Hello internet pals! It’s been a second since I got on here – I took some much needed time to just hang out with family, read books & relax as much as one can with twin toddlers!
I spent some time trying to figure out what to make my first post in 2020. Naturally, many people made their “year in review” posts… but I really wasn’t sure my year needed much reviewing. Reviewing can lead to revisionist history and self-critique and, listen, I’m just trying to do my best with where I am and that’s all I’m going to continue doing moving forward. Here are a few jot notes in case you’re disappointed you won’t be getting that content:
I got deeper into the Mom game, which I’m progressively getting better at it even though I still have days where I’m bad at it.
I realized that when you spend a lot of time on your own you do a lot of self-reflection so I did a lot of homework on myself this year. Some of it was long overdue
I woke up my brain. It hit me around August/September that I just felt like my brain was on auto-pilot. I was struggling to have conversations with people suddenly, I felt isolated and it just felt like my brain had switched off. So, I started reading again. I read nearly 30 novels in 4 months and that is what brings us to the main reason for this whole blog post. My FAVOURITE novels that I read this year.
Truly I find books to be so subjective. Sometimes a novel can be fantastic but it comes to you at the wrong time or you can’t find any relatability in it. Sometimes a novel isn’t earth shattering writing but you connect with it in a way that can give a story heart. The hot burning oven that is my ability to read has been cold for a long time – I mostly blame Netflix. Once I turned it back on holy smokes it burned hot and I can’t really understand how I ever let it get so cold and dusty. With that said, here are my favourite novels from last year (this was incredibly difficult and I’ll probably change my mind as soon as I hit publish):
My Books of the Year! *in no particular order*
This was the novel that started it all. I mostly read it because my sister would NOT stop talking about it and anytime someone says that a book is their absolute favourite I feel inclined to check it out. This one did not disappoint at all. It’s long and plot dense and probably not everyone’s cup of tea but it had so much heart to it. Anytime an author can make me go through a revolving door of feelings towards characters as well as just general emotions I become a big fan very quickly.
Boy Swallows Universe
This novel might have changed my life and it absolutely changed my mind. Ever since reading it I find myself falling back to concepts introduced to me in this novel. I had almost zero personal relatability to a boy’s coming of age story in Australia and yet it pulled at corners of my mind and heartstrings enough for this to go down as one of my favourite books I’ve ever read. The author included heavy metaphors but left doors open for interpretation for you to make his story your own or to find your own meaning and I LOVED that. I think that many people could read this book and make entirely different conclusions and to me I’m not sure there’s a better indicator of a successful novel.
The Night Circus
Oh my goodness this novel. This was my reintroduction to fantasy novels after a long, long drought. Granted it isn’t deep fantasy, it’s rooted in reality (my personal favourite kind) but it still involved such intricate and elaborate world building writing that I felt transported immediately. She made the characters so three dimensional I felt like I had met them. She made the places so tangible I felt like I had been there before. It was a fantasy novel that on paper was about a dual between magicians but the heart of this novel is an achingly beautiful love story. Move over JK Rowling, Erin Morgenstern has entered the building.
The Starless Sea
Naturally, I can’t not include Erin Morgenstern’s second novel that just happened to come out the same year I stumbled upon the Night Circus. I commend any fans that have been waiting so many years for another book from this author. This novel will not be for everyone let me just say that right out of the gates. This is another author that I think leaves a lot open to your own imagination. She builds the world and lets you fill in the blanks in the hidden meanings. I remember before I read it I saw a few reviews from people saying they had finished the novel and couldn’t even say what happened. Because of that I knew I had to pay attention reading this one – it wasn’t one to crush through but one to read slowly and savour and think about while reading. It was beautiful. It’s a novel that’s heart is about storytelling and I could not have loved it more.
The Most Fun We Ever Had
This book cracked me open and showed me things that I didn’t even know lived inside my mind. It’s a multi-generational novel about a family and all the messiness that goes with it. It tackles parenthood, sisterhood, marriage, friendships and everything in between. This was a book that had a lot of personal relatability which made me love it and also hate it sometimes. I’m a big fan of an author that isn’t afraid to make characters imperfect and flawed and she did that incredibly well.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
No book surprised me more than this one all year. Reading the back of the novel it comes across as an expose novel about a fictional celebrity and all of her many husbands. I don’t want to spoil the x factor of this book but just trust me it is not at all what it appears. This one made me an eternal fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid. I read Daisy Jones & The Six too but literally everyone has put that on their lists and don’t get me wrong it’s great and I devoured it but I liked this one more!
My heart still hurts thinking about this book. It was the first historical fiction novel I had read in a while and it broke me over and over again. This was one of those novels that I think came to me at the exact right time for me to somehow have a personal understanding of all the characters. It’s a gorgeous, triumphant, heart breaking story that left me overwhelmingly grateful for every privilege I’ve been allowed. It’s easy to exist in modern life and to forget about what the world went through to get to this point and that plenty of the world never recovered at all. This one left a mark that’s for sure.
Red, White & Royal Blue
I would be remiss if I did not mention a lovey dove book because there is an absolute soft spot in my heart for a good love story. This novel was on no celebrity must read lists and yet it went absolutely viral so, naturally, I was curious and I was not disappointed. It showed me a side of love that I’m unfamiliar with and I really appreciated that. I don’t understand having love that you have to hide for fear of not being accepted or shamed and that’s exactly what gave this story so much dimension and soul. My heart ached for the characters from beginning to end and that’s a sign of a good love story if you ask me!
Last, but not least, is my favourite non-fiction of the year! Truly I read far more fiction than non-fiction but this novel was so addicting. I found the story about Elizabeth Holmes after watching every documentary available about the dumpster fire that was Fyre Festival. If you don’t know anything about her story I won’t ruin it but it is WILD and disturbing and I got so obsessed. The novel is written by the investigative journalist that “blew the top off” the whole story – it’s extremely comprehensive and yet the story is so insane it reads as a fictional story. Once you read this I promise you’ll spiral into the internet like I did to learn everything you can about this absurd woman.
That’s all folks! Maybe my next post won’t be about books…maybe it will. I started this blog to give me an outlet and as a stand-in for the human adults my daily life presently lacks. As Michelle Wolf mentioned in her recent Netflix special “blogs are a conversation nobody wanted to have with you” and I truly couldn’t agree more!