• Marisa Grimes

My Favorite Reads from 2020

As many of you know, I love a good book!

Among the craziness of 2020, I was able to carve out time to read 70 books - mostly to help me fall asleep at night, but also often enjoyed on weekend mornings with a cup of hot tea on the couch. Even as the pandemic raged on, I was lucky enough to borrow a handful of hard copies from my mom and her Book of the Month subscription, and others from hometown library's Overdrive program [where I can borrow/download them straight to my Kindle!]. The ones that my library didn't carry or had too long of a waitlist for I was able to find online :)

I usually oscillate between reading fiction & non-fiction, and love to mix 'easy' reads with ones that have heavier subjects. I also really like to check out the curated lists from Book of the Month and Reese Witherspoon's Book Club picks.

Here's my Top 8 for Fiction (in no particular order):

The Giver of Stars, Jojo Moyes

In a Sentence: A woman in a remote area of Kentucky joins a group of librarians who deliver books by horseback [based on an actual program that used to exist in rural parts of the US!].

The Island of Sea Women, Lisa See

In a Sentence: Historical fiction about a group of South Korean women who freedive for seafood, covering decades of history starting from before the Korean War and continuing until modern day.

Note: This is not an easy or happy read, but I thought it was wonderfully written and would highly recommend it - especially if you are unfamiliar with South Korean history!

*Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Reid Jenkins

In a Sentence: A fictional band rises to fame and falls off of the Rock & Roll scene for reasons unknown...written in the style of an Interview/Documentary in such a compelling way that makes you wish the band was real!

One to Watch, Kate Stayman- London

In a sentence: The Bachelor franchise picks a famous plus-size blogger to be their next Bachelorette - I'd probably only recommend this to avid Bachelor Nation fans!

American Royals, Katharine McGee

In a Sentence: What if George & Martha Washington were elected King & Queen rather than President and First Lady, and the youngest members of the dynasty had to navigate how to find their marriage-material life partners?

*The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides

In a Sentence: A famous painter in the UK is convicted of murdering her husband doesn't utter a word from the moment she's arrested -- but one psychotherapist is determined to get her to speak once again.

Sex & Vanity, Kevin Kwan

In a Sentence: The author of Crazy Rich Asians dives into new characters from all sorts of social circles who are all attending a wedding in Capri, and a love story that takes years to come together.

*American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins

In a Sentence: A mother and her son need to flee Mexico after her husband was murdered by a cartel, and the story covers what their journey to the border alone looks like.

Note: There was some drama around this book when it was published about whether the author was the right person to share this narrative, but I believe the story itself stands on its own really well and is an interesting personification of the immigration journey we often paint as people just "arriving" to the US-Mexico border, and ignoring the journey they've taken to get even that far. Also, an important TW that there is sexual violence.

Here's my Top 8 for Non- Fiction (in no particular order):

Born a Crime, Trevor Noah

In a Sentence: Known for his late night show, Trevor's memoir covers his childhood in South Africa growing up mixed race, and how his identity has shaped his experience and his life.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris

In a Sentence: Heather interviewed a survivor who was forced to be the tattooist in Auschwitz for years, numbering new individuals as they arrived through the gates, and turned it into a story based on his memories and facts she could verify.

Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates

In a Sentence: Melinda mixes the importance of empowering women with stories on how Melinda and the Gates Foundation is involved in accelerating equality around the world [in a variety of ways]!

The Unwinding of a Miracle, Julie Yip Williams

In a Sentence: This is my annual book reading about someone with cancer; Julie's memoir feels similar to When Breath Becomes Air as this book is published posthumously, and follows her experience dying as a married mother of young children.

Chasing the Bright Side, Jess Ekstrom

In a Sentence: The founder of Headbands for Hope writes about how she started her company while in college, and encourages you to just JUMP. RIGHT. IN. to making whatever stirs your heart into a reality.

Note: If you're sitting on an idea, this is the perfect book to motivate you into action! I would not read it if you are just looking for a memoir.

To Shake the Sleeping Self, Jedidiah Jenkins

In a Sentence: Jedidiah decides to bike down the West Coast of the US to Patagonia, documenting both his physical journey and the thoughts that come with pedaling thousands of miles.

I Have Something to Tell You, Chasten Buttigieg

In a Sentence: Perhaps best known for his famous husband {Mayor Pete!}, Chasten tells his own story growing up in Michigan, coming out to his family and finding confidence in his identity and aspirations, and his perspective of being the partner of someone who rockets to fame as they race for the Presidency.

*The Beauty in the Breaking, Michele Harper

In a Sentence: Michele is a doctor who weaves her own story of the path that led her to medicine with patients she's come into contact with and helped along the way - together sharing unique insights on what's still missing from our healthcare systems.

Have you read any of these, or are any of these titles on your To-Be-Read list? Let me know!

*Titles with an asterisk were from Book of the Month.

If you're interested in signing up for Book of the Month, you can use this referral code! You'll get your first month at a discount, and my mom will get gifted a bonus book credit. Everyone wins :)

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