In 2020, I read 36 books. A new record! That’s six more than I read in 2019. A rare bonus of the pandemic.
Considering most of my reading occurs in the hours after the kiddos are in bed, I’m proud of reading as much as I have. I re-discovered my love of books in early 2018 and it’s become a consistent part of my daily life.
This year I mostly kept my reading topics on the lighter side. Between the pandemic and election, I found getting into more serious topics was hard to do. Reading was my escape this year.
Top 5 Books of 2020
ONE // Open Book by Jessica Simpson: While I did watch The Newlyweds and enjoyed Nick and Jessica in their element, I never expected to love Jessica’s memoir as much as I did. I dare you to read it and not feel like you’re friends by the end. Jessica talks about her childhood, singing career, marrying and divorcing Nick, dating John Mayer, falling in love with her husband and her very successful clothing line. She weaves in religion, assault, weight issues, bullying and alcoholism. Jessica is smart, funny and honest throughout. Most books I read and give away. Not this one.
TWO // The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez: Sloan is going through a difficult period after her fiancé died two years ago. One day a dog named Tucker lands on her lap and her life starts to shift. Eventually Tucker’s owner, Jason, comes to pick him up and sparks fly. What Sloan doesn’t realize is that Jason is an up and coming singer about to embark on a world tour. I think the reason I loved this book is because it covered so many different elements – grief, romance, female friendship, feeling lost in your career, sacrifice. It’s partially set in Minnesota where I grew up, which I really enjoyed.
THREE // Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan: Beneath a Scarlet Sky is based on the true story of Pino Lello, an Italian teenager that wants nothing to do with the World War II or the Nazis. After his family home is destroyed by Allied bombs, he joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps into Switzerland. Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier in an effort to protect him. He is then recruited to be the personal driver for one of the most powerful Nazi commanders in Italy. He risks his life to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command. One of the top 3 World War II historical fiction books I’ve read.
FOUR // The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Read. Actress Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. She chooses Monique, an unknown reporter, to write her memoir and they meet to go through her four decades of experiences. As Evelyn endears herself to Monique, it becomes clear that their lives intersect. There were twists that I didn’t anticipate and a beautiful love story spanning most of Evelyn’s life.
FIVE // One Day in December by Josie Silver, Laurie spots the man of her dreams through a bus window one snowy day in December. For the next year she searches everywhere for him. Laurie is finally reunited with him when her best friend and roommate, Sarah, introduces Laurie to her new boyfriend, Jack. The story continues through the next 10 years as Laurie, Sarah and Jack navigate life and love.
Full 2020 Reading List (with ratings)
- The Home for Unwanted Girls – 4
- One Day in December – 4
- The Boys on the Boat – 4
- Shopaholic Christmas – 2.5
- Anna K – 1
- City of Girls – 3.5
- The Flatshare – 3
- So Here’s the Thing – 3
- Open Book – 4.5
- Feels Like Falling – 3.5
- In Five Years – 3
- If I Never Met You – 4
- Our Stop – 2
- Let Your Mind Run – 4
- The Happy Ever After Playlist – 4.5
- Beach Read – 2
- Untamed – 2
- A Happy Catastrophe – 4
- The Royal We – 3.5
- The Heir Affair – 3
- The Hate U Give – 5
- One to Watch – 2.5
- The Last Train to Key West – 3.5
- The Friend Zone – 1.5
- Beneath a Scarlet Sky – 4.5
- Destination Wedding – 2.5
- Royal Holiday – 3.5
- In a Holidaze – 2
- The Vanishing Half – 3.5
- Majesty: American Royals II – 3
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – 4
- You Had Me at Hola – 3.5
- Party of Two – 3
- This Time Next Year – 4
- Wedding Party – 1
- Squeeze Me – 3
5: A book that you treasure and keep prominently displayed on your bookshelf. All other books will likely be measured against this one.
4: Could not put it down, possibly read through the night, still thinking about it, extremely satisfying and highly recommended
3: Captured my interest, entertaining, would seek other titles by the same author, would recommend
2: Okay to pass the time, probably not memorable, just okay
1: DNF or ended up feeling dissatisfied
The links for each book above go to bookshop.org, which supports independent booksellers. If you’re open to shopping there, please do! If you prefer Amazon, they’re linked below.