2020 brought with it a lot of different things for all of us. For me it was more time to read and write and reading 60 books in a year.
I had a goal to read one book per week during the year, which would mean 53 books.
During the year 2020 I also got accepted to a writing programme, which led to me reading other kinds of books than I was planning (which is only a good thing, always keep reading out of your comfort zone!).
I ended up reading 60 books mainly due to me reading also shorter books in my poetry course and writing for a young audience course.
In this post I will list all of the 60 books with a rating and a short review of the key takeaways.
60 books in a year – what I read
My goal was to read as Phoebe runs.
Note that I put the title in English and in parentheses the title in the language that I have read it in. I have mostly read books in Swedish and some in English and only one in Finnish.
The rating is from one to five stars, as it is on Goodreads.
Books and e-books: 42
Here are the sixty books I read in 2020, sorted by date read.
- The Real Happy Pill: Power Up Your Brain by Moving Your Body (Hjärnstark) – Hansen, Anders. ★★★★
The main point of the book: Work out and you’ll feel better on every level of your life. Instead of taking pills for anxiety, go for a run. This was a book that gave me a slap in the face and made me actually start running, for my own well-being. Four stars due to the many repeats of the point that was clear already in the beginning. Still, a book everyone should read.
- How to Think Like a Cat (Konsten att leva som en katt) – Garnier, Stéphane. ★ ★ ★
Take it easy, don’t worry and take a nap because it will always sort itself out. The book was a fun read however not easy to actually live like a cat (and I do not think it is possible nor the meaning of life) but there are true points I needed to hear to learn to relax more.
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos – Peterson, Jordan B. ★★★
A book with new commandments for a healthy life. Peterson arguably makes some valid points but I felt like I was not the main target reader for this book. Further I feel like he lingered too long in some examples (lobsters…) and could have made the book a more pleasant read making them shorter.
- Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery (Sommar i det lilla bageriet på strandpromenaden) – Colgan, Jenny. ★★★★
Sometimes a feel-good book is all you need. The problems are not too overwhelming and the setting is cosy and nice. Colgan writes in a way that made me want to stay in the bubble and read on.
- A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir (En droppe midnatt) – Diakité, Jason Timbuktu. ★★★★★
This made me think about the importance of understanding your own origin and finding yourself in the society you are in. I enjoyed the way Diakité structures the book, jumping back and forth to give examples. It feels brutally honest as well.
- Origin – Brown, Dan. ★★★★
What is life without a little risk. Brown is well-known for his thrilling books and this was no disappointment. The way he combines the ancient with the high tech is brilliant. I enjoyed the ending but at times it felt a bit slow (maybe because it was book five in a series I haven’t read).
- Det här var ju tråkigt: ännu en bok – Batra, David. ★★★
Notes that people have written can be really funny. Made me think that finding the notes can be the difficult part. I think it works as a short comic release but still felt there could have been more left to give.
- Väggen: En utbränd psykiaters noteringar – Dellson, Pia. ★★★★
Rest and you will find yourself again. This describe burnout in a realistic way. Made me think that all of us are only human and in so many companies the pressure is too high.
- Skärmhjärnan – Hansen, Anders. ★★★
The key takeaway was to be smart regarding how you use your screen. Hansen brought up some good but basic points about screens and how they affect the brain.
- Hemligheten – från ögonkast till varaktig relation – Josefsson, Dan & Linge, Egil. ★★★★
Before you judge someone else, look at yourself. This brought up some concrete tips about how to succeed with your relationships. It is not always easy but knowing your own patterns help a lot for both parts in a relationship.
- Så här blir du miljonär i hängmattan – Börjesson, Per H. ★★
Be smart with your money but remember that money is not everything. Basically how you should do nothing with your investments, I felt like it was a bit outdated and overly simplified. Of course the dream of becoming a millionaire while doing nothing is a fun dream.
- Dyngkåt och hur helig som helst – Skäringer, Mia. ★★
Just do it, be honest and laugh at your mistakes. Skäringer writes honestly about her own life, when she peed her pants, about her sexuality and not being only one thing. I think it could have been structured a bit better and created a clearer consensus than what it was.
- Klubben – Gustavsson, Matilda. ★★★★★
The key takeaway was to always, always speak up about injustice because there is always a reason to not do it (took old or too young or too in between). This is an important read that Gustavsson writes professionally when we get to follow the integrity of her work as well as the mind-blowing story of so many sexual assaults. Definitely one of the books that gave the largest impact.
- The Monk who sold his Ferrari (Munken som sålde sin Ferrari) – Sharma, Robin S. ★★★
The main point: you are happier with less. The clearest thing I bring with me from this is the mantra “I am strong and more than the eye can see” (freely translated). I was not totally convinced about all of the things in this book but still I think it is a good reminder in today’s world.
- Helgonet (Hammarbyserien, #4) – Gerhardsen, Carin. ★★★
The fourth book in a series where we follow the Hammarby police and a new crime. I got intrigued about the crime and thought in the whole it was a well-written book. At times it loses me as a reader but I think reading the first three books would help that.
- Går det åt helvete ska jag ändå dö – Klingspor, Agneta. ★★★
A book I found in the apartment I rented, Klingspor’s book is about getting older, having an old love interest back. I felt that if I was in the same life position as the person in the book, I would have enjoyed it more but the writing makes me stop for a while and think out of this perspective.
- The girl with the lower back tattoo (-“-: Saker du inte vet om mig) – Schumer, Amy. ★★
Five stars for being so openly and honest about embarrassing things that happen in life. However Schumer loses me a bit in the parts where she shares her diary from a younger age and wants to add many footnotes, this makes the reading for me clumsy. Also, some parts she brought up felt a bit out of place in this biography.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – King, Stephen. ★★★★
A gold mine for someone who wants to write. First, he establishes his knowledge by going through his life and writing. Then he brings up tips on writing.
- Life, Only Better (Livet vi drömde om) – Gavalda, Anna. ★
Two short novels in one. I think there was a lot of plot holes in the stories (who loses a lot of money that way…) and I felt that this was just something very hastily made.
- Arv och miljö – Hjorth, Vigdis. ★
Even though inheritance, equality and sexual abuse is an really important topic I felt that Hjort dwelled a lot on the obvious point that I as the reader understood miles back in the story. I know I am sensitive about too much repetitiveness and not so much action in the story and this had both, I think Arv och Miljö is to be read as a poetic piece and think that I should read it again after my year studying writing and now I might see this piece differently.
- Good enough : bli fri från din perfektionism – Gummesson, Elizabeth. ★★★★
Ah, this is a book for every over achiever and perfectionist. She brings up tips and tricks in a realistic way and is a book I could read again.
- Misery – King, Stephen. ★★★★★
One of the all-time must-reads! The way King combines an author with his biggest fan who happens to be a bit crazy really made me see why King is as famous as he is. And all the details in the text that made me get inspired in my own writing (for example I enjoyed the way he structured his chapters).
- No Logo – Klein, Naomi. ★★★
No Logo came into my radar already in 2013 when I had my first marketing class (have just not had time to read it). Klein brings up a big problem that still is with us today. However I would have wanted to see Klein, who is so invested in this area, to come with more solutions than problems even though it is such a difficult problem.
- Popular music from Vittula (Populärmusik från Vittula) – Niemi, Mikael. ★★★★
Niemi writes a funny book that combines the lives of Finn’s and Swedes in the Northern part of the countries. With a clear storyline (that perhaps makes me a bit confused with the flying lady-monster that they fight against, if my memory serves me correct) I understand why Populärmusik från Vittula has received the acknowledgement it has.
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Dolken från Tunis) – Christie, Agatha. ★★★
Agatha Christie, how I wish I would have met you. Dolken från Tunis was tucked away in my drawer in my summer house, I think it was not a coincidence. The way she brings up all the characters and ties the knot in the end is satisfying. I would have preferred more introduction of all the characters in the beginning and I think it is best if this is not the first Christie novel you read (as it was for me) and begin with Poirot where Christie has begun with Poirot.
- My husband’s secret (Öppnas i händelse av min död) – Moriarty, Liane. ★★★
I was happy to find Liane Moriarty’s book, the author of Big Little Lies, in the small one-shelf library in the common room next door. This is a book that I have analysed more for my own project so needless to say I enjoy the way she has different characters that we get to follow as well as the way she splits up the chapters. I would have hoped that the ending would have been somewhat more creative than (spoiler alert!) the housewife going back to her husband, but I do see the purpose of it.
- Århundradets kärlekssaga – Tikkanen, Märta. ★★★★★
A true inspiration for other Swedish Speaking Finn’s such as myself. Tikkanen writes easy to understand poems about being married with children to an alcoholic that is brutally honest. More of this please!
- Varje morgon går jag ner till sjön och fotograferar vattnet – Berg, Bengt. ★★★
Berg’s poetry shows a – mostly – clear to understand life of going down to the water to photograph the lake. I felt like the doodles he made during his call with his friend were mostly for himself as he has self-published the book.
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Gilbert, Elizabeth. ★★★★
The author of Eat, Pray, Love writes about creativity in a fun way with a lot of examples. After have read Big Magic I felt that I could be more kind to my own creativity (and remember to put on some lipstick and perfume if I lack in creativity that day). Even if I think the book floates a bit high up in the spiritual idea-sharing between minds I did enjoy the writing.
- Annie John – Kincaid, Jamaica. ★★★
We read this in class as a post-colonial read. Kincaid brings up the life of Annie in a realistic way in a world that is far from what I have grown up in myself. It is an easy to read book even though it could, in my opinion, win on speeding up the storyline at times.
- Den rödaste rosen slår ut – Strömquist, Liv. ★★★★
A marvellous take on today’s dating world – written all in cartoons. Who can bring together Leonardo DiCaprio, Married at the Altar and knowledgeficiation of our romantic lives? Strömquist can.
- Bridget Jones’s Diary – Fielding, Helen. ★★★★
Having seen the movie a lot of times I enjoyed seeing the original story of Bridget Jones. A funny feel-good with a working plot and diary structure. But the Mom in the book was much worse in the book than in the movie, who knew!
- Notes to Self: Essays – Pine, Emilie. ★★★★★
One of the best books this year! Pine brings up some great points regarding having a parent with misuse problems, being a woman (taking up topics as shaving, kids etc).
Read it, just read it.
- Yahya Hassan. ★★★★
Dare I say that Hassan is one of the most well-known Danish poets? Written in all caps this book brings up topics of drugs, immigration and family in a strong way.
- Den modiga lilla kaninen och spökena i garderoben – Tolstoy, Nadia. ★★★★
A children’s book that brings up facing your fears, and that sometimes the smallest of us can be the smartest.
- Den svavelgula himlen – Westö, Kjell. ★★★★
Westö writes a story that brings up all the classic things of Swedish Speaking Finn’s living in the Helsinki-area. It is an enjoyment to follow the characters and their lives growing up, moving from apartment to apartment and enjoying their summer houses.
- Kärlek: 11 berättelser för mellanstadiet – Danielson, Oscar. ★★★
11 stories for young readers regarding how love can be scary, wonderful and different than you first thought. I like that it is open for new kinds of love and honest that it is not always perfect however some felt a bit trivial.
- Beröringen – Tegby, Gustav. ★★★★
Tegby is a playwright and it shows clearly in this book as there is no scene that is slow or boring. A book that is more topical than ever right now with the concept of “if you touch her you might die”.
- Skräck : elva rysare för mellanstadiet – Angerborn, Ingelin. ★★★★
11 horror stories also written for a younger audience. With many creative stories that stand well on their own I felt it was a good read. One example is an author that combines playing Pokémon Go with a world with monsters and it works.
- Mamma Mu gungar – Wieslander, Jujja. ★★★
A story with the core idea that even though you might be a cow and others think you should not do specific things such as swing, it might just mean that you need to fight for your dreams a bit more. And due to your actions, surprisingly, others might get inspired. I think the story could have been even shorter as the illustration speak for themselves.
- Humlan Hanssons hemligheter – Sigunsdotter, Kristina. ★★★★
I read this as it won an award and I can see why. It brings up being young, going to school, having an “odd” but inspiring relative. All this while still keeping the humour.
- The Night Before Christmas (Julaftonsnatt) – Clarke Moore, Clement. ★★★★
There is no Christmas without a little rhyme. This was a cosy Christmas story perfect for the dark days close to the Holiday Season. Even gave me inspiration to write my own story…
E-book and Audiobook: 1
I love libraries. And they are essential for me to be able to read up to 60 books in a year.
But sometimes the book I am reading is popular and has a reservation list and therefore I have to hand in the book back. But then I can listen to it instead. This was exatly what happened with the following book, wich I read 50% and listened to the rest.
- NOS4A2 – Hill, Joe. ★★★★
A well written (and almost 700 pages) horror story with a villain that is layered. With this I mean that the villain in this story is not evil because he is evil, he has his reasons and depth that Hill goes into. I can see why it is also highly rated, the text flows through the chapters easily to keep you reading and the audiobook read by Kate Mulgrew was as good as Stephen Fry’s reading of Harry Potter (which has been the best I’ve listened to so far).
Here are the books I listened to out of the total of 60 books, sorted by date.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling, J.K. ★★★★★
A story that brings up themes like safety of your home and people not being the person you thought they were. I think bringing in Sirius Black gives a effective twist to the story.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling, J.K. ★★★★★
I believe this to be one of my favourite Harry Potter books. Coming up with this world and this life threatening tournament really makes me wish I could read Rowling’s mind. In this book we see more romance, which is in line with the main characters getting older. Many smart twists in the book.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Rowling, J.K. ★★★★★
As the books get darker and darker we see the meaning of friendship, love, decisions and so much more. I think the link between Harry and Voldemort also is a great writing “trick” for the readers to follow Voldemort’s storyline as well without telling too much.
- Moominpappa at Sea (Muminpappan och havet) – Jansson, Tove. ★★★★
Family is everything. Imagine a world without your family, it would perhaps not be so good for many of us. Jansson writes about the feeling of wanting something more, changing life for your whole family and how fear and anxiety comes with you wherever you are.
- Johtajuuden ristiriidat – Miksi johtaja aina epäonnistuu ja miksei se ole ongelma – Rehn, Alf. ★★★★
Rehn brings up both parts of an argument regarding being a manager, that management is feminine vs masculine, that management is thinking in the big picture vs being detail oriented. I think it is important to be forgiving even as a manager and listening to this book gives a broad image of the problems a manager can face with own examples.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Rowling, J.K. ★★★★★
I think this list makes this clear that I am a Harry Potter fan. I think that in the sixth book Rowling brings up more heavy concepts and the twist regarding who the Half Blood Prince is creative.
- “Såna som du ska inte va här” – Carlsson, Marika. ★★★
Carlsson brings up some of the struggles she has: being black in a white Sweden, questions regarding religion and sexuality that change over time. With humour she writes about heavy subjects. I enjoyed that she read her own book.
- Min hemlighet – Stordalen, Petter A. ★★★
Stordalen gives examples on how he has become the big entrepreneur he is today. A big risk taker while his wife is sick gives a bigger perspective on his life.
- Mannen som hyrde en familj – Brijker, Susanne. ★★★★
A fun concept with lovable characters. A funny feel-good that was perfect while picking berries in July. A bit easy to guess the plot, however sometimes that is what you need.
- Jag lämnar ekorrhjulet: ett liv utan lönearbete – Axelsson, Åsa. ★★★★
An inspiring story about a mother and teacher who burns out and then has her own project: How much money can you save by growing your own food, not constantly buying new things and travelling? I do not want to spoil the ending but it is a lot. And again, the ending regarding what she chooses (or has) to do was not as inspiring as the whole book even though it completely makes sense.
- Hur svårt kan det vara? – Törnblom, Mia. ★★★★
Communication can be so difficult as we all are different. In this book she reads to us examples of herself and her patients and it gives inspiration to the readers own life and own behaviour.
- Enda sättet att genomlida en konsert är att själv stå på scenen – Uggla, Magnus. ★★★
An interesting read about the artist’s upbringing and experiences and learning about own ADHD. A down to earth biography about his life.
- Finn Family Moomintroll (Trollkarlens hatt) – Jansson, Tove. ★★★
Jansson is a person I do look up to and grew up watching the Moomin’s. Even though it is not my favourite story about the Moomintrolls I think Jansson creates a world where you can love who you want and this made me think about what you wish might not always be what you need.
- Tradingkungarna: svenskarna som erövrade Wall Street – Jacob Bursell. ★★★
A book about seeing what needs to be changed and doing it yourself, taking the risk and working hard (grit is important!) can make the people you worked for want to come and work for you. I enjoyed hearing about the innovative ways the group worked and keeping the mentality that they always can learn something more.
- Call Me By Your Name – Aciman, André. ★★★★
A true poetic piece about two guys who evolve feelings for each other. In my writing class we have learned that everything in a book needs to fight for its place, even the details in the book. Aciman does just this by bringing up other words like cocktail, apricock and Bangcock to help establish the tone of the book.
- The Truths We Hold: An American Journey – Harris, Kamala. ★★
A campaign book that brings up some details of Kamala’s life to show that she is a fighter people can trust. I enjoy biographies and thought this would have been a biography rather than a campaign book, therefore the 2 stars.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling, J.K. ★★★★★
In this last book we get to follow all the characters to the big battle between good and evil. To destroy evil is not easy but can be done with help of friends.
Fun facts of my reading challenge:
- Average length: 285 pages
- Shortest book 24 pages
- Longest book: 889 pages
The process of the 60 books reading challenge
60 books in one year. I had never done it before. The previous year I read 18 books and thought that was a lot. But this year was different.
My secret was to make reading a habit.
It is so easy to spend hours in front of Netflix (which I love too) but taking part of books is something different.
And for me I also read to become a better writer and hope to get published one day.
Books read per month to reach 60 books:
- January: 3
- February: 3
- March: 6
- April: 6
- May: 7
- June: 5
- July: 4
- August: 4
- September: 4
- October: 5
- November: 5
- December: 8
You have reached the end of this post, I salute you.
I have enjoyed taking part of different stories during the year and want to continue to read many more.
Everything from children’s books to poetry and fantasy, biographies and personal help.
Let’s see what next year brings book-wise, perhaps I read more than 60 books in a year!
Do YOU have any good book tips?