2020: Another Year in the Books

2020, wow. 365 days, 292 of which were spent at home and working remotely. 10 months of pandemic and masks and uncertainty, but also 10 months of much needed family and reading time. I managed to read (!!) 50 BOOKS (!!) this year… I mean, what?! My initial goal this year was to read 20 books, 3 more than last year, but I really impressed myself with what I accomplished. I never would’ve imagined getting to this point and I’m really proud of myself. I read so many incredible books, I started a bookstagram and a blog, I found the most beautiful corner of the internet ever, I discovered new authors, and I fell in love with reading all over again.

2020 was a shit year in general and I am so glad that it’s finally coming to an end. For 2021, I am wishing for a pandemic-free world, happiness, peace, and books… loads of them.

I was able to narrow down the list of my favorite books I read this year to thirteen, but one book really stood out from the rest and it was Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half. This book will stay with me forever. To see a list of all the books I’ve read this year, click here! Without further ado, here are my top 13 of 2020, in no particular order except for number one!


1. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

I loved the pacing, it kept me flipping the pages like a maniac wanting to know the full story. I wanted to slow down and savor every word, but I just couldn’t stop reading. Bennett’s story-telling is just out of this world. Her characters are extremely well-developed and feel so real. The story remains unpredictable throughout, and I was just so consumed, so addicted, to her beautiful prose that when I wasn’t reading I was only thinking about when I could pick it back up again. 

Brilliantly written, The Vanishing Half is a riveting story about family, choices, consequences, race, and identity. 

2. Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Let me just say that my heart literally fluttered (and I swear I am not exaggerating) while reading some parts of this book. My heart pitter-pattered, and I swooned. I could not physically stop reading – I got about 100 pages in last night and I read for 8 straight hours today and finished it. I was so engrossed by the story of Prince Henry and Alex Claremont-Diaz, it was just so sexy and witty and fun! 

3. Beach Read by Emily Henry

So fun and warm and light-hearted, but also so much more than that. It’s a beautiful complex romance filled with raw feeling and witty banter for daaaayssss! I laughed along at all their smart remarks and I really loved that their relationship was built little by little – being friends first working side by side, and then slowly (and cautiously, because they were both afraid of the possible heartache) falling in love. It made the story feel real and it made the characters more memorable.  

4. A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

This story touched my heart. I took my time reading it because I simply did not want it to end, I wanted to savor it, turn every word over in my head. Etaf Rum’s storytelling is superb and I cannot believe this was her debut. The characters, the themes, and the story itself was just so important, so riveting, so powerful. 

Rum depicts the lives of “conservative Arab women living in America.” With lyrical prose, she tells a heartbreaking yet inspirational story about what it means to be a woman. She speaks for those who cannot and leaves us with a moving message: It takes more than one woman to do things differently. It takes a world of them. 

5. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

 I absolutely loved this — I saw the film, I read the novel, then I saw the film another 6 times; and I wish both could be seared into my memory forever.

From the first page, Aciman had me looking away, smiling, and rereading his delicate prose. Aciman has a way of expressing thoughts and emotions that I’m sure we’ve all experienced, but have a hard time putting into words.

This was my second reading of the novel and it has been my favorite book since I picked up in 2018 — I think it will be for the rest of my life.

6. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Anxious People, my first Backman and 100% most definitely not my last. I loved this book with every ounce of my being and it’s one that I will fondly remember forever.

It’s extremely character-driven and honestly, the characters Backman brought to life here are just the most memorable group of people ever! The writing was brilliant, hilarious, poignant.

Full of wisdom, beautiful sentiment, and a memorable quirky cast of characters this book affected me in more ways that I ever imagined it would. 

7. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This felt very personal — almost like I was peeking in through the windows of Shaker Heights. And very emotional. I loved how Celeste Ng presented both sides of the stories in this novel. She made me see why people behaved the way they did; blurred the line of right and wrong in a town where the line is very distinct. I could not bear to read about one character, but then, just like that, Ng would present them in a way that I couldn’t help but pity them. Feel empathy for them. Even the bad undeserving ones.

Little Fires Everywhere showed me how powerful and interesting character driven stories could be.

8. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

I whole-heatedly loved this: the Hispanic representation, the back-and-forth witty banter, the spot-on hilarious family members, and those names! Ethan and Olive called each other every other name except their own (Octavia, Elmo, Oscar, Eragon) and I howled every single time. 

One of my favorite things about this book is the Hispanic representation and the accuracy of it too. Olive’s family – loud and in everyone’s business, ready to help when necessary, having your back, and always, always cooking – resembles mine. The banter is all too familiar and frankly, it was outright hilarious. 

9. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey has led one heck of an interesting life and filled this memoir, which is quite like no other in my opinion, with humorous anecdotes, philosophical letters, poetry, and bumperstickers. Not only is he a great actor, he’s an incredible writer and storyteller as well — clever, and funny, and smooth. With a voice sweet like honey, McConaughey reads the shit out of his book and I couldn’t recommend this book, especially in audio form, enough. I read the physical book along with the audiobook and it was the greatest experience I could’ve ever offered my ears. 

Greenlights is an unconventional memoir, a real personal reflection, a look at a life well-lived, and a reminder to be present. To be less impressed and more involved. To get relative with the inevitable. To ‘just keep livin’. And I absolutely loved it. It’s raw, honest, philosophical, inspiring, and so fucking hysterical. 

10. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Do you ever pick up a book, read the first few pages, and instantly know it’s going to be a favorite? Yes? Well, Neal Shusterman’s Scythe did that for me and I am SHOOKETH at the sheer perfection that is this book. I cannot stress how much I loved this enough! The worldbuilding was *chef’s kiss*, the characters were memorable, the development was exceptional, the story itself was so darn good, and the writing was addictive and enthralling. Often times I was left wondering: how the hell did Shusterman come up with all this stuff? Beyond me! 

11. Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman

Simple, beautiful, heartfelt, and gay! I loved this story with my whole heart. I devoured it way too fast (36 minutes, to be exact) and I made the mistake of not having Volume Two ready to read right after this one. 

I am fairly new to graphic novels, this was my second one ever, and honestly I’ve come to love and appreciate them so so much. This was just absolutely perfect! It was one of my Christmas presents from my sister and I picked it up with the intention to just flip through it, but I ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting. I physically could not stop reading and I love when that happens. Charlie and Nick’s story is beautiful, the message is beautiful, the art is beautiful. Oseman’s art style matches the tone of the novel so well I simply cannot wait to continue this sweet story!

12. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

I have to say that the first thing that caught my eye about this book was the cover (I mean, is that a person on fire?!) but when I read the blurb and realized what this book was really about – two kids that combust into flames when agitated – I was utterly fascinated.

Yes, you heard correctly, fire children. But in the pages of this book you will find more than just a story about children who catch fire. It’s a story about compassion and friendship, about parenting and its affects, about loving others and loving oneself. It was short, but it packed a powerful punch and it was, dare I say it, a fire read… lol ok I’m done now.

13. With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

At its core, With the Fire on High is an ode to culture and heritage, to family and motherhood, to all the ‘Buelas of the world, and to the LATINX community (!!!). I love the culture she puts on her pages. I was consumed by it in both her debut, The Poet X, and this one. I cannot wait to complete my Acevedo trifecta with her latest book, Clap When You Land. She places such emphasis on the importance of family and community in her work and it makes me really happy to just sit down with her stories. I feel like she is a prime example of someone who “writes what they know” — as a Dominican-American, Acevedo really does a fantastic job at representing Latinx life and experience. The worlds that she builds in her fiction are a parallel to the world she grew up in, to the culture she knows. And so, the last paragraph of Acevedo’s acknowledgments in this book made my heart pitter-patter because yes, pa’lante siempre!


50 BOOKS IN 2020

I feel accomplished AF

4 thoughts on “2020: Another Year in the Books

  1. Lovely post! The Vanishing Half was a phenomenal and powerful book- it was definitely one of my favorites from this year! I adored Beach Read and Heartstopper, and I’m excited to continue with these authors in the future. Happy New Year!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anna! I agree. I’ve discovered so many great authors last year and I cannot wait to read more fo their books this year. I hope you had an amazing start to 2021 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! I loooved Beach Read so much, can’t wait for Emily Henry’s new book this year. Happy New Year!

    Like

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