I read 103 books last year. It was hard to narrow it down, but here are my top 15 favorite books I read in 2020.
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I read 103 books in 2020.
It’s not quite as impressive as it sounds, since the VAST majority of my reading this year was fiction, which I can zoom through pretty quickly. I just didn’t seem to have the mental energy to read as much non-fiction as usual (gee, I wonder why). And rather than feel guilty about it, I gave myself permission to read what gave me joy.
Also, 19 of those 103 books were read-aloud chapter books I read to/with my boys (mostly my first grader). I’ve been adding our favorites to this list of favorite read-aloud chapter books, so go check that out if you’re looking for great books to read to your kids!
But still. That’s a lot of reading this year!
It was hard to narrow it down, but here were my 15 favorite books I read in 2020:
My Favorite Books in 2020
The World’s Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America’s First Black Sports Hero – Michael Kranish
This book was fascinating! I never knew competitive bicycling was such a phenomenon at the turn of the 20th century, and Major Taylor was an unknown name to me. It’s a shame because his story is incredible, especially in the face of the incredible racial prejudice and abuse he suffered.
On Wings of Devotion – Roseanna M. White
I’m a big fan of Roseanna’s books, and this was one of my favorites. It had all the hallmarks of my favorite fiction — engaging plot, sweet romance (that refreshingly broke out of typical romantic fiction norms), and characters I loved. It even had one of my favorite and most inspirational characters of all of Roseanna’s books. You can read my full review here.
Making Space, Clutter Free – Tracy McCubbins
If you’re looking for a decluttering book for the new year, this one is excellent! I loved how she addressed the emotional side of decluttering as well as different situations people face that might necessitate it (death, divorce, downsizing, etc.) I thought she did an outstanding job of being empathetic yet honest and firm.
For All Who Wander – Robin Dance
Whether you’re questioning your faith, deepening your faith, or something in between, For All Who Wander is a must-read for anyone who has ever felt lost in a sea of doubt and disappointment. Read my full review here.
Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate
I’m awfully sensitive when it comes to reading about suffering, especially when it involves kids. So there were parts of this book that were extremely difficult for me to read. But it was such a great book, I’m still putting it on my list of favorites.
I learned SO MUCH from this book. It’s a bit of a firehose situation, though, so I need to go back and read it again. And again. And again.
Letters to the Church – Francis Chan
Oof, this book was incredibly convicting, but so incredibly good. This is a must-read for everyone in “the Church”.
This was a year of a lot of soul-searching and prayer for me, and a major focus in my prayers was figuring out how to better use my life for His glory.
This book inspired and equipped me to seek God’s purpose, believe it when He gives it to me, and passionately step into it with everything I’ve got.
One of my favorite quotes was this: “It’s not about our capacity; it has always been about God’s. So we can stop second-guessing ourselves and lean our full weight on the capacity of the One who calls us.”
A Light on the Hill (Cities of Refuge #1) – Connilyn Cossette
I’ve never been all that interested in Biblical fiction. I’m not sure why. Maybe I got a bad taste at some point, and it ruined me. Who knows? But when a trusted reader friend recommended Connilyn Cossette this year, I decided to give her a try.
And I very quickly binged all her books I could access free on either the Libby app or through Prime Reading (which was almost all of them). I’m listing this one as my favorite because it was my initial introduction, but I loved every single one of them.
Atomic Habits – James Clear
It took me a few months after buying this book to start it. I guess I thought, “Another book on habits. It’s probably going to be the same old things I’ve read before.” But it was definitely not.
Admittedly, there was a bit of review from things I learned from Charles Duhigg’s Smarter, Faster Better (one of my favorites from 2019) and other books, but there was a lot of brand-new (to me) wisdom that blew my mind. I couldn’t get enough of it. I need to read it again so I can implement more of his strategies this year!
If you are a parent (or plan to become one someday), go buy/check out/borrow this book IMMEDIATELY. I don’t always recommend books this heartily or to all parents, but I will with this one!
It was eye-opening, inspiring, convicting, and entertaining all in one. Even as she steps on your toes and turns current child-rearing philosophies on their head, Jessica manages to do it all in a gentle way that won’t leave you feeling the least bit resentful toward her for doing it.
Maybe it’s because she offers plenty of her own missteps and doesn’t pretend to be Mrs. Perfect Mom. Maybe it’s because she’s so stinkin’ funny. Or maybe it’s just because everything she has to say is pure GOLD. Whatever it is, I ate this book up, and I want every single mom to read it, too.
Fear is Not the Boss of You: How to Get Out of Your Head and Live the Life You Were Made For – Jennifer Allwood
I’ve seen many people say that upon finishing this book, they immediately dive back in for seconds, and I can see why! Wow. It got me all kinds of fired up to push forward in whatever God has for me to do.
I didn’t want to put this book down! It voiced things in my heart I didn’t even know were there, and I was crying by the introduction. (To be fair, it doesn’t take much.)
The invitation to stay with God in my struggles, disappointment, and pain instead of running away from them, stuffing them, or avoiding them was mind-blowing to me. But I learned that’s exactly what I need to do to experience the fullness of God’s love, transformation, and wholeness.
This one is a must-read. I highly recommend it.
The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity – Sally Clarkson
I never read a Sally Clarkson book without walking away inspired to grow into the mother God created me to be, and this one — one of her earliest — definitely fit the pattern. I had fallen (yet again) into a pattern of complacency and “survival mode” in my mothering, and this was just what I needed to remind me of how great a responsibility it is and how little time I have to do it.
I will say, I don’t necessarily share her convictions about stay-at-home motherhood (even though I am one), but her wisdom and insight more than made up for it. If you’re a working mom, I encourage you to give it a read, resisting the temptation of offense, and find ways to implement her practical strategies in your particular circumstances.
Women of the Word – Jen Wilkin
This book blew my mind. It was SO GOOD. It challenged my approach to Bible study as well as my entire perspective on God’s Word. (For the better!) Nearly every chapter brought a paradigm shift for me, and I’m beyond excited for what it’s doing to the way I study God’s Word, understand God’s Word, and apply God’s Word.
I read a LOT of good books last year that I enjoyed (and a lot of mediocre books that I still enjoyed), but those were my favorite books in 2020!
Don’t forget! I read 19 chapter books with my boys this year, and our favorites are in this list of Favorite Read-Aloud Chapter Books.
YOUR TURN: What were some of your favorite books in 2020? Share them in the comments below!
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