The Top 40 Hit Books of the Year (So Far)

Posted by Cybil on June 1, 2020

We're halfway through the year that time forgot! Ahem...I mean, 2020. Believe it or not, it's June.

Traditionally, this is when the Goodreads editorial team burrows deep into our data to see which books published in the U.S. during the first six months of the year have been most popular, highly anticipated, and highly rated among our collective 105 million members. 

Below you'll find those books ranked according to popularity on the site. Note that we eliminated any book that fell below a 3.5 star–average rating from your fellow readers (at the time this article was written, natch). Then, just for fun, we divvied this list up into the two rather large and varied categories of fiction vs. nonfiction.

As always, be sure to add the books that pique your interest to your Want to Read shelf. And happy reading!

 

Fiction

#1

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#2

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#3

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#4

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#5

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#6

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#7

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#8

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#9

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#10

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#11

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#12

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#13

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#14

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#15

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#16

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#17

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#18

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#19

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#20

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Nonfiction

 

#1

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#2

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#3

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#5

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#6

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#7

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#8

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#9

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#10

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#11

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#12

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#13

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#14

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#15

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#16

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#17

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#18

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#19

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#20

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Which of these books are you most excited about, and which books would you contend should be among the most popular of the first half of 2020? Let us know in the comments!

 

Comments Showing 1-50 of 171 (171 new)


Thea | (unapologetic_bibliosmia) Only one of these is on my TBR list - The Sun Down Motel and none of these on my Read list.

I'm interested why only books published in the US made it to the list, that will rule out a lot of great books published this year...


message 2: by Elena (new)

Elena May Thea wrote: "I'm interested why only books published in the US made it to the list, that will rule o..."

Right. I have the same problem with all lists on the Goodreads blog, this really limits the variety of books we see.


message 3: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Amazon owns Goodreads...#facts


Thea | (unapologetic_bibliosmia) Elena wrote: "Thea wrote: "I'm interested why only books published in the US made it to the list, that will rule o..."

Right. I have the same problem with all lists on the Goodreads blog, this really limits the..."


Such a shame! There’s a huge world of literature out there beyond the US...I’d be interested in user metrics too, I bet there’s so many of us that use goodreads that aren’t even from the USA


Thea | (unapologetic_bibliosmia) Michelle wrote: "Amazon owns Goodreads...#facts"

True, but we do have a UK specific Amazon in the UK for example....


message 6: by Elena (last edited Jun 06, 2020 02:52PM) (new)

Elena May Thea wrote: "True, but we do have a UK specific Amazon in the UK for example...."

The way region-specific Amazon versions work also bother me, to be honest. Especially when products with digital delivery, like eBooks, are available in one region but not another, or have different prices across regions. We live in a global world where everyone should be able to buy any product no matter where they live, and I feel Amazon is creating artificial divides (also, there are currently just 13 countries with region-specific Amazon, and everyone else gets mapped to one of the these 13, and sometimes not to the most appropriate one).

In any case, if a book is not published in the US, it doesn't mean you can't buy it and read it if you live in the US. It seems kind of backwards to create borders where they don't exist in the first place and to limit reading recommendations.


message 7: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Kowalski I could be wrong, but it says “reader” favorites so I assumed that meant based on ratings that readers have given or how many readers report reading them. Not that Goodreads picked the list...?


message 8: by Kirsty (new)

Kirsty Why is In Five Years included in this list? I have no idea...


message 9: by Katya (new)

Katya Mogilevsky Ah yes, "Fiction" and "Non-fiction", the two genders.


message 10: by Brina (new)

Brina Not just US specific, but why only best selling fiction? What about potential award winners from all countries? Nonfiction that isn’t fluff? Sports books? Oh wait, those books aren’t big sellers. I haven’t read or plan to read a single book on this list.


message 11: by Lee (new)

Lee Yeah, I hate to whine too but this list leans very heavily toward US publications and writers. I haven't even heard of half the non-fiction books.


message 12: by Robin (new)

Robin Bonne This list verified my feelings that 2020 has been a garbage year for new books.


message 13: by Fadi (new)

Fadi Kharoufeh I am reading The Guest List by Lucy Foley
I have The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel on my TBR


message 14: by Adriananas (new)

Adriananas I know Goodreads' audience is mostly female, but weird to see almost all authors here are female ( 2/20 in the Fiction list are men, 6/20 in Non Fiction )

Also, it's easy for me to find the most popular books on this site ( goodreads awards looking at you ). It would be much more interesting to have lists/recommendations of lesser known titles/subjects etc.


message 15: by Holly (new)

Holly Robin wrote: "This list verified my feelings that 2020 has been a garbage year for new books."

If it weren't for old books I'd having nothing to read.


message 16: by Cybil, Goodreads employee (new)

Cybil Amanda wrote: "I could be wrong, but it says “reader” favorites so I assumed that meant based on ratings that readers have given or how many readers report reading them. Not that Goodreads picked the list...?"

Hello! You are correct. This is based on overall reader data, not editors' picks!


message 17: by Kealy (last edited Jun 15, 2020 08:44AM) (new)

Kealy I see a lot of people asking why so many are published in the US yet I don't see any suggestions for books published elsewhere that you think should have taken the place of one of these. It's so in genuine and feels motivated. What's your point using statistics to show some kind of ill intent? And what ill intent exactly? Why do you need the list to include books published in various places and how many various places would be acceptable? 4? Which 4? It's never ending. This is a book sharing community not a statistical battleground.


message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim Surprised, honestly, that I haven't read any and none are on my shelves to be read either. Huh.


message 19: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Robinson Great... More books I won't read!


message 20: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ I have either read or owned 10 of these books so far. But if this pandemic doesn’t finally end, I won’t have any money left.


message 21: by Jodi (new)

Jodi This list's Description says exactly what this is: "...Goodreads editorial team burrows deep into our data to see which books published in the U.S. during the first six months of the year have been most popular, highly anticipated, and highly rated among our collective 105 million members."

I agree, there are loads of fabulous books published in Canada, U.K., Australia, etc. but ...


message 22: by Elena (new)

Elena May Brina wrote: "Not just US specific, but why only best selling fiction? What about potential award winners from all countries? Nonfiction that isn’t fluff? Sports books? Oh wait, those books aren’t big sellers. I..."

Unfortunately, that's a general limitation of the Goodreads official lists. They are based on books' "popularity", estimated by the number of people who added, rated, and/or reviewed them, and not on what people wrote in their reviews, how likely they are to recommend them, etc. Thus, we end up getting the same books in the same genres, from the same big publishers over and over again (and explicitly filtering for "published in the US" obviously doesn't help). It makes it pretty much impossible to see books that are small-press, or non-US, or in a niche genre, or don't have a mainstream appeal or didn't get a marketing push for whatever reason.

If you're looking for more diverse recommendations, one option is to check user-generated lists (go to Browse->Lists). Then you can search by genre, culture, region, historical period, themes, tropes, or anything else you're looking for :)


message 23: by Marta (new)

Marta Holly wrote: "Robin wrote: "This list verified my feelings that 2020 has been a garbage year for new books."

If it weren't for old books I'd having nothing to read."


Lol. 2020 was certainly not great so far in any respect.

One good one that I was very excited to read (and many Goodreads friends, too) is Network Effect. Not sure why it isn't there. No sci-fi? Or just too new to be on the most read list?


message 24: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle I’m excited about Don’t Overthink It, My Fathers War, The Kennedy’s, Valleywood Road, and Hill Women!


message 25: by Jane (new)

Jane Robin wrote: "This list verified my feelings that 2020 has been a garbage year for new books."

Yes! Was just discussing this yesterday with my reading buddies.


message 26: by Brianna (new)

Brianna This list is very not diverse in terms of authors. A shame given the momentum we’ve seen building around BIPOC authors and the NYT bestsellers list the last few weeks.


message 27: by Inken (new)

Inken Any title that lands on one of these lists I stay clear of. In my experience thus far, these are the titles that will disappoint me the most.


message 28: by Jayne (new)

Jayne Wow. The arrogance in this thread is mind-numbing. To say you aren't going to read any of these books is ridiculous. How can you dislike books you HAVEN'T read?

Go away to all the Karens.


message 29: by ClaraBelle (new)

ClaraBelle Jayne wrote: "Wow. The arrogance in this thread is mind-numbing. To say you aren't going to read any of these books is ridiculous. How can you dislike books you HAVEN'T read?

Go away to all the Karens."


Well you can tell a book by its cover...


message 30: by Whitney (new)

Whitney Of the top 5 Fiction books, I only read and liked ONE of them. 2 I won’t read for personal reasons, 1 I DNF’d and 1 I read and didn’t like. So I agree. 2020 is a pretty garbage year for hyped books.


message 31: by Vincent Collins (new)

Vincent Collins Last year I wanted to read 35 books but I only read 0 and this year my goal is to read 1. P.S. I haven't read any!


message 32: by Brina (new)

Brina Elena wrote: "Brina wrote: "Not just US specific, but why only best selling fiction? What about potential award winners from all countries? Nonfiction that isn’t fluff? Sports books? Oh wait, those books aren’t ..."

Thank you, Elena. I rarely read new books anyway unless it’s a new book by one of my favorite authors. My point is that goodreads should post a variety of recommendations because not everyone reads mainstream publications.


message 33: by Lenny (new)

Lenny Herman Adriananas wrote: "I know Goodreads' audience is mostly female, but weird to see almost all authors here are female ( 2/20 in the Fiction list are men, 6/20 in Non Fiction )

Also, it's easy for me to find the most ..."


I agree 100%


message 34: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 15, 2020 05:26PM) (new)

Jayne wrote: "Wow. The arrogance in this thread is mind-numbing. To say you aren't going to read any of these books is ridiculous. How can you dislike books you HAVEN'T read?

Actually there are many possible. reasons you may dislike a book you haven't read. Here's a few that I can think of right now - Maybe you have read another book that you didn't like by this author or the synopsis tells you it's not the type of story you normally read or the author has moved the the story setting to some location which is a setting where you just don't like to read stories or the publisher has just set the price a way too high for the book (like I saw one that was an eBook short story of less than 90 pages with the ridiculous price set at over $25.00!) I can't see how any of this makes anybody arrogant but everybody's entitled to their own opinion and I fully endorse their right to state it and I also expect them to endorse my right to state my opinion.



message 35: by Katje Lehrman (new)

Katje Lehrman Carissa wrote: "Great... More books I won't read!"

Overdrive! Your public library has so many e-books available for you. I don't know about your area, but a lot of libraries are making it very easy to get cards right now.
(btw: when I did try reading an actual book, I tried to swipe the page instead of turning it... DOH!)


message 36: by Dan (new)

Dan Oh modern books what a sorry sight to see. While there are some good stories most are intersectional trite


message 37: by Shirley (new)

Shirley McAllister I have read 75 books so far this year. I have read none of these and none are on my TBR list.


message 38: by Kristina (new)

Kristina Want to read one (before viewing)
Added one to my to read list

Not promising...


message 39: by Chaitali (new)

Chaitali Khandekar Fadi wrote: "I am reading The Guest List by Lucy Foley
I have The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel on my TBR"


SAME!


message 40: by Smallrain (new)

Smallrain Thea wrote: "Elena wrote: "Thea wrote: "I'm interested why only books published in the US made it to the list, that will rule o..."

Right. I have the same problem with all lists on the Goodreads blog, this rea..."


Me too. I am Canadian and read a lot of UK, NZ and Australian books.


message 41: by Christine (new)

Christine Parker Elena wrote: "Thea wrote: "I'm interested why only books published in the US made it to the list, that will rule o..."

Right. I have the same problem with all lists on the Goodreads blog, this really limits the..."


Me too I’m in the uk


message 42: by Christine (new)

Christine Parker Holly wrote: "Robin wrote: "This list verified my feelings that 2020 has been a garbage year for new books."

If it weren't for old books I'd having nothing to read."


I’d also like to see a lot more retro reads reviewed


message 43: by B.A. (new)

B.A. Bellec I keep seeing these lists and they are biased to best selling US authors. Give a Canadian indie some love: https://www.amazon.ca/Someones-Story-...


message 44: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Hayes Read 2 (American Dirt and Crescent City) and want to read 2 more eventually

I would prefer the list was Global too great authors everywhere
Even if I need a translation:)


message 45: by Celia (new)

Celia Kim Thea wrote: "Only one of these is on my TBR list - The Sun Down Motel and none of these on my Read list.

I'm interested why only books published in the US made it to the list, that will rule o..."


Damn, I never thought about this. I wonder how many amazing books I've missed out on because of things like this.


message 46: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Elena wrote: "Thea wrote: "True, but we do have a UK specific Amazon in the UK for example...."

The way region-specific Amazon versions work also bother me, to be honest. Especially when products with digital d..."


The availability across regions has more to do with copyrights than with Amazon. I definetly agree about the US centric list. Missing a lot of great reads.


message 47: by Paola (new)

Paola Ortiz I agree with everyone. It would be wonderful to read books form everywhere!! The literature world is so vast, it would be a shame not to add it to this collection


message 48: by Blu (last edited Jun 16, 2020 05:44AM) (new)

Blu ThunderButt I agree with everyone too - the lack of foreign published books or books about significant social issues outside of US diminishes everyone. I just read an account of human trafficking by Tupa Tjipombo called I Am Not Your Slave and realized how little I knew about the topic outside of the US (and no I'm not the author - just my most recent read and thought it kind of hit on the topic that everyone is talking about here).


message 49: by Shareen (new)

Shareen Ghabrial Michelle wrote: "Amazon owns Goodreads...#facts"
OMG!! Can I not get away from them?!


message 50: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I guess I'm one of the readers leading to these as top. I've read 2, own 1 that I haven't read yet, and have 10 others on my reading list.

Popular lists do tend toward being more "commercial" fiction, and I read commercial and genre fiction, so it makes sense


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