My Favourite Books of 2020 + How To Read More In 2021

‘Sup friends! Happy New Year’s Eve! I’ve been loving all the posts I’ve been doing so far this week; I feel like I’m so ready for 2021 in my Bullet Journal and in terms of my 2021 Reading Challenge! Instead of planning ahead today we’re going to do a little reflection on the past year and take a look at some of my favourite reads from 2020:) I’m really excited because I read some freaking awesome books this year! Plus I’m going to share a few tips with you guys on how to read more in 2021.

While I’m not exactly sure how many books I read this past year, I know that it was definitely over 20. It may seem like a lot, but reading 2-3 books per month is totally possible! I attribute much of my reading success to my 2020 Reading Challenge- it really helped me step out of my comfort zone. And that’s my number one tip for being able to read more- is keep your TBR list interesting! Reading the same kind of books over and over again can be repetitive and boring, but when you’re switching things up often it keeps reading fun! Of course if you find one genre or book style really appealing to you then you can stick with it, but if you’re finding it hard to get into a book try something new. I’m starting another challenge as well this year so DEFINITELY check it out if you feel like you’re in a bit of a book drought.

Having a book that you’re interested in is really the number one way to ensure that you read more, because it means that you’re more likely to pick up your book instead of the remote or your phone. Reading shouldn’t feel like a chore or something that you have to do; it should be fun and keep you on your toes. I’m a big believer in JK Rowling’s idea that people who don’t like to read just haven’t found the right book. Try and match your life interests to books, or go the opposite route and read about something you know nothing about! However you do it, keep looking into different books until you find the ones that speak to you. Libraries are great for this because you can try out as many books as you want for free.

Finally, whenever you are endlessly scrolling on social media or surfing Netflix- I’m guilty of it too- try to make a conscious effort to go and read instead. The amount of free time we have is actually a lot, it’s just what we do with that time that’s holding us back. Try allotting a certain amount of time for reading each day at first, and then eventually when you get used to it and find books you like, you can keep expanding your reading time.

Hopefully those tips help you out a bit in 2021! As for my favourite books of 2020, I found that lots of them featured strong women, or had themes of both family and independence. These books just really struck a chord with me- I don’t know if they felt nostalgic or what but I just really enjoyed them! And then I have a couple of more adventure/mystery novels in here as well that I just about devoured. These books aren’t in any particular order- it was hard enough for me to narrow down my top picks, you can’t expect me to rank them! Here are my favourite reads of 2020!

Little Women

This story really touched me and I enjoyed reading it so much. It’s about the four March girls growing up during the American Civil War, and is loosely based on the life of the author, Louisa May Alcott. It follows them from young teenagers into young women, and tells of all their adventures, love interests, dreams, and careers along the way. It doesn’t sound like it would be a super exciting read, but something about the way that it’s written was very entertaining for me. How the sisters always stick by each other through thick and thin, and support one another, is just beautiful and so heart warming. The 2020 movie adaptation is actually my favourite film- I cried while watching! I really recommend this novel and hope you pick it up soon!

The Red Tent

Another beautiful story about women, The Red Tent features Dinah, who is the daughter of Jacob and Leah and is a minor character in the bible. It tells the story of her family, the role that the women have in it and the strength that they carry. It also follows Dinah as she grows up and moves away from her family’s camp, trying to discover her purpose in life. The way that everything intertwines in this novel is superb, and the themes of resiliency, family, love, and tradition are so moving. This really is a timeless novel and I definitely want to reread it sometime soon.

Circe

Ok, yes, you can kind of see a pattern here, but all of these books about strong women are just so good! I’m a sucker for anything related to Greek Mythology, so this book was PERFECT for me. Circe is a minor Greek goddess whose story isn’t very well known, and so the author Madeline Miller expands on it and really makes it something worth reading. It follows Circe throughout her life and chronicles how she stands up to her father and is then exiled, leaving her to discover a life of solitude. She has to learn how to deal with visitors, her family members, and how to let go of the thing she loves most. The story telling in this book was amazing and I found myself absolutely zooming through it. This is Madeline Miller’s second novel and just came out in 2020. I got a copy of her first novel- The Song of Achilles- for Christmas and I’m SO excited to read it!

And Then There Were None

I literally finished this book in two days- I couldn’t put it down! It’s an Agatha Christie mystery novel and it was such a fast-paced, smart and thrilling read. 10 completely unrelated visitors are drawn to a mysterious island by a mysterious, unknown person that no one can identify. Then suddenly, they all begin to die one by one, and their deaths match up with a nursery rhyme framed throughout the manor! This book kept me guessing to the very last page and was very well written- can’t wait to read more of Agatha Christie this year!

The Da Vinci Code

This is another book that I finished really fast because I just had to know what happened next! It’s set in Europe, where a symbologist and a cryptologist are both dragged in to a thousands of years old hunt for the Holy Grail, led on by cunning clues and chased by a powerful religious organization. The Da Vinci Code was not only super interesting, but also really exciting and puzzling. It was full of twists and things that I never saw coming, and also tied together at the end quite nicely. There’s a movie for this book too, but I don’t think that it does the book justice. Make sure to pick up a copy!

A Cook’s Tour

I’ve never really read a book like this before, and I was pleasantly surprised! Travelling and food are two of my favourite things, and if I couldn’t actually travel this year, at least I could read about it. Anthony Bourdain is a great food writer, and wittily gives his account of his travels to numerous different countries, including Cambodia, Vietnam, Mexico and Russia. The amazing food and culture of all these places really comes to life, and it for sure made me hungry! It was interesting to read about how the food actually is in those countries, as opposed to our watered down versions here at home. It got me excited to travel and taste some great things once everything is safe again!

And that concludes my favourite reads of 2020! It was really hard to choose because I did love most of the books I read this year. Except for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea- that was pretty painful. I hope you all have a great New Year’s Eve, and I’ll see you tomorrow for one last post of the week!

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

2021 Reading Challenge

Hey there! This is going to be a heavy week for posting because I have so much to share with you guys before the new year! I think I’m going to have something coming out that’s either book-related or bullet journal related very day so stay tuned. Yesterday I posted my 2021 Bullet Journal Set-Up which turned out so great; make sure to check it out! Today we’re going over my reading challenge for the year, which is probably one of the most fun pages in my journal.

I started doing this reading challenge thing last year, and I’m IN LOVE with it! Unfortunately I didn’t think of doing it until around the second week of January, so it wasn’t included in my 2020 Set-Up, but was within the month of January in my bullet journal. But this year I knew for sure that I wanted to do it again, so I made sure to include it in the very first pages. To match the rest of my 2021 Set-Up, I went with these yellow and grey boxes, with a cute title written in white ink on kraft paper in the centre.

This is unrelated but hat little crinkle in the bottom left corner really bugs me. Annnnyways, how the challenge works is basically I have to read one book that fulfils each of the prompts. So, for example, I have to read a book that is yellow, a book written by an immigrant, a book that was turned into a TV series, and so on and so forth. I don’t fill them out in any particular order, I just make sure that they all get done! Since it’s 2021 I gave myself 21 prompts to complete! Last year I had 20, and I felt like this was a good number because it still let me read some books that didn’t necessarily work for my reading challenge.

I loved doing a challenge like this last year because it just broadened my reading horizons so much! I read so many books that I would have otherwise never found out about, which was something that I really enjoyed. Reading is amazing because it allows you to learn so much about different people’s perspectives and the human experience as a whole, and so keeping your TBR list eccentric and surprising really maximizes your exposure to new ideas. This year I’m hoping to go even more outside my comfort zone and read some more awesome books! Definitely feel free to come along on this challenge with me to check out some reads that you usually wouldn’t pick up.

Be sure to look at my Instagram page throughout the year, because that’s where I share the most updates on what I’m reading and how it fits into this challenge. I’ll also fill you in during my monthly reading lists if you’re looking for inspiration and can’t seem to fill a prompt! Here’s my full reading challenge if you’re looking to follow along:)

2021 Reading Challenge

Read a book….

  • On Nutrition
  • That Is A Biography
  • With A Number In The Title
  • With A Map
  • That Has 2 Authors
  • With Less Than 210 Pages
  • That Is Yellow
  • That Is An Award Winner
  • That Is Based On A True Story
  • That Was Published Anonymously
  • That Was Turned Into A TV Series
  • Written By A Nobel Prize Winner
  • Written By An Immigrant
  • On Personal Development
  • About Theology
  • Set In Australia
  • About A Historical Figure
  • With a 1 Word Title
  • Written Before 1921
  • Translated From Arabic
  • Released In 2021

Hope you decide to go through with this challenge with me! Let me know if you do in the comments or on Instagram (mydayisbooked_blog). It’s going to be a fun time! See you tomorrow with another post:))

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

December 2020 Reading List

We’ve arrived at the final stretch of the year so this month I’m going HARD to finish all the books that I need to for my 2020 Reading Challenge. I slacked a little in November. Right now I’m reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and it’s a little bit painful, not gonna lie. It’s a great concept and story and everything, but it’s pretty dry! My goal is to finish by the end of this week because I need to start my other books:)))

I’m so glad that I branched out into a bunch of different genres this year though! I feel like up until now I’ve mostly just been reading YA fiction stuff, but I’m actually starting to drift away from those kinds of fantasy books. There are so many cool books out there, from mystery novels to historical fiction to more classic stories, and I feel like I’ve just reached the tip of the iceberg, which is exciting. YA Fiction- especially fantasy- is still very near and dear to my heart, but after a while the summaries on the backs of the books all start to look the same. Last year I remember I was kind of stuck in a rut thinking that I’ve discovered all of the good books there were to be read…. I don’t know how I was so naive but there are SO many good ones out there. If you’re stuck in a book rut try reading something outside of your usual genre! You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.

The books I’m reading this month definitely showcase a lot of variety and I’m really excited to read all of them! I have a shameful confession to make though… I STILL haven’t read the Guinevere deception (insert yikes face emoji here). I think it’s been on my book lists since the summertime, but I actually only bought it about a week ago and was in the midst of Twenty Thousand Leagues already. So I actually need to read it this month. I’m getting it done first.

Otherwise, the two other prompts that I still need to fill in are a book about food, and a book set in Asia. I have two books that both look AMAZING to hit these categories. Let’s get into my list so you can see what I mean!

The Guinevere Deception

I finally got my hands on a copy and I’m reading this first in December! I’ve given a summary like five bajillion times now, but the premise is that Guinevere is called to Camelot to marry King Arthur- only she has a secret identity. She was actually sent by Merlin to be a guardian of the city. It’s up to her to save Camelot from the dangers lurking both outside and within. This should be a nice light, fun read and I’m excited to dig in.

A Cook’s Tour

This is for my book about food and I’m REALLY looking forward to it. It’s by Anthony Bourdain who is absolutely amazing, and basically it chronicles his quest around the globe to find the perfect meal. International cuisine is super interesting to me, and I love trying new things! So this should be a super cool read. Who knows, maybe I’ll get some inspiration for more good blog recipes:)) Next year I’d definitely like to pick up some more books on food, just to learn more about different cuisines and techniques so I can share them with you guys. If you have any interest at all in food I suggest picking up this book, because it looks like a good one.

Shantaram

Ok, this one is a little iffy because it is THICK. And by thick I mean a whopping 933 pages. Which my be the thickest book I’ve ever had my sights on.

This book fills in my “set in Asia” prompt, but if its looking like I’m not going to finish it, I may have to jump ship. Although usually if I really like a book, I zoom through it, so I might not have an issue. We’ll see! Anyways, this book is about an Australian convict who flees in India and begins to live in the slums of Bombay. He eventually joins the mafia, whose leader becomes his mentor. This book encapsulates a huge range of human experiences and seems like it deals with some pretty deep stuff so I’ll have to put my thinking cap on. But I like books that talk about humanity and have a deeper message, so hopefully I like this one so much that I can finish it in a week!

Those are the books that I’m planning on ending off the year with! I now recognize how important it is for me to finish Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea ASAP because I have waaaaayyy more reading to do than I anticipated. Hope you guys have an amazing weekend! Gotta go read:))

November 2020 Reading List

I know I kind of did a Fall Reading List, but I finished most of the books on there and I’m ready to move on😂 So today I’m going to show you all of the books that I want to read this November.

I’m coming pretty close to finishing up my 2020 Reading Challenge which is exciting! I only have 5 prompts left👌 This month I’m hoping to knock out 3-4 of them, so I’ll only have one or two going into December. 20 books is about the right size of a challenge for me, which is good to know for next year! It’s good because it allows me to still read some books outside of the challenge, and not be restricted by it, but I still read lots of books that I wouldn’t have normally.

The novels I read last month were actually really good and I enjoyed them. All The Light We Cannot See was a beautiful story, and Sophie’s World was really interesting. And then I had Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which I finished in like two days😂 It was such a good and easy read and I could put it down!

I was supposed to read The Guinevere Deception last month too, but just didn’t get around to it. This also happened in the summer. So this month I absolutely NEED to read it. Thats in the list, as well as three other titles that are very different from each other. I’m really excited to dive into them! Here they are:)

The Tao of Pooh

This book is super short and so it fits into my prompt of “Less Than 200 Pages”. It basically details how the calm attitude of Winnie the Pooh is like that of a Taoist. All of Pooh’s friends are either fretful, hesitant, calculative, or dogmatic, but Pooh just is. This book is philosophical, but has a good mix of dialogue between characters and information directly from the author. I don’t think that it would be classified as a novel like Sophie’s World though, if you’re looking for something like that. Hope fully this will be an easy and interesting read! I have a couple of longer novels on this month’s list so I wouldn’t mind finishing this one up quickly like I did with And Then There Were None.

The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code is a sort of mystery thriller that begins when Robert Langdon awakes to a phone call that there has been murdered in the Louvre, and his body is covered in strange symbols. Along with cryptologist Sophie Neveu, Robert begins to find a trail of clues in works by Leonardo da Vinci, leading to a secret society and a fantastic plot. I chose this novel because it’s been banned, which is one of my prompts. It was banned in Lebanon, Manila, and India during certain times because of its controversial claims about Christ and Christianity. So that’s fun. I’ve seen this movie with Tom Hanks and it’s actually pretty good, so I’ll probably read this novel and then re watch the movie again, and pick up on some stuff that I didn’t before. I haven’t got around to watching The Great Gatsby yet which I need to do.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

This is one of the ONLY books I could find that has 20 in the title. So we’re going with it. It’s about a professor named Pierre Aronnax and his assistant who are called upon to investigate a strange “monster” that seems to be disrupting international shipping, along with the US navy. But the pair soon discover that it’s not a monster at all, but a futuristic submarine called the Nautilus. Along with the sub’s captain, Nemo, they explore the depths and wonders of the ocean on a magnificent journey that covers 20,000 leagues, or 50,000 miles. I’ve never read a Jules Verne novel before, so it should be a fun and relaxing read. Actually, one of the main characters in All The Light We Cannot Sea read it, which is kind of cool! I’m going to order this one on Amazon, because the only copies I can find at Chapters are very expensive.

The Guinevere Deception

So I’ve given a brief description of this book like two times already now, but I guess I’ll do a quick one again. This novel fits into my “Title With More Than Twenty Letters” prompt, and is about Guinevere, who is sent by Merlin to marry King Arthur to help protect Camelot. Although she’s hiding her true identity- and is much more powerful than she looks. She’ll give up everything to defend the city, and navigates an intimidating court, magical settings, and duplicitous knights. Can’t wait to finally read this after putting it off for so long!

There’s my list for this month! Let me know if you’ve read any of the books on there and if you liked them. Hope your found some book-spiration and I’ll see you guys on Friday:))

Yours Truly,

Olivia:)))

Fall Reading List

‘Sup guys? I pretty much finished all of the books on my past reading list; I’m just finishing up The Great Gatsby and am waiting for The Guinevere Deception to come out in paperback form😂 But I have an AWESOME reading list going on right know, so I thought I’d share.

I’m making pretty decent headway into my 2020 Reading Challenge, and I read a couple books that didn’t really apply to it lately, like The Rule of Four, which was pretty good. I just need to keep going hard because I have a few prompts that I have NO idea how I’m going to meet but… that’s why it’s a challenge I guess😂 Anyways, out of the three new books on my reading list, two pertain to my challenge and one is a “side book” that I thought it’d be great to read during spooky season.

I found out that one of my favourite authors, Sarah J Maas, who wrote the Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, wrote a new book this year and I didn’t even know about it. I reallllly want to read this book, but I checked it out on my bookstores website and it’s only available as a German e-book right now😂 I could order it on Amazon, but I have a bunch of book store gift cards, so I don’t want to spend like thirty bucks when I could wait. So that’s a bit disappointing, but keep an eye out for it on future booklists because I WILL be reading it.

Ideally I’d like to finish all four of these books by the end of October so that I’m doing good going into the home stretch of my challenge. 👌These all seem like pretty awesome books so that shouldn’t be a problem. When I’m really into a book I just zoom through it, ya know? I’m feeling good about these picks and can’t wait to dig in to some great novels! Fall is a time for snuggling up with a nice hot beverage (or something with peanut butter in it because peanut butter works in every season✌️) in your cozy clothes with a good book:) Check out some of these reads if you’re not sure what to read this autumn!❤️

PS. The Guinevere Deception is coming out in paperback on October 13th, so when that day comes I will be picking it up and reading it ASAP👍

All The Light We Cannot See

This book has won multiple prizes, and looks like an incredible story. It intertwines the lives of two young people; a blind French girl from Paris and a boy in a small German mining town, both living during the Second World War. When the Germans occupy Paris, the girl flees with her father and one of the most valued jewels in the city to her great uncle’s house by the sea, while the boy is enlisted to help destroy resistance to the Nazi regime. The author tries to highlight the goodness of humanity, even during these troubling times. This book has over 500 pages, so it fits into my challenge which is great👌 I’m excited to read it!!

And Then There Were None

This is an Agatha Christie novel, and I’ve never read one of her mysteries before so I’m looking forward to it! I thought it’d be great with Halloween coming up. This one is about ten people, all with mysterious pasts, who are invited to an island for the weekend by a millionaire. But when they arrive, their host is no where to be found, and there’s a strange nursery rhyme framed in every room. When murders begin occurring that match up with the rhyme, the guests begin to panic. Which one of them is the murderer? Usually I’m a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to mystery novels, but I’m going to put my brave pants on and read this one. It looks really good🙌

Sophie’s World

I like philosophy a lot; I think it’s really interesting to think about the major questions in life. I have a few books on philosophy that mostly just explain the ideas of big philosophers, but this book is different. It’s a novel, and it’s about a girl named Sophie who begins receiving mysterious letters in her mailbox with questions on them like “who are you?” And “where does the world come from?”. She begins corresponding with an unknown philosopher who teaches her the ideas of many of the world’s philosophers, while receiving the mail of a girl named Hilde. To find out who this girl is, she must use her new philosophical knowledge. I thought that this sounds really interesting, because instead of just explaining the philosophies, this novel actually puts them into a story-like format. I need to read a book about philosophy for my challenge, and this is it!

I hope you read some of these novels too! They look promising and I can’t wait to start them🥰 See you tomorrow!

Yours Truly,

MyDayIsBooked:))