For the year 2020, I set a goal to read 15 new books. I came so close by finishing the year with a total of 14 new books read! While I tend to be an over-achiever, not reaching this goal ended up being a very important life lesson for me….
Sure, I could’ve spent my entire New Years Eve reading the last 50+ pages of the book that would have helped me reach my goal… But instead, I decided to take the L on this one and spend the evening relaxing with my beloved boyfriend. While reaching my yearly goals are pretty important to me, being present in the moment with those that I love is even more important.
So, here’s my list of 14 books that I read throughout 2020. All except for one are in the “self-help” genre and I definitely recommend that you read a few of these for yourself.
- Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis – Sooo for those of you who follow Mrs. Rachel Hollis, you are likely aware that she is now MISS Rachel Hollis. I read this book long before the divorce/new-book-marketing-scheme came out and I’m honestly not going to endorse this particular influencer anymore as I do not agree with recent actions of hers. I am so sorry that this is the first on the list but it will not be receiving any feedback from me. Moving on to number two…
- Rising Strong by Brene Brown – If you checked out My 2019 Reading List, you have a pretty good idea about how I feel about Brene Brown, one of the greatest authors alive (and I’m not just saying that because she’s a Houstonian like me ;P). This book is yet another teaching about vulnerability, though this one specifically teaches about how owning our stories of struggle can be our greatest call to courage. We can write a new ending to the stories of our lives if we’re willing to walk through heartbreak, disappointment and failure in order to rise strong. 10/10 Recommend that everyone read this book! Check out more information about Rising Strong here.
- Life Will Be the Death of Me:…and You Too! by Chelsea Handler – My therapist actually recommended that I read this book but she also warned me ahead of time that it is wildly inappropriate… Which surprised me that she warned ME of all people because inappropriate is riiiiight up my alley. 😉 This book was so many things all together – especially since all I knew about Chelsea Handler before reading this is that she’s a comedian. This book is her life story and I found it eye-opening, heartwarming, relatable, educational (in the political sense) and also fucking hilarious. Find more information on it here. I also highly recommend that you watch her Netflix documentary called Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea.
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – I was given this book for my 26th birthday (thank you, Jess) and absolutely loved it! Gilbert uses this book as a tool to help us all understand that creativity is not a one-and-done type deal. She wrote this book after the enormous success of Eat, Pray, Love, fully aware that it would never get the same amount of hype or publicity that her first best-seller did…. This book is meant to inspire anyone wanting to live a creative life to just freaking do it! Be bold, be brave and most importantly…read this book so you can absorb her “magic” 😉 Click here for more information on the book.
- Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell – Wow, this book was incredibly interesting to read! Gladwell did extensive research on how our brains work subconsciously and this book explains his findings. He goes on to help us understand why we make decisions the way we do and why sometimes the decisions we make have no explanation from the decision-maker. Click here to learn more.
- This Side of Darkness: Memoir of a Depressant; a Journey from the Other Side by Lynn Vanderdasson – This was a quick read that showcases one woman’s lifelong journey with depression. She’s very honest and wrote this book to help inspire others who also live with depression – something the world needs more of. I’m not a religious person although Vanderdasson is, so it was hard for me to get through some of these pages where she talks heavily about her christian faith. Just an FYI for anyone looking to read this book! Also, it’s not a well-known book so you probably won’t be able to find it in a library. Click here to read more or order yourself a copy.
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth – My therapist recommended that I check out this book because she said that it would resonate greatly with me and she was absolutely right! This is a powerful, research-backed book that helps the reader understand grit – what it is, who has it and how to create more of it in our own lives. Duckworth also has a Ted Talk video where she talks about this book and I highly recommend that you check that out as well. Click here for the video and here to find more info on this book.
- Wait, What?: And Life’s Other Essential Questions by James E. Ryan – This is a very quick read (only 138 pages in total) that helps us understand the importance of asking good questions, whether it be in the classroom, workplace or in regards to important real-life situations. Ryan uses this book to help inspire us all to ask each other questions that force us to think deeper while creating much more meaningful connections. In my opinion, everyone should read this at least once in their life! Click here to find more information.
- You Can If You Think You Can by Norman Vincent Peale – While some of this is a bit outdated (the book was originally published in 1987, after all…), a good chunk of the points Peale brings about are still very relevant to today’s world. The whole point of this book is to encourage people to take control of their own lives and happiness, which I find to be a very important topic. Click here to learn more or to just buy the book.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama – I started reading this book in October as the 2020 Election was nearing an end and I realized that I missed out on an amazing presidency. Don’t get me wrong, I was fully alive during the Obama administration…although unfortunately I, like many others, did not pay attention to politics until the Trump Administration began. In this book, Michelle recounts her entire life story from birth until the end of her husband’s presidency and I was touched by every single aspect of her from the very beginning to present times. I wished so badly to have paid better attention when they were in The White House because this power couple has inspired me immensely. Click here to learn more and get yourself a copy – I promise you won’t regret it!
- Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb – This book will open your eyes to the world of therapy in a whole new interesting and heartfelt perspective! I laughed, cried and felt pretty much every other emotion known to man while reading this. It’s a little lengthy but I seriously read the last 200 pages in a week’s time because I could NOT put it down. Whether you’re considering therapy for the first time or have been doing so for years, I highly recommend that you read this. Click here to learn more.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – With all of the events that occurred in early 2020, I felt that reading this book was 100% necessary. In his book, Coates is writing a letter to his son about what it’s like being an African American man living in the U.S., starting from his childhood up until the present time with his son beginning to hit his teenage years. This book was incredibly eye-opening for me, a middle-class white woman who grew up in suburbia. Reading this beautifully written letter really brought to light the topic of racism and how I actually know very little about it. It also caused a huge range of emotions to flow through so be prepared for that! I have more books like this on my list because my work here is yet to be done. This is a must-read, especially if you happen to be white like me. Click here to get yourself a copy.
- The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo – This is not a self-help book but I’ve been obsessed with Coco Chanel since I was a child and wanted to read this book. The world’s “most elegant woman” did not start out that way. Oh no, she quite literally “started from the bottom now she’s here”! I hope to attend fashion school and work in that industry one day, so this book was incredibly inspiring for me. If you’re a lover-of-fashion like me, click here to learn more about this book.
- Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by Harriet Lerner – I don’t remember if my therapist recommended this book or if I heard Brené Brown talk about it on one of her podcasts…but regardless, this is a must-read for everyone! In this book, Lerner teaches us not only the importance of apologizing, but how to actually apologize in a way that’s acceptable and meaningful to the hurt party. She uses real-life examples from her therapy practice which makes it easy to relate to and understand. The book is a quick read and I’m definitely going to read it a second time because I firmly believe that it should be read more than once in order for the teachings to stick. Click here to learn more.
After checking out my list, which of these have you added to your must-read list? Drop a comment below 🙂