Something remarkable happened with my reading this year.
I read 45 books.
That’s not the remarkable thing.
What’s remarkable is that instead of picking my Top 10 books from the list to recommend to you as I do every year, this year–this unbelievable, strange, and tragic year of 2020–I couldn’t do that because nearly every book I read this year was one that I would recommend.
This has never happened to me…ever.
I listened to my intuition.
If after reading the first chapter or two of a book I didn’t feel engaged with the story or the content, I let it go. In the past, I’d read 30, 50, 100 pages, sometimes even the whole book, before stopping. I’d keep rationalizing to myself and thinking, maybe the next chapter will be better?
Can you relate?
This year, I let my intuition guide me. If I wasn’t engaged within the first 5-10 pages, I no longer rationalized why I should keep reading. I allowed myself to realize the book wasn’t for me and I let the book go. That gave me more time to find other books that I might like better.
Doing that one simple thing led me to having the best year of reading I’ve probably had in my life.
Here’s what I read in 2020.
- Dead is Good by Jo Perry
- Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas
- Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart by Stefan Kanfer
- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
- Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
- Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
- Dark Horse by Todd Rose & Ogi Ogas
- Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas
- Chillpreneur by Denise Duffield-Thomas
- Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki
- The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson
- Seattle Walk Report by Susanna Ryan
- The Empath’s Journey by Ritu Kaushal
- Figgs & Phantoms by Ellen Raskin *
- The Carry-On Traveler by Erin McNeany
- E-Squared by Pam Grout
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Late Bloomers by Rich Karlgaard
- The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer
- The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
- Educated by Tara Westover
- My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Penny Nichols by MK Reed & Greg Means & Matt Wiegle
- My Town by David Lee
- A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon
- The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman *
- All That You Leave Behind by Erin Lee Carr
- Daily Rituals: Women at Work by Mason Currey
- You Were Born For This by Chani Nicholas
- Adventures of a Pangopup by Terri Tatchell & Ivan Sulima
- Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories by Donna Miscolta
- Conscious Creativity by Philippa Stanton
- Tarot: No Questions Asked by Theresa Reed
- The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer
- Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
- Broken Places by Tracy Clark
- Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li
- Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic. by Lisa Lister
- Odessa by Jonathan Hill
- Bloodline by Jess Lourey
- Camp by Kayla Miller
- Anne of Green Gables: a graphic novel by Mariah Marsden & Brenna Thummler
- The Bad Seed by Jory John & Pete Oswald
- Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah
- The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim
* = I’ve read this book before
While I enjoyed almost every book I read this year and would recommend close to 90% of them, there are a few that changed my life in substantial and beneficial ways that I’d like to say a few words about. They are…
Dark Horse by Todd Rose & Ogi Ogas. Dark Horse inspired me so much I decided to open a career coaching practice so that I could work with the dark horses of the world.
Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas. Get Rich, Lucky Bitch helped me unearth money blocks that I didn’t even know I had, some as far back as when I was six years old. I’m now recognizing them when they come up and doing my best to acknowledge and heal them.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a popular book about decluttering and organizing that’s also a brilliantly subversive book about developing one’s intuition. This book helped my husband and I to declutter our house from top to bottom. (And no, I didn’t force my hubs to do it! I just read the book myself and started decluttering, my closet, desk, and papers. Marcus was intrigued and read the book on his own. Then, on his own volition, he slowly and steadily decluttered and organized his closet, desk, and the entire garage over the span of six months.)
You Were Born For This by Chani Nicholas. You Were Born For This helped me dissect and understand my astrological natal chart in amazingly accurate and heartfelt ways. I felt seen and understood in ways that I’ve never felt before.
Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li. Forest Bathing set my husband and I on the path of using trees and nature to heal ourselves and boost our immune systems. Since reading this book, we’ve now wandered through the forest more in the last three months than we have in the 13 years we’ve been together.
If you’re looking for suspenseful reads for the new year, I highly recommend the mysteries Broken Places by Tracy Clark and Bloodline by Jess Lourey; and the memoir Educated by Tara Westover. All are excellent, page-turning reads!
I hope this list gives you some good ideas for books to read in 2021, and also hope that my experience this year encourages you to use your intuition when deciding whether you want to keep reading a book or not.
Wishing you good health and a new year full of enriching reading!
Peg Cheng is the author of Rebel Millionaire, a guide for how to retire as a millionaire even if you make a modest income, co-owner of Plaid Frog Press, and a career coach combining intellect with intuition. Born in Southern California to Taiwanese parents, Peg lives in Seattle.
John Lu says
Good to know that I’m not the only one that moves on! There are just too many good books out there !
Peg Cheng says
Absolutely. Glad you can relate, Cuz! 😉
Heather C says
YAY! I was so excited to read this post!!! I’ve been diving into You Were Born for This in the last week and, at first blush, i’m blown away. Can’t wait to read more and just ordered a hard copy so i can really do a deep dive. I can’t wait to find out when Chris was born now too. LOL. I love hearing about reading using your intuition and all of the books i haven’t read on your list sound super intriguing. Cannot wait to read more! Thank you for sharing!
Peg Cheng says
YAAS! So cool that you’re reading You Were Born For This too, Heather! I can’t wait to talk to you more about it…and also find out if you figured out Chris’s sun, moon, and rising. Heh heh. 😀
I remember hearing Nancy Pearl, former Seattle head librarian, say that she had to be grabbed within the first 50 pages of a book, because she had too many books to read. You’re even more ruthless, and it’s working out great. I’ll pass that along to Tess–I gave her a book for xmas that she didn’t like (Love by Roddy Doyle), but felt duty bound to finish.
Was thinking of checking out Educated, now I will for sure (and Bogart too). Interesting about forest bathing–we’re near Seward Park, and it’s always been so refreshing to walk or run through the old growth, but it’s easy to forget about it. I imagine there’s a lot to the healing effect of a forest, but I wonder if some of it is geometric: we’re so surrounded by rectangles, uniform surfaces, and 90 degree angles, that walking among trees feels like getting out of sensory jail.
Peg Cheng says
Edgy, thanks for letting me know that I’m in good company with the wonderful Nancy Pearl! You’ll have to let me know what you think of EDUCATED and the Bogart biography, TOUGH WITHOUT A GUN. I think you’ll enjoy both of them. And if you get a chance to read FOREST BATHING I think you’ll be surprised at the many benefits of walking through the forest (Seward Park is awesome). Getting out of sensory jail is one but there’s so much more! It’ll make you want to visit Seward Park every week.