Everything I’ve Read So Far in 2020 (Part 1)

I’ve always been someone that finds comfort in reading, especially a good escapist novel. I’ve been wrestling with feelings of needing to be productive with all this time at home… but zero energy to actually execute all the projects I have in mind. If anything, all I want to do is read and mentally escape, even just for a little bit. In case you’re the same way and need some new book recommendations, here’s a list of everything I’ve read so far in 2020! And if you want to skip ahead to shopping for books, I set up an Amazon storefront for my 2020 reading list.

Reading has also been especially helpful during all of my sleepless nights. I typically read on a Kindle, so I turn the brightness down all the way to avoid waking up Sean. I’ve been waking up between 2 and 3 am for the past few weeks with anxiety. Then I’m up for a few hours at least! It sucks. But being able to mentally escape has really helped.

Looking for Book Recommendations? Here’s Everything I Read in Spring 2020!

So much has happened since I read some of these books back in January… it feels like ages ago! I tried to offer notes as much as I could for each one. Let’s dig into each book recommendation:

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’m a newlywed, so this book was really hard to read. It’s about a marriage that is basically at it’s breaking point and they decide to take a year off to try to find themselves and each other again at the end of it.

Leaving the Witness by Amber Scorah

If you’ve read my blog for a while and followed my book suggestions, you’ll know that I read a lot of memoirs from people who’ve left cults and religions. This memoir chronicles the escape of a woman leaving a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was both fascinating and heartbreaking.

Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

I mean, who isn’t obsessed with Brené Brown?? I definitely am. I’m always working to cultivate deeper connection with friends and family… and you guys! So this book helped to inspire my further journey on that path.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

This book has won all kinds of awards and accolades… and deservedly so. This quick read follows the various paths of a family on the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s celebration and all the long-term decisions each made to get to this point.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I’ve always struggled with how vulnerable and open to be here on the blog and on my social media platforms, so this book really helped me to understand the importance of it… not to mention being emotionally more open within my relationships.

A Year Without a Name by Cyrus Grace Dunham

This memoir shares the journey of gender transition. Admittedly, this is the first book I’ve read about this topic and it was truly eye opening. Parts of the book made me sob, parts made me laugh, parts really made me think more about our society and how we treat the LGBTQ community.

The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe King Benjamin

It’s been a few months since I read this book and I am still undecided on if I actually liked it or not. The story is complex, but maybe too convoluted? I don’t know… if you’ve read it, let me know what you think.

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

I literally could not put this thriller down. It’s so juicy and has so many twists and turns. The book follows a women who agreed to have an open marriage, but to never meet the other wives… until she does some digging.

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Oh man… this book might be too heavy to read right now. It is based on a true story of sexual assaults against Mennonite women when they are sleeping. It follows what could have been the thought process of the women as they decide whether to stay or to leave. It’s gut wrenching.

Last Day by Luanne Rice

This is another murder mystery read that is very juicy and a quick read. I didn’t love it as much as The Wives, but if you want something fast and engrossing, here’s another good one.

The Water Dancer Ta-Nehisi Coates

This book is a brutally honest, deeply sad story about the atrocities of slavery. It’s beautifully written and made me cry many times as he described our country’s most disgraceful period in history.

All the Rage by Darcy Lockman

Apparently when you’re a newlywed, everyone starts pressuring you to have kids immediately. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the gender disparities that are still overwhelmingly common to wrap my mind around what that personal choice is for me. I found the book a bit repetitive at times, but if you’re exploring the same topic for yourself, I would recommend this book.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

It took me a long time to get into this book, to be honest… maybe about 1/2 of the way through? I’m surprised I stuck with it, but I did. The last few chapters were worth it, especially following the main character’s growing self-awareness.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This is a light read that also feels somewhat timely… the novel follows an alternative turnout to the 2016 election and the journey of the First Son in exploring his sexuality. It felt really good to indulge in an alternate reality of the United States for just a few hours…

Everything I Read in 2020 Part 1 + My Book Recommendations for What You Should Read Next while sheltering in place #reading #bookreport #mustread #books #bookrecommendations #whattoread #booksuggestions

So that’s part 1 of the books I’ve read so far this year! I’m going to be sharing this type of post again every 3 months, so keep an eye out! And if you want to know what I’m reading in real time… I use Good Reads to keep track of what I’ve read and set goals for myself about how many I want to read in a year. Originally, my goal was to have every other book I read this year be ‘smart,’ so like a business book, self-help, or something that I’d learn from… now that we’re living through a freaking pandemic, I have skewed more toward the mental vacation that fiction offers.

Looking for more book recommendations? Here are more blog posts with book suggestions:
If you’re interested in any or all of these books, I made it easy to shop with my Amazon storefront. Enjoy!

Also, I check out e-books from my local library… would you be interested in a post about how to check out digital materials from the library? More than happy to share that, especially since Sean’s sister is a librarian!

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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