2020 year-end book review

2020 Year-End Book Review

Here is my 2020 Year-End Book Review! Be sure and let me know which one was your favorite. Got a book you recommend for 2021? Comment below!

I got a Kindle for Christmas last year. Little did I know how much I would use it in 2020…
My husband had purchased one for him prior to the holiday and I had already been the first to use it. With its ease of carrying multiple books around digitally and small enough to fit inside my purse, I figured I could probably use my own too.

Then a Global Pandemic happened.

With all the time staying at home, my goal to read 20 books for the New Year seemed easier than anticipated. I actually well exceeded my goal by reading a total of 37 books. To some, this was quite a feat, while others surpassed me by the 100’s. While it’s not a huge number in comparison to some of my Good Reads friends, I am pretty dang proud of myself. In fact, this has been the most books I’ve read for any given year! So without further adieu, here is my 2020 year-end book review!

Here is the COMPLETE list of books I read in 2020.
  1. Yes Please by Amy Poehler – 3/5
  2. Fog of Dead Souls by Jill Kelly – 2/5
  3. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso – 3/5
  4. The Whisper Man by Alex North – 5/5
  5. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, & Lead by Brene Brown – 4/5
  6. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell – 3/5
  7. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris – 4/5
  8. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo – 3/5
  9. Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – 3/5
  10. Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh – 4/5
  11. What if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe – 3/5
  12. Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make More Room for Happiness by Gretchen Rubin – 3/5
  13. Untamed by Glennon Doyle – 5/5
  14. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – 4/5
  15. Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler – 4/5
  16. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – 5/5
  17. How to Faith at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams – 3/5
  18. Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani – 5/5
  19. You are a Badass Every Day: How to Keep Your Motivation Strong, Your Vibe High, and Your Quest for Transformation Unstoppable by Jen Sincero – 3/5
  20. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg – 3/5
  21. Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff – 5/5
  22. Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever by Gavin Edwards – 4/5
  23. The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup – 2/5
  24. Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic’s Guide to Growth and Fulfillment by Dave Hollis – 3/5
  25. The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher L. Heurtz – 5/5
  26. The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe by Richard Rohr – 4/5
  27. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson – 3/5
  28. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – 4/5
  29. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo – 3/5
  30. Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You by Jen Hatmaker – 4/5
  31. Pet Sematary by Stephen King – 4/5
  32. Blessed Are the Misfits: Great News for Believers who are Introverts, Spiritual Strugglers, or Just Feel Like They’re Missing Something by Bran Hansen – 4/5
  33. Didn’t See That Coming: Putting Life Back Together When Your World Falls Apart by Rachel Hollis – 3/5
  34. The Enneagram of Belonging: A Compassionate Journey of Self-Acceptance by Christopher L. Heurtz – 5/5
  35. Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue – 5/5
  36. The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection by Louisa Thomsen Brits – 4/5
  37. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport – 3/5
As you can see above, I’ve rated all 37 books on a 5-star scaling system. Without making this blog longer than it has to be, I’m sharing a few books that I wanted to like but couldn’t get into as well as a few of my favorite books that surprised me!
Books I Wanted to Like (but couldn’t get into)

If you read the list above, you will see of the 37 books, the first two I technically started back in 2019. I downloaded these two books to read on the way to and from New York City. However, with all of the holidays and our downstairs flooding, I didn’t have much time to read the last couple of weeks in 2019. I only got a couple chapters into each book before the New Year started but I did finished them in January.

Fog of Dead Souls by Jill Kelly

And I have to be honest, I didn’t enjoy Fog of Dead Souls by Jill Kelly. One of my goals for 2020 was to read more suspenseful horror type novels since I’ve love the genre so other than Stephen King, I didn’t quite know what to expect. That being said, it was 1 of 2 books that had the worst rating on my list. Honestly, it was a very confusing plot as each chapter changed the characters of who were speaking. I didn’t quite catch which speaker was writing until half-way through the story.

I don’t actually remember much of the storyline a year later. While I didn’t enjoy the book, I recognize that there is so much that goes into writing fiction, especially in the horror genre. I gave it a 2-star rating because the author put their heart and soul into captivating a different audience and using a storyline that many people don’t often use. Intersting plot but didn’t capture my interest for very long.

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

Next, the other book that I didn’t quite enjoy reading was The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup. Again, it was another suspenseful horror novel that I couldn’t get into. It had great Good Reads reviews but again, I wasn’t captivated by the story. To me, the book was longer than it should have been and the story could have been wrapped up earlier on. Also, to this day, I still can’t remember much of the storyline either.

Didn’t See That Coming by Rachel Hollis

Finally, I have to preface by saying, I enjoy Rachel Hollis. I loved her two previous books and realize her “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality isn’t for everyone. Her writing style is forward and direct and very “no nonsense”. That being said, Didn’t See That Coming wasn’t my favorite book for 2020. As much as I recognize that this book was to help people in their defeat and to overcome obstacles in their lives. *cough cough* 2020…

It was a book that I needed two years ago when I had the worst year of my life. I know that 2020 was that for a lot of people but I wasn’t in the right mindset to read this one. I gave it a 3-star rating because I don’t believe it’s her best writing. While there are great nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout, it felt repititous from what she normally posts online or has written in her other books. I still like Rachel Hollis so this isn’t a diss to her or her writing.

My Favorite Books (that surprised me!)

Now the fun part.

There were quite a bit of books that I read this year that I highly enjoyed. So many great authors and so much wisdom. I was constantly taking notes and screenshots of what I was learning.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

The most surprising book that I fell in love with this year was Untamed by Glennon Doyle. 5-stars all the way. I loved it so much that it’s currently in my top 10 favorite books of all time. I highly suggest every woman go read this book. What surprised me about this one was that I had no idea who Glennon Doyle was. I had never read any of her books before and I didn’t do much research before downloading it to my Kindle.

To be honest, I literally just read it because I thought the cover art was pretty. Yes, I do very much judge books by their covers. It looked funky and quirky and really just pulled me in. But the contents of this book were what really got me. Everything from Female Empowerment and releasing emotions in healthy ways to handling racism and finding who God is to you and how that represents your relationships. This book hands down is one of the best books I’ve read and probably the best book of 2020. For me, this was a great book to read in the midst of a Global Pandemic. So many great life lessons along the way.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Next, this book probably shouldn’t have surprised me because it’s a highly rated book but it definitely did surprise me in the best way possible. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of those books that will leave you inspired and ready to change your corner of the world. It tapped into deep emotions and triggered the sense of belonging. My husband also read this book at the same time so it was neat to compare thoughts and emotions while reading together. In fact, it inspired my husband to write 30 Thoughts Till Dawn so that was pretty epic as well.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This next one I redeemed myself! Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was a book that I just could not put down. I downloaded it before taking our RV on a local camping trip to read in the hammock. When I tell you I spent 3 hours reading through this crazy suspenseful book. the layout was similar to Fog of Dead Souls but I could not put this one down. I heard of the amazing reviews of the book itself but I went in blindly. And I’m so glad I did. Although I gave it a 4-star rating because of some the sexual content and I didn’t care much for the last chapter, it was still a great book to read on a breezy Summer afternoon.

Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue

Finally, Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue was such a great book to begin to close the year with. Such a fascinating journey from deeply religious, to deeply atheist, to deeply in love with God and all of God’s people. Many know Mike McHargue as ScienceMike and have heard of his work on The Liturgist podcast. Truth be told, I didn’t know much about Mike other than these two things but I am so glad I picked up this book. I highly recommend this one to those who are undergoing Deconstruction, questioning their faith, or just love deep conversations.

Fun Fact:

I feel as though I should mention of the 37 books I read in 2020, Everybody Always by Bob Goff was the only physical book I read this year. The other 36 books I read on the Kindle. A friend was doing a giveaway on Facebook and I just so happened to be the one who received it! It has been on my TBR list for quite some time and I was so excited to receive it in the mail! Everybody Always was such a phenomenal book about loving people and how to show up for others. What made it even more special was the love and care that is evident from the author and the unique story behind the cover art.

I am so excited to start my new list of books to read in 2021! One of my goals this next year is to read 50 books! Sounds like such a feat but if I can read 37, I can definitely reach my goal. Thanks for reading my 2020 year-end book review. Here’s to next year’s reading list!

Happy New Year!

*Last year, I recorded an episode about the books I read in 2019. I shared what I learned and what my favorite takeaways were from each read. You can find the complete 2019 list here.

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