No need to stress about what Books To Read In 2020, I have you covered!
As an avid reader, I love tracking what books I read and reading other peoples’ recommendations for favorite books, best beach reads, favorite thrillers of all time, etc.
I thought it would be nice to create one place to see all the books that I’ve read in 2020. So, I’ll update this list as the year progresses. Plus, at the bottom of this post are books that I loved and would recommend from last year. They would be great additions to your books to read in 2020 as well!
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Books to Read in 2020
August’s Book List
- The German Heiress by Anika Scott (3.5 Stars): I was completely wrapped up in this post WWll book but the end killed it for me.
- No Regrets Parenting by Harley A. Rotbart (3 Stars): I first read this five years ago and bookmarked it to come back to and reread. I didn’t find much about it that I loved this time around but I hope that’s just because the advice on connecting with your kids has sunk in. I guess, I feel like I’ve just found my rhythm in that real connection and now, reading this it just feels a bit like a guidebook that I’ve outgrown.
- Little Bee by Chris Cleave (3 Stars): I loved Little Bee’s perspective on London and especially how she explained what she was witnessing to her friends back home.
- Keep What You Love by Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst (2 Stars): The illustrations were adorable but the “flow” of the items to declutter just didn’t make sense to me. Also, I didn’t realize that this is a pocket-sized book. It felt more like something you’d receive as a hostess book instead of something that had a lot of meaning in it. All of that being said, I did think through each of the items they put in the book and got rid of three things so… in that sense, I’m glad I read it.
- More Myself by Alicia Keys (4 Stars): I didn’t expect to love this but I did. Alicia is pretty fascinating.
- The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur (4 Stars): I wasn’t a fan of Milk and Honey because of the relatability (for me) of the poetry. This one though, I could relate to much more. I’m not sure I think this is earth-shattering poetry but I did enjoy it.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (5 Stars)
- 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love by Daphne Merkin (2 Stars): I absolutely hated the “digression” chapters where the author went on tangents and changed the point of view in the story. They were boring and just annoying. I thought the main character, Judith, was interesting though. What makes someone want obsessive love? What makes you crave that and not want the romance of that love? I was interested in that storyline throughout to see if she answered those questions for me. Ultimately though, this book could have been much better.
- So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (5 Stars): I found this to be very eye opening and a good intro into some of the problems in our society.
- Love Poems For People with Children by John Kenney (4 Stars): This is the second poem book I’ve read by him and it was good. He’s sarcastic and very witty and I just really enjoyed it.
- The Prisoner’s Wife by Maggie Brookes (5 Stars): I’ve read a lot of WWII inspired books but this one is one of the best that I’ve read. I loved the supporting cast of characters and the determination and drive of Izzy.
- Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living by Kris Bordessa (2 Stars): This is more of a well-compiled tutorial list of sustainable living ideas than a good read of how to make choices that are better for your health, environment, etc. Honestly, I’d rather read about projects like these on a blog that goes deep into the how, why and with steps instead of a two page book article.
- Relaxed Rustic: Bring Scandinavian tranquility and nature into your home by Niki Brantmark (3.5 Stars): This was a beautiful book. I just didn’t connect to very many of the homes that were pictured within it.
July’s Book List
- The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (2 Stars): This book felt so random. It’s labeled as a dystopian fiction. I’ve liked a few of those in the past, but this one just didn’t draw me in.
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (5 Stars): The ending!! I was caught up in it about 40 pages in but am still completely surprised by how it ended.
- How to Be a Conscious Eater by Sophie Egan (5 Stars): This was easy to read and had some good takeaways (actionable items to implement). If you are new to thinking about food in relation to how it affects the environment… I’d recommend this.
- Change We Can Believe In by Barack Obama (3 Stars): This was a pretty dry book to read, but informative. I think most conservatives would be surprised by some of Obama’s moderate takes. Also, I think it’s great that his stances were all compiled together so that someone who isn’t entrenched in politics could read/understand.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (3 Stars): Honestly, some parts of this book were just hard to follow and others were so poignantly written. I really connected with the second half of the book.
- Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi (3 Stars): This is a young adult historical fiction. My rating probably has more to do with the book not being in-depth enough which is probably perfect for the younger generation.
- Love Poems (for Anxious People) by John Kenney (5 Stars): I loved this! John made me literally laugh a few times. Super relatable and humorous.
- This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell (4 Stars): I was hoping this would be good for my 10 year old but feel like it’s geared for early H.S. As an adult, I found it to be a good jumpstart to being anti-racist.
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (5 Stars): I’m not a huge Jodi Picoult fan but but this book was great. Majorly different perspectives.
- Daughter of the Reich by Louise Fein (5 Stars): This historical fiction is written from the perspective of a daughter whose father is a Nazi. She falls in love with a Jew. As you can imagine, the story is heartbreaking but from a perspective that really makes you think about love and loss, sacrifice, etc.
June’s Book List
- Into The Water by Paula Hawkins (4 stars): I thought this was good but there were a lot of characters to follow. I was definitely engaged throughout it and didn’t want to put it down yet I didn’t love it either.
- Secrets of a Charmed Life by Suzan Meissner (5 stars): I LOVED this so much. If you’ve read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and loved it, then definitely pick this one up. : A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe
- The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe (2 Stars): This came highly recommended and I just didn’t love it. In all honesty, I think it’s better suited for someone in their 20s. Maybe someone who is entering the workforce and trying to determine who they are when it comes to style.
- An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay (4 Stars): It was sexually violent (FYI), suspenseful and I was definitely engaged.
- Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier (5 Stars): I read this with my 10-year-old and it was just magical.
- Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (5 Stars): I read this one to my 10-year-old as well and it’s honestly a perfect introduction to black lives matter, police brutality, etc.
May’s Book List
Greyson and I have been working our way through the Harry Potter series so I felt like I didn’t have as much time to read for myself this month. Well, that and Covid… but, I honestly had some good reads this month which was nice.
- We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet (4 Stars): I enjoyed this book overall but think that the historical details could have been stronger.
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (5 Stars): She transported me to Italy in the first 1/3 of the book. I wanted to experience it all how she did. India and Indonesia were about more than traveling… I just loved them all.
- Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey (4 Stars): Enjoyed this one for sure. At first, it definitely comes off as a perfect summer read but there was definitely more layers to it than just that.
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (3 Stars): It’s always hard to review this type of book. Honestly, Lale’s story is so remarkable, BUT the author, I feel like, just didn’t do it justice.
April’s Book List
- Dinner List by Rebecca Serle (4 Stars): When you crawl back into bed in the afternoon to finish a book… you know you liked it. This book reminded me of The Immortalists. It had the same theme of fate/choice and regret/love. It was sad, honest and real. The kind of book that you keep thinking about afterwards.
- The Master of Auschwitz: Memoirs of Rudolf Hoess by Rudolf Hoess (3 Stars): I struggled through the format of this book. It almost read like a text book. Overall, I’m glad I finished it. It was definitely interesting to read Rudolph’s thoughts.
- Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier (5 Stars): I read this with my 10-year-old and, honestly, we both loved it. The main character, Nan, was relatable and heartwarming. We found the golem to be so interesting. Although, we both kinda guessed how the story would end, it was just heartbreaking and beautiful.
- Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (3 Stars): I was half-intrigued by the characters and the mess of the marriage they had and half just annoyed that I was still reading it. The storyline seems very generic but I did feel the male perspective of the book was good.
March’s Book List
I listened to a podcast earlier this month that talked about reading and how sometimes you just need to read for pleasure’s sake. Instead of learning something or trying to better yourself, just get immersed in the book and enjoy it. I honestly try to have a few different types books that rotate in and out and they aren’t all chosen with strictly pleasure reading in mind. I’m not sure I’m changing that right now, but it’s something to keep in mind when you are choosing your next read!
- My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman (2 Stars): I’m surprised this is rated as well as it is. I love the writing style of Fredrick Backman but this book was not well done. The fantasy parts of the book were too drawn out yet, somehow, not detailed enough for me to actually follow. I think the book would have been MUCH stronger written without the fantasy interwoven throughout.
- Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (4 Stars): Would I be brave enough to immigrate by myself? Would I seek out a new culture by myself and fall in love without sharing it? Would I choose the new life over the old one? I keep thinking about these choices and how the book played out.
- Healthy Habits Suck: How to Get Off The Couch and Live a Healthy Life by Dayna Lee-Baggley (3 Stars): I really resonated with the 90% rule and feel like I took 2-3 things out of this book that I’ll carry forward. Honestly though, her constant references to “passengers” drove me bonkers. I already think I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle so maybe this would have been more beneficial if I was just now starting out on this journey.
- The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (4 Stars): There are so many layers of thought that I have… reality and magic, fate and choice, etc. I didn’t relate to all the characters in the book but, overall, I thought the book was well done and intriguing.
- Ransom by Julie Garwood (4 Stars): If you are looking for a good historical romance, this was was good! It was the perfect read to get sucked up in and just enjoy.
- Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (3 Stars): Parts of this book were hilarious and parts were a bit boring. I’d imagine that you either love this book or don’t and it depends on your personality. I’ve heard that this author’s first book was great. I’m undecided whether I’ll pick that one up to try it.
- This is Home: The Art of Simple Living by Natalie Walton (5 Stars): I loved this book so much! Around the three main themes – create, live and nurture – there were actionable tips to develop/find/curate your style. Woven throughout the book, are beautiful home tours.
February’s Book List
- The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard (3.5 Stars): This is a romantic suspense but, to me, wasn’t too suspenseful. If you are looking to get lost in a book for a few hours and enjoy romantic, military storylines, definitely take a look.
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (3 Stars): I tried to read this like I would other books, sitting down for 30-45 minutes and just diving in. I found my thoughts often drifting though and quickly realized that I needed to read a few journal entries at a time instead. This book is a diary with dated journal entries. I’ve read quite a bit on WWII, but had never read this. I’m glad I got to hear her story in her words
- The New York Times Explorer: Beaches, Islands, & Coasts by Barbara Ireland (3 Stars): I expected to love this since I loved the last NY Times travel book. This one is written like individual blog posts and I just didn’t get much out of it.
- Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (5 Stars): I never read the H.P. series growing up so it’s been a real treat to read them aloud to Greyson and experience the magic while he does.
- Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously by Jessica Pan (4 Stars): This was my first audiobook! Honestly, I struggled with hearing the author narrate the book but eventually found the sweet spot. I enjoyed hearing the author’s story and general thoughts/feelings on introverts and extroverts.
I think I’m a very critical book rater because most of these were rated very well (like 4.5 stars) on Amazon. Not that it matters, but I guess I have to absolutely love something for it to be a five.
January’s Book List
- The Lake House by Kate Morton (3 Stars): The last quarter of this book was great, but it took me forever to really get drawn in. If you like historical fiction/mysteries you might check it out.
- Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary (4 Stars): Once I let go of what I was supposed to be learning from this book, I really enjoyed it.
- The Perfect Couple by Elin Hildebrand (4 Stars): In my eyes, it’s a quintessential beach read. Fiction/Mystery.
- Everything is Figureouttable by Marie Forleo (3 Stars): This one was the 4 Reading Women bookclub book and, honestly, I didn’t love it. I think it just hit me at a weird part of my life where I’m not striving for anything more than just being happy where I am. If you are looking for motivation in work/life then this might be a great fit for you! Most of the other gals in the bookclub loved it.
- Transcription by Kate Atkinson (1 Star): I tend to love Historical Fiction but didn’t love this one. It felt disjointed. It followed a MI5 agent throughout 1940. I didn’t feel like I got a chance to really know the characters through the book.
- When Less Becomes More by Emily Ley (3 Stars): If you want a motivational book with journaling with an aim to help you embrace the slow living mentality (with a Christian angle), then you might love this.
- The New York Times. 36 Hours. 125 Weekends in Europe by Barbara Ireland (5 Stars): LOVED This. I’ve been trying to figure out how to decide what European cities should be on our bucket list and how to arrange them for different trips and this was just the book to help with that.
I’m an avid reader, but if you follow me closely then you probably know that. I’ve always loved the magic of getting lost in a new book. There’s just something magical about almost being in the story like one of the characters. Feeling the emotions of the characters and picturing the location of the book (as you see it in your mind not as someone else pictures it).
As life has gotten busier, I’ve just keyed in on what makes me happy and books are one of the things that make me the happiest. There’s nothing better than a slow morning in bed with a good book and a cup of coffee. Anyone else with me on that?
Sometimes, I hear from others that it’s hard to find the time to read and I get that. I prioritize it but it’s easier for me because I’m not huge into TV shows and I don’t like movies. For me, movies just aren’t the same. I get bored and, to be honest, they just don’t evoke the same magical feeling that a book does. So, reading is my favorite pastime at home but it has to be quiet and I have to be in the mood. It works best for me to read before I start my day (5:30am-6:15am) or as a way to unwind in the evening (around 8:30 pm). I also always keep a book in the car. So, if I’m waiting on Greyson at school or swim (which is multiple times a week for both of those), I’m reading.
I know lots of people really love audiobooks because they can listen to them in the car or while they are are doing house chores, etc. I haven’t gotten in to very many (like, I’ve finished 2 total) so I don’t have great experiences to share with those. But, if you struggle with finding the time to read and really want to, you might try an audiobook!
Highly Recommended Books
Before I give you my recommendations, I will say that these 32 books were rounded up based on what I read last year. I read about 70 books last year and these are the ones that I’d truly recommend (what I rated 4 stars and above).
FAVORITE NON-FICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR
- Living with Pattern: Color, Texture and Print at Home: Absolutely LOVED this book. I actually bought it because I found so much to really soak in from it.
- Girl, Wash Your Face: I enjoyed the real life stories that she mixed in throughout the book. I don’t follow Rachel Hollis across her social media platforms but can definitely see how/why she’s motivating.
- Cozy: The Art of Arranging Yourself in the World: I really enjoyed this book once I gave up my expectations for it. I started reading it only in “cozy” settings and through reading it, I started to see my life and all the things around me with a “cozy” lens. Definitely recommend.
- Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life: I LOVED this book. I found so many useful tips.
- Becoming: I loved seeing a peek at the inner workings of the White House. No matter what your political view is, I’d recommend this. This was my favorite book of the year.
- Epic Drives of the World: I borrowed this from the library, but I think I need to add it to my list to own. If you are a travel junkie, then you’ll enjoy this.
- Urban Jungle; Living and Styling with Plants: This book is half inspirational and half about plant care. The plant care tips are for the beginner but, overall, I enjoyed it.
- Educated: This book is really popular and I see why. I couldn’t relate to the way the author was brought up yet it was the most fascinating story still.
- The Plan: Lose Weight Fast and Forever by Eating the Right Foods for Your Body: Had some interesting points.
- The Organized Home: Simple, Stylish Storage Ideas for All Over the House: This book had BEAUTIFUL photos and lots of information of how to buy and source practical storage.
- Surf Shacks: An Eclectic Compilation of Surfers’ Homes from Coast to Coast: I read this on our balcony over two days in Malibu looking at the ocean. Surfing is such a lifestyle for some and I found this book to be really inspiring.
- I Escaped from Auschwitz
- Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating: This might just be my favorite design book that I’ve ever read. I’ve followed Lauren for years online and really enjoyed this book.
- In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs: I read this cover to cover and took it in slowly. Really enjoyed hearing about each artist and their stories about creating their craft.
- Down to Earth: Laid-back Interiors for Modern Living: I didn’t love this one as much as Habitat (both by the same author) but it was still GREAT.
- The Dentist of Auschwitz: A Memoir: I’ve read quite a few autobiographies of people who were part of WWII. This one; wow.
- Merry & Bright : A Keepsake Journal of Family Christmas Memories: I got this for Christmas and absolutely love it! Can’t wait to fill it out for 2019 and then look back every year.
No matter what your political background is, I’d recommend Becoming! It was so good.
FAVORITE FICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR
- The Tuscan Child: A sweet story of a pilot who found refuge in 1944.
- When Life Gives You Lululemons: This was recommended to me by a friend and, to be honest, I don’t typically pick lighthearted, comedy-filled fiction books. I laughed my way through this though. It’s a perfect summer day read.
- The Beloved Scoundrel: I love historical romances by Iris Johansen. She’s one of my favorite authors for this genre and this book didn’t disappoint.
- Cutting For Stone: It took awhile for all the characters to get developed but once they were, wow. I couldn’t have imagined the ending and I’m still not exactly sure how I feel about it.
- All the Missing Girls: I don’t read a lot of psychological suspenses but this one, I definitely enjoyed.
- The Bronze Horseman: This was SO, SO, SO, good. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long for me to come across this. If you love historical fiction, then definitely pick this one up. Plus, it’s part of a series.
- Tatiana and Alexander: This is the second book of The Bronze Horseman series. It continues the story of the two main characters.
- Anatomy of a Scandal: I read this for book club and I found it hard to get in to but the storyline was definitely interesting.
- Promise of the Rose: I love a good historical romance and this one was just that.
- Alias Grace: A friend of mine introduced me to Margaret Atwood a few years ago and, since then, this is my second read by her. She writes a bit dark and twisty yet, somehow, you can never put it down.
- Becoming Mrs. Lewis: For any Narnia fans, this is a great read.
- The Masquerade: Another historical romance that I enjoyed.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: One of my favorite books of the year. There’s a Netflix movie of this now too, but read the book first (it’s way better and, of course, different).
- The Game: Another historical romance further developing the story of a large family in the 1500s.
- Beartown: Ok, apparently I’ve been under a rock because Fredrik Backman (the author) is a big deal! I really enjoyed this book. It was WAY different than my usual style but I think that’s what I enjoyed about it. I definitely plan to read more of his books next year.
I also added these to my Amazon Book List so if you want a one-stop shop, check out the book list.
One of my favorite books of last year!
I loved writing this post and, actually, it’s my second annual book post! I rounded up my 30 best books of 2018, so definitely check that post out if you have a similar reading style to mine. ANNNDDD, something I’m super excited about is that I’ve started an Instagram book club with a few of my friends! We were looking for a way to have fun together on Instagram and as we are all avid readers, we thought a book club would be just the thing to add to the Instagram space. Follow us at @4readingwomen. We have been reading (and having you all read with us) a book each month. At the end of the month, we share our thoughts. It’s been fun! In the bio of the account, you will see the book that is currently being read as well as the book for the following month. Feel free to jump in anytime you’d like.
Ok, what should be on my books to read in 2020 list? Any favorites?