My Reads of 2020

Hi and happy holidays everyone! 🖤

I have always been an avid reader, but in 2018 and 2019 I did not make time for it, which is sad as it is something I enjoy very much. When 2020 was approaching I decided to make reading one of my new year’s resolutions – and I have read and enjoyed 7 books this year.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Summary: The summer of ’28 was a vintage season for a growing boy. A summer of green apple trees, mowed lawns, and new sneakers. Of half-burnt firecrackers, of gathering dandelions, of Grandma’s belly-busting dinner. It was a summer of sorrows and marvels and gold-fuzzed bees. A magical, timeless summer in the life of a twelve-year-old boy named Douglas Spaulding – remembered forever by the incomparable Ray Radbury.

My opinion: A well-written fiction novel that definitely deserves a place in your book collection.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Summary: Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens? In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going. Sapiens is a thrilling account of humankind’s extraordinary history – from the Stone Age to the Silicon Age – and our journey from insignificant apes to rulers of the world.

My opinion: An extraordinary book that changed my view on humankind in several ways. A definite must-read if you want to learn more about our history.

Indecent Proposal by Jack Engelhard

Summary: A destitute couple try their luck in an Atlantic City casino. The wife, Joan, is utterly gorgeous. She attracts the attention of an oil rich sultan who can buy anything he sets his eyes on. Can he buy people? Can he “buy” Joan? What would you do for a million dollars?

My opinion: An exciting book that studies love, money, and trust. It is a bit slow in the start but definitely worth the wait. If you thought the movie was interesting, you should definitely read the book. The novel goes much deeper into the themes and is very thought-provoking.

Lust for Life by Irving Stone

Summary: The most famous of all of Stone’s novels, it is the story of Vincent Van Gogh – brilliant painter, passionate lover, and alleged madman. Here is his tempestuous story: his dramatic life, his fevered loves for both the highest-born women and the lowest prostitutes, and his paintings – for which he was damned before being proclaimed a genius. The novel takes us from his desperate days in a coal mine in southern Belgium to his dazzling years in the south of France, where he knew the most brilliant artists (and the most depraved whores). Finally, it shows us Van Gogh driven mad, tragic, and triumphant at once.

My opinion: As the Van Gogh fan that I am I knew I had to read this book. Irving Stone tells Van Gogh’s story beautifully. A classic.

Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom

Summary: When Molly Bloom was a little girl in a small Colorado town, she dreamed of a life without rules and limits, a life where she didn’t have to measure up to anyone or anything – where she could become whatever she wanted. She ultimately got more than she ever could have bargained for. In Molly’s Game, she takes you through her adventures running an exclusive high-stakes private poker game catering to Hollywood royalty like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck, athletes, billionaires, politicians, and financial titans. With rich detail, Molly describes a world of glamour, privilege, and secrecy in which she made millions, lived the high life, and fearlessly took on the Russian and Italian mobs, until she met the one adversary she could not outsmart: the United States government.

My opinion: After watching the movie by the same name, I knew I had to read the book. It is very fascinating reading about all the hidden business going on in the high society. Interesting story and well-written by Molly Bloom.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Summary: When his flight gets delayed, Ted Severson meets Lily, a magnetic stranger, in the airport bar. In the netherworld of international travel and too many martinis, he confesses his darkest secrets, about his wife’s infidelity and how he wishes her dead. Without missing a beat she offers to help him carry out the task…

My opinion: If you have read my post (link below) about this book you already know I love it. Quoting myself here, “I can honestly say it is one of the best novels I have read. It is so exciting and unexpected. It is twisted and the events taking place in the book surprises you in all kinds of ways. I had trouble putting the book down as I always wanted to know what happened next.” My favorite of the year.

Related: A Must-Read Book

Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

Summary: It’s a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we’re taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest. Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. The instinct to cooperate rather than compete, trust rather than distrust, has an evolutionary basis going right back to the beginning of Homo sapiens. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too. In this major book, internationally bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world’s most famous studies and events and reframes them, providing a new perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history. From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the Blitz, a Siberian fox farm to an infamous New York murder, Stanley Milgram’s Yale shock machine to the Stanford prison experiment, Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think – and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society. It is time for a new view of human nature.

My opinion: I am halfway through this book, and so far I think it is very interesting and well-written. I can already say that I would recommend everyone to read this book. Rutger discusses human nature and picks apart many theories and experiments.

“This book must be read by as many people as possible – only when people change their view of human nature will they begin to believe in the possibility of building a better world.” – Grace Blakeley, author of Stolen

x Alex

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