Hello!! Long time, no read!
I have read A LOT this year (and I think we all know why). Such a nice way to escape the overwhelming times we were, and are living in. I got lost in so many new worlds and found so many friends.
Plus, I found some pretty great free audiobook apps that I probably use every day. Hoopla and Libby are digital apps for your phone that connect through your library card. Seriously these apps are so slept on and there is so much time in the day when you can just listen to the book.
SO, I thought I would share just some of my favorites that I read this year!! (All the books are linked.)
This was the first book I read of 2020 and I immediately fell in love. It is set in 1940s England after World War II. People are beginning to recover from the devastation and finding their new normal (sound familiar?). Juliet’s book has just started to pick up in the charts when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams on Guernsey Island. She learns of his book club and immediately is intrigued by the club members’ situations. In a series of letters, she forms a connection with the members as well as a few outsiders. (I love that novel is written in letter form.) Juliet is desperate to meet these people and flees her book tour in order to meet them. She has her sights set on making friends with Kit's mom yet only manages to make friends with Isola and Kit. Yes, this is a movie on Netflix, but they leave out quite a few characters. This story will make your heartache and swoon all within a minute!
Eleanor is a socially awkward 30 something trying to find love and adjusting to changes in her life. Due to a traumatic childhood, she has a difficult time making friends and filtering her thoughts. Eleanor lives a pretty lonely life until she meets Raymond and Sammy who add a bit of flavor to her life. These two pull her from her rigid schedule to show her what it means to be human with emotions. A fast read full of healing.
A phenomenal yet highly anxious shut-in artist Bernadette finds herself in a pickle after she and Elgie, her husband, agree to take their daughter, Bee, to Antarctica. Bernadette hates their hometown and is stuck ruminating. It becomes an obsession with how she despises her town despite just how much Bee and Elgie thrive there. Without her art, she becomes a menace to society. Bernadette flees after an intervention with a therapist and the FBI. While trying to find where her mom could have possibly gone, Bee discovers Bernadette’s secret past. I loved the writing style as well as how funny and heart-warming this book is.
4. Little Women
My all-time favorite book! This story follows four tight-knit sisters as they grow up while their father is in the Civil War. Jo is an aspiring writer, Amy dreams of the finer things, Meg looks for a husband, and Beth longs for everyone to be home.
I’ve been trying to branch out into other genres, particularly mystery as I love crime shows and podcasts. This was the perfect book to get me started! Alicia has a seemingly beautiful cottagecore life with the love of her life when one day she shoots her husband and never speaks again. Follow a criminal psychologist's attempt to get the truth from her. Um, what more can I say to get you interested?
We follow several members of a wedding party on a small island off of Ireland. Just like with all families and old friends, resentments arise and someone ends up dead. So many suspects. Who will it be?
Non-fiction / Christianity / Psychology:
A guide to learning to love everybody, always. Goff tells personal stories while encouraging us to find freedom from insecurity and confidence in Jesus. I’ve found so much grace for others and myself while reading this. Hardly a page passed where I did not feel that there was something worth highlighting, so I’ll leave you with this: "Jesus talked to His friends a lot about how we should identify ourselves. He said it wouldn’t be what we said we believed or all the good we hoped to do someday. Nope, He said we would identify ourselves simply by how we loved people. It’s tempting to think there is more to it, but there’s not. Love isn’t something we fall into; love is someone we become."
More often than not, I find myself in the middle ground of polarized arguments and situations. Because of this, I often feel conflicted and stressed since I don’t have “solid opinions.” Brown feels this way too as she touched on a lot of “and” statements in the gray areas. And we both feel like more people should be able to see the other side of things. Brown writes on the on belonging and I felt like I was holding hands with Brene as I read her describing the achy feeling of not belonging. The way our society has become so polarized has led to deep disconnection to others and ourselves. Everyone should read this!! (P.S. this book was recommended to me by my therapist, so yeah, it’s pretty good.)
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”
“If you are offended or hurt when you hear Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters called bitch, whore, or the c-word, you should be equally offended and hurt when you hear those same words used to describe Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, or Theresa May.”
“Dehumanizing and holding people accountable are mutually exclusive. Humiliation and dehumanizing are not accountability or social justice tools, they’re emotional off-loading at best, emotional self-indulgence at worst. And if our faith asks us to find the face of God in everyone we meet, that should include the politicians, media, and strangers on Twitter with whom we most violently disagree. When we desecrate their divinity, we desecrate our own, and we betray our faith.”
I have the most difficult time with boundaries. Setting them, keeping them, and even understanding them. This can be especially difficult for Christians. Dr. Cloud and Townshend are Christian psychologists who back up every single boundary with scripture. Dr. Cloud and Townshend say, "Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out.” This is such a rewarding and convicting read! I loved every minute of it. The authors make sure to attack all the angles of why someone might find boundaries bad and cover it all in love from God’s word. Everyone should read!
A book written by a therapist who sees a therapist! No one is exempt from being human. Gottlieb takes readers on a universal journey of the pain that everyone deals with. In addition to her own experience with a therapist, she talks through the healing of several other patients; a narcissistic producer, terminally ill newlywed, and more. She says, “Let go of the limiting stories you’ve told yourself about who you are so that you aren’t trapped by them, so you can live your life and not the story you’ve been telling yourself about your life." It was funny and insightful! I loved all the different stories.
If you or someone you love have ADHD, you should definitely give this a read to understand it! This book goes over symptoms, coping tips, medications, and more!
Happy reading and Happy New Year!