favorite reads of 2020 (january-april)

It’s been a long year, and we’re only 4 months in. Lucky for us, books exist! Here are the ones I love, so you might love them too.

Where The Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”

This is the first book I bought when we arrived in Asheville, and it saw me through living in an empty apartment, stressful job searching, and a brand-new start. It’s a true coming of age tale, spanning an entire turbulent and often lonely lifetime, with a crime mystery weaved throughout. It also takes place in the marshes of North Carolina, which I found fitting due to our recent move. It was the perfect, often symbolic, distraction during this new step.

Just Kids

by Patti Smith

“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.”

This story took my breath away. I know I’m a little late on the train with this one, but it was completely worth the wait. The story moves like poetry, telling the true story of a friendship like none I’ve ever encountered. I felt the honesty of her words on every page. It will break your heart, make you believe in the magic of art, and see the hard and beautiful truths of life.

The Song of Achilles

by Madeline Miller

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, and our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

I previously read Circe, its counterpart, and I’m convinced that both books are masterpieces. As a fan of the Iliad, this story brought a new perspective and dimension to the classic tale. I’m still feeling the full effects of the ending, and I’m certain that I will be reading this one over and over for many years.

The Power of Now

by Eckhart Tolle

“It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.”

As someone who falls into a state of nostalgia more often than not, I felt this book calling me out on every page. Tolle’s writing style is direct while revealing uncomfortable truths about how humans perceive time and how we tend to believe that our labels and past pain is our identity instead of letting it go and reaching enlightenment. It took me a long time to get all the way through it, mostly because I had to stop every couple pages to absorb the seemingly endless wisdom that kept hitting me right in the gut. It will change the way you think.

The Flight Attendant

by Chris Bohjalian

“Remember that person you wanted to be? There’s still time.”

It was so easy to get absorbed into Cassie’s dysfunctional life, which happened to involve an international murder, jet setting to Dubai and Rome, Russian spies, and a serious alcohol problem. When I’m saying that I got so invested and stressed when reading it, there were moments where I had to put the book down because I had such strong feelings. A thoroughly enjoyable and quick read.

turning 28: an absent year

One short (yet so, so long) year ago I wrote a blog post on thetrainridehome.com about turning 27. The United States had begun quarantine, and I was scared. Everyone was scared, to a certain degree. I was laid off from my new job that I was barely getting the hang of, and my little family consisting of my husband, my dog, and myself were in a new state away, far from family, with no income, trying to keep it together.

an entertaining game during quarantine

Take some of these ideas, add your own into the mix, and pull them at random, doing one after the other. Don’t give yourselves too much time to think between each one – just DO. The whole experience made us feel like kids again, forgetting about the weight of the world. We hope you have as much fun as we did.


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