Get your fall reading list ready because I have the best books of Fall 2020 with all the top choices of great books to read.
Hallelujah, Fall is just around the corner!
With back to school and cooler weather come some of the best fall reads I’ve seen in a while. Due to the pandemic, many spring and summer book releases were pushed back, so the Fall 2020 reading list is overflowing with new releases.
All summer long, I’ve been reading advance copies and perusing the upcoming release lists. I’ve wrestled over which books to include and which to leave out.
Here for your reading pleasure is my list of the best books of Fall 2020. I’ve got book club favorites, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and some nonfiction books. Some I’ve read and some I can’t wait to read, but all of them are perfect for my Fall 2020 Reading Guide.
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Best Fall Books: Fiction
The Death of Vivek Oji
One day, a mother in Nigeria opens her door to find the dead body of her son. Starting with Vivek Oji’s death, Akwaeke Emezi slowly unravels the explanation of why and how he died. Born to a distant Nigerian father and a loving Indian mother, Vivek has always struggled with his identity. He feels closest to his cousin Osita, who struggles to understand her cousin’s crisis. Exploring otherness and identity with sharp social commentary, The Death of Vivek Oji will be one of the most talked-about book releases this fall.
The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes
Elissa R. Sloan
Elissa R. Sloan’s debut novel hints at the dark side of superstardom. Overnight, Cassidy Holmes and her band The Gloss become a pop phenomenon. But with success comes overbearing media attention, band drama, and utter loneliness that eventually results in Cassidy’s suicide. Jumping back and forth between past and present, The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes is being hailed as a heartbreaking novel reminiscent of Daisy Jones & The Six.
Former child actress Grace Turner is just trying to survive after being chewed up by Hollywood. When she is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to her former director Able Yorke, she wonders if she has the strength to finally reveal the truth about the manipulative director. For she doesn’t want to feel powerless anymore.
Best Fall Reads: Historical Fiction
Fifty Words for Rain
In post World War II Japan, Nori, the illegitimate daughter of a Japanese aristocrat and a Black American GI, is hidden away on her grandmother’s estate to conceal the family shame. All Nori knows is the attic she is confined to until she meets her legitimate half-brother, Akira, a boy who shows her the world contains so much more. A clear winner among the best books of Fall 2020, this complicated story about shame and the need for acceptance would be a perfect choice for your book club this fall.
Against the Loveless World
The story of a woman pondering the events that sent her down a radical path and landed her in prison. Born in Kuwait to Palestinian refugees, Nahr has not had an easy life. Jilted by her husband, she becomes a prostitute to provide for her family. After being driven out of Kuwait after the US invasion of Iraq, Nahr resettles in Palestine, where she finally finds a home. A poignant tale for our times, Against the Loveless World hints at the grim realities of Palestinian life and highlights the combination of poor choices and awful circumstances that influence our lives.
The Pull of the Stars
Historical fiction novels always feel like good books to read in the fall. In 1918, Nurse Julia Powers struggles to manage an Irish maternity ward ravaged by influenza and short-staffed by the war. With the help of volunteer Bridie Sweeney and controversial Doctor Kathleen Lynn, Julia tries her best to save the lives of expectant mothers as they bring new life into the world.
The Devil and the Dark Water
In 1634, the world’s most famous detective is being transported across the ocean to Amsterdam to stand trial for murder. When strange things begin to happen aboard, his loyal bodyguard must solve the mystery. Could demonic forces be at work? After the brilliance of his debut novel, The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, I’m extremely hopeful Stuart Turton’s second book will earn its place among the best books of Fall 2020.
See the Complete List of Upcoming Releases!
Mystery & Thriller Books for Fall
The creepiest book of the year award goes to Romy Hausmann’s German bestseller which builds to an incredibly thrilling ending. Kept locked in the woods in a windowless shack, Lena and her two children live as virtual prisoners to her “husband.” When Lena escapes, the nightmare should be over. Yet things don’t seem to be adding up, and Lena isn’t who she claims to be. I always think thrillers are the best books to read in fall, and you are in for a treat this year.
Confessions on the 7:45
On a stalled train, Selena confesses to a fellow passenger that she suspects her husband is cheating on her with the nanny. Martha, in turn, confesses to an affair with her boss. When the nanny disappears days later, Selena begins to wonder about the stranger from the train.
After three years with her therapist Roan Fours, Saffyre Maddox is finally “cured” of self-harm. Yet Saffyre never revealed her worst trauma to Roan, and now she feels tossed aside. She begins secretly stalking his house, an invisible girl in the shadows. When Saffyre disappears, all attention falls on Roan’s neighbor Owen Pick. For he’s just the type to do such a thing – just a bit creepy, isn’t he?
The Night Swim
Rachel Krall, the host of a popular true-crime podcast, gets more than she expected when she investigates a rape trial in a small town. A mysterious woman named Hannah is stalking Rachel, leaving Rachel notes begging her to investigate the death of Hannah’s sister twenty-five years ago. Could that cold case be connected to the current trial?
One by One
At an exclusive French ski resort, the shareholders for the up-and-coming social media company Snoop must decide on an offer of a billion-dollar sale. One person doesn’t make it back to the lodge after skiing, and things go from bad to worse when an avalanche hits threatening them all. Would someone be willing to resort to murder to get their way?
Nonfiction Fall 2020 Reading List
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
Former NFL player and current Fox Sports analyst, Emmanuel Acho takes on the hard questions that many white Americans are afraid to ask but need to know to be more informed. Based on his hit Youtube series, Acho presents his topic as a way to help people increase their understanding and change their behaviors to help end racism in America. With Black Lives Matter being a hot topic right now, no surprise that this is one of the best books to read for Fall 2020.
When you think of castes, India’s strict caste system likely comes to mind. Isabel Wilkerson argues that America has its own hidden caste system, a hierarchy that has influenced the United States both historically and currently. Using fascinating stories, Wilkerson points out that on top of race and class, our understanding of caste systems must also change if we are to better ourselves as a nation.
In my opinion, World War II stories are always good books to read in fall, and Chris Wallace as a new book about the 116 days leading up to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. With the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman suddenly finds himself President of a nation at war on multiple continents. The new president is shocked to learn about a top-secret project to build a weapon that will change the course of history.
Fantastical Books to Read This Fall
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
V. E. Schwab
To escape a forced marriage, Addie LaRue makes a bargain with the devil in 1714. She gets to live forever, but the catch is she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. After 300 years, Addie has become resigned to her fate until she meets a young man who remembers her name. An all-around joy of a read that is one of Fall 2020’s must-reads.
The Midnight Library
In the Midnight Library, there are two books – one book for the life you’ve lived and one for the one you could have lived. After attempting suicide, Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library. Now she must decide which book to choose from. What if she had made different choices? Would her life truly have been better?
After tackling zombies, Max Brooks is back with a slow burn examination of the legendary Bigfoot, a topic that feels perfect for any list of good fall books. In the aftermath of Mount Rainer’s eruption, the diary of Kate Holland is discovered detailing the massacre at Greenloop caused by a beast of terrible strength.
What do you think are the best books of Fall 2020?