I am still going strong with my resolution to read more. And I have to say, I have been absolutely loving it!! I used to go in phases in the past, a month here, two months there, but now I feel like this might be a long-term deal. My goal was to read 40 – 50 books this year; 40 being the actual goal, just being realistic and 50 being that oh-my-gosh-I-crushed-it goal :-D. Now I’m well over halfway through my realistic goal and we’re not even halfway through the year.
Who knows, maybe I can even be a my oh-my-gosh-I-crushed-it goal… I’ll have to come up with a new name for it if I do. Now I do have to give the quarantine a lot of credit because I spent a lot of time reading that I normally would have been running errands or being social, so, I guess there’s that?
I like to have a mix of books, so lately I have been leaning on Reese Witherspoon’s bookclub, the Book Of The Month recommendations, and Amazon’s bestsellers. I’ve read a good mix of novels, self-help, and business to feel like I have a steady flow and I’m not getting too bogged down with one genre.
Here are my reviews on the first 20 books that I read this year, in chronological order!
Still Me by JoJo Moyes
This was the third book of the series starting with Me Before You which many people might remember as the movie with Daenerys Targaryen (well, the actress). The movie was great and had me crying my eyes out, so I decided to read the following books. I liked this book much more than the second one. Definitely a beach read with drama and romance.
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
Godin is an awesome person to follow if you work in or are interested in marketing and this book held up to my expectations. It was honest, open and totally what someone would need if they are having a hard time getting a grasp on marketing these days or if you just need a kick in the butt!
The Power by Naomi Alderman
I was surprised by this book!! It was shockingly hard to put down and I found the metaphor truly eye opening. While it is plays around with science fiction it gives a spin on the gender roles and power as well as cultural gender roles. I enjoyed it but can definitely understand that it would be for a particular reader/demographic.
Maid by Stephanie Land
This book caught a lot of attention when it came out and I bought it then, but never got around to reading it until now. I thought that it was an incredible story, incredibly eye opening and thought it was a great book. It wasn’t quite the kind that kept you super intrigued. It did in a way because it was such a great story, but it wasn’t one that you would lose track of time reading.
A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum
Now THIS is a book that you can’t put down. This first-hand look into three different generations of a Palestinian family living in Brooklyn and the woman’s struggles not only to understand each other, but to survive! It is an incredible look into another culture as well as an incredibly written and thought provoking book that you won’t be able to put down until the last page.
Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This book has been ALLLLL over reading lists for 2020 and IT IS A MUST! This is another book that I couldn’t put down. I absolutely loved it and highly suggest it. Also a beach read full of mystery, family as well as romantic drama!
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Disclaimer: I got in trouble for reading/reviewing this book on social media. It has become a very controversial book and many people are not happy with it. And I completely understand and in many ways agree with their reasons. I will be totally honest and say that when I bought it, I literally didn’t know what it was about, but bought it because it was on Oprah’s Book Club. My opinion is very in line with Oprah’s in a quote from her discussion about her deciding to keep it as her January pick: “I fundamentally, fundamentally believe in the right of anyone to use their imagination and their skills to tell stories and to empathize with another story,” Winfrey said
With all of that said, it is a very well written novel that as a reader keeps you engaged, and tells a heart breaking story that will keep you wanting to read. I am in no way agreeing with the stereotypes that it “encourages”.
Brotopia by Emily Chang
This book is RIGHT up my alley! Seriously, every single part of this book is not only something that I agree with, have experienced, and find appalling, but also continues to surprise me! There are stories in here that will make you cringe, there is strength in here that will make you proud to be a woman (if you are a woman :-D) and it is necessary to open many people’s eyes to the reality of gender roles and inappropriate behavior in the professional landscape.
The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes
FIVE STARS!!! And yes another Moyes book already but oh my gosh I loved this book. To be honest I can’t totally put my finger on the exact reason why, but between the years that it takes place in, the drama that ensues, the love story that at first you had no idea you wanted out of the book but then realized, holy crap this is everything! I highly recommend… obviously.
A Good Neighborhood by Anne Fowler
This book had me reading on and on to find out what happened. And while I hate what happened and it had me balling my eyes out at the end it was an incredible book. It is unfortunately very appropriate for the world we live in right now and it makes me so angry that it is, but the story within this book will have you feeling all of the emotions.
Everything Is F*cked by Mark Manson
Meh. To be honest wasn’t inspiring or interesting, it was more or less a pragmatic/pessimistic look on things and fairly repetitive of The Subtle Art of Not giving A F*ck, which I preferred. It was a super quick read, but still wouldn’t really recommend.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I was expecting something amazing since it’s now a Hulu series and it was a Reese Witherspoon pick, and the cast of the series alone makes it look awesome! Incredible disappointed. Never really knew when the climax of the story was, felt like it was building to something then all of a sudden the book was over.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This book has been getting a ton of pub lately and is also on Reese’s Book Club and this one is a GREAT pick! Absolutely love this book, I highlighted so many things that I want to go back to and note down.
Also really makes me want to read Love Warrior.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
I really enjoyed this book and felt like it was a great way of framing what I think a lot of people go through when they lose a loved one. While when I started it, it felt a little raw for the timing just because there is so much loss happening around us. But as the story went on and it became more about Lydia Bird’s healing, I really enjoyed it.
I also love the ending 🙂
Creative Confidence by Tom + David Kelley
This was an interest book in reframing the way you think about creativity. It’s not just being artistic, or musical or anything but instead using creativity for problem-solving and professional success. Again, had lots of highlights that I’m going to go back and note down because I think that’s something that we all could use help with. Instead of looking as something as black or white (or grey) maybe there are some bright colors in there to mix things up a bit!
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Oh my gosh this was amazing! I read Flynn’s Sharp Objects last summer and both are so great. Yes, her work is pretty dark so you have to be prepared for that, but this story had me wanting to know what happened every time I put it down, which led me to opening it right back up to find out! If you like mysteries and books that have you gasping at the end, you’ll want to read this book.
The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward
Well this was a huge disappointment. Another one of Reese’s Book Club picks but have no idea how it made the list. There was no way to connect to any of the characters because it was so choppy, and nothing really happened or was explained until the end, and even when it was it didn’t make sense. I usually think that Reese could do no wrong, but girl, you missed on this one.
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
I absolutely love this stuff and this one is spot on! I took the quiz first and didn’t read too much into the restyle before I started the book. I love learning more about different personalities and how they interact and I think that this is a great one for team leaders, or someone in a relationship whose communication might need some help? I had my whole family take the quiz too and everything’s starting to make much more sense 😀
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
This is the this and final book in the series that started with Crazy Rich Asians. The second one wasn’t great, but this one was much better! It takes a bit to get into it because there are so many characters and if you read the other books it might take a second to remember everyone, but I think that this wrapped everything up really well and had family drama and intrigue for a great beach read!
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
I LOOOOOVVVED this book! I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down for very long. It starts off with a question and as the story goes on you think that you are getting to the solution/the “how” and you do, but not in the way that you think you do! This is a beyond great read and not very long so you could easily finish it on the beach in one sitting.
Shop any of the reads that might have piqued your interest above!
I’m also looking forward to my next 10 books as well! I picked these from the lists I found and put in my post at the beginning of the year. Hopefully these are as good as my first 20!