Top 10 DPL Books of 2020

Have you read the most-borrowed Denver Public Library books of 2020? One major change to this year’s list is the impact of downloadable ebooks—all but one of the books below were also our top downloads. You’ll recognize this summer’s popular reads about race in America, which the library made always available in mid-June. Want to read the same topics as your fellow Denverites? Place a hold today!

  • White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
    • This book clocked in at more than 7,000 digital loans this year. DiAngelo, who coined the term “white fragility” in 2011, recommends against viewing racism as committed intentionally by “bad people.” The book’s thesis is that white people perpetuate racism, often unconsciously, by having counterproductive defensive reactions when their assumptions about race are challenged.
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
    • Close behind is this essential part-memoir, part-essay on how to dismantle racism in our systems and ourselves. Kendi’s idea for a just and equitable world is one of many reasons this book was named one of the best books of the year by Time, NPR and Publishers Weekly.
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad 
    • The third book from DPL’s race in America list, this one focuses on action. Originally started as a 28-day Instagram challenge in 2018 for people to own up to and share their racist behaviors, this book is recommended by the author of White Fragility, who says “we won’t end white supremacy through an intellectual understanding alone; we must put that understanding into action.”
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
    • While Ann Patchett is well known, this book reached new borrowing heights when it was named as a Pulitzer Prize finalist in May. Family is once again at the center of Patchett’s dark tale, this time about two siblings and the destructive force of social ambition.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
    • For the second year in a row, this novel makes DPL’s list of most-borrowed books, slipping slightly from its position at #3 last year. The Marsh Girl of North Carolina, abandoned by her family and shunned by her fellow townspeople, is the prime suspect in a murder.
  • Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
    • What endurance! This book topped last year’s list and continues to captivate audiences with its author’s memories of entering a classroom for the first time at age 17.
  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
    • The author of Eat Pray Love had another bestseller on her hands with this novel about a young woman in the 1940s discovering that you don’t have to be a good girl to be a good person while surrounded by glamour, sex and adventure in New York’s theater scene.
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
    • Not only a Denver favorite but one nationwide, this debut was also named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The Washington Post and more. Social commentary, racial tension and the pressures of modern parenting combine for a page-turning story when a store security guard accuses a babysitter of kidnapping because of her race.
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
    • Another from last year’s list, newcomers may have enjoyed contrasting the Emmy-nominated Hulu series with the book, both about secrets, race and motherhood.
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
    • This edgy thriller follows a psychotherapist trying to help a famous painter who never spoke another word after shooting her husband five times in the face. It will keep you guessing until the very end.

We're curious. Have you read any of DPL's top 10? What would you add to the list of 1000 Books to Read Before You Die? Don't forget the reading challenge, Winter of Reading (1/2-2/28/21), for adults is coming soon! You read and complete library-related activities, fill in those items in your brochure or online, and then claim your prize. Simple yet sweet. 

Written by sgrijalva on December 28, 2020


Jennie Blackmore on January 9, 2021


I read Educated and Little Fires Everywhere.

But better than both of these is one you missed that I have read; American Dirt. Really owned my mind as was the of people are coming up from our Southern border.

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