Hi, I'm Ali! Nutrition and fitness coach, DIY beginner, dog mom, daily walker, reader and wife to a busy maker. I'm the voice you hear and read at Life Outside the Shop.

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2021 TBR List & Book Recs

January 19, 2021

I've gotten a lot of questions about what books are takin' up my DIY shelves and my 2021 TBR list! Ask and you shall receive, friends!

back to the blog

Ask and you shall receive, everyone;) After sharing more about the bookcase Sam built me for my birthday, I got a lot of questions about what books were takin’ up the shelves, my all-time favs, and my 2021 TBR list

Maybe I’ll start doing a book review post once every 3 months? A little “here’s what I read and what I think” kinda deal? We’ll see. But, you can always find our very favs in the “Required Reading” section on the Sam Macy Designs About page!

Top 10 Favorite 2020 Reads

In no particular order. I’m not going to give ya synopses cause that is what Google, Amazon and Goodreads are for! But, I’ll still give you a few thoughts:)

  1. Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
    You know those books that you can reread over and over again and you get what you need when you need it? That is this book (and the next one!). I read this once a year because it is just THAT good. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, creative, or just someone who wants to tap into your creativity, this is where I would start.

  2. Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist
    Another once-a-year-er. Present Over Perfect is about slowing down and identifying and connecting with what really matters. Niequist calls out “fake resting” (aka, cleaning and doing laundry in your pajamas and calling it relaxation) and the constant drive to be “busy” and “perfect”. This is another one that I read myself into depending on what I’m going through in my life!

  3. The Bronze Horseman Trilogy, Paullina Simons
    Okay, I’m kinda cheating because this is actually three books. If you’re into historical fiction, love stories, and (tasteful!) sex scenes. This one (or, these three!) is for you.

  4. Circe, Madeline Miller
    As an English Major and lover of all things mythology, Miller’s retelling of this goddess’s story was definitely a fav of 2020.

  5. The ZimZum of Love, Rob & Kristen Bell
    A friend of mine suggested reading this book before getting married and I am so glad I did. Many parts of Rob & Kristen’s book even made appearances in our vows and ceremony. It is a funny, short, poignant read about the importance of marriage and building a life with the person you love. 10/10 recommend no matter what your FB Relationship Status says!

  6. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab
    There are some books I love because of the story. There are some books I love because of the prose. And, every once in a while I luck onto a book that has the best of both. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was one of these books.

  7. Untamed, Glennon Doyle
    I sometimes struggle with self-help books. I can find them tough to read because as much as they’re meant to inspire, I often end up just feeling like I’m doing something (or, a lot of things) wrong. Untamed was NOT like this. So, if you’re dipping your toe into non-fiction/memoirs, definitely start here!

    (Or with Big Magic & Present over Perfect!)

  8. City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert
    Oh hey, 1940’s NYC! Does it get any better than Elizabeth Gilbert writing about flappers, theater, and a woman’s coming of age story? NOPE!

  9. Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards Book #1), Janella Angeles
    UGHHH this was so good. I can’t wait for #2. I think anything having to do with cards just gets me since I was (read: am) such an Alice in Wonderland lover. They just hold a sense of magic. Then, throw in magic TRICKS with cards and I’m yours.

  10. A Court of Thorns & Roses Series, Sarah J. Maas
    Cheating again! Right now, this series has four books: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Wings and Ruin, and A Court of Frost and Starlight (which is technically book 3.1 since it was a placeholder while we wait for book four to come out)! A Court of Silver Flames is set to release on February 16th of this year (see, what I’m most excited to read this year!).
Life Outside the Shop 2021 TBR List

(Part of my) 2021 TBR List

  1. The Doors of Stone, Patrick Rothfuss
    This one might be wishful thinking since I don’t actually know if it will come out in 2021. I’m also not 100% sure that is even the title? We lovers of Rothfuss’s King Killer Chronicles have been waiting for the 3rd (and final?) installment in the series since book #2 came out in 2011. You could spend HOURS reading different posts about when this book is FINALLY going to hit shelves. No matter what, it will be worth the wait and is DEFINITELY the book I’m most excited to read – whenever it comes out.

  2. Plain Bad Heroines, Emily M. Danforth
    I’m counting this one even though I’m just about halfway through it. SUCH a great book. It is the perfect story-within-a-story combo of fun, thought-provoking, and TOTALLY creepy! Just like Addie LaRue, Danforth nails the prose + storyline.

  3. The Duke and I, Julia Quinn
    Raise your hand if you binged the Bridgerton’s on Netflix and couldn’t’ get enough!!! The Duke and I is the first book in the Bridgerton Series. The only issue I’m running into is that I want to read/buy all three and I want them to MATCH. Because it is now on Netflix, the only version of Book #1 I can find has the characters on the front. I want the old one so it matches with books 2&3. HELP!

  4. The Devil and the Dark Water, Stuart Turton
    I’ve heard nothing but great things about this one! Gotta love some murder on the high seas!

  5. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid
    I finally (re)subscribed to a Book of the Month Club Membership and could not be more excited. This was an “add on” for my January box and it is next on my TBR list along with the following 2 books…

  6. The Guest List, Lucy Foley
    This was another BOTM add-on to my January Box! I read The Hunting Party last year (it was vvvv entertaining, just not top 10) and it was definitely a fun read. I’m into shorter murder mysteries that I can read quickly. Otherwise, the suspense kills me too much.

    (Aka – I am the queen of googling who wins The Bachelor(ette) every season… Thank you, Reality Steve).

  7. The Dating Plan, Sara Desai
    I read a lot of fantasy. I love it #noshame. And, sometimes I need a break… haha. So, this was my BOTM pick (basically, you pick one book for $14ish and then you can add as many previous pick books for $10 as you want to) for January and I’m gonna need to sprinkle it in as I keep crushing through my fantasy favs (enter, 2021 TBR #1 and 8-10 below).

  8. A Court of Silver Flames, Sarah J. Maas
    This one, I have a set date (and Amazon Pre-Order) for! Book four of Maas’s A Court of Thorns & Roses series comes out on February 16th. Before you ask, yes… I have already preordered it!

  9. When Night Breaks (Kingdom of Cards Book #2), Janella Angeles
    Yes… I preordered this one too! It comes out on August 24th and I’m counting down the days.

  10. The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller
    This one actually came out before Circe but, since I read Circe first and loved it so much, I can’t wait to go back and read her first book! It is sitting on my shelf… I just gotta get to it.

There ya have it! Ten books I loved in 2020 and ten more on my 2021 TBR list. I’m sure I’ll have tons more thrown in there so if you wanna keep in reading touch, friend me on Goodreads!

What books are on your 2021 TBR list? What are you most excited to read this year? Hit me with some suggestions!

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