Reading gives us someplace to go when you have to stay where you are.
Isn't that just the perfect quote for 2020? I didn't originally set out to read so many books this year. I was thinking maybe 50 or so. But between the pandemic & doing extra read-aloud time with my kids, the books just started adding up!
While I love the joy of opening a physical book, one thing that has helped me read more this year is listening to audiobooks from my library. Memoirs that are read by the author are especially fun this way. I also took advantage of the library's ebooks, too. When the library was closed for those first few months of the pandemic, I was able to keep finding new reading material through these avenues.
I use Goodreads to track my reading. They let you set reading goals at the beginning of each year. I also check it if I'm trying to figure out if I really want to read a book or not. Sometimes, the reviews that other users leave are really helpful.
One of my goals this year was to read more nonfiction. I still have a bunch to read for next year, but here are the ones I managed to fit in this year.
I had (& still have) a stack of Christian nonfiction that I wanted to get through this year. In order to make a dent in my want-to-read pile, I tried adding reading one during my regular quiet time routine. I was not necessarily consistent, but this practice definitely helped me get through more than I expected!
- The Better Mom: Growing in Grace between Perfection and the Mess by Ruth Schwenk
- Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic
- The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to ShareChrist with Confidence by Thabiti M. Anyabwile
- Afraid of All the Things: Tornadoes, Cancer, Adoption, and Other Stuff You Need the Gospel For by Scarlet Hiltibidal
- Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood by Rachel Jankovic
- Trustworthy: Overcoming Our Greatest Struggles to Trust God (A Study of 1 & 2 Kings) by Lysa Terkeurst
- Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen
- Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life by Lara Casey
- You Who? Why You Matter and How to Deal with It by Rachel Jankovic
- When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People by Gary L. Thomas
- No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending by Esther Fleece
As I mentioned above, all of these except #6 were audiobooks read by the author. It's fun to peek inside the lives of others, even people that I normally wouldn't agree with or have anything in common with.
- Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
- Yes Please! by Amy Poehler
- Free Lunch by Rex Ogle
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
I probably should read more parenting books, so maybe that will be a goal for next year. These were both helpful in different ways.
- How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber & Julie King
- The Call of the Wild and Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child's Education by Ainsley Arment
From inspirational to aspirational, from race issues to home decor - quite a wide range of information in these books I read this year.
- Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History by Andy Greene
- Mind Your Business: Plan Your Business and Turn You Creative Passion Into Your Full-Time Gig by Ilana Griffo
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism byRobin DiAngelo
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
- Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case by Patricia Hruby Powell
- Drawn to Nature: Through the Journals of Clare Walker Leslie by Clare Walker Leslie
- The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You by Clare Walker Leslie
- A Year across Maryland: A Week-by-Week Guide to Discovering Nature in the Chesapeake Region by Bryan MacKay
- Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff by Myquillyn Smith
- Welcome Home: A Cozy minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round by Myquillyn Smith
- The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith
I'd never read anything by Alcott, but after the Little Women movie that came out last year, I knew I needed to fix that. These were all audiobooks. (I don't think I would've gotten through Tolkien any other way, to be honest!) The Jane Austen books were rereads except Northanger Abbey.
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
- Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
- The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott
- The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
- Persuasion by Jane Austen
- Emma by Jane Austen
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
All those years of working towards being a high school English teacher has me always peeking at the Juvenile & YA shelves for good ones. Ty & I have been working through Narnia & Harry Potter. Charlotte's Web & The Saturdays were our lunchtime read aloud books.
Also, don't judge me for reading the ridiculous new Twilight book. And it was ridiculous. Just as all the others are. But I couldn't not finish them!
- Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali
- This Train is Being Held by Ismee Ariel Williams
- The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman
- The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
- Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
- Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
- The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
I used to avoid contemporary fiction. Too many naughty words & naughty scenes for my conservative sensibilities. But as I took my various college courses about literature, I felt more comfortable venturing into the genre. Are there scenes that I flip past because they're really not necessary? Yep.
Also, reading books by people like Atwood, especially ones that have captured our country's attention, can be very tricky. Knowing what her agenda is & being confident in my own beliefs was very helpful as I read those. I can see where we agree & where we don't.
- Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
- Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
- The Loyal Wife by Natalie Barreli
- The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
- Oona out of Order by Margarita Montimore
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
- The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
- Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
- Beach Read by Emily Henry
- The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
- Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
- China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
- Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
- Girl by Edna O'Brien
- Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
- The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
- The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
- One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
- Mirror, Mirror by Jen Calonita
- The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
This is a new genre for me. I heard about it from Summer Dowell whose Instagram account I've followed since we were both solely doing hand lettering. These books are like Hallmark movies in book form. Super easy to read in a weekend. Just the amount of relaxation you might want from a novel.
- Love from Scratch by Summer Dowell
- Love is an Art by Summer Dowell
- A Temporary Marriage by Summer Dowell
- A Temporary Boyfriend by Summer Dowell
- To Con a Gentleman by Sarah Adams
- Seeing Mary by Sarah Adams
- To Catch a Suitor by Sarah Adams
- A Temporary Engagement by Summer Dowell
- The Match by Sarah Adams
- The Enemy by Sarah Adams
- If It's Perfect by Summer Dowell
Growing up in a conservative environment, I kind of got tired of Christian fiction. Especially as I got familiar with the classics & learned about what makes a novel stand the test of time. Well, over the past couple of years, I've given the genre another chance. And I've been pleasantly surprised. These books aren't perfect either, but they're a definite improvement from the novels I wasted so many hours reading in high school!
- An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz
- The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck
- Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes
- Many Sparrows by Lori Benton
Well, that's my year in books. I promise I do take care of my kids & clean my house somewhere in all of that reading. (Actually cleaning is a perfect time to listen to audiobooks!)
How about you? Are you bookish like me? Or is reading not enjoyable for you?
Let me know what your favorite read was this year in the comments!