both musicians and the general reader." Worked Over: How Round-the-Clock Work Is Killing the American Dream by Jamie K McCallum (Basic: Hachette): "...workers of the country need bold ideas like those McCallum offers." Expedition Deep Ocean: The First Descent to the Bottom of All Five Oceans by Josh Young (Pegasus: S. & S.): "There’s humor and drama and headaches galore, not to mention celebrity cameos and more than one trip to the Titanic. Imagine Jon Krakauer’s 'Into Thin Air' with a happy ending."

The L.A. Times reviews J R and The Recognitions by William Gaddis (NYRB Classics): "Once you get to know them inside, they’re much more fun than they look. They will make you laugh out loud. They will absorb you. They will keep you coming back for more."

Book Marks rounds up the best reviewed books in translation and graphic literature of 2020. 

Briefly Noted

Phylicia Rashad, Nick Offerman, Glenn Close, and more will be narrators for the audiobook version of A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders (Random House). Lit Hub has details. has an excerpt of Rise of the Red Hand by Olivia Chadha (Erewhon: Workman). It's due out Jan. 19.

Spiegel & Grau founding editors are reviving the imprint after Penguin Random House shut it down last year. The NYT has info.

CBC Books talks with William Gibson, Agency (Berkley: Penguin).

Ijeoma Oluo discusses Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Seal: Hachette: LJ starred review) with Electric Lit

Electric Lit interviews Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, A Girl is A Body of Water (Tin House: W. W. Norton).

BOMB has interviews with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, The Freezer Door (Semiotext(e): MIT), and Lindy West, Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema (Hachette).

For Parade's "Novel Advice" column, Christen Brandt and Tammy Tibbetts, Impact: A Step-by-Step Plan to Create the World You Want to Live In (PublicAffairs: Hachette), share ideas about how to give back to the world more in 2021.

Essa Hansen, Nophek Gloss (Orbit: Hachette; LJ starred review), writes in Electric Lit about how working in theatrical sound effects influences writing fiction.

The Rumpus interviews erasure poet Sarah J. Sloat, Hotel Almighty (Sarabande).

"It's the least festive I've ever felt in my life," and more thoughts from authors who write Christmas novels year-round, in The Guardian.

Lit Hub commemorates writers, editors, and others who passed away this year

Authors on Air

There is only one adaptation for the week, A Christmas Exchange, based on Molly Cooper's Dream Date by Barbara Hannay. Lifetime. No reviews | Trailer out on Dec. 19.

The Hollywood Reporter says Disney's picked up the rights for a feature adaptation of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow). 

Noomi Rapace will star in a new gender-swapped film adaptation of Hamlet. Deadline reports.

A new Little House on the Prairie series adaptation is in the works, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Jennifer Lopez is producing and starring in a feature adaptation of The Cipher by Isabella Maldonado (Thomas & Mercer) for Netflix. Variety has details.

Jerry Seinfeld, Is This Anything? (S. & S.), appears on PBS NewsHour.

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