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:))

Top 4 Inspirational Books For Teens

Hi! This is my second post so far…. my first was a review on Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass. Now I’m here to share with you what I think are the top 4 most inspirational books for us teens- (what I’m trying to say is, you should read them!). So, without further ado, here are my choices!

  1. I am Malala By Malala Yousafzai (Non-fiction)- This book is amazing. It is a story about an incredible young woman who fought for her right to education, only to get shot because of it. Nevertheless, Malala is alive and still empowering people all over the world. If you’re looking for a book to inspire and create the feeling that nothing is impossible, this is definitely a must-read!

“I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.”-Malala Yousafzai, I am Malala

2.  Me to We By Craig and Marc Kielburger (Non-Fiction)- Reading this will make you want to cry. No, I’m not kidding. The founders of Me to We, an organization that empowers young people to make a change in the world, have written about their adventures helping people in many different countries, and some of the stories are astonishing. I was fortunate enough to go to We Day,  an event started by Craig and Marc that inspires students to do more in their communities. With writing about things from how you can make a difference and being happier to meeting Mother Teresa (Saint Teresa of Calcutta), there is something for everyone in this philosophy of a book.

“In life, we are told that easy answers are hard to come by. Many believe that they simply don’t exist. We respectfully disagree. Not only do simple answers to life’s burning questions exist, but we’ve learned that those which often appear most obvious can be profoundly life-changing.”-Craig and Marc Kielburger, Me to We

3.  Life of Pi By Yaan Martel (Fiction)- I am currently engrossed in this book right now! Even though this story is fictional, it is still very inspiring and is relatable to all of us because it subtly underlines what being human is all about. 16 year-old Pi Patel is stranded on a life boat in the middle of the Pacific ocean after the sinking of the cargo ship he was aboard. But he isn’t alone. The vessel also contains a hyena, an orang-utan, a zebra, and a 450 pound Bengal tiger. Pi must learn to cooperate with these animals in order to survive. I enjoy this book because you can’t help wonder what you would do if you were in his shoes- although he currently doesn’t have any because he lost one and used the other for fishing bait. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves an intense read, as the writing is pretty sophisticated. Tune in next Wednesday for a detailed review on this story.

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy.”-Yaan Martel, Life of Pi

4. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane By Kate DiCamillo (Fiction)- Edward, a china rabbit, lives with his adoring owner Abilene, until he gets lost. Okay, I know what your thinking. Seriously? You expect me to read a book about a toy rabbit? I’m not six. I know that this book may sound a little childish, but trust me, it’s not. This is a very arrogant rabbit, and on his journey from one person to the next he learns some very important life lessons. I don’t know if I can call this inspiring, but it is a beautiful story and I suggest that everyone reads it, regardless of age.

“…..with his head in the muck, he experienced his first genuine and true emotion. Edward Tulane was afraid.”-Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

So, there you have it! A list of books that will inspire, empower, and make you say wow! Don’t forget to comeback next week for a review on Life of Pi, plus another bonus post! Also, leave some comments below, I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of the above titles or have any requests as to what to review!

Your Truly, MyDayisBooked;)