2020: The Year in Books

Per usual, books provided great company for me this year. Below I’ve chosen some to recommend; my full Year in Books on Goodreads is here.

Shoutout to Bookshop.org

This past summer and fall, I found myself buying a lot more brand new books than my usual—which is all secondhand or library. Following the example of my friend Liz, I bought these all on bookshop.org and stopped buying books on Amazon. (My brother Luke has stopped using Amazon completely; I’m not quite there yet, but am close. PS—If you’re reading and wondering why should you stop shopping at Amazon?, here’s a quick starting place, found from a google.)

So anyway, Bookshop.org is neat in that your purchase is made from small, local bookstores. I bought most of mine from Semicolon, a Black- & woman-owned bookshop in Chicago (which I learned of again thanks to Liz).

Some Great Books Read in 2020


Erosion: Essays of Undoing by Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams is a beautiful writer and champion environmental activist. This collection of essays is a treasure to our world.

Making Magic: Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary by Briana Saussy

I really enjoyed the specific, concrete rituals and actions suggested in this magical, easy-to-read book. Would highly recommend as a first text for anyone looking to infuse their everyday with magic.

The Gift of Change by Marianne Williamson

So much wisdom in these pages—I underlined (and copied) passage after passage. This will be a future re-read for sure, to help see the anchors during especially changing times.

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

I read this book twice more during the past year, and will read it again during 2021.

Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg

This winter I read another by one of my favorite writers, Natalie Goldberg. I love her style so much: to the point, not ornamented, strong short chapters, real-life stories that clearly illustrate the message. This is one I own, because opening and turning to any page provides instant support/nudges to write.

Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss

I found this book on a bookshelf at my current residence, and it happened to be about a topic I’m very interested in: energy healing. It was a right place, right time read for me.


Open Book by Jessica Simpson

I read Jessica Simpson’s memoir this past spring, and it was a pretty great memoir read: engrossing, and where much transformation happens over time.

Comedy Sex God by Pete Holmes

I enjoyed this memoir by comedian Pete Holmes, which focuses on his spiritual journey: from being raised a devout Christian, to losing faith, and ultimately to discovering a spiritual path that feels meaningful and resonant.

The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits

This writing was so delicious, oh my goodness. What a lucky treat to find at the library’s used book sale for $1, which I picked up only because the cover looked beautiful.


The Trees The Trees by Heather Christle

After recommended and lent to me by a coworker, months later I bought my own copy of this collection. I hadn’t seen poetry of this style/format before, and enjoyed the surprise that could happen all within a line or two — twists and turns I never saw coming.

I guess I didn’t include it above, but a month ago I read a non-fiction by Heather Christle called “The Crying Book,” which I do recommend. It reminded me of the format of Sarah Manguso’s glorious “Ongoingness.”


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Escaping into Morgenstern’s magical world of the Night Circus was a treat.

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch

This is a young adult story written by Liz Gilbert’s sister, which I enjoyed mostly because it’s so different from what I usually read.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Went into this one blind—only knowing Sue Monk Kidd from “The Dance of the Dissident Daughter” and “The Secret Life of Bees,” which I read in 2019—and was not disappointed.

— — —

What about you? Have you read anything this year that you recommend? What’s stuck with you?


Past Years in Books

If you’re looking for more recommendations, here are my “Year in Books” posts from the past couple of years: