Am I the only one who’s been finding major comfort in the world of books this year?? I definitely read a lot, but I’ve found that I’m escaping more and more into reading lately. With so much going on, it’s really nice to step inside the world of someone else and tune out for a bit. Also, just like everyone else and their mom, I read a ton more books about racial and social justice recently. I’ve been trying to alternative between one serious book and one escapism book, but honestly… it all depends on what I am able to get from the library. So today, I wanted to share part 2 of everything I’ve read so far this year (here’s part 1, btw). My goal is to read 40 books and I’m already up to 35!
Looking for More Book Recommendations? Here’s Everything I Read in Summer 2020!
It’s been a few months since I read some of these, so I did my best to share notes on each book recommendation below. If you have any questions, definitely feel free to leave a comment on this post and I’ll respond!
If you’re interested in any or all of these books, I made it easy to shop with my Amazon storefront. Enjoy!
Normal People by Sarah Rooney
This book had so much hype and took forever to get from the library! It follows two friends from a small town as they grow up and then move onto college. They sort of always circle each other, but there’s always so much resolved. I really liked the tension between the characters, but also struggled to identify with either of them and got frustrated, admittedly, with each. I definitely recommend reading this book since it’s such a talked about novel.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
I got reallllly into this book and read it in just a few days. There was something about this story of two siblings and the family drama that centered around one very special house that enthralled me. It felt like the house itself was another main character and even had me wishing the house was real so I could research it and see photos of it!
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
I didn’t really love the first book about Olive Kitteridge, but for some reason I decided to try again. Still wasn’t super stoked, but there are some highlights in the book. My thoughts on it… meh.
Conversations with Friends by Sarah Rooney
Holy sex scenes, batman! But for real, I loved how juicy and steamy this book is. Francis is a young woman who means a more sophisticated couple and then begins a relationship with the man, Nick. When they all go to France together, the relationship and the tension build… I enjoyed this one a lot more than Normal People.
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
If you’re looking for a quick, easy read that’s pretty cute and not too deep… this is a good one. The main character is our standard issue over-worked and busy mom who comes to learn how much she needs to take care of herself and prioritize herself. I felt like I could see the ending a mile away, but it was still a nice bit of fluff to help me mentally check out.
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah
I honestly STILL don’t know how I feel about this book. I couldn’t tell if it wanted to be sci-fi, murder mystery, or drama.
Followers by Megan Angelo
This book hit VERY close to home because it is about a writer who helps turn a friend into a famous influencer-type person. As a so-called influencer, myself, I saw a lot of what I do for work mirror back to me, leaving me with questions about things I want to change. It also makes the reader think about what the future of all the influencer world could look like and how it impacts generations to come. I highly recommend reading this one!
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
I would best describe this book as disarmingly funny, but also so very honest. It follows a woman named Queenie as she navigates a horrible break up while also navigating her very complicated and not always healthy behavior with men. I spent a lot of the book wishing the main character, Queenie, would speak up for herself and demand better treatment. It was kinda stressful, but I still really enjoyed the book and how the author presented a character with flaws who is still very lovable. The book is raw, truthful, and a must-read.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
I LOVED this book! It follows two families who are interconnected through dramatic actions that then affect the children from each family. My description totally isn’t doing the story justice — you really just have to read this. Especially if you enjoy dramatic novels about family dynamics.
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
This is what I started with on my quest to read more and educate myself about racial injustice. Honestly, I don’t recommend starting with this as it’s a month-long journey that features lots of journal and thinking prompts. If I could do it again, I’d read this after a few of the other books I’m going to mention on this topic. I just wish I had a bit more research and knowledge under my belt so that I could consider each prompt with more information to support it.
White Rage by Carol Anderson
This is the book I wish I had started with when improving my knowledge of racial justice. It’s a more comprehensive history of all the ways (laws, regulations, and judgements) that have disproportionately affected Black people in the United States. It’s an absolute must-read.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
There really isn’t much I can say about this must-read book that everyone hasn’t already said before. Just please read it.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
AHHH this is such a good book!!! They story follows two twins who lead very different lives because one passes as white and has pursued a life away from her Black family. What ensues is a contrast of how their lives differ and how they converge. I highly recommend this novel!
The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
This is a very dense, heavy read… almost like it’s an academic paper rather than a book. But as a homeowner, I felt it was my duty to learn and read more about the ways that Black people and underrepresented communities have been deterred from owning homes and land. I learned so much and definitely suggest reading it. Just keep in mind that it is sort of a slow read.
Sea Wife by Amity Gaige
This book tells the story of a family that takes to the sea on a sailboat and how they cope with that experience. It’s clear that something has happened to the father in the family, but you don’t really know what it is until the end. I definitely felt like there was something sinister looming over the book, so it was really suspenseful.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Okinkan Braithwaite
2020 is the year I got into reading more thrillers and more murder mysteries… this book included! I really enjoyed it because it is told through the main character who witnesses her sister’s possibly sociopathic behavior and how she gets sucked into it. I spent the entire time practically yelling at her in my head to stop being so loyal to her sister… you really have to read it to see what happens!
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
I already talked about this book, but OMG PLEASE READ IT. You know when you’re reading something and it aligns perfectly with where you’re at with day-to-day life? That’s literally how this one was for me. I usually read on Kindle, but I’m planning to get this one on paper because it’s definitely a book I plan to re-read during different stages of life.
The Ghosts are Family by Maisy Card
I’ve really been on a roll with finding books that I have truly enjoyed lately and this is no exception. The book follows many generations and branches of a Black family throughout time in Jamaica. It’s a vivid account of what each person experienced in life and how they all relate to each other, whether they know they’re related or not. I will say, read this book in paper format because I found it hard to read on a Kindle. I wanted to be able to zoom in and refer to the family tree at the beginning as I read, but it wasn’t really possible for some reason. I definitely think it would have helped me understand a bit better who was related to who… but yeah, read this one!
Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This quick read is told through letters written between a wife who has discovered her husband’s affair and the husband of the woman he’s having an affair with. It’s really a brutal read, especially when you read the letters the cheating husband and cheating wife have written to each other.
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Could. Not. Put. This. Down. If you’re in the mood for a murder-y, suspenseful thriller, defffinitely read this book about a couple who teams up to kill young women… and how it all plays out for their family. Don’t get mad at me when you stay up all night like I did to finish it.
So that’s part 2 of the books I’ve read so far this year! I’m going to share at least one more post like this, so stay tuned! 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. It also makes it easy to make a list of what you want to read. Also, if you want to learn how to check out e-books from the library, this post is a step-by-step guide!