Reading List: 2020’s Most Critically Acclaimed Books

View a more detailed description of the 2020 list.
View a list of all the critically acclaimed titles on our list from 1940 to 2020.


  1. What A Woman’s Gotta Do by Evelyn Coleman
  2. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  3. Deacon King Kong by James McBride
  4. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston
  5. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
  6. It’s Not All Downhill from Here by Terry McMillan
  7. B-More Careful by Shannon Holmes
  8. American Spy: A Novel by Lauren Wilkinson
  9. The Awkward Black Man by Walter Mosley
  10. Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham
  11. Romance in Marseille by Claude McKay
  12. Blacktop Wasteland (autographed) by S. A. Cosby
  13. On the Corner of Hope and Main: A Blessings Novel by Beverly Jenkins
  14. The Stolen Daughter by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
  15. Luster by Raven Leilani
  16. Here and Now by Kimberla Lawson Roby
  17. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré


  1. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  2. The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
  3. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  4. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  5. Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream by Mychal Denzel Smith
  6. My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers
  7. Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
  8. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
  9. Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker by Alice Walker


  1. A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
  2. A Black Woman Did That by Malaika Adero
  3. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  4. African by Peter Tosh
  5. King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender
  6. Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
  7. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  8. Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
  9. Different and the Same by Adijah & Atiya Brabham
  10. I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes


  1. Pale Colors in a Tall Field: Poems by Carl Phillips