2020 Recent Reads: October-December

Happy 2021! In true tradition, I have a couple of posts to wrap of the previous year, and then it’s all about the future. One of those posts is this one where I wrap up the books I read in the last part of the year. I crushed my reading goals out of the water in 2020, especially because I read most of the Bridgerton series at the beginning of 2020. (Have you seen the show? Read the books!) I didn’t read as many in the last quarter of 2020 as I did earlier in the year, especially because I spent most of October in the hospital, but I still crushed my reading goal.

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It may be 2021 now, but I'm still looking back at 2020 one last time. In this post, I'm reviewing the books I read in the last quarter of the year.

Little Women – “Little Women is one of the best-loved children’s stories of all time, based on the author’s own youthful experiences. It describes the family of the four March sisters living in a small New England community. Meg, the eldest, is pretty and wishes to be a lady; Jo, at fifteen is ungainly and unconventional with an ambition to be an author; Beth is a delicate child of thirteen with a taste for music and Amy is a blonde beauty of twelve. The story of their domestic adventures, their attempts to increase the family income, their friendship with the neighbouring Laurence family, and their later love affairs remains as fresh and beguiling as ever” (x).

I hadn’t read Little Women in a LONG time! I listened to the audiobook this time (below is a picture of my beautiful illustrated version) and it was lovely. I watched the 2019 version over Christmas 2019-2020, which definitely colored my feelings about this reread. But it was so much better than I remembered.

19 retellings of classic fiction you need to read

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – “Frodo and his Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in a battle in the Mines of Moria. And Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape, the rest of the company was attacked by Orcs. Now they continue the journey alone down the great River Anduin—alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go” (x).

While I read The Hobbit when I was younger, I had a really hard time getting into The Lord of the Rings. And listening to the audiobook totally explains why! It’s very soothing to listen to, though, and I often zoned out while listening to it. I wouldn’t ever say that the Lord of the Rings books are awesome, but I am looking forward to listening to The Return on the King this year.

17 modern classic novels

The Lovely Bones – “‘My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.’ So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her — her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy” (x).

This was another reread! I had been thinking about rereading it for a couple years now, and finally did. It’s just as good as I remember! And for what it’s worth, while it has a murderous focus as you can tell from the synopsis, the book is a lot more about the emotional level. I can’t recommend this book enough!

Advice books to read (that aren’t cheesy)

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Whisper Network – “Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita have worked at Truviv, Inc. for years. The sudden death of Truviv’s CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Each of the women has a different relationship with Ames, who has always been surrounded by whispers about how he treats women. Those whispers have been ignored, swept under the rug, hidden away by those in charge. But the world has changed, and the women are watching this promotion differently. This time, when they find out Ames is making an inappropriate move on a colleague, they aren’t willing to let it go. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough. Sloane and her colleagues’ decision to take a stand sets in motion a catastrophic shift in the office. Lies will be uncovered. Secrets will be exposed. And not everyone will survive. All of their lives―as women, colleagues, mothers, wives, friends, even adversaries―will change dramatically as a result. ‘If only you had listened to us,’ they tell us on page one of Chandler Baker’s Whisper Network, ‘none of this would have happened'” (x).

Here are the actual texts I sent my fake little sister, who sent the book to me: “Ok full disclose bc you’re my little sister so I can say this I was not into Whisper Network and only kept reading it because you gave it to me. It took me 5 weeks to get to page 190 … and then I read the next 150 pages in 2 hours lol The second half is when things get moving but it’s GOOD”.

As you can tell from those texts, I only kept reading because it was gifted to me by someone who I care about. And then it turned amazing! But you should know that there is a SERIOUS sexual assault and harassment component to this book. I don’t think there’s any depictions of it, but it’s the focus of the book.

What was your favorite read of 2020?

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  • Reply Becky

    I’ve found I really enjoy rereading classic books by listening to the audiobook! I first read Lord of the Rings in college when I met my now-husband and he loved the books… I found them a little hard to get into, but I would make notes about things to talk to him about (I read them over the summer when we were long distance) and it really helped to have someone who loved the books discuss them with me!

    January 6, 2021 at 9:42 am
  • Reply Christa

    I read The Lovely Bones years ago. That would be a great re-read for me. I totally agree with you on The Whisper Network! Slow start but picked up towards the end.

    January 6, 2021 at 11:07 am
  • Reply Mistle

    I wish that I had read more last year. I think I only read two books total. I am hoping this year will be different! I read Little Women when I was a lot younger and loved it (I also love the movies). The Whisper Network seems like a really interesting book despite everything that goes on in it. I will have to check it out!

    January 6, 2021 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Kait

    How fun that you have been reading some classics! It’s been a very long time since I have read Little Women as well, and I may just have to pull it back out. I’m intrigued by The Whisper Network, but I do struggle with slow starts.

    January 6, 2021 at 12:54 pm
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