The 10 most-read book reviews of 2020

  • "Mr. Nobody," "Open Book," "Make Russia Great Again"

    "Mr. Nobody," "Open Book," "Make Russia Great Again"

Updated 1/1/2021 9:27 AM

We have our own opinions about the books worth picking up this year. But if the most popular reviews of 2020 are any indication, our readers have different thoughts on the matter. What exactly captured your attention? Controversy, celebrity gossip and book club endorsements, among other selling points.

• "Mr. Nobody," by Catherine Steadman


Were readers interested in learning more about this "highly imaginative tale tinged with Hitchcockian tension and kinetic pacing"? Or were they simply drawn in by the fact that Steadman, also an actress, once had a bit part on "Downton Abbey"? It's a mystery.

• "Troubled Blood," by Robert Galbraith

Nothing brings readers in like a brouhaha: The latest from Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling, was released in the midst of a firestorm over comments she made about transgender women.

• "A Burning," by Megha Majumdar

This debut, which interweaves the stories of three ordinary people in India, immediately shot up the best-seller list, thanks to its compelling narrative and its selection as a "Today Show" book club pick.

• "Make Russia Great Again," by Chris Buckley

Many writers have tried to satirize the Trump administration and failed miserably. Buckley is in the minority, delighting readers with the faux-memoir of Herb Nutterman, a onetime hospitality manager who becomes the president's ill-fated chief of staff.

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• "Is There Still Sex in the City?" by Candace Bushnell

One of our most-read reviews in 2020 was in fact published in 2019, when the book -- Bushnell's follow-up to her zeitgeist-altering 1996 essay collection "Sex and the City" -- came out. The review's popularity may have had something to do with a planned television adaptation.

• "Open Book," by Jessica Simpson

Simpson's prolific media tour for her memoir launched countless headlines -- involving John Mayer, Johnny Knoxville and Justin Timberlake, among others -- no doubt leading readers to our review in search of more gossip.

• "Get Out of Your Own Way," by Dave Hollis

Perhaps it was the platform of his wife, self-help guru Rachel Hollis, that inspired this review's popularity. (The couple has since announced their separation.)

-- "Weird Al: Seriously," by Lily E. Hirsch

Our reviewer for this biography quotes Homer Simpson, who once declared, "He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life." By that measure, our readers are brimming with vitality.


• "Moonflower Murders," by Anthony Horowitz

Here's a review that soared on the basis of the book's best-selling author and an ingeniously constructed plot -- a mystery whose clues are contained in the pages of another novel that appears, like a nesting doll, within the book.

• "The Giver of Stars," by Jojo Moyes

Yet another 2019 book that grabbed your attention was this novel, selected for Reese Witherspoon's book club, about a group of tireless women in Depression-era Kentucky who deliver library books on horseback.

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