This is going to be a long list, I’m just warning you now.
If you’re planning on reading the whole thing, grab a snack, coffee or glass of wine.
When I started thinking about this list, I thought it would be easy since I didn’t read that many books this year. But when I started to go through my library (both virtual and physical) it turned out I did read a lot of books this year. One could even say a crapton.
I guess it didn’t seem like a lot to me, since before this whole writing gig, I would easily devour two books a day. Now, I don’t have that luxury. Or that’s what I tell myself, even though I spend hours mindlessly scrolling on the internet, adding things to a shopping cart that I will never checkout or pinning story ideas on Pinterest.
So that’s my goal for 2020, stop the scrolling, instead read a freaking book.
Reading is integral to the writing process. Don’t let anyone tell you different. The man, the master, the legend, Mr Stephen King said that a writer needs to read a lot and write a lot. He speaks the truth, people. If I don’t read, my writing suffers.
There is such a thing as eating too many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (I hate to admit that), watching too much Netflix, buying too many pairs of shoes, but there will never be such a thing as reading too many books. Especially if you’re in any kind of creative field.
Okay, so that’s the spiel. I’ll get to the list now.
The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre
This was my first read of the year. And holy heck was it great. I think I might’ve found it thanks to Colleen Hoover posting on her stories that it was a similar tone to her book ‘Verity’. Having devoured Verity, I one clicked immediately. Around three in the morning, I finished it. It was so freaking great. Dark. Emotional. Gritty. It stayed with me for weeks after. Any writer should read this. Any hardcore reader should pick this up. Do it here.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
This was actually a book for a bookclub I run with my sisterqueen, Jessica Gadziala. If you’re not in The Boss Babes Bookclub, you should probably join because it’s awesome. Anyway, we picked this one and I had heard about it, but was weirdly resistant to reading it. I’m so freaking glad we picked this one, it blew me away with its wit and originality. I was so angry when I finished it because I wanted to read it for the first time again. If this is new to you, you’re lucky enough to be able to read it for the first time. One click.
Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts
I have a confession to make. This was my only my second Nora Roberts book. I know, what kind of self respecting romance author hasn’t read everything Nora Roberts has published? This idiot. The first book I read by her actually made last year’s list and it was so epic. If you haven’t read Year One, do it now. Two of her books are on this list and it was freaking hard to narrow it down, lemme tell you. Honourable mentions go to Whisky Beach and The Obsession. But we’re talking about Shelter in Place. This book, you guys. It was so amazingly written, so vivid, engaging and all encompassing. I cannot say enough good things about this book. So you just need to read it.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
You’ve probably heard of this book. It has gained international praise and has made all kinds of lists. Rightly so. This book is beautiful. It’s so original, heart breaking, poetic. At its core, this is a love story. But there is so much more to it than that. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, just do yourself a favour and read it.
The Simple Wild by KA Tucker
This was another bookclub book. Also my first read by this author. She is remarkable and has a diehard reader in me. I’m so freaking excited about the sequel coming next year. If you’re a fan of love stories set in Alaska, then you will love this. I actually scoured the internet for something similar to this because she got me addicted to the ‘wild’ love story. Get it here.
The Babysitter by Jessica Gadziala
You should not be surprised to see my girl’s name on this list. Especially this series, it’s one of my favourites of hers. This is also another ‘wild’ book. Love an alpha man who is gruff, badass but also a big sweetheart underneath it all? Yeah, this book has that. And so much more. Grab this and the entire series while you’re at it.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I’m sure that this book is on a lot of people’s lists. Because it is so freaking original. I’ve never read a book like this before and I’ve never been so engaged in a story. Usually, I’m not a fan of the ‘interview style’ this book is written in but this is done so freaking well I couldn’t help but love it. This is another author who I’d never read before and who has two books on my list. I’m so freaking happy to have found her because her books are epic. Get it here.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
See? I told you there would by two books by this author on the list. I think I actually like this book a tiny bit more than Daisy Jones and the Six. Maybe because it’s written in a more traditional style but also because I just love it, okay? It’s glamorous, dramatic and an unusual yet beautiful love story. You need to read it.
Letters to Molly by Devney Perry
Firstly I need to tell you that Devney is one of the most amazing authors I know. She is so kind, talented and down to earth. I feel lucky to call her a friend. I’ve read every single one of her books and I find it really, really hard to pick a favourite. They are all amazing in their own ways. I want to say that I also read The Candle Palace and Gypsy King this year and they both should be on this list because they’re amazing. Letters to Molly is such a beautiful second chance romance. It’s written so well and with characters I love from The Birthday List. You need to read it now.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
This book is a monster, you guys. And not just because it’s long. Because it’s heavy. I do not mean this in a bad way. I mean it in the best way. It is full of adventure, love, heartbreak, loss, philosophy and the beauty of Indian culture. I heard about this book while walking the Camino. Many discussions I had with my fellow pilgrims were based on books. And without question, this book was mentioned by the most people. People of different ages, genders, backgrounds, they all said this book changed them. And I agree. This is such a powerful book, not at all for the faint hearted. But what a beautiful piece of art it is. If you have a gypsy soul, if you’re a romantic, a traveler, wondering about the meaning of life, you need to read this book. I honestly think that every single person in the world needs to read this book at some point in their lives. You also need to walk the Camino. But if you want something a little more accessible, buy Shantaram.
Undercurrents by Nora Roberts
This is tied with ‘Shelter in Place’ for my favourite Nora Roberts book of all time. There is so much beauty, pain and love in this story. Nora manages to continually write different, interesting and powerful heroines that I totally want to be when I grow up. Her storylines are just as unique but her writing style is so familiar I feel like I’m slipping into a cashmere sweater. I know for a fact that if I’m feeling down, in a rut, a little lost, I can pick up any of her books and feel better. If you need to pick this one up, do it here.
One Second After by William R Forstchen
This is actually my fiance’s favourite book that he demanded I read less than a week ago. Not only did I read it, but I read it in one night and finished the second book the night after. Then I demanded that we immediately go shopping for apocalypse supplies, the book felt that visceral and realistic. If you like dystopian fiction, then you need this. But be prepared for this story to chill you in its very conceivability. I swear you’ll be running out for bottled water and canned goods when you’re done too. Also, you’re gonna need tissues, I sobbed my eyes out multiple times in this book. Buy it here.
Alright, that’s it. If you’ve made it to the end of the list, congratulations. I know it’s long, but there are so many books I had to cut out. I wish I could go on about the wonderful books I’ve read this year, but I’ve got to do things. Like maybe finish a book of my own.
Please let me know your favourites of the year and I hope 2020 holds promise and joy for you.