• Anjuli

Books Read in 2020

In January 2020 I set a goal for myself to read more. 12 books in 12 months was the intention. Reading is a distraction, an escape from reality, which sometimes I desperately need.

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” - Mason Cooley

Ain't that the truth. Escaping into someone else's life and world, where the problem is more likely than not solved by the last page brings me comfort and ease. I needed more of it in my life, and less screen time - less scrolling through instagram, facebook, pinterest, online shopping, etc. Where I find myself comparing my everyday life to someone else's highlight reel.

I won't sit here and act like social media hasn't helped my business tremendously, because that would be a lie. I do appreciate it for what it is. That being said, I have a hard time setting limits for myself; when to turn it on and when to turn it off. I would find myself getting into bed and before I knew it over an hour (sometimes two, palm to face) had passed and I am still awake, still scrolling (!!!) - and what did I have to show for it? Honestly, not much bordering on nothing.

I have found that reading really helps my mental health, it helps me to unplug and relax, escape from my own head. I need pages, real pages in my hands with words and stories, people and dynamic relationships.

I am going to share with you the books I have read thus far and my review of them without giving too much away, and definitely trying to avoid any *spoilers*:

Books Read in 2020:

  1. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Overall rating: 4 stars

For starters, this is the only book on this list that I listed to on audio book. It is read by Tom Hanks.. need I say more? I love Tom Hanks. It is an intriguing story about a brother and sister, and a very old house. Family drama ensues - I would definitely give this one a listen!

Tom Hanks pulled this story from a 3 star, to a 4 star for me! Love that guy.

  1. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Overall rating: 4 stars

This book is set in WWI, or just after it. It intertwines the stories of two women from very different generations both on the same journey for very different reasons. This one was slow to start for me, but once I got into it I couldn't put it down.

  • The Breakdown by B.A.Paris

Overall rating: 4 stars

This is a quick read - easy to pick up and return to. It will pull you in from the very first page, a twisting thriller you probably won't see coming. I finished this one in like 48 hours.

  • The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

Overall rating: 5 stars

You guys. (crying emoji) I LOVE THIS BOOK. Please read it. Read it and then send me a message via email or Instagram. It was one of those books I really missed after I finished it, I really missed the characters. It is such a sweet story that is sad at times - but offers so many different perspectives. Just really, such a endearing book. I really, really loved it.

  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

I will say I liked the book better than I liked the mini-series on Hulu. The series just strays so far from the book, its hard to compare the two. I really wish they would have given the series a different name because that aspect alone really toyed with my head. Not that the series is bad by any means, I belive it brings to light very important topics that need to be highlighted and talked about. It was just really hard for me to separate the book from the series - they are night and day different, in my opinion. If you do read the book AND watch the series, I encourage you to separate the two and understand that they will be different. The show is inspired by the book, an interpretation.

I didn't love the book - it was good, but not something I would go back to or beg someone else to read.

  • In Five Years by Rachel Serrel

Overall rating: 5 stars

Another quick read that will grab you from the first page. I really, really enjoyed this book. It is a sweet story of friendship, love and self recognition. Read it!!

  • Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Overall rating: 5 stars

Another really, really endearing book. This book will break your heart and then help you put it back together again. I loved this book.

  • When We Believed In Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal

Overall rating: 3 stars

This book was just okay, I think I expected much more from it honestly. It was a little like "of course" *eyeroll* for me with the boy meets girl aspect. But it is an interesting novel about a girl who is looking for her dead sister, whose body was never found. It is a good distraction if you need one, but not my favorite.

  • The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Overall rating: 3 stars

This book was just kind of odd, but it kept my attention because I could never quite figure it out (which I enjoy!).

  • Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Overall rating: 3 stars

My problem with this book is that it tells a story through too many people. Telling a story through two or three perspectives, sure. But this author introduced like seven different perspectives to tell the same story and it just made it a little difficult to follow (though there is a "key" at the front of the book to refer to, which I had to use for the first 1/3-1/2 of the book). Though it was intriguing - I felt the ending left something to be desired.

  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Overall rating: 5 stars

I started and finished this book within 24 hours. IT WAS SO GOOD. It is a book told interview style about a rock and roll band in the 60s and 70s. Just read it.

  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

I started this book initially in July or August but for some reason it just didn't really pull me in, so I put it down and read some other books. Then I returned to it at the end of the year and felt completely different. It pulled me in and really held my interest. It offered quite a bit of a different perspective I am not familiar with, so I really feel like I learned from this book. I really, really liked it.

Other books I read but didn't finish, and here's why:

  • The Honey Bus by Meredith May

I started this book and got about half way. It wasn't that it wasn't interesting, it was. It offers a lot of really cool knowledge/information about bees, which I loved. But the mom in this book just seriously bugged me and I couldn't handle it, it just stressed me out ,LOL. I will probably go back and finish this book at a different time because I have heard really good things about it!

  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

One word: DEPRESSING. Okay, two words, also: BORING. I read about 1/3 of this book, and it just went between dream and reality, and there was zero substance to either one. It couldn't hold me and I honestly would not recommend this book to anyone. Sorry if that is mean, but its true.

  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

This one just didn't pull me in like I really need a book to do. I really don't like to waste my time on a book I am not enjoying in some way and this book didn't really offer me much. (disclaimer: I only read about 40 pages before I gave up.)

If you have read any of these books (from either list!) I would love to hear your opinion on them and have a conversation about it if you want to! Feel free to reach out via email or DM me on Instagram : )

Books on my "to read" list:

  • The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

  • The Guest List by Lisa Foley

  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Sending you love + light, always! xoxox


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