2020 Reading List

Reminder: You can find my entire 2020 list at my shop on Bookshop.org. As an affiliate I get a small percentage of your purchase, but the rest goes to supporting independent bookstores. 

I’m not going to lie, this year was busy! It might surprise some since we were under lock down orders. But I’m a mom to a 5 year old, who had to switch and get use to classes on Zoom. This was also a crazy election year, I worked on two campaigns that were pretty time consuming and exhausting. This is why you will see I double upped on the Jodi Picoult book’s. She’s a great storyteller and she helped quiet my brain, which allowed me to sleep during campaign season. 

Believe it or not I’m still in the middle of reading three books. Two out of three of these books are some type of self-improvement, so they were set aside as I needed a getaway, step in Jodi. 

“Medical Medium: Thyroid Healing” by Anthony William. I have my reservations about this book, which is why I’m not going to list it on my Bookshop store. I purchased this book a couple of years ago, when I first got diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. I didn’t want to be on medication forever, so I thought it would help me. I didn’t finish it. We fast forward to 2020, my Thyroid is acting up again, I’ve been given a window by my doctor to try to lower my numbers, so I go back to this book. With an open mind, open heart, I buy the juicer, I’m doing the celery thing. I’m reading and following the guides, after 4 weeks I’m not getting better. The celery juice is hurting my stomach, my numbers come in much-much higher. I’m over it, I’m on medication. I’m feeling much better.

I then moved on to a pricey juicer, haven’t used since.

Honestly it’s not just that. I understand that not everybody will get the same results, but there was something after I finished reading the book. There was something about what I had just read, and what I had heard him say in some interviews that didn’t sit right with me. To this day, I just don’t know about this guy.  I believe that food has the power to heal, but I also believe that if you have a relationship with your body you know when it’s not enough. Trust me, I believe in nature as the cure, but sometimes even nature needs some help dealing with manmade illnesses.

“Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown. This book was great, it was just what I needed. If you want to be a leader who is value based this is the book for YOU! Who entire chapter on vulnerability alone is worth the read, many don’t equate leadership with vulnerability, so it might make you uncomfortable. Honey, settle in and get comfortable with that dis-COMFORT because that means your mindset is shifting. 

A couple days after finishing the book, I started working on a campaign where I was going to lead a team of 27. That was my biggest team ever! Her words were exactly what I needed to hear, they prepared me and her lessons guided me through it all. It was the best experience I’ve ever had and I know deep within my heart that my team got us that W! 

Here’s a bonus, if you’ve seen her fabulous Ted Talk, heard her speak, you know she has a REAL quality about her. No BS, just the truth, in all of its ugliness, just the truth. That comes across in the book, especially when she shares the times she’s truly messed up as a boss and been called out by her employees. Who does that? Brené does because she wants us to know that she also fucks up from time to time. We just have to own it and not let happen again. 

If you’ve had a crappy boss, you need this book! You need to know that there’s other, better ways of leading.  She also has a great podcast “Unlocking Us”, which is quite engaging and entertaining. 

“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; it’s choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy; and it’s practicing your values, not just professing them”

 Brené Brown

“The Pact: A love story” by Jodi Picoult. I read this book in one weekend, Picoult is such a great storyteller. In this book you follow two families who share everything, have lived every big moment together, who are one big extended family. To no surprise their kids become a couple, they are young and in love. Everyone is happy, so everyone is shocked when one is dead in an apparent suicide pact. As both families mourn the loss, one is fighting the added burden of keeping their child out of prison for a murder they did not commit. While the other family is fighting hard to put this individual behind bars for murdering their only child. 

Picoult does a great job of introducing all of her characters. She takes you back to the start of friendships, relationships, and manages to make you wonder if in fact it was murder. The judge says one thing, but you have been giving the facts by each character, do you think it was murder or suicide? Was this pact justified? Was it love? Are you not guilty for being the only survivor?  

PS: I just found out this was turned into a TV movie with Megan Mullaly (Karen, no not the one we don’t like. The drunk one that everyone loves including Jack!) #will&gracerocks You can check it out on Amazon! 

“Sing You Home” by Jodi Picoult. Another good one! This one apparently comes with a soundtrack. You can go online and find it and helps bring the main character Zoe to life. Although, I think that is pretty cool, I didn’t listen to it. Zoe was already real to me. This book had moments that made me angry, sad, and I can’t lie-cry. 

My favorite thing about Picoult’s style of writing is that we see the story from each main characters point of view. There’s no guessing what the other person thinks or does, because in the next chapter Picoult tells you exactly what they were thinking. She has a way of describing characters flaws in a way that you can understand because you might share them or know someone that does. Which sometimes makes it difficult to love a character or hard not to dislike them. 

This book intrigues the reader from start to finish. It makes you question boundaries, what love means and is for you. Would you accept love in any shape or form? Would you walk away from the potential of true love if it didn’t resemble what you thought to be normal or acceptable?  Can you trust after someone you cared for deeply broke not only your trust but your heart? What would you give up to make your dreams come true? How hard would you fight for someone else’s dreams to come true? 

Again, Picoult has a fascinating way of making her characters come to life you can’t help but feel their emotions. Through her words she takes you on their journey, and you can’t help but be all for it. I also, almost forgot to mention, this book comes with a soundtrack that was especially made for it. Each chapter is the title of a song, to hear it, all you need to do is visit the website. I didn’t do it, honestly too much work for me. Plus, her words already make me feel enough.

PS: 2021 will most definitely have some of her novels in it, especially her 2020 release “The Book of Two Ways”. 

“Too Much and Never Enough: How my family created the world’s most dangerous man”  by Mary L. Trump Ph.D. I don’t think I have to go into detail in this book we all know who it was about and some of us kind of knew what we were going to get. But I don’t think we expected this much…honesty?…chaos? Disfunction? I don’t know the right words to describe it, what I do know that Trump never had a chance of being a decent human being. Honestly, nobody in their family did and those that tried were ridiculed and exiled without a penny to their name. 

I can’t lie, there was a quick minute when I felt bad for young Trump. As you read, how even with both his parents alive he was still deprived of maternal and paternal care and attention as a mother this got to me. Then you see how important “winning” was to his father and you understand why he is the shameless ignoramus we are hoping to never have to hear from again. 

PS: This book is also available in Spanish, which I bought for my mom. She wanted to know what all the commotion was about. FOMO is real!  “Siempre Demasiado Y Nunca Suficiente”

“A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership”  by James Comey. I really didn’t know much about Comey or his book. My uncle bought it and I was like “why not”. To my surprise I enjoyed the book, it was well written, and you can tell the man is very meticulous not just in his writing but in life in general. He sets the stage by sharing his trajectory from college to that faithful day in LA when he found out via the news that he was fired by Trump. Yes, he found out the same time we did that he was no longer employed.

There were times his honesty made me cringe at the lack of cajones, his pompousness, and yea even self-righteousness made me put the book down at times. To be honest, this in itself made me respect the author a little more. He knew these moments were not going to sit well with readers and he still included them. It is who he is and what he believes. Comey was honest about his Republican values, his relationship and respect for Obama. His defiance, as seen through the eyes of Trump and his cronies, proved his belief in his loyalty to the People and not the man in the Oval Office. An interesting read, especially if you followed the congressional hearings-all 3 hours of it! 

PS: “The Comey Rule” was a Showtime Limited Series based on the book. I didn’t see it but others said it was pretty good. Based on the trailer, it does actually look good. Hmmm, who do I know that has Showtime? 

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” By Maya AngelouWhat can I say about this book that you probably don’t already know or have heard? It’s amazing. This book was exactly what I needed during a moment in my life when I was not feeling my greatest. I was hooked and I wanted to know why in fact it the darn bird sang. I ended up ordering her Autobiography Collection, 1000 plus pages of pure love, heartache, and truth telling. If you haven’t read and think you know everything about her because you’ve seen her on SuperSoul Sundays, think again. You will be surprised by sincerity and transparency of her words. This was the start of her career as a storyteller and it just keeps getting better and better. A must read! 

Since, I’m a Christmas junkie and I realized that I’ve never read the Classics of the season. I decided to get into the full spirit and read some of the classics. 

“A Christmas Carol” By Charles Dickens. I know, some of you might be surprised. But I had never read the real version of this, I had read shortened kid versions as a kid. Of course, seen the movies, every single version of it. So, I know what the story was and is about, but I was still captivated by it. This is big, I’m not a Dickens fan. God, I’m not. You can tell that the man got paid per word. I have two copies of a “Tale Between Two Cities”, apparently I was hoping one version would excite me enough to finish the novel. But it didn’t. My professor knew I didn’t, I still wrote the paper he asked for thanks to Sparknotes but I just couldn’t finish it. 

I will admit, that my interest in reading this Holiday Classic came after watching “The Man Who Invented Christmas” movie and I’m glad I did. Yes, Charles takes forever to describe the blue sky but it goes well with the story. Or maybe I was just caught up in the holiday spirit that I didn’t mind much. Either way, a good read and I hope I can read to my kiddo down the line.  I did get him the children’s version, he liked it but he is only 5 and doesn’t understand some of the plot lines. We will try it again, next year. 

 “The Night Before Christmas” By Nikolai Gogol. Okay, I wanted to read this one because -again, holiday classic. I really wanted to enjoy this classic, but I must admit that it was not what I thought it would be. I’ve read some Russian literature, but nothing like this one. I didn’t quite understand it and didn’t see the connection between devils and the stealing of moons to get a woman to sleep with you. Apparently, this is traditional Ukrainian folklore read aloud every Christmas to the little ones. These kids must be a lot smarter than I am, because I just didn’t get it.  I understood the plot, but not the connection to Christmas. Maybe others might, but I didn’t and I don’t think I’ll be reading it next Christmas. To you I say, read it, you might like it and you might understand it. It’s a great story, but not one I would say: “Grab some hot cocoa and snuggle up, let’s read about seducing Devils and drunken lovers” . 

What books are you planning on reading? What books would you recommend? Let me know in the comment section below or send me a quick note on the #gram

Author: monilazo

So many things to say, but not sure how to say it. We will go with the best and simplest answer, I'm one bad ass Unicorn. Yup, there's only one of me and once you get to know you'll understand why that's a good thing. I say what's on my mind and I'm not afraid to call out BS, as I am also the first to admit when I'm wrong. If you want to find out more, check out my site. There will be a little bit of everything, going through a change...so stay tuned. Subscribe to my blog to make sure you don't miss a beat!

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