My 2020 Reading List

Hi, guys! To better track what’s on my list this year and to read along with me, I’m creating a one stop shop to purchase these books, and read the synopsis of each one as I begin reading them.

That way it has more of a book club feel! Also, I will be adding to this list throughout the year, as I continue to pick out more books. Hope you all enjoy!

I began the year reading an autobiography about the controversial comedian Lenny Bruce. I became fascinated with him while watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and this book is actually quite interesting, to see how far stand up comedy has come since Bruce was around. I would highly recommend this book; it has multiple elements of crude humor, surprising standards to old school comedy, and a respect for Bruce who paved the way for future comedians.

Read this book: https://amzn.to/370JVk9

During the course of a career that began in the late 1940s, Lenny Bruce challenged the sanctity of organized religion and other societal and political conventions; he widened the boundaries of free speech. Critic Ralph Gleason said, ‘So many taboos have been lifted and so many comics have rushed through the doors Lenny opened. He utterly changed the world of comedy.Although Bruce died when he was only forty, his influence on the worlds of comedy, jazz, and satire are incalculable. How to Talk Dirty and Influence People remains a brilliant existential account of his life and the forces that made him the most important and controversial entertainer in history.

-Amazon

Where the Crawdads Sing easily has to be one of my new favorite books. Despite the slow start, this book had me diving deep into the story of Kya-never being able to put the book down and always wondering what would happen next?!

Read this book: https://amzn.to/39bzs72

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens. Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.” -Good Reads

This book ended up being a huge disappointment. Maybe if you’re traveling and desperately need something to read on the go, I might recommend this book. Otherwise, save yourself.

Read this book: https://amzn.to/2SkwndX

“Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other. With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason. ” –Good Reads


This book seemingly covers all bases-humor, tragedy, and reflection. I can tell there’s going to be a lot of depth and character development throughout this book.

Read this Book: https://amzn.to/2wfuEPO

“One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor. Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live? Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.” – Good Reads

 

Have I been living under a rock because I haven’t read this book?! Asking for a friend. I think everyone has a few classics on their list that they’ve never gotten around to reading, and mine just happens to be the Alchemist. I can’t wait to dive in and read this highly talked about novel.

Read this book: https://amzn.to/3cxG3uU

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.” – Amazon

 

This is one of those book where I’m like “it’s on my list,” and never really got around to reading it. I think this book might set me outside of my comfort zone a little, (I don’t know how I’m going to read about the murder of a dog because I LOVE dogs), but if reading doesn’t give you new perspectives and let you live outside yourself for a little, are you even reading the right way?

Read this book: https://amzn.to/2VLY2rC

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.” – Amazon

IMG_4407

This was such a fantastic read. I felt obligated to pick this one up during the height of the BLM protests, and I’m very glad I did. Not only is it wonderfully well written, it provides a great connection to daily struggles for people of color that others might not realize.

Read this book: https://amzn.to/2E0s6ZJ

This is such a great handbook for anyone beginning a career in visual merchandising and not knowing a lot about it. This book basically breaks down merchandising and store design to a science, exploring why people shop the way they do, how a store layout affects sales and customer satisfaction, and how merchandising products in a certain way will make or break a sale. 

Read this book: https://amzn.to/3eKdRFd

Similar to the previous pick, this is also a great read for aspiring merchandisers. I’d like to think of this one as more of a textbook for merchandisers, as it goes over the history or merchandising, why we do it, and how to practice great merchandising skills. This book also provides plenty of photos of outstanding window displays all over the world. While the previous book gave the reader a better understanding of how to make a sale based on merchandising, this book solely focuses on merchandising practices alone, encouraging the reader to endlessly creative when merchandising product.

Read this book: https://amzn.to/3fMiyQ5

Maybe I picked out this book because it’s one of Dan Levy’s favorite books of all time and I admire and adore him, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve shamefully never read anything by Joan Didion. Regardless of my personal reasoning, I decided it was time to get my hands on something of hers.

“The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, decades after its first publication, the essential portrait of America―particularly California―in the sixties. It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture.” – Amazon

Read this book: https://amzn.to/2OGKiJV

A little while ago when I was searching Amazon for a new bestseller to read, I stumbled across this one. Not only was the high praise for this novel intriguing, but the synopsis alone seemed original, gripping, and a parallel of some events that happen often in our world.

“Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy―two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia―trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.” -Amazon

Read this book: https://amzn.to/2CQKgN2

Now adapted into a TV series on Hulu, Little Fires Everywhere grabbed my attention a little while ago before the series came out. After reading the synopsis, I was obsessed with the plot, about how one enigmatic woman shook up a cookie cutter neighborhood and flipped the neighborhoods world upside down. 

“From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.”

Read this book: https://amzn.to/3hhBVRm

Honestly, how could I not include this book on this list? Say what you want about the Twilight series, but I was absolutely obsessed with this series in middle school, just like most others. Flash forward to today, I’m in a mid-twenties counting down the days until this book is released and we can read Twilight from Edward’s perspective. I love this slight sense of nostalgia this has given me!

Read this book: https://amzn.to/2BhfJHD

I’ve been reading this book off and on for a little while. The beginning is a little slow for me, but I’m hoping it’ll pick up soon because I love the whole late 60’s NYC scene. I feel like this is going to be a really fun read, as it blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.

“It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children – four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness – sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.” -Amazon

Read this book: https://amzn.to/2ZJJc6o

Leave a Reply