Amazon released its list of the 100 best books of the year, with the top spot going to Brittany K. Barnett’s A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom.
Barnett’s book, about her career as a lawyer crusading on behalf of drug offenders who were sentenced to long prison terms, was praised by critics, including a reviewer for Kirkus, who wrote, “a welcome new addition to the groaning shelves of books about the critically flawed U.S. legal system.”
“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,” Sarah Gelman, the editorial director of Amazon Books, said in a news release. “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.”
Also making the top five were Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations, S.A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland, Christie Tate’s Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life, and Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half.
Rounding out the top 10 were Asha Lemmie’s Fifty Words for Rain, Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Abi Daré’s The Girl With the Louding Voice, Bryan Washington’s Memorial, and Robert Kolker’s Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.