Hello everyone! Today, I’m sharing the books I’ve read so far in 2020, at least so far.
I’m pretty sure I’ll read at least a couple more books by the end of the year but it’s Blogmas tradition to share the books I’ve read, so here we go!
Also, as you can see, I’m doing Blogmas again this year! That means I’ll be blogging every day until Christmas. I’ve done Blogmas in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 so I am happy to be participating again in 2020.
My 2020 Books (so far)
So far I’ve read 62 books that I’ll list here. This beat my goal of 20 by a long shot! I think my goal was actually 10 when the year started, maybe 15 but I increased it when the quarantine started, and then just didn’t bother when it became clear I was going to pass that goal.
So I’m going to list out the books! I don’t think I did full reviews on any but I did mini book reviews throughout the year. I’ll link those at the bottom as well as giving my basic thoughts on them here. I’ll mark the ones in the book reviews with “MBR #”.
I’ll also add if any where book club reads! I tried to follow the Readheads book club, which is a book club headed by Jackie Oshry of The Morning Toast, a YouTube news show. I’ll mark those books as “TRHBC”. I also joined my library’s Adult Non-Fiction book club which I’ll mark as “ANFBC”.
Also, I rate books out of 5 stars like Goodreads. I save 5’s for the very best books, 4 are books I really enjoyed, 3 are good but not great, 2 is ok, 1 is basically “I wish I hadn’t wasted my time” but most of the time I don’t actually finish those so they don’t make it onto the list. My Goodreads user name is StarringPamela if you want to add me there!
So here’s the books!
- Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly 4/5 stars – I read this because of the movie and although it started slow, I really enjoyed it once I understood who was who and really got into it.
- Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston 4/5 stars – I loved this book! It was so funny and enjoyable, and I really recommend it. This was a TRHBC book.
- Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson 2/5 stars – Ugh, I didn’t like this. I try to be nice about every book I read so I’ll say the idea was super cool and interesting but it was so weird and didn’t really explain plot points well. This was a TRHBC book.
- The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth 4/5 stars – I really enjoyed this book once I got into it. I think it was a good follow up to Carve the Mark even if it wasn’t as good as the first book. This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- Again, but Better by Christine Riccio 5/5 stars – I loved this story! I studied abroad in college so this story really brought a ton of memories back. It was really cool to get back in that mindset, which did play into the 5 stars I gave. This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- The Good Neighbor: The Life and Times of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King 4/5 stars – So cool to read! I had no idea how extensive and involved Rogers was in his tv show or in the tv industry in general. I didn’t read it for the ANFBC but I know it was a pick of theirs previously. This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- Out of the Dog House by Dick Portillo and Don Yaeger 3/5 stars – I read this because I love the Portillo’s restaurant. It’s an autobiography of Portillo’s and while I do think his life is super interesting and cool, I thought that the book itself wasn’t well written. Of course, he is/was a great restaurant owner, not an author, but I found myself rolling my eyes at how often the same stories came up. This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 5/5 stars – This is such an amazing read. The book centers around police violence and I really think it should be required reading in schools, especially given the BLM movement this year. This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez 3/5 stars – I really didn’t think it was that great but I’ll admit I did appreciate the Hispanic representation in the story. This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton 5/5 stars – Such a great book for kids! This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian 4/5 stars – This was a really cool book. The world building was phenomenal and I loved reading the story. This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama 5/5 stars – I loved reading Michelle Obama’s book! I read this before watching the Netflix version, which was perfect because I felt that she took the best stories and told them there anyway, but it was still cool to read and learn about who she is and why. This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo 3/5 stars – I read this because I loved the Netflix series like everyone else. I do think a lot of her tips are maybe a little too broad like “no one should really have a separate set of clothing for different seasons”. Hard disagree there says my Chicagoland self! This was reviewed in MBR 1.
- Good to Great by James C. Collins 3/5 stars – I read this because everyone in my MBA classes last year kept talking about it. It is considered one of the best books that analyzes what it takes for good companies to become great companies. It is very dated, but I can see why it’s so popular. Still, I thought it was pretty boring, I’m not going to lie, even if it had very good points. This was reviewed in MBR 2.
- An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green 4/5 stars – I read this because it’s Hank’s book! I feel like no one cares about the fact that I’ve met Hank while working at VidCon in 2019, but it’s important to ME so I’ll still share that. I really liked the book and thought it was a super cool idea. This was reviewed in MBR 2.
- Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino 4/5 stars – This was a pretty interesting book and it was enjoyable. I never would have picked it up on my own but it was pretty cool. This was a TRHBC pick. This was reviewed in MBR 2.
- Ten Days a Madwoman by Deborah Noyes 3/5 stars – It was okay, but not as informative as I expected about the actual events referred to in the title. This was reviewed in MBR 2.
- Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake 4/5 stars – I mostly just read it to continue the Three Dark Crowns series but it was a good continuation to the series. I just think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it closer to the first books of the series. This was reviewed in MBR 2.
- Maybe This Time by Kasie West 4/5 stars – It was a nice, light read! This was reviewed in MBR 2.
- Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik 4/5 stars – Good read but super long and detailed! This was reviewed in MBR 2.
- Me: Elton John by Elton John 4/5 stars – Such a good read! This was reviewed in MBR 2.
- The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger 3/5 stars – I read this because of the movie, and it honestly wasn’t as much fun as the film. Still interesting though! This was reviewed in MBR 3.
- Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery 5/5 stars – this is a kids book but still super interesting. This was reviewed in MBR 3.
- American Royals by Katharine McGee 4/5 stars – Such a fun idea! This was reviewed in MBR 3.
- Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian 4/5 stars – A really good sequel! This was reviewed in MBR 3.
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins 5/5 stars – I don’t think I’d still rate it 5 stars now, but it was so cool to be back in Panem for this story that I do think that influenced my rating. This was reviewed in MBR 3.
- Magnolia Table Volume 2 by Joanna Gaines 3/5 stars – interesting but I didn’t see a ton I wanted to try from the book. This was reviewed in MBR 3.
- Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake 4/5 stars – a solid finish to the Three Dark Crowns series. This was reviewed in MBR 3.
- Get in Trouble by Kelly Link 2/5 stars – it’s a collection of short stories. Some are good, some are not, so it’s okay overall. This was reviewed in MBR 3.
- On the Come Up by Angie Thomas 3/5 stars – not as good as her other book but still interesting. This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- Dia de Muertos by Artes de Mexico 5/5 stars – super interesting read on Day of the Dead and written in both English and Spanish! This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- An American Summer by Alex Kotiowitz 3/5 stars – it was super popular this year but I found it to be way too scattered about. There were so many people to keep track of and it was told mostly chronologically so the stories were split into multiple chapters separated throughout the book. It was a bit of a headache to try to keep it all straight to be honest. This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- Milk and Cookies by Tina-Marie Casaceli 3/5 stars – so many cookie recipies but nothing that I was really that interested in trying as they all seemed so generic. This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- TED Talks by Chris J. Anderson 3/5 stars – it was cool to get an “insider” look at what the tips given to TED Talk speakers are but it was a little all over the place. THere were several times where the guy said “my advice is ABC” but then would say “[insert popular TED talk here] didn’t do that at all and did XYZ instead”. Clearly the best advice would have just been to “be yourself”. This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper 3/5 stars – I really liked the idea of this book’s plot but I found that the story was a little too out there in terms of how the plot developed. This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel 2/5 stars – I understand and respect the opinions of those that think that his is such a great book but I personally hated it. This was a TRHBC pick. This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare 3/5 stars – Interesting story idea but I hate the Clary/Jace thing. This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 4/5 stars – cool idea and interesting read, especially during the BLM events. This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 4/5 stars – Super interesting, and I can’t believe I didn’t read it in school. I think it’s usually required reading so I don’t know why I didn’t get assigned it. This was reviewed in MBR 5. This was a TRHBC book but I would have read it anyway I’m pretty sure due to the BLM stuff.
- Between Inca Walls by Evelyn Kohl LaTorre 5/5 stars – I was sent this free for review purposes and I really enjoyed it! This was reviewed in MBR 4.
- Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines 3/5 stars – It was okay, not as good as Vol. 2 was. This was reviewed in MBR 5.
- A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley 4/5 stars – The film Lion is based on this book, and it’s a film that’s stayed with me. I’m so glad I finally read the book. This was reviewed in MBR 5.
- City of Glass by Cassandra Clare 3/5 stars – I. HATE. CLARY. This was reviewed in MBR 5.
- My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell 2/5 stars – Such a creepy story. This was a TRHBC book. This was reviewed in MBR 5.
- Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim 4/5 stars- a collection of essays and super interesting. This was reviewed in MBR 5.
- Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo 3/5 stars – I mostly read this because I am trying to read more from Hispanic authors but I hate how they pick the worst sterotypes of Hispanics for their stories! This was reviewed in MBR 5.
- The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllenben 4/5 stars – I do agree that the personification of the trees is a little much as it did confuse people I talked to about the book but I like the information in the book. This was an ANFBC pick. This was reviewed in MBR 5.
- The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley 3/5 stars – I got the sense that the author didn’t want to offend anyone so he didn’t really talk about anything that could have been “bad” like America’s Next Top Model. Plus I totally think that he did great things for the world of fashion, particularly for gays or people of color, but he did also have a bit of an attitude in his writing that conveyed that he thought he was irreplaceable and undervalued in the industry even though he didn’t show any understanding of the online space and how it impacts high-end fashion. This was reviewed in MBR 5.
- The Book of Gutsy Women by Hiliary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton 4/5 stars – super cool concept and I loved the book! This was reviewed in MBR 5.
- You Are An Artist by Sarah Urist Green 4/5 stars – I wish I’d had physical book for the activities! This was reviewed in MBR 6.
- The Ship of Dreams by Gareth Russell 4/5 stars – Super cool and interesting facts about the Titanic. I learned so much! And that’s with having been interested in the story anyway and having done past light research into it. This was reviewed in MBR 6. This was also an ANFBC pick.
- Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian 4/5 stars – Loved this ending of the Ash Princess series! This was reviewed in MBR 6.
- Reverie by Ryan La Sala 4/5 stars – Super cool idea but I wish it was better explained, especially at the start. This was reviewed in MBR 6.
- The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare 4/5 stars – I liked this a lot more because there was no Clary. This was reviewed in MBR 6.
- Medieval Bodies by Jack Hartnell 3/5 stars – Interesting book! I learned a ton, as I really didn’t know how much the medieval times got right. Some stuff was still very, very wrong though. This was an ANFBC book. This was reviewed in MBR 6.
- We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia 5/5 stars – SO GOOD! Finally a book with Hispanic influences that I loved. The world building was super cool too. This was reviewed in MBR 6.
- Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson 4/5 stars – I felt so bad for Rosemary and still do. This was reviewed in MBR 6.
- A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green 4/5 stars – Not as good as the first book in the series but still enjoyable. This was reviewed in MBR 6.
- Be More Chill by Ned Vissini 4/5 stars – Mostly read this because of the musical but so good still! This was reviewed in MBR 6.
- The Testaments by Margret Atwood 4/5 stars – I thought this was a good continuation of the first book, event if I thought it was a little unnecessary. Some books should be left to stand on their own but it was still a good sequel, which I hadn’t expected.
- We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia 4/5 stars – Not as good as the first book but still super cool.
- The Radium Girls by Kate Moore 4/5 stars – this is a story I’ve been so interested in, so I was excited to learn more. It’s a horrible tale of girls who worked with radium and ended up with poisioning from it to die horrible and early deaths.
Links to the Mini Book Reviews
So those are the books I’ve read so far! And links to my mini book reviews too. I haven’t reviewed all the books on this list yet, and I’m not done reading for the year but I figured I should share as much as possible here! I do anticipate reading at least two more books as I’m partly through one already and the other is the ANFBC book for this month. I’ll include those in the Lively and a future mini book reviews post too!
Thanks for reading!
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