The books that got us through 2020: USA TODAY entertainment experts share their favorite reads for 0

Goodbye, 2020 – you won’t be missed. We gave you a hero’s welcome, rolling out the red carpet with champagne, fireworks, resolutions and hope, and you repaid us with a global pandemic, raging wildfires and deepening political rancor. And on top of all that, Chadwick Boseman died? Just a trash year, top to bottom. But if you squint really hard at this terrible, no-good, very bad year, it is possible to make out some thin silver linings. One positive byproduct of spending so much time socially isolating in our homes is that many of us found ourselves with more time to read and fewer excuses not to.We’re big readers at USA TODAY, and this year we turned to books for comfort, wisdom and good ol’ escapism. Here are the titles, old and new, that helped us survive 2020. Jimmy Fallon talks holiday ‘excitement,’ latest kids’ book, creating ‘new traditions’ amid pandemic’Red, White & Royal Blue,’ by Casey McQuistonA queer love story between the (fictional) president’s son and (fictional) prince of England?! Unheard of. Blasphemous to some, even. But to me? Absolutely perfect. Breathtakingly beautiful, ridiculously romantic and surprisingly steamy. It will make you forget – albeit briefly – there’s a global pandemic where even going on a simple first date comes with risks. As cheesy as it sounds, it gave me hope that romance and erstwhile maskless freedom await this hellscape. And if you’re reading this and are like ‘Wow, what a charming guy,’ that’s very sweet, and you can DM me on Twitter.– David Oliver, reporter’Becoming,’ by Michelle ObamaIn a stressful year with kids at home and balance elusive, it was utterly relatable to read of Obama’s struggles to maintain her sense of self, to be the parent she wanted to be and to keep all the plates spinning as her husband immersed himself in politics and eventually won the presidency. It was inspiring, too, to read of her own drive to make a difference in the world and for her family, and the book provided an important reminder to think about the world outside ourselves.– Julia Thompson, travel and entertainment editor’My Year of Rest and Relaxation,’ by Ottessa MoshfeghLook, my brain’s a bit broken, as my antidepressant prescriptions will attest. So in the midst of a global pandemic that saw us all shuttered in our homes going slowly mad with boredom, did I, an already clinically depressed person, reach for romance? Escapist fantasy? Motivational self-help? No, I leaned into the horror with Moshfegh’s breathtakingly dark novel about a young woman determined to drug herself into non-consciousness for a year alone in her apartment in an effort to feel, think and be as little as possible without dying. Reading it during a socially isolating pandemic was the literary equivalent of tonguing an aching tooth, and I loved every second of it. – Barbara VanDenburgh, entertainment editor’American Royals’ and ‘Majesty,’ by Katharine McGeeThis juicy series imagines what would have happened if the USA had a royal family for