My 2020 Reading List

January 30, 2020

wit & whimsy 2020 Reading List

Last year you all loved when I shared my summer reading list that I decided I’d jot down those books I hope to get through in 2020. I read about 18 books last year and this year I hope to increase that. In 2020 I am prioritizing reading the books that have been sitting on my bookshelf awaiting their moment. Once I get through those, I’ll begin to allow myself to start buying books and renting additional books.

  1. City of Girls. I’ve heard great things about this book! It’s 1940 and good-time gal Vivian Morris has just been expelled from Vassar, but she doesn’t much mind. Her parents, on the other hand, are less than thrilled, so they dispatch their dawdling daughter to New York to live with her aunt Peg—the charismatic proprietor of a past-its-prime theater that is home to a quirky, cobbled-together family of thespians and showgirls.
  2. Save Me The Plums. I haven’t gone six weeks without hearing about this book from so many friends. I can’t wait to read it. When Gourmet magazine closed its doors, no one was more surprised than its editor-in-chief, Ruth Reichl. Save Me the Plums is a memoir of how Reichl came to be at the magazine she’d pored over as a child, how she transformed it from a stuffy relic of the old guard into a publication that embraced a new culinary era, and how Gourmet magazine met its end. 
  3. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. Currently reading and thrilled to be doing so after many a friend recommended it to me. Giving the reader a behind-the-scenes peek from both sides of the therapist’s couch this is an homage to therapy—and just being human. 
  4. Bringing Down the Duke. Set against the backdrop of the British suffrage movement, Bringing Down the Duke is a witty, richly detailed, historically significant, and achingly romantic celebration of the power of love and the passionate fight for women’s rights. A stunning blend of history and romance that will enchant readers.
  5. Summer of ’69. I had this on my list for last summer but failed to get to it! Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same.
  6. Get a Life Chloe Brown. Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion.
  7. The Wedding Party. My friend Hitha told me I will love this author and to start my foray into her delightful books with this read! Maddie and Theo have two things in common: Alexa is their best friend and they hate each other. But, after an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. 
  8. Anti-Diet. In Anti-Diet, Christy Harrison takes on diet culture and the multi-billion-dollar industries that profit from it, exposing all the ways it robs people of their time, money, health, and happiness. 
  9. The Giver of Stars. Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. 
  10. Everything I Never Told You. “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
  11. Know My Name. I have heard this book is incredibly powerful and moving. She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral–viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.
  12. All the Flowers in Paris. When Caroline wakes up in a Paris hospital with no memory of her past, she’s confused to learn that for years she’s lived a sad, reclusive life in a sprawling apartment on the rue Cler. Slowly regaining vague memories of a man and a young child, she vows to piece her life back together—though she can’t help but feel she may be in danger. A budding friendship with the chef of a charming nearby restaurant takes her mind off her foggy past, as does a startling mystery from decades prior.
  13. American Spy. It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. 
  14. The Golden Hour. The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in the Bahamas to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires? Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies an ugly—and even treasonous—reality.
  15. The Age of Light. “I’d rather take a photograph than be one,” Lee Miller declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray. Though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to take her on as his assistant and teach her everything he knows. As they work together in the darkroom, their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined, changing the course of Lee’s life forever. 
  16. The Silent Patient. Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word. Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety.
  17. Beyond the Point. Three women are brought together at West Point and this is the story of friendship, heartbreak, and resilience.
  18. The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock. One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid. As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This chance meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, a journey on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost…
  19. The Gifted School. Set in the fictional town of Crystal, Colorado, The Gifted School is a keenly entertaining novel that observes the drama within a community of friends and parents as good intentions and high ambitions collide in a pile-up with long-held secrets and lies. Seen through the lens of four families who’ve been a part of one another’s lives since their kids were born over a decade ago, the story reveals not only the lengths that some adults are willing to go to get ahead, but the effect on the group’s children, sibling relationships, marriages, and careers, as simmering resentments come to a boil and long-buried, explosive secrets surface and detonate. It’s a humorous, keenly observed, timely take on ambitious parents, willful kids, and the pursuit of prestige, no matter the cost.
  20. She Said. After reading and being riveted by Catch and Kill, I have this book on the same subject matter on my list. For many years, reporters had tried to get to the truth about Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women. Rumors of wrongdoing had long circulated. But in 2017, when Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey began their investigation into the prominent Hollywood producer for the New York Times, his name was still synonymous with power. During months of confidential interviews with top actresses, former Weinstein employees, and other sources, many disturbing and long-buried allegations were unearthed, and a web of onerous secret payouts and nondisclosure agreements was revealed. These shadowy settlements had long been used to hide sexual harassment and abuse, but with a breakthrough reporting technique Kantor and Twohey helped to expose it. But Weinstein had evaded scrutiny in the past, and he was not going down without a fight; he employed a team of high-profile lawyers, private investigators, and other allies to thwart the investigation. When Kantor and Twohey were finally able to convince some sources to go on the record, a dramatic final showdown between Weinstein and the New York Times was set in motion.

Also a few books I’ve read recently and enjoyed include Daisy Jones & The Six, The Flatshare (couldn’t have loved this book more) and Red, White & Royal Blue (really liked, but didn’t love like a lot of people I know who read it).  And I can’t recommend a membership to Book of the Month enough. I look forward to my selection every single month and I’ve been a subscriber for nearly two years!

Have you read any books lately that you’d recommend?

p.s. four books I read and loved last year and all my Amazon favorites.

[Carter Fish Photography]

comments +

  1. Melanie says:

    I loved The Golden Hour and The Silent Patient! Looking forward to reading some books from your list – a lot are on my list for 2020 as well! If you like mysteries/thrillers, I’ve been working my way through the Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter. They’re really good!

  2. Melissa says:

    I read the Silent Patient last year and liked it but didn’t love it. I’m on the list for Know My Name at my library and need to read Save Me the Plums as I’ve read so many people rave over it. I just finished Such a Fun Age and liked it as well; I thought it was a good exploration of race, privilege and feeling like you should be further along in life.

  3. Dina Fierro says:

    Save Me the Plums + Maybe You Should Talk to Someone were my two favorite reads of 2019 – hope you enjoy!

  4. Emily says:

    The Silent Patient was great! My heart was pounding by the time I reached the end. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  5. Kate Scott says:

    Read & loved The American Spy, The Golden Hour and The Wedding Party in 2019 and currently reading The Gifted School! Have a bunch of those on my list too, along with Such a Fun Age, A Woman Is No Man, and Long Bright River.

  6. Megan Schroeder says:

    Hi Meghan,

    My current reads are;

    1. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
    2. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

    Both are great, if you want to do some self reflection. 🙂

    Megan minus the “H”

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