MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2020
JANUARY 6, 2021
Back in March, Kyle and I took a weekend trip to a cabin in Watson, Oklahoma. It was heaven. For Christmas just a few months prior, we had given each other experience gifts. I got us bikes (ended up being good timing hence quarantine!), and Kyle got us a weekend in the woods, just the two of us. We stayed in The Chesapeake at River’s Edge Cottages and I can’t say enough good things. Anyway, at this cabin in the woods, there was no TV and WiFi that didn’t really work so I had to entertain myself technology-free.
They had a bookshelf in the cabin so the day we arrived, Kyle headed to the river to fish and I perused the small collection of books for something to read river-side. I should back up and explain that while I loved to read as a child (I even won a pizza party for my whole class in elementary school for reading the most books!), AP classes in high school and forced reading of things I didn’t love ruined it for me. I haven’t given reading up altogether over the last 20 years but it also wasn’t much a part of my life.
That weekend, I picked up Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman and found myself looking forward to waking up to drink coffee by the fire and read a few hours before Kyle woke up. I finished the whole book in that weekend, which is something I hadn’t done in a long time.
As we got back home, everything was shutting down and I found myself with time to read (#quarantine). I started taking daily walks for fresh air and listened to audio books, and would occasionally curl up with one in the evenings after the kids went to bed. I came to love this time and am so glad I’ve rediscovered a love for reading. I get through more via audio thanks to the ease of listening on walks, while cooking dinner, cleaning the house, etc., but have also come to appreciate curling up with a blanket, a glass of wine and a book (although the physical copies take me longer to finish.)
And a quick note – our local county library has an app with thousands of free audio books. If you are local to Tulsa, check this out! If not, see if your local library has something similar. I love this feature!
So, with all that said, here were my favorites from this year (in no particular order).
DREAM BIG by bob goff
I loved Love Does by Bob Goff so when I saw this one, I had to get it. I listened to the audio version, which I highly recommend since Bob narrates it himself. The goal of the book is to push you to get the things you want in life and while it was inspiring, I loved it more for the stories he shares, particularly about his neighbor Carol. This one had me crying in one minute and smiling in the next (yes, while walking the neighborhood.)
THE GLASS CASTLE by jeannette walls
This was the first book I read after getting back from the cabin. It’s fascinating. A memoir, Jeannette shares her story of growing up with gypsy-like parents, no money, an alcoholic father, and a mom with big dreams of being an artist and no push to make it happen. I found myself shocked this story was real with each page I turned. I haven’t seen it, but it’s also been made into a movie.
THE CACTUS by sarah haywood
I grabbed this one from the library because it was on Reese’s Book Club list and I really enjoyed it! It was maybe a bit predictable but it was a lighthearted read. The book follows 45-year old Susan who is uptight, has just lost her mother, finds herself pregnant and has to sort through her mother’s estate with a brother she doesn’t care much for.
EVERYTHING IS FIGUREOUTABLE by marie forleo
This is the book I started 2020 with and I’m ready to read it again. Marie Forleo provides so much valuable content on her website and with her MarieTV videos so it’s no surprise the book was full of insightful content. Great read for anyone but especially entrepreneurs or those with a dream but not sure how to accomplish it.
the mother-in-law by sally hepworth
This one was captivating. There’s a bit of mystery with some twists and turns. At the center of the story are Lucy and her mother-in-law Diana but the whole family is part of the picture and there are a lot of side stories that feed into the main plot. My sister just finished another book by this author,The Family Next Door, and said that one is also excellent so this author seems to be one to follow.
greenlights by matthew mcconaughey
This was one of my most recent listens and please, please do yourself a favor and add this to your list. I love this book. You have to listen to the audio book though. Matthew McConaughey reads it and hearing his words in his voice was excellent. He gives background on how he got where he is today, stories about his family, his time in Hollywood and meeting his wife. He shared how the line “Alright, Alright, Alright!” came to be and about the time he got arrested while drumming naked in the middle of the night. I find people’s stories interesting and this one didn’t disappoint. I hope he writes another! I’m trying to pick a single quote from the book to share as my favorite and it is HARD. I’ll leave you with this one:
“We all have scars, we gonna have more. Rather than struggle against time and waste it, let’s dance with time and redeem it. Cause we don’t live longer when we try not to die. We live longer when we are too busy living.”
#girlboss by sophia amoruso
This one kept showing up on reading lists for female entrepreneurs and I kept putting it off but after finally giving in, I found it really interesting. It’s the story of Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal and whatever your feelings about her and her company, this story sheds light on someone who had a dream and was willing to do whatever she needed to make it happen. There’s a lot to learn here.
WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. FINN
This book took a bit to get going but I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. It’s mysterious, sad and bizarre at times, but is intriguing and once I got halfway through, couldn’t put it down. It was made into a movie with a star-studded cast (Amy Adams, Julianne Moore), but release was delayed (#covid). I read it’s moving to Netflix instead of a theater release but not sure of the date. Can’t wait to watch!
MAKE LIFE BEAUTIFUL BY SHEA AND SYD MCGEE
When Shea and Syd McGee of Studio McGee announced a book launch, I, like many, assumed it was a coffee table style book so when I saw it on sale at Target for pre-order, I went ahead and purchased. I was surprised to find out it was more of a memoir about their journey to building their business. So, instead of reading the hard copy, I purchased the audio version and ended up really enjoying their tales. Shea and Syd narrate the book and tell all about how Shea got started, how she eventually convinced Syd to join her, and how they put all their marbles into the risk of making Studio McGee what it is today. As someone in the middle of getting my own business off the ground, it was the fire I needed to keep going.
I kicked off 2021 with The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone. He has an interesting approach to goal setting saying you should set goals that are out of reach to force yourself to strive harder. I thought it was funny because I also listened to a podcast yesterday by someone who said your goals should be achievable. Grant has a ton of $$ and his own plane while the other person doesn’t, so I think I’ll listen to him. 😉
I’m excited to continue reading and learning this year. What’s on your list?