Every Book I’ve Read in 2020

I wanted somewhere that I could have a long list of the books I’ve read, instead of having just the installments of five books at a time.

This will be an extensive list that I will keep updating as the year progresses and hopefully before the end of the year I will reach number 52 which has become my target for the year.

The reviews here will be a lot shorter than the ones you can find in my five book blog updates that are added on Fridays. For the full reviews, you can find those by clicking on the book titles below.

If you want to keep up to date on social media, I add each book that I read to my Orlagh Claire Instagram story highlights, but I also have a separate Instagram, @ocbookshelf where I post more in-depth reviews.

Here are all of the books that I’ve read so far in 2020:

1. YOU ARE A BADASS BY JEN SINCERO

I loved this book. It’s definitely one of the best motivational books I’ve read in a long time. It was an easy read and cut the crap about why we aren’t being our best selves, why we procrastinate and gives you the motivation to get your life in order.

2. THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE BY STEPHEN COVEY

This book took me quite a while to read as it’s lengthy and very technical. It was first published back in 1989 and a lot of the anecdotes in the book are relevant for that time, more so than now. However, the majority of teachings in this book are still relevant today.

3. THE CHALLENGER SALE BY MATTHEW DIXON AND BRENT ADAMSON

I won’t have too much to say about this book. I was in the midst of not having any new books and wanting to read a book without having to spend $20. One of the interns gave me this book that he had been given to read for work. I can see why he hadn’t bothered to read it.

4. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER BY SARAH KNIGHT

Have you ever wanted to quit your job and move to the Dominican Republic? Well you will after you read this book. It does what it says on the cover and basically tells you how to get your shit together.

5. THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF NOT GIVING A F**K BY SARAH KNIGHT

I had read this book before during my second year of university as it had been a Christmas present along with my #GirlBoss book. I’ve re-read that #GirlBoss book many a time, but this was my first re-read of Sarah Knight’s book.

This book literally says, “You do you hun!”

6. SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU BY CAL NEWPORT

I borrowed this book from my flatmate, wanting to read it ever since I saw it on his bedside table. The title of the book is one of my favourite quotes. It’s a quote by Steve Martin, the actor and comedian.

The book talks about not doing what you love for a living. Instead of following your passion, follow your skills. In my humble opinion, I think you can do both. You can be passionate about the skills that you possess in a certain industry. I believe that you can have your dream job if you really want it.

7. WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE BY OPRAH WINFREY

loved this book. It was such an easy read that I read it in two days. The book is made of short columns that Oprah has written over the years for her O Magazine.

The book gave an insight into her extravagant life, her connections to the Universe, her love for meditation and love for friends and family. It’s an uplifting book and so good that I might even go back and read it again.

8. A NEW EARTH BY ECKHART TOLLE

I had read another of Eckhart Tolle’s books, The Power of Now which I reviewed in June 2019. I wasn’t a huge fan of that book because a lot of it went over my head and I found it too technical. I think if I went back and read it now, I would have more understanding of its teachings.

A New Earth was an easier read and made me think about things a lot differently. It teaches you about the Ego and how you can attach your Ego to things to make them yours. It’s an enlightening book and may make you change the way you see the world and more importantly, yourself.

9. REPORTING THE TROUBLES BY DERIC HENDERSON & IVAN LITTLE

Quite different from my usual reads, but I wanted to add a history book and a fiction book into my book order for isolation. I think it’s good to mix between genres and not to get stuck reading psychology books forever.

As I come from Northern Ireland, I had a deep interest in this book and didn’t take long to finish it as I wanted to read all of the stories in one sitting. The book is a compilation of short stories from journalists that covered the Troubles during the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.

The Troubles is quite a taboo subject back home, and it’s not often that people like to talk about it as they were very dark days. I would definitely like to learn more about it, but this book is a great way to start, if you would be interested in reading about the troubled history of Northern Ireland.

10. THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK BY GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I love reading about the ‘Universe’ or the ‘Source’ or whatever name other people have for that higher power that dictates what happens to us. Some people call it God, but a lot of people have different names for it.

There are a lot of great teachings in the books, and it helped me get back on track with how I put things out into the ‘Universe’ in order for them to happen. It’s quite like manifesting in that what you ask for, you shall receive.

11. MINDSET BY DR. CAROL DWECK

This book taught me that there are two types of mindset – a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. From what I can tell, growth minded people are open minded people. They want to learn, are open to new viewpoints and being wrong.

It’s a great book to learn more about mindset and also the mindset of sports stars, business leaders and every day people like you and me.

12. POSITIVE THINKING BY NEIL FRANCIS (GIFTED)

I read this book in two sittings. It was an incredibly easy read but also a very insightful read. The author, Neil Francis, suffered a stroke at the age of 41. He was a top man in business with a family and a lot going for him.

There are a lot of benefits to positive thinking. In his book, Neil Francis outlines a lot of them and gives a real-life perspective. A great book.

13. INSPIRING INNOVATION BY GILES LURY

Another book that I read very quickly in just over two days, this was an easy read but also a very engaging read. The book compiles 75 products and brands and tells the story of how they began.

14. ATOMIC HABITS BY JAMES CLEAR

This is one of the best self-help books I’ve read in a while. There are so many things to learn from this book, but it’s so brilliantly written. There are models you would see in textbooks, references to psychologists and even some mathematical formulas, but James Clear makes it so easy to understand.

15. THE ENERGY BOOK BY RICHARD MADDOCKS (GIFTED)

This book had 50 chapters of 50 different energy-boosting techniques. An easy read, and something that you can pick up and open at random at any time that you may need.

16. POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH BY DR. SHAUN DAVIS & ANDREW KINDER (gifted)

First off, you don’t need to have a mental health problem to read this book. The subtitle of the book may be “Overcoming Mental Health Problems,” but it is not a requirement to read it.

Just like a book that I’ve previously read and like to recommend, Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope, you don’t need to be feeling down or mentally-ill to understand its contents and to learn from it. 

17. EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE BY DOLLY ALDERTON

I loved this book. It’s a memoir of Dolly Alderton’s life until she turns 30. It covers growing up, boys, men, relationships, friendships, getting older, employment, living in London, heartbreak and death.

The book reminded me of how much I liked that kind of genre – fiction and biography-style. It was a welcome change to the non-fiction that I’ve been reading recently and I think I’m going to keep alternating between genres, just to keep things interesting.

It’s a great book, and one I would heavily recommend.

18. GRACE UNDER PRESSURE BY LISA WENTZ (gifted)

I’m not the best at public speaking, so when it comes to tips and tricks, I need all of them. This book is a very helpful guide to public speaking and covers all bases.

19. A LUCKY LIFE INTERRUPTED BY TOM BROKAW

I had never actually heard of Tom Brokaw before reading this book. The book was left in my apartment by previous tenants, and I thought I would just give it a go as it’s not something I would usually buy for myself.

A very famous news anchor and TV personality for NBC, Tom has a lot of famous friends and had a very successful career. The book covers Tom’s battle with Multiple Myeloma cancer and his journey of treatment.

20. THE BUSINESS OF GETTING BUSINESS BY JOE MANAUSA (gifted)

This book is a guide to digital marketing for small businesses. Although I don’t own a small business, the book details the basics and more advanced processes of digital marketing.

21. ASK AND IT IS GIVEN BY ESTHER AND JERRY HICKS

I heard about this book through Irish social media influencer, Sinead Hegarty’s Instagram stories and she recommended it along with The Secret, The Power of Now and other books in the same genre.

If you’re into manifesting and positive thoughts, the Law of Attraction and that kind of thing, then I would fully recommend it. If you’re more of a fact-focused person then this one may not be for you.

22. TENDER IS THE NIGHT BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

Although this book was written in the 1920s, it was actually a very enjoyable and easy read. I have read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald two or three times, so thought I would also enjoy another of his books.

The book is set mainly in France and other parts of Europe. It’s a very good book about love, affairs, and living a luxurious lifestyle in the 1920s.

23. NORMAL PEOPLE BY SALLY ROONEY

I read this book in the space of two days, maybe a little less. I had seen the TV show and heard the book was very similar, if not identical to the show, so wanted to read it for myself.

24. THE PERFECT WORLD OF MIWAKO SUMIDA BY CLARISSA GOENAWAN

What a book. I read this in two days, just like Normal People. It seems like I’m getting through the fiction books a lot quicker than the non-fiction. I think my love for fiction has been fully restored.

25. BECOMING BY MICHELLE OBAMA

What a book. And what a time to read this book. Five stars, without a doubt.

26. SHOE DOG BY PHIL KNIGHT

I read Shoe Dog in the space of three days. It was personal, funny and a great insight to the beginnings of the Nike sports brand.

The book was a 5/5 for me as I hadn’t the slightest clue about the brand, how it came about or that it started in Oregon. It’s a truly great book that shows how something so small can grow into something much larger than you ever imagine.

27. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING BY DELIA OWENS

Oh my word, what a book. At the beginning, I wasn’t convinced and it did take me a while to get into it as the book flits between past and present quite a lot. However, I’m so glad I stuck with it as it took me two full days to read.

An excellent book that is written so perfectly. I can even imagine that this book might be made into a movie in the future.

28. THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ BY HEATHER MORRIS

Another book I couldn’t put down, I finished reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz in just one day. It’s a relatively short story, so was easy to get through quickly, but the story is what kept me reading. A harrowing, awful insight into the concentration camps during the second world war, this book tells of a Slovak prisoner who finds love within the camp walls.

29. THE ONE THING: THE SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE TRUTH BEHIND EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS BY GARY KELLER

I purchased this book on New York-Irish influencer @retroflame’s recommendation, but I have to say, I didn’t really rate it. The entire book was centered around the ‘one thing’.

The ‘one thing’ you could do right now that would get you closer to your goals. The ‘one thing’ you could do this week, this month, this year etc. I just feel like this could have been written as a blog post instead of a book.

30. BIG LITTLE LIES BY LIANE MORIARTY

I watched the TV series in the space of two days last summer and I was obsessed. I was so eager to read the book to see how it would compare.

I loved this book. I got through all 500 pages in the space of one weekend because it was so easy to read. There were a few changes from the TV series, like the setting and the ending, but other than that, I couldn’t put it down.

31. A SPARK OF LIGHT BY JODI PICOULT

A Spark of Light focuses on the topic of abortion. The story works backwards from a hostage situation where a gunman storms an abortion clinic in Mississippi.

The concept of the book was very good, but I wasn’t totally gripped by the telling of the situation. The book is split in chapters by the hours of the day and told by everyone’s accounts.

32. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE BY CELESTE NG

This is the book of the recent TV series starring Reese Witherspoon on Hulu and I was greatly anticipating reading this as I had heard great things about the TV series and wanted to read the book before watching the show.

If the book is anything to go by, I don’t have great hopes for the TV series.

33. THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME BY MARK HADDON

It took me just over a day to read the book as it’s quite a short story. I really enjoyed it and loved that it was told from the perspective of Christopher who has autism.

The book really gives you his perspective and why he acts the way that he does and the way that his brain works. A great book, a great story and a great narrative; very well written.

34. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD BY HARPER LEE

There’s a reason that this book is on every ‘must-read’ list, because everyone should read this book at least once in their lifetime and then pass it on to someone else.

A story of race, injustice and the operations of the Deep South in 1930’s America, told by 8-year-old Scout Finch. The book teaches that sometimes children are the best of all of us.

35. BITTER IS THE NEW BLACK BY JEN LANCASTER

I really, really enjoyed this book. I thought it would just be another run-of-the-mill chick flick kind of book, but Jen Lancaster talks about her career and how she was unemployed for two years.

It was interesting to see her go from designer handbags to having $5 in her bank account very quickly. The book teaches you what you should value in life and that no matter how hard you work and how much you earn, you can come crashing down to the ground very quickly.

36. ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE BY GAIL HONEYMAN

I had heard amazing things about this book before reading, but I really wasn’t overly impressed. It was an enjoyable book, but definitely wasn’t a five-star in my eyes.

I had a little chuckle here and there, but for the most part I found it quite predictable really. It’s a good read and I would recommend it, but I wouldn’t be rushing to the shop to buy a copy.

37. WHY ARE ALL THE BLACK KIDS SITTING TOGETHER IN THE CAFETERIA? BY BEVERLY DANIEL TATUM, PHD

I had been wanting to get my hands on this book for quite a while and came across it in a Free Little Library in Jersey City. I would say there is no better time than the present to be reading and educating yourself on race, but we should constantly be educating ourselves on matters such as these.

The book read quite like a large dissertation as a chunk of the book is notes and references, but it didn’t get too technical or too professional for me at any point.

The book was eyeopening, educational and thought-provoking. This book doesn’t just deal with Black racial issues, but issues for all people of colour and matters that they have to deal with that White people like me, would never even have to imagine. I recommend that everyone read this book.

38. QUEENIE BY CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS

I finally got my hands on this book after seeing so many great reviews on Instagram! This book details the life of 25-year-old Queenie in London as she deals with heartbreak, men, her childhood, mental health and racism.

Although fictional, this book was hard to put down and I read it in the space of two days and deals with hard-hitting issues and everyday racism in the UK. Thoroughly recommend.

39. PERFUME BY PATRICK SUSKIND

Back when I worked in the fragrance industry, I had heard of this movie quite a few times yet never got around to watching it. I spotted the book in a Free Little Library in Jersey City and thought it was the best opportunity for me to finally know the story.

I don’t think I’ll be rushing to watch the movie any time soon as I didn’t rate the book. I expected a lot more murders, a lot more gruesomeness as that’s the vibe I received when people spoke of the movie, so I was quite underwhelmed by the story.

40. HOME BY HARLAN COBEN

I really enjoyed this book, and hoped that I would so that I could read some of his many other books. After watching two TV series based on his books on Netflix recently, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of his books to read for myself.

It was an incredibly easy read and I got through it quite quickly. I liked that the book had a lot of dialogue, so I can imagine how his writing would play out on screen. An author I would definitely recommend if you fancy some mystery literature!

41. LADY IN THE LAKE BY LAURA LIPPMAN

Another mystery book that I really enjoyed, this book was a bargain find at The Strand Bookstore in New York for $2! It’s currently on the New York Time’s Bestsellers list and in the shops for $20.

The story reminded me of Where the Crawdads Sing as each chapter flipped between character perspectives which I really liked. The twist at the end was clever and the book touches on racism, classism, feminism and oppression in the 1960s.

42. THE HUSBAND’S SECRET BY LIANE MORIARTY

The Husband’s Secret revolved around three women, all with a secret that connected the three. Like Lady in the Lake, the chapters flipped between perspectives which I really liked. At the beginning it was hard to understand as it wasn’t overly clear that the chapters were changing between perspectives.

It was an easy read and I really enjoyed it. I could see the similarities between this and Big Little Lies and would love to read more from Liane Moriarty.

43. MAGGIE & ME BY DAMIAN BARR

I picked this book up in a Little Free Library in Princeton of all places – a book set in Scotland. It was a nice slice of familiarity reading about Celtic and Rangers, Protestants and Catholics and about a Margaret Thatcher government.

The book is a memoir-of-sorts of Damian Barr’s life growing up as a gay kid in the deprived areas of Scotland. An excellent read that also teaches you a lot about life back in the 1980’s with Thatcher’s taking away of milk from schoolchildren, privatizing coal and gas and Clause 28.

44. SULLY BY CHESLEY B. SULLENBERGER III

Do you remember the time an airplane landed in the Hudson River in New York? The one they made a movie about? Well this book tells the story of the event from the perspective of the very pilot that landed the plane in the Hudson and managed to save everyone on board.

I didn’t overly enjoy the book as it didn’t really get to the landing part until the last chapter of the book. I think I’d rather watch the movie instead.

45. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS BY AGATHA CHRISTIE

This was my first Agatha Christie novel, and one I picked up in a Little Free Library in Long Island. I loved it. I don’t usually read detective novels, but I really enjoyed this one with all the twists and turns.

Another book-turned-movie that I haven’t yet seen, but I’m definitely going to buy some more Agatha Christie books soon and add more detective novels to my collection.

46. MONEYBALL BY MICHAEL LEWIS

Ok well this book was not for me. I gave it two out of five stars on Instagram and I think I was being quite kind. I basically read a 300 page thesis on baseball and I have no interest in the sport whatsoever.

The book follows Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team and investigates how he hacked baseball by winning so many games with players no one had ever heard of or had any interest in drafting.

47. RIVERDALE: GET OUT OF TOWN BY MICOL OSTOW

I picked up this book in a Little Free Library as I’ve watched a few seasons of the TV show on Netflix (and gave up recently as it was all getting to fantastical for me).

I read this book cover to cover in one day as it was a very easy read and I could imagine all of the characters so clearly in voice, tone and face which made the book go by a lot quicker. An enjoyable but very easy read (much needed after Moneyball!).

48. MAESTRA BY L. S. HILTON

What a book. Spoiler alert: it ends with a ‘to be continued…’. But a book all about murder, the art world, fraud, money laundering and quite erotic in places.

I’m hoping the book gets adapted into a movie because I loved the sleuthing and luxury high-life that this girl was frauding her way into (and that she was from Liverpool).

49. MY FRIEND ANNA: THE TRUE STORY OF A FAKE HEIRESS BY RACHEL DELOACHE WILLIAMS

I had read this story a few years ago about Anna Sorokin and how she frauded her way into the elite social scene in New York.

I quite admired her story, so when I saw a book dedicated to the story lying in a box in Brooklyn, I quickly picked it up, sanitized it and took it home. From the author’s point of view (Rachel DeLoache Williams who was majorly scammed by Anna) it’s a pretty horrific read, hearing about someone being scammed out of so much money.

50. HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENTS BY JULIA ALVAREZ

I picked this book up in the Strand bookstore for $2 as the blurb intrigued me with four sisters making their way in New York City. However, I must say that I didn’t really enjoy it.

It was like Little Women was set in the Dominican Republic, but the stories were less interesting and all over the place. There was no real plot to the book and I have no idea why the book ended the way it did. Not one I would recommend.

51. THE RUNNING MAN BY STEPHEN KING

This book was written by Stephen King’s pseudonym, Richard Bachman and was published in 1982 but set in the future, 2025. There were flying cars and a lot of poverty (it seems Back to the Future and Stephen King had high hopes for cars in flight).

The concept of the story was a little bizzare, but also seemed like an early version of The Hunger Games. I’ll need to watch the movie adaption to see whether I like it.

52. HIDDEN BODIES BY CAROLINE KEPNES

So you know the hit/creepy TV series on Netflix YOU starring Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl being a class A stalker/serial killer? Well this book is the sequel in that story, the second series if you will.

I thought since I had watched both seasons of the series that I could start the second book without reading the first. However, the book is very different from the second season.

I enjoyed the book as I could imagine all of the characters, but the twist at the end of the TV series doesn’t seem to happen here. Obviously they’re holding out for a third series.

53. I HEART NEW YORK BY LINDSEY KELK

I thought I would depress myself further by reading about the city that I had just left less than a week ago. The book mentions all of the areas of New York that I had come to be familiar with and it did pain me to read about them.

However, this was probably the most far-fetched book I’ve ever read and the amount of happily ever afters that kept happening just weren’t realistic in the slightest.

54. HOLES BY LOUIS SACHAR

A very famous book that I’ve had in my library for a long time, but never actually read, nor have I ever seen the movie. The book is more of a children’s book than an adult, but it’s a famous one at that and I was eager to finally read it and add it to my list.

Final verdict: A very easy read and a very enjoyable read. A great twist at the end and I can see why this is a very popular kids novel.

55. HOLD TIGHT BY HARLAN COBEN

This is my second Harlan Coben book that I’ve read as I loved the first and found this one in a Little Free Library in Ithaca, New York. Again, this was a thriller/murder-mystery type of novel and I loved how everything came together at the end.

Harlan Coben writes so well and I can see a lot of his books being made into TV series at some point, just like a few of his others.

56. FIVE DAYS IN PARIS BY DANIELLE STEEL

At the beginning, I was really getting into it as it seemed like a romance novel from the perspective of the male instead of the female which you would usually find with romance novels.

However the book progressed to be a husband cheating on his wife with another married woman. Albeit that both relationships were toxic and probably best to end, but the whole book was based around cheating so I wasn’t a huge fan.

57. BOUNCE BY MATTHEW SYED

The book revolves around sports psychology and the main takeaway is that practice makes perfect. It does relate back to both Outliers by Malcom Gladwell (the 10,000 hour theory) and Carol Dweck’s Mindset book both of which I’ve previously read and enjoyed.

My main takeaways from this book are that practice definitely does make perfect and that more often than not, talented people aren’t ‘born with it’, they work damn hard for it.

58. I AM WATCHING YOU BY TERESA DRISCOLL

I’ve been recently getting more and more into thrillers and crime novels as I find them much more of a page-turner and a far more exciting read than your typical romance novels.

I read it quite quickly as it did keep me engrossed flipping between characters with each chapter and I wanted to find out what happened in the end. An enjoyable read.

59. THE LUCKY ONE BY NICHOLAS SPARKS

I had already seen the movie of this book, but I didn’t realize until I started reading and picturing Zac Efron as the main character (it helped me read the book a lot quicker).

I mean, it’s a typical Nicholas Sparks novel so don’t expect anything out of this world, but if you want romance, a little scare and some heartbreak, you don’t need to look any further.

60. MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON BY ELIZABETH STROUT

I mainly picked up the book because I’ve been feeling very homesick for New York lately and this had a picture of the Chrysler Building on the cover so I hoped it would be about New York.

It was a very short story, one I read over two days. The chapters were very quick and abrupt, but I just didn’t get into the story at all. It was a little all over the place but dealt with a lot of issues at the same time.

Follow:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.