My Top 2020 Books

Last year one of my goals was to read more. I’ve always loved reading but over the years, I didn’t prioritise it so I only read occasionally. 2020 was the year that made me fall back in love with books and reading. I gave myself a goal of 25 books through the Goodreads Reading Challenge and I ended up reading 65 books! I thought I’d share my favourite ones I read.

65 books is a lot and I’m surprised I read that many. I didn’t read much during the first lockdown so I basically read the majority of those books on the second half of the year. It wouldn’t be possible without the Auckland Library though! In 2019, I rejoined the public library and got myself a library card. It was the best decision ever because I requested so much books!

I think out of the 65 books only 3 were not borrowed. Borrowing from the library is such a great idea. It saves you money and space to store books.

Before I share my top books I read, here is the full list of the books I read in 2020:

It is satisfying seeing all of the books I’ve read like that and I’ve been pretty lucky as I liked most of the books I read. I think I disliked/hated less than 5 of the books. Goodreads is a great way to keep in track of what you’ve read or even the books you want to read. I don’t tend to write reviews there but I just rate them out of 5 stars.

Out of the 65 books, here are my top ones:

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I really enjoy Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books. Daisy Jones & The Six is also a great read (read it in 2019 though). I liked Seven Husbands more than Daisy Jones as the story is so interesting. Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood icon and she sought Monique, a journalist to write her life story. It talks about love, friendship but also abuse, death, homophobia. This was hard to put down.

I saved this quote from the book:

“People think that intimacy is about sex but intimacy is about truth. When you realise you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’ – that is intimacy”.

Goodreads link here.

Verity – Colleen Hoover

Verity Colleen Hoover

This was recommended to me so I requested it and oh my goodness, I couldn’t put this down. I read this in one sitting. I couldn’t sleep in that morning so I picked this up and read on the couch. It is so damn good. If you like thriller, mystery, romance and suspense, this is the book for you.

The story was so unexpected that I was left shocked afterwards. I didn’t cry because I was just so shaken. It’s fucked up in ways but how Colleen Hoover told the story was brilliant. Just read it.

Goodreads link here.

Know My Name – Chanel Miller

Know My Name Chanel Miller

This was not an easy read. It’s non-fiction and if you’ve heard of Brock Turner and his case, the woman he raped is Chanel Miller. She tells her incredibly difficult story so well. This book made me so angry at how men are trash and the justice system is so fucked up as it favours rich, white men. Her victim impact statement went viral and for a good reason. She writes so well and her courage is remarkable. It is the best memoirs I’ve read.

“The journey will be longer than you imagine, trauma will find you again and again. Do not become the ones who hurt you. Stay tender with your power. Never fight to injure, fight t uplift. Fight because you know that in this life, you deserve safety, joy and freedom.”

Goodreads link here.

It’s been a pleasure, Noni Blake – Claire Christian

It's been a pleasure noni blake

This is a book that made me laugh and cry. I took this book during our Hokianga Harbour roadtrip. I started and finished it in the car. Max has witnessed my laugh out loud and cry while reading this as he was driving next to me. It’s quite an easy read but this book really got to me in a good way. Noni Blake was feeling stuck after her big breakup so she went off on a pleasure quest. Her quest was hilarious but her journey to self love and acceptance is what got me. She’s also queer and plus-sized but this book doesn’t focus on that.

Goodreads link here.

City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert

City of Girls Elizabeth Gilbert

I thoroughly enjoyed City of Girls. Vivian was retelling her story growing up careless in New York in the 1940s. Nothing really big happens but I just found this book interesting and if you’re after an easy to read book this summer, this is one of them.

Goodreads link here.

More Than Enough – Elaine Welteroth

More than enough elaine welteroth

Another memoirI loved is More Than Enough. Elaine Welteroth is so inspiring! She was the revolutionary editor of Teen Vogue magazine. There are many life lessons and wisdom throughout this book.

More Than Enough - Elaine Welteroth

She is also a woman of colour so she had to fight through a system that wasn’t designed for her. Her success is amazing.

“What I know now is that when we derive our worth from the relationships in our lives – the intimate ones, the social circles we belong to, the companies we work for – we give away our power and become dependent on external validation. When that is taken away, our sense of value and identity goes with it.”

Goodreads link here.

Last Tand Standing – Lauren Ho

Last Tang Standing

This year, I’ve made a more conscious effort to read books of POC especially WOC. Last Tang Standing is a good easy read and if you’re Asian, you can definitely relate to her. From the pressure of excelling in your career/studies to the more immense pressure of finding a husband.

Goodreads link here.

 My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell

One of the books that really stuck with me hours after I read it was My Dark Vanessa. This was not an easy read as the story is quite infuriating. It’s a story about Vanessa who gets involved in an affair with her teacher. It explores the weird and psychological dynamic between the two. I remember writing on Instagram stories that I just stared into space letting this story sink in after I read it. It’s heartbreaking.

“There must be a point where you’re allowed to be defined by something other that what he did to you.”

Goodreads link here.

The Switch and The FlatShare – Beth O’Leary

The Switch Beth O'leary

I only have a photo of The Switch but I thoroughly enjoyed both Beth O’Leary’s books The Switch and The Flat Share. If you’re after some fun and easy books to read, these two are it.

Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

This is a book that makes you think about race and privilege. It’s not super in-your-face but embedded through the relationship and interaction between the two main characters.

Goodreads link here.

Fairest – Meredith Talusan

Fairest Meredith Talusan

Another memoir I enjoyed. Meredith’s life has been so interesting. She was born in the Philippines as an albino boy. She later moved to America, graduated from Harvard and transitioned to be a woman. Her recollections of the Philippines was relatable to me and her story about culture, race, gender and skin colour was fascinating. This was the first book I’ve read that delved into the complexities of gender and sexuality.

Goodreads link here.

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty – Florence Given

Women Don't Owe You Pretty

I hesitated including this book as there has been controversy between Florence Given and Slumflower/Chidera Eggerue. That sucks and I wish I have read Chidera’s book first because I did love this book. I enjoyed the illustrations and there were so many parts that I resonated with.It’s a book I wish I had when I was younger.

Some parts of it was like reading my inner thoughts. It also made me realise I still have some work to do in terms of internalised misogyny and putting up boundaries/speaking up more.

“When we use other people to make us feel whole, we start to base our worth on how they treat us, and we can end up losing our self-worth and our sense of identity. Our worth should not be defined by how certain people treat us… Prioritise the love you have for yourself so much that if a relationship ends, you aren’t left feeling diminished because you have a firm sense of who you are, and you realise that you are more than enough on your own.”

Some honourable mentions of books I also wish I read when I was younger are all of Holly Bourne’s books. They’re brilliant. Some are harder to read (trigger warnings of abuse) but if my 16 year old self read them, I probably would have had a bit more self confidence and knew what to look out for in toxic relationships.

I know this list is super long now so lastly, I also want to mention Skincare by Caroline Hirons. If you want to know more about how to take better care of your skin in a blunt and easy to read way, grab a copy of that.

I have put in another Goodreads Reading Challenge this year and whilst I managed to read 65 books in 2020, I don’t want to top that and add that much pressure on myself. I’ve set a goal of 40 books this year and I will continue to keep requesting library books.

If you have any recommendations, let me know the favourite books you’ve read!

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