As we get ready to ring in the new year, we asked our Instagram community of booklovers to name the best book(s) they read in 2020 to sail through a particularly difficult year.

Out of all the recommendations we received – besides the usual suspects including Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling), The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy), Unaccustomed Earth (Jhumpa Lahiri), and The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) – we bring you our top favourites that might make it to your reading list of 2021!

  1. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami: A teenage runaway (Kafka Tamura) meets an aging simpleton (Nakata), and thus begins an odyssey full of "vivid accomplices and mesmerising events".
  2. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami: A collection of seven short stories narrating the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone.
  3. Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy: From the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi to the Valley of Kashmir and the forests of Central India, the book takes you on a physical journey revealing an aching love story riddled with decisive remonstration.
  4. Educated: A memoir by Tara Westover: A true account of the author's life growing up without an education in a survivalist family, and how her quest for knowledge takes her across continents to Harvard and to Cambridge.  
  5. A Promised Land by Barack Obama: A "stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs" in which Barack Obama narrates his "improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world".
  6. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak: Ella, a housewife with her first editing job, reads a manuscript about the 13th-century poet Rumi and his forty rules of love, and embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author of this work.
  7. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: The story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing something she can’t resist – books. 
  8. Free food for millionaires by Min Jin Lee: In this critically-acclaimed debut, Min Jin Lee tells the story of Casey Han and her Korean immigrant parents, exposing the astonishing layers of a community clinging to its old ways and a city packed with struggling haves and have-nots.
  9. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: A murder mystery, a courtroom drama, an exploration of rivalry in a series of triangular love affairs - Dostoyevsky's last novel is a definite must-read.
  10. The Dressmaker's Gift by Fiona Valpy: Set in wartime Paris of 1940s, it's a gripping story of three young women who are faced with impossible choices when their secret activities put them in grave danger.