It’s my favorite blog post of the year! This is the annual post where I reflect on my favorite reads of the passing year. Oh, how I love to write this one!
2020 was a fun year in reading! Strangely enough, I read less this year than in past years. I’ve finished close to forty books in 2020. I’m chalking this up to the challenges of being a teacher during a pandemic. Overall, I feel great about what I read this year and I’m excited to share my favorite reads of 2020 with you!
Without further ado, here are my faves!
Non-Fiction Favorites in 2020
- Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making by Andrew Peterson
2. Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton
3. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
4. The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
5. Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Beauty of Learning by Sally Clarkson
6. Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace by Christie Purifoy
7. The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
8. Chasing Vines: Finding Your Way to an Immensely Fruitful Life by Beth Moore
9. On the Bright Side: Stories about Friendship, Love, and Being True to Yourself by Melanie Shankle
10. The Book of Matthew from the Bible: Readers, I read the gospel of Matthew by using the She Reads Truth app. Yes, I could have opened by Bible. However, I wanted the daily calendar to mark my progress along with the added reflections by the contributors to the She Reads Truth app. I paid $1.99 to do this study of Matthew through the app. Yes, it would have been free in my Bible. However, the ability to log my progress is a motivation to me, as a reader. To me, the structure and motivation to read my Bible daily is a good use of $2. I plan to do another study or two of a book of the Bible in the She Reads Truth app again this year. I highly recommend it!
Fiction Favorites in 2020
- The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate
2. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
3. Night Road by Kristin Hannah
4. The Switch by Beth O’Leary
5. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
6. The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
7. The Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand
There you have it, reader friends. This list isn’t a conclusive list of all of the books I’ve read, but these are the 17 titles that I’d most like to recommend to you. They are vastly different titles and there’s truly something for everyone in this list, especially because I also read for professional reasons and as a mom.
You can find my two favorite juvenile fiction titles in the list. If you have a young child, I highly recommend The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. My youngest child was finishing Kindergarten when we read this together during the spring that will forever be remembered as the quarantine of 2020. If you have a child in the middle elementary through adolescent years, I highly recommend reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. My former third grade class read this at home with their families each night and then discussed it briefly each day in January. I just gifted this book to my current third grade class for Christmas this year. It’s a true gem of adventure, character development, and wonder.
For those reading for themselves, I’d love to share my two favorite books of the year. You must read the gospel of Matthew as a whole. We often read chapters or verses from a book of the Bible without reading it in full. I cannot tell you how much I gleaned from and savored the account of Matthew by finally reading it as a complete book this year from beginning to end. I will never be the same. I cannot wait to read another book of the Bible in full this year. I’m late to the party here, I know. Maybe you have been reading a full book at a time forever and ever. While I have done studies on certain books in the past, I think the study on the app took it to a new level for me. (This is not an ad, by the way.) It’s simply a blessing that I cannot adequately put into words.
Second to the Bible, (an unrealistically high standard for any book to live up to. No?), my very favorite book of the year is one I just finished yesterday. It was a grand finale of 2020 reading, I tell you! I truly may write an entire post on what this book meant to me at a later time. I’ve loved Dolly Parton since I was a tiny girl. I loved Dolly when it wasn’t trendy for girls my age to love Dolly. In the words of Barbara Mandrell, “I was country when country wasn’t cool.” True story. How fun that it’s recently become cool to like Dolly again! Hooray! I digress. My very favorite book read in 2020 is, without a doubt, Songteller by Dolly Parton. You absolutely must listen to this as an audiobook! It’s narrated by Dolly herself and it is precious! It’s kind of like listening to your very funny grandma tell a story of the most interesting parts of her life. (Let’s not tell Dolly that I just compared her to a grandma, but you get the idea.) Each chapter begins with a song clip and is followed by Dolly’s explanation of the reason for the lyrics. Her stories are gold! This audiobook is absolutely the most delightful thing one could listen to while cleaning the house or cooking dinner. I’m sure of it! You need this in your life, sweet reader friends. Trust me on this one. It’s definitely worth an audible credit!
May 2021 be a year that holds quiet moments of reading or listening…or laughing if you’re listening to Dolly.
I don’t know what the next year holds for you or for me, but I hope it includes good books along the way of our ordinary day to day living.
If I’ve learned a lesson about reading in 2020 it’s that books add a bit of adventure to my life when I cannot go anywhere else at all.
May this list of my favorites from the past year add some much-needed reading fun to your life!
From my heart to yours,
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