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Books Are Magic's Favorites of 2020

Books Are Magic's Favorites of 2020

These are the books that Emma Straub of Books Are Magic loved this year -- some are old, some are new, and some are forthcoming. We've included her own excellent novel, too!

Playlist Tags: topic: best of 2020 topic: best of

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The Last Kids on Earth

The Last Kids on Earth: Book #1

By Max Brallier
Narrated by: Robbie Daymond
Length: 2 hours 52 minutes

A Netflix Original series!

The first book in the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling series, with over 7 million copies in print!

"Terrifyingly fun! Delivers big thrills and even bigger laughs."--Jeff Kinney, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Diary of a Wimpy Kid


Ever since the monster apocalypse hit town,... Read more »

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Mac Undercover

Mac B., Kid Spy: Book #1

By Mac Barnett
Narrated by: Mac Barnett
Length: 1 hours 19 minutes

The precious Crown Jewels have been stolen, and there's only one person who can help the Queen: her newest secret agent, Mac B. To help her, he must travel around the globe in search of the stolen treasure...but will he find it in time?From secret identities to Karate hijinks, this fast-paced, witty, and historically inspired chapter book will... Read more »

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Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea

By Meena Harris
Narrated by: Meena Harris
Length: 8 minutes

INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY FROM THE CHILDHOOD OF VICE PRESIDENT–ELECT KAMALA HARRIS!

A beautiful, empowering book about two sisters who work with their community to effect change, inspired by a true story from the childhood of the author’s aunt, Kamala Harris, and mother, lawyer and policy expert Maya Harris.

Don't miss this audiobook edition, read...

Read more »

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Librofm App

Special offer

Free audiobook with membership

For a limited time, when you sign up for a new monthly membership with code CHOOSEINDIE, we’ll give you a bonus audiobook! That means you’ll have 2 audiobook credits to redeem from the start.

Claim special offer

Gustavo, The Shy Ghost

By Flavia Z. Drago
Narrated by: Marisa Blake
Length: 7 minutes

Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through walls, making objects fly, and glowing in the dark. And he loves almost nothing more than playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo is shy, and some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye scream or making friends with other monsters.... Read more »

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The Ugly Cry

A Memoir

By Danielle Henderson
Narrated by: Danielle Henderson
Length: 7 hours 33 minutes

“They say comedy equals tragedy plus time: This very funny account of an often miserable childhood is proof.” --People

“What a strong, funny, heartbreaking memoir, with a voice that is completely its own (written by a woman who very much seems to be completely her own, as well.) I loved it.”--Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of...
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Wow, No Thank You.

Essays

By Samantha Irby
Narrated by: Samantha Irby
Length: 10 hours 3 minutes

A new rip-roaring essay collection from the smart, edgy, hilarious, unabashedly raunchy, and bestselling Samantha Irby.

Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and... Read more »

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Good Talk

A Memoir in Conversations

By Mira Jacob
Narrated by: Mira Jacob, Kivlighan de Montebello & Full Cast
Length: 2 hours 46 minutes

A bold, wry, and intimate graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us, from the acclaimed author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing.

“By turns hilarious and heart-rending, it’s exactly the book America needs at this moment.”—Celeste Ng

How brown is too brown?

Can Indians be racist?
What does... Read more »

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In the Dream House

A Memoir

By Carmen Maria Machado
Narrated by: Carmen Maria Machado
Length: 5 hours 28 minutes

In the Dream House

“A masterful look at the complexity of the queer experience. Machado employs a kaleidoscope approach to examine her relationship with an old partner, a woman who verbally, physically and emotionally assaulted her, her own personal experiences that led her to stay “in the dream house” of abuse, and society’s role in the oppression and devaluation of women, especially queer women and women of color. Through a mix of long and super short chapters, examples of old folk tales and pop culture, and more realistic narrative, Machado digs deep into the confusing, distorted and contradictory aspects of a toxic relationship, in which the victim begins to doubt her own reactions and motives. It’s a #fivestarreview for us, and #requiredreading! And the @librofm #audiobook features Machado reading! Amazing amazing amazing. ”

Bel Canto Books image Jhoanna, Bel Canto Books
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So You Want to Talk about Race

By Ijeoma Oluo
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 7 hours 41 minutes

A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide

In So You Want to Talk about Race, editor-at-large of the Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in...

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White Feminism

From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind

By Koa Beck
Narrated by: Koa Beck
Length: 11 hours 44 minutes

Written “with passion and insight about the knotted history of racism within women’s movements and feminist culture” (Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author), this whip-smart, timely, and impassioned call for change is perfect for fans of Good and Mad and Hood Feminism.

Addressing today’s conversation about race, empowerment, and... Read more »

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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning

By Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi
Narrated by: Jason Reynolds
Length: 4 hours 11 minutes

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

“I was blown away by this book. I listened to the audio and Jason Reynold's narration is engaging, funny, and moving all rolled into one. I found myself interested in history in ways I have not been in the past. As white women I found myself grieving for the crimes my race has committed. For hatred that continued to take root and spread. Yet I also found hope. This book does a great job of engaging the topic of race, why racism persists and gives hope that things can change. I wish I could make everyone read this book.”

Fables Books image Kristin, Fables Books
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Me and White Supremacy

Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor

By Layla F. Saad
Narrated by: Layla F. Saad
Length: 5 hours 19 minutes

Me and White Supremacy

“Want to learn how to be a good ancestor? Need to address your privilege and feel uncomfortable about talking about racism? You need to read and work through Me and White Supremacy.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel, Avid Bookshop
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A Year Without a Name

A Memoir

By Cyrus Dunham
Narrated by: Cyrus Dunham
Length: 4 hours 38 minutes

A Lambda Literary Award Finalist: from "an extraordinary new voice," a "passionate and clear-eyed and unputdownable" meditation on queerness, family, and desire (Mary Karr).

For as long as they can remember, Cyrus Grace Dunham felt like a visitor in their own body. Their life was a series of imitations—lovable little girl, daughter, sister, young... Read more »

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The Fixed Stars

By Molly Wizenberg
Narrated by: Erin Mallon
Length: 6 hours 21 minutes

The Fixed Stars

“I have enjoyed Molly Wizenberg’s writing for years, and this book was no exception. I loved the mix of science and research with confessional truth-telling about longing and identity. As a mother of two small children, I clung to this story of discovery. And as a human, I cherished Wizenberg’s exploration of the realization that our stories are never done being written. This book was a balm for my soul.”

Downbound Books image Sarah Fischer, Downbound Books
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Intimations

Six Essays

By Zadie Smith
Narrated by: Zadie Smith
Length: 1 hours 50 minutes

Intimations

“Zadie Smith’s slim but concentrated Intimations is just what I needed during a pandemic. Our current collective American reality is validated in her intelligent voice, and it’s comforting. She talks about the power writers have to create their own worlds. She talks about suffering—how it defies class and privilege—and how she experiences her own privilege. She talks about “the virus,” and about the virus of racism—how we’re willing to make societal changes to mitigate the spread of one, but not the other. And at the end, a love letter/gratitude list. Listen to the audiobook if you want to hear Zadie Smith sing (literally!).”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
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Leave the World Behind

A Novel

By Rumaan Alam
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Length: 7 hours 26 minutes

Leave the World Behind

“Eerie and timely, Leave the World Behind will be the next book to talk about. Rumaan Alam is now solidified as a must-read author for me. He lures the reader in with excellent character development as well as family drama when the book takes a sudden turn. Slowly and masterfully, he starts building tension and suspense while teasing the reader with ominous threats in the background. Before you know it, you’ve stayed up half the night racing to the end of the book. It’s a fast read but a powerful book asking important questions.”

BookShop West Portal image Katerina, BookShop West Portal
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The Vanishing Half

A Novel

By Brit Bennett
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 11 hours 33 minutes

The Vanishing Half

“Bennett, by far, exceeded by expectations with her second book. It was completely engrossing with intricately woven prose and compelling characterization. One of the best books I read during lockdown.”

A Great Good Place for Books image Zinna, A Great Good Place for Books
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One Last Stop

By Casey McQuiston
Narrated by: Natalie Naudus
Length: 12 hours 10 minutes

One Last Stop

Red, White, and Royal Blue fans rejoice: Casey McQuiston is back and better than ever! This book has everything I wanted and more. We've got time warps, we've got a found family dynamic, we've got a diner to save, and, of course, we've got Casey's delightfully funny writing style. What more is there to ask for? If you're looking for a fun sapphic rom-com with a bit of a sci-fi twist, this book is a fantastic way to kick off your summer.”

Brilliant Books Audio image Kendall, Brilliant Books Audio
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Yolk

By Mary H. K. Choi
Narrated by: Joy Osmanski
Length: 13 hours 5 minutes

“Sneaks up on you with its insight and poignancy.” —Entertainment Weekly

From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters and how far they’ll go to save one of their lives—even if it means swapping identities.

Jayne and June Baek are nothing alike. June’s three years older, a... Read more »

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Every Body Looking

By Candice Iloh
Narrated by: Candice Iloh
Length: 2 hours 53 minutes

A Finalist for the National Book Award

When Ada leaves home for her freshman year at a Historically Black College, it’s the first time she’s ever been so far from her family—and the first time that she’s been able to make her own choices and to seek her place in this new world. As she stumbles deeper into the world of dance and explores her... Read more »

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