2020 End of Year Survey

This survey was originally developed by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner. I maybe got rid of over half the questions – the original is long!

**2020 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 143*
*As of 12/29/20, it’s likely to go up by one or two before the end of the year

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Best Books You Read In 2020?

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Beach Read by Emily Henry and The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I just have to give up on reading horror novels. I never appreciate them.

 Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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The F List by Alessandra Torre. I went into this with no expectations and it became one of my favorite books of the year.

 Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?

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I loved The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

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I don’t read much historical fiction anymore, but I loved Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?

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Fallen Crest Forever by Tijan. I think this cover is just so cute and romantic.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 

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Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer (originally released in 2015).

Favorite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

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No Way Out by Cara Hunter

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

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The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren. I know a lot of people didn’t love this, but I really enjoyed it!

Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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I thought A Path to Redeeming Love was a very good devotional and recommend it if you’re looking for one!

Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?

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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

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One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be A Priority in 2021?

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I bought a hard copy of this when it first came out and still haven’t read it.

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021?

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People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. Beach Read was one of my favorites of 2020 so I have high expectations for Henry’s next book.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful for This Year

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a Thanksgiving Day freebie. In this dumpster fire of a year filled with book slumps, I decided to go with the top ten five books I’m thankful for this year.

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1. Beach Read by Emily Henry. This was completely different than what we all thought it would be, but it ended up working for me. This is one of my favorite books of the year.

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2. The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I have been waiting for a sequel to The Royal We for so long and it didn’t disappoint.

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3. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. After loving the Beartown books, I was a little afraid to read anything else by Fredrik Backman because my expectations were so high, but this book definitely stands out as one of the best of 2020.

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4. The F List by Alessandra Torre. This book kind of came out of nowhere for me and I was surprised by how much I loved it.

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5. The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Morgenthaler. This one stands out to me because it was the only 4 star read in the midst of a bunch of 2 and 3 star books.

Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

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(I had to include the non-American cover because it’s perfect. You’ll understand when you read the book.)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Anxious People publishes September 8, 2020. 

Even though the Beartown books made me a Fredrick Backman fan for life, this is only my third book from him. I was a little afraid that no other book could live up to my sky high expectations. And while the Beartown books are still my favorites, Anxious People did not disappoint.

Backman has such a way with words. I am continually blown away by his honest – and humorous and sometimes heart wrenching – description of the human condition. There is no other author that can make me want to laugh and cry in equal measure. This story is about depression, anxiety, and desperation. But it’s also about hope, love, and forgiveness. It’s about idiots. It’s about the thoughts we have in our lowest moments and the reassurance that we are not alone. There was one passage that described my teenage self so accurately, that I really wish there were more books like this back then.

“She isn’t traumatized, she isn’t weighed down by any obvious grief. She’s just sad, all the time. An evil little creature that wouldn’t have shown up on any X-rays was living in her chest, rushing through her blood and filling her head with whispers, saying she wasn’t good enough, that she was weak and ugly and would never be anything but broken…In the end you get exhausted from always tensing the skin around your ribs, never letting your shoulders sink, brushing along walls all your life with white knuckles, always afraid that someone will notice you, because no one’s supposed to do that.”
(Quote taken from ARC, may be different in final version.)

The story is very character driven, and there is quite the quirky cast to get to know. I loved how we learned things about each of them, bit by bit. Characters who might come across a little unlikable at first are given context and background that will make you grow to love them instead. There’s even a twist or two that will keep you on your toes. I will say there were a few times where it felt like things dragged just a little and I wanted to get on with the story, but the character development was still definitely worth it. The story is told in a non-linear way, which could have gotten confusing, but I think Backman handled it really well. I loved the excerpts of the witness interviews most of all.

Overall, I loved Anxious People. Backman’s writing was just as wonderful as I hoped it would be. It was honest and relatable and filled with emotion. It was also laugh out loud funny at times. I definitely recommend this one and am looking forward to going back and reading more of Backman’s backlist.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: July 29, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Baking Me Crazy (Donner Bakery #1) by Karla Sorensen. This ended up being 3 stars for me. There were many things I liked about it, but the way the main character reacted to things really rubbed me the wrong way.

Outsider (Kate Burkholder #12) by Linda Castillo. This was another solid installment of the series. I’m looking forward to the next one!

What are you currently reading?

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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I haven’t had a lot of time to read over the past couple days so I’m not very far in yet, but so far I’m loving it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I just got This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf from the library.

What are you reading?

WWW Wednesday: July 15, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Girl in the Love Song by Emma Scott. Super angsty and a little too long, but a sweet love story. I enjoyed this one.

What are you currently reading?

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Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan. Honestly, I’m not really interested in this at all yet. The writing isn’t bad, I was just expecting a Thriller and this is more Women’s Fiction so far.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m not sure if I’ll read it next, but my next ARC on deck is Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.

What are you reading?