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My Year in Books: 2020

We’re so close to kissing 2020 goodbye, friends! AHHH! What a year it’s been. And really what a year to chip away at my to-read list.

Each year like clockwork I set a reading goal on Goodreads knowing full well I’m not going to hit it. I like to think I’ll try harder each year, but ultimately my long commute to work would stand in the way and I’d get little to no reading done.

The pandemic has made this year chaotic in so many ways but working from home has afforded me a lot more time to do things I enjoy – like reading. Having an extra three hours of my life back each night has made a world of difference and I’m incredibly grateful.

In the beginning of the year I planned to read 12 books. I figured one each month should be doable, maybe? Instead I read 34 books this year! WHAT?!

So many of the books I read were written by women, which is something I didn’t set out to do intentionally but really glad it happened that way. I discovered a few new authors that I want to keep reading in the future, too!

January:

  • The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
  • This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

My favorite from January has to be Busy Philipps’s memoir. It’s so raw and honest. Definitely enjoyed it.

February:

  • Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilagraff and Georgia Hardstark
  • Big Dreams, Daily Joys by Elisa Cripe Blaha
  • The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes by Justina Blakeney

I feel like I got SO much out of The New Bohemians and it really gave me some direction on how to get started with decorating our home.

March:

  • The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Cron Morgan
  • Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon

The Road Back to You was a great enneagram crash course. I learned that I’m an enneagram six!

April:

  • The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships by Suzanne Stabile
  • Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer
  • Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong

April was full of good reads for me. A deeper dive into the enneagram, a nice cozy mystery set in Egypt, and a hilarious memoir by one of my favorite comedians.

May:

  • Lovable, Livable Home: How to Add Beauty, Get Organized and Make Your House Work for You by Sherry and John Petersik
  • From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty
  • These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card

I was searching for a book to help me face my fear of death, and while From Here to Eternity didn’t exactly erase that fear, it helped me think about it in a different way. I feel like I tell anyone who will listen about how great this book is. Doughty is a mortician who goes on a global journey to write about funeral rituals in different countries. It was so enlightening!

June:

  • Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones
  • Stonewall: Breaking Out the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum
  • Obviously: Stories from My Timeline by Akilah Hughes
  • The Last Book on the Left: Stories of Murder and Mayhem from Histories Most Notorious Serial Killers by Marcus Parks, Henry Zebrowski and Ben Kissel

So many good ones in June. I learned so much from Stonewall, admittedly I didn’t know the entire story of the Stonewall uprising. I also really enjoyed Prelude to Bruise, which was a beautiful collection of poetry.

July

  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  • The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai
  • #VeryFat #VeryBrave: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Being #Brave by Nicole Byer
  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Fiebre Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopera

Every book I read in July was f i r e. Fiebre Tropical was a refreshing coming of age story surrounding a teenager immigrating to the U.S. exploring her sexuality — it was a tad bit challenging if you aren’t Spanish speaking, but I often paused reading to translate and it wasn’t disruptive to the story at all.

The Mountains Sing is still on my mind. I took it out of the digital library on a whim and was not prepared for the heart-wrenching story about a Vietnamese family’s struggle during the war in Vietnam.

August

  • Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O’Neill
  • You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance and Living Your Purpose by Chani Nicholas

I use You Were Born for This pretty often even after reading. It definitely gave a good introductory into astrology and I hope to go deeper into it soon.

September:

  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • The Passing Fever: 1918 Influenza Poems by Melanie Faith
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
  • Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon by Michael P. Ghiglieri

The Passing Fever *probably* wasn’t the best book of poems for me to read during a pandemic, but it seemed like the best time to get some insight about the 1918 pandemic. It was a heavy little book of poems, so tread lightly.

Big Summer was a fun cozy mystery with a twist that I was NOT expecting at all. I love when that happens!

My Sister The Serial Killer was such a fresh and dark story, I loved it!

October:

  • Tiny Nightmares: Very Short Stories of Horror by Michel Lincoln

Lots of creepy tales, most not in the way you’d think.

November:

  • Open Book by Jessica Simpson
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie

I read How to Be an Antiracist for an online book club which led to a really interesting conversation about race, sexism, and economic inequality. I highly recommend reading it and chatting with some friends about it.

December

  • Sister Nations: Native American Women Writers on Community edited by Heid E. Edrich and Laura Tohe

This collection of poetry and prose from Indigenous women from different tribes in the U.S. was absolutely beautiful. This anthology is a wealth of diverse voices and I can’t recommend it enough! By far, my favorite collection I’ve read all year.

What a year! I can’t wait to dive into my 2021 reading goal. Feel free to follow along on Goodreads!

Happy New Year and happy reading!

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