Amazon Announces 2020’s Best Books of the Year

Brittany K. Barnett’s “A Knock at Midnight” named the best book of 2020 by Amazon’s Books Editors. The diverse, hand-curated list features top picks across genres, interests, and reading levels to help make holiday gift shopping easier

On Nov. 19, 2020, Amazon announced the Best Books of the Year for 2020, selecting the Brittany K. Barnett's "A Knock at Midnight." as the top pick. The inspiring true story is a brilliant memoir of Barnett’s own journey navigating the criminal justice system, which also chronicles the stories of three of her clients. Their lives—including their crimes, their families, and their jail time—are rendered with such care and compassion that the Amazon Books Editors found it impossible to put down.

As the Amazon Books Editors begin debating the list for January's Best Books of the Month, the process of choosing the Best Books of the Year starts the year before. In order to create an editorially curated list and reviews each month, the editors collectively read thousands of books each year. These monthly lists culminate in the Best Books of the Year which includes an overall Top 100 for 2020 as well as top lists for individual genres such as literature & fiction, mystery and thriller, children's books, cookbooks, food & wine, and young adults, all to help clients find their next favourite book or careful selection of holiday gifts.

“It’s been a year, and the editorial team set out to create a list that reflected what we’ve collectively been experiencing, hearing and seeing in 2020, and also the books that gave us a welcome respite from the anxieties of the world,” said Sarah Gelman, Editorial Director, Amazon Books. “Our number one book practically chose itself. Brittany K. Barnett’s empathetic and genre-bending ‘A Knock at Midnight’ provides a glimpse into the criminal justice system and the seemingly impossible path to freedom. This book is timely and powerful.”

Brittany K. Barnett adds, “I am deeply grateful and honored that ‘A Knock at Midnight’ was chosen Best of the Year. This life has taken me on a remarkable journey – one that continues to transform my understanding of justice and the very definition of freedom itself. There are hundreds of thousands of Americans buried alive under unjust laws, and I hope this book draws attention to their plight and inspires people to take action to push for impactful change.”

For Kindle readers, the most highlighted passage echoed Brittany’s sentiment on how race and class impact our societal norms: “On the very first day of class, this dynamic, poised Black professor – my very first – laid out in the first moments as an inarguable premise something that by now I knew in my very bones: that race shaped all of our lives, brown, white, or Black, in both visible and invisible ways, and that our legal systems were inseparable from our sordid racial past.”