Reading as an Occupation: The Top 20 Books I read in 2020.

Top 20 of 2020!

What an excellent year for reading! This year I really leaned into reading good books as a salve for a difficult year. I leaned into reading books that brought me to another world or books that provided the viewpoint of individuals that lived a life that was the exact opposite of mine thereby teaching me the perspectives of others. Add to the list stories of people that I emulate. The product is a list of books that are beautifully written, have a strong plots or keen presentation of a life story or a life concept. After you finish reading these stories, you will feel satisfied that reading these books was time well spent. These are all must read books!

 With such a long list, I kept each summary to no more than two to three sentences. Books that I have reviewed since I started this blog are linked for a more in-depth review.

Affiliate links provided.

1. Know My Name: A Memoir    by Chanel Miller.

Chanel Miller’s transports you to one of the darkest periods in her life and in doing do creates this masterpiece. Miller holds nothing back and through her story the reader gets a keen understanding of the journey of victims of sexual assault.

Full review can be found here.

2. Educated: A Memoir   by Tara Westhover

This story is multilayered and provides readers with the importance of education across the lifespan. My all-time favorite quote from this book is: “I would never again be made a foot soldier in a conflict I did not understand.”

Full review can be found here.

3. The Nickel Boys  by Colson Whitehead

This book captures the outcome of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and written in a crisp yet insightful manner. A short, yet mighty book that leaves you asking what if…?

Full review can be found here.

4. The Other Mrs.  by Mary Kubica

This. Book. Is. Amazing. Amazing. Read it and then tell a friend about it. You will be thanked immensely!

Full review can be found here.

5. The Body keeps the score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma   by Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Dr. van der Kolk provides insight not only treating trauma, but also does a good job of providing the science behind trauma. The book on trauma moves fast because the information is provided in a related manner with not only science, but also stories of real people. This is a reference book that all medical professionals need on their bookshelf.

Full review can be found here.

6. The Water Dancer  by Ta-Nehisi Coates

If you ever need a clinic on how to write, read a book by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This book presents the plight of slaves in a manner that is eloquent and palpable.

Full review can be found here.

7. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

In a time where there is no time, this book helps you understand the impact of using the small amount of time that you do have to make an impact in all areas of your life. This book is the real deal. I have it at my desk as a reminder that small things lead to big results if done consistently.

Full review can be found here.

8. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

This. Book. Is. Amazing. Amazing. Read it and then tell a friend about it. You will be thanked immensely!

Full review can be found here.

9. Disability Visibility: First-person stories from the twenty-first century Edited by Alice Wong

Coming back to perspective of others, this book has stories that can provide you with insight into the experience of those with different abilities. Stating that Alice Wong is advocate for people with disabilities is the understatement of the century and this compilation is evidence that she is a visionary leader in this field.

Full review can be found here.

10. Between the World and Me by Ta’nehisi Coates

If you could write a letter to someone of your life story to impact their own life in a positive manner, what would you write? Coates writes his life story as a letter of sorts to his son and the outcome is a little manual of the issues that are facing people of color. Part history lesson, part current events, part what can you do for the future in a short read.

Full review can be found here.

11. Still Alice   by Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova captures the journey of Alice, a woman with early onset dementia in a manner that allows you to understand the plight of Alice and her family. One shortcoming of seeing individuals in the healthcare setting is not understanding their journey. This book provides you with that journey.

Full review can be found here.

12. This is How is Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Similar to understanding the journey of an individual with dementia, knowing the needs of a transgender individual and their family is an important component of quality care.  Frankel does an excellent job of presenting this story taking you into a world of understanding the issues that arise when providing support to a transgender individual.

Full review can be found here.

13. Daisy Jones and the Six: A Novel  by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I 100% recommend that you listen to this novel. You will not regret listening to the story because there are many, many characters. The book is written like a play. So, listening helps with understanding the story and the actors who read the story do a phenomenal job! This is the story of a popular band in 70s/80s. Taylor Jenkins Reid develops each character in a realistic manner and writes a plot that continuously evolves displaying the strengths and weaknesses of each character…not a small feat! This story also gives insight into how rock and roll bands functioned during these times.

14. Becoming   by Michelle Obama

This book can also be called a Blueprint for Success. I thought this book would be a heavy political read. It was not. It was book on how to be successful when you have everything against you.

15. Zen and the Art of Happiness  by Chris Prentiss

This is another small, but mighty book that provides you with strategies to look at situations in a positive light. Prentiss expands on this concept with research, the philosophies of the I-Ching, and personal stories. In these difficult times, this book was much referred as a reminder to stay positive and how to do so objectively.

16. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love  by Cal Newport

The concept of this book can easily lead to a debate. When looking at life success, do you follow your passion or what you are skilled at doing? Newport presents the concept that following one’s passion to support one’s self can lead to failure. Rather, individuals need to focus on what they are skilled at doing to be successful in life. Newport presents this concept as he does with all his books, with strong research, historical evidence, and personal stories. This is another book that I heavily reference and use as a reminder of what needs to be done for success.

17. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter By Kim Edwards

Understanding the needs of caregivers who are raising a child with special needs is important to ensure comprehensive care and empathy to guide support and intervention. This book provides that insight in a unique manner following the story of a little girl (a twin) that was given away by her father upon her birth due to having Down Syndrome. The parallel lives of the twins provide the reader the opportunity to have two perspectives of a child that is typically developing and one that has a disability. however, this story is so much more and provides the reader with an opportunity to ask some important life questions.

Full review can be found here.

18. The Tattooist of Auschwitz  by Heather Morris

Historical fiction is not one of my most favorite genres. I chose this book to expand my horizons and it did just that! This is a love story set in Auschwitz. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Gita and Lale, but I also learned quite a bit about what types of atrocities happened in the concentration camps. While the story gives small glimpses of what happened at Auschwitz, the story is really about Gita and Lale.

19. Lying in Wait: A Novel  by Liz Nugent

If you were to look up the phrase “psychological thriller” in the dictionary, this book would be the picture of the example of the definition. This is a winding story that brings you on a roller coaster ride that does not stop until the very end. Great book!

20. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking  by Susan Cain

Introverts, this is the book that you can provide to people when they ask, “Why are you like this and what can I do to get you out of your shell?”

Full review can be found here.

What were your top reads of 2020?!

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