What I've Been Reading : 2020 Edition

My reading started off strong in 2020 with a handful of books... until the virus happened. I found myself with less time alone and not very motivated to read while I was battling some health issues. Eventually I got back into the swing of things and was able to read about 16 books for the year. Here's what I read in 2020 in reverse chronological order:

Dutch House by Ann Patchett - This book follows a boy and his sister through pretty much their whole life and follows how their attachment to the Dutch House (and its other occupants) shapes their life.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated by JK Rowling - I'm slowly making my way through these illustrated books with Cora. The girls love looking at the pictures and it is fun to read along with them. Usually I can fly through these books, but it is surprising how long it takes to read out loud.

Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein - This book gives the history of how laws shaped segregation in America. This took a bit to read, but it is well worth it. So informative and I would 100% recommend.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis - Quick listen. I know she is really popular, but it was not my favorite book. It was interesting to hear about a bit of her background, but overall the book was just okay.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption - Bryan Stevenson - Death row lawyer works to get an innocent man acquitted. there is one main story line with smaller cases sprinkled in. All true. There is also a movie.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes  by Suzanne Collins - (The Hunger Games #0) This was a prequel to the Hunger Games and follows along as Snow gets involved with the games. It is interesting to hear about how the games evolved and make connections to characters from the other books.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens - Everyone in a Kya's life abandons her, so she figures out how to make her own way in the marshes. Loved this book and I can see why it is so popular. This is one I will probably reread at some point.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham - good parenting tips. I have a couple good takeaways from it, but would probably much rather read with my eyes than via audiobook.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan - A man in the government is accused of rape. The book follows along the trial and parallel backstory of one of the characters.

His Dark Materials Series - Philip Pullman. : I read The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass and companion book Once Upon a Time in the North. Adventure, suspense, female lead, magic... what more can I ask for in a book.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - Such a great book! I can't believe I haven't already read this. It

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh - Young Woman returns to her childhood home and the nostalgia of that, but also triggers some bad memories.

The Ambassador's Daughter by Pam Jenoff - Prequel to The Kommandant's Girl. Margot, a german diplomat's daughter, travels to Paris for a peace conference and strikes up some unlikely friendships/alliances. Quick read and hard to put down.

*books read with my ears AKA audiobooks. 

See my 2019 reads here.


Fall 2020

This year, Summer and Fall kind of blended together thanks to our delayed back to school. We bounced between at home school and remote for most of the Fall, so we were able to enjoy a lot more time at the pool throughout the month of September.... then we switched to enjoying lots of bike riding. We are fairly close to our downtown, so we like to ride down there for treats at the pastry shop or the occasional small event. Our town has cancelled all of the Fall festivals and other events we looked forward to every Fall, but we have been able to attend smaller events like a celebration of Black poetry day. We have also enjoyed the bike trail and all of the beautiful Fall foliage along the trail
We celebrated Ida's birthday with some outdoor family gatherings and a couple drive-by wishes from friends. She was a little sad she missed out on celebrating her birthday at school, but she had a great day.

Since I'm working from home and Cora is remote half the week, we have been enjoying the Fall weather as much as possible. Sometimes, we do schoolwork outside, other times we just take lots of breaks to enjoy our backyard.

Holiday-wise, we did some of our yearly traditions, but skipped actual Trick-or-treating.  We decorated 'spooky houses' at my parents, stopped by the pumpkin patch near our house, participated in 'BOOing' our neighbors, wore costumes throughout the month, and watched all Halloween themed movies.

Like most things about this year, things were different. We changed some things around and really enjoyed our Fall days more than we were ever able to in previous years.


Back to School

Like everything this year, back-to-school season was a lot different.  Cora's first day of school was delayed a week or two. They eased into the school year by splitting the class in two. They had an orientation day one week, then half a week of in school and half a week of virtual school the following week.  This was a great way to give us all a taste of how virtual school would work in case we have to do that in the coming months (spoiler alert: we do).  The school gave everyone the opportunity to choose in-person or virtual and we are lucky to have had half the class choose to be virtual!!! There are only 10 kids in Cora's in-person class! After the first couple days seeing how awesome the school and children were doing with the new rules, we were all feeling much better about choosing the in person option. 

Cora has moved into hybrid where she is at school half the week and at home half the week. It has been interesting to watch her learning style and how she interacts with the class. She is a go-getter and wakes up early to get a head start on her afternoon lessons so she can have the afternoon to relax.

Ida's school delayed the beginning of the year by a month, then had orientation days and partial days for everyone to ease into the new restrictions. Ida has been asking to go back to school multiple times a week since March, so she was happy to get back into the classroom. On her first day of school, she ran off into the classroom barely glancing back and saying "bye". Every single day I picked her up, she gave me one of the wild twinkly smiles and tells me "I had the best day today!" 

We will likely be moving back and forth between in person and at home schooling this year and I'm interested to see where the year takes us and how much my girlies learn.
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