Here we are, closing the year and I am finally sharing the books I read in 2020 – because yes, I managed to read a few; not many, but a few. My goal this year was to read 12 books. Well, while I am closing the year with only 8 books and a half, I am still quite pleased with my progress compared to last year.
To be fair, the reading only picked in August/September so I can’t say I was too consistent throughout the year. I also picked almost exclusively fiction books. Some were good picks, some were less good so I thought I would write a short review for each so you can see for yourselves the books I read in 2020 and how I liked them (or not).
Educated by Tara Westover
This was the first book I read in 2020. A memoir and a very different kind of story yet extremely relevant in today’s globalized world. Essentially, it explores the idea that education allows you to enlarge your world and your views, which in turn can drive you apart from family as you grow and develop your own set of values and world views. Tara shares her story of overcoming her survivalist Mormon family in order to get an education and go to college. I gave it 5 stars because I think it’s a unique story yet many can resonate with bits of the story.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
This one was heavily recommended on many book blogs as a good piece of work on the topic of young love and coming of age. It was sort of an ok book overall, however not fully up my alley. I did not particularly enjoy the writing style nor did I click with the characters much and I missed a bit of depth in how they were pencilled in. I would still rate it as “sort of an enjoyable read” as I truly enjoyed the reading experience that a novel always brings.
American Royals by Katherine McGee
This book follows the modern-day lives of America’s royal family—the House of Washington – specifically the royal princesses Beatrice and Samantha, alongside other characters around them. I quite liked this one, as it delivered on its promise, nothing less and nothing more. A light read and a modern-day royal romance, perfect if you are looking to get distracted. I would have preferred fewer characters with a leading storyline and a deeper dive into each of them, but I can’t deny it was a perfect, light summer read.
Circe by Madeleine Miller
This one was one of my favourite books this year. It tells the story of Circe, daughter of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans. It is a Greek Mythology story at the core weaved with the struggles of a woman that is born different. I have thoroughly enjoyed the way Madeleine Miller developed the character – what I often miss in so many “modern” novels – as well as the great storytelling. Circe is a woman and also happens to be a lesser god, and this book is a beautiful retelling of her story; an exploration of her relatable flaws and weaknesses and the fight between her rage and her compassion.
The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz
I was very excited to read this book, expecting a „Devil Wears Prada“ meets „Suits“ kind of fun and entertaining story. The book follows Alex, a young graduate who strives to make her way into the competitive world of Biglaw; she works around the clock and quickly gets seduced by the firm‘s money and energy. Despite the work hours, she feels confident, powerful and loves navigating this new world she just discovered – juicy bonuses, weekend trips, expensed meals, evenings out with clients and riding in a client‘s private jet. The story takes a turn when workplace affairs, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and sexism quickly became the main topic. My opinion of it is a bit mixed, hence the 3.5 stars given, I loved the fast pace and the fascinating look into Biglaw as well as the unexpected turn of events, however, I think that writing and character depth wise it could have been better.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This one was another favourite of mine this year. Where the Crawdads Sing is a story of resiliency, survival, hope, love, loss, loneliness, prejudice, determination and strength. It tells the story of Kya Clark, also known as the “Marsh Girl”. She has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home – after first, her mother left her, then her siblings and finally her father – finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. She is sensitive, intelligent and she yearns to be loved. The story further develops when Kya is suspected of murder and the book goes back and forth in time to tell her full story. In my opinion, Owens did a great job in beautifully writing the main character and telling her story. Highly recommended read.
Another romantic novel that I saw recommended a lot. Tiffy and Leon share a flat and a bed, yet they do not see each other in the first few months. They start communicating through sticky notes and, eventually end up finding love in each other. A contemporary romance and light read, I only gave it 3 stars because of the writing style and the somewhat flatness of the story and the characters.
The ride of a lifetime by Robert Iger
The only business book I read this year. Bob Iger is the ex-CEO of Disney and responsible for the major acquisition Disney’s done such as Pixar, Marvel or Lucasfilm. I think he is one of the greatest business leaders out there and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. In the book, he shares his own career story – from his first job at ABC Entertainment to becoming CEO of Disney and the struggles that came with the role as well as his thought process behind the major acquisitions. He explicitly shares many valuable leadership lessons he learned throughout the 45 years he’s worked at ABC Entertainment and Disney which makes it a really good business book to have on the shelf.
So these are the books I read in 2020. What about you? Did you read any of these books? Do you agree with my reviews? Have any suggestions for books that I might enjoy? Let me know in the comments!