Books I Read in 2020

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

As the pandemic wears on, I find myself reaching more to books for a much needed break. I read books set in the roaring 20s with glittering bright young things, ornate Rococo palaces housing French royalty, writings on the houses of Dior and Givenchy, and found comfort in the familiar surroundings of childhood favorites, the history of beauty, and more!

Here are some highlights from the 40+ books I read this past year.

Biographies: Film legends, French Rococo, and Royalty

I love a nice in-depth biography. Starting in August, I enjoyed reading books about Rococo era France, in particular Marie Antoinette and Madame de Pompadour, for an upcoming post! I also researched Old Hollywood starlets for my Old Hollywood Beauty Tips series, and the book Audrey Hepburn’s eldest son wrote about her, Audrey Hepburn, an Elegant Spirit, was a poignant portrait.

The Reluctant Empress by Brigitte Hamann also swept me away. The biography about Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known also as Sisi, was at times, hard to read because of the subject matter, but nonetheless was one of the most engaging biographies I've ever read! Highly recommended if you are interested in royal history.


Fashion is one of my favorite subjects to read about! Some favorites: musings from 60s supermodel Jean Shrimpton (My Own Story by Jean Shrimpton), a book outlining the influential relationship of Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy (Audrey and Givenchy: A Fashion Love Affair by Cindy De La Hoz), and a touching tale about a cleaning woman who saves up for a Dior dress in the 50s (Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico).

My favorite kind of fashion writing details the tactical elements of fashion: describing clothing in a way that makes you feel as if you can touch the fabric itself, and applying historical context to trends, accessories, etc. Shoutout to In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie by Cora Harrington for doing just that! Her technical understanding and pure love of lingerie came through on every page. I feel like this is a must read for anybody interested in fashion.

Feel Good

Especially in 2020, I enjoyed escaping into some light hearted books. Emily of New Moon was a highlight, I read it with several of you in my book club! Reading the Emily series for the first time after growing up with the Anne of Green Gables books felt like an exciting surprise. I love that Emily is like Anne's Gothic cousin, as the Emily of New Moon series delves deeper into darker themes while still retaining the cozy familiarity of the Anne books. I admire L.M. Montgomery’s descriptive, lush writing style, and the way she weaved in so many things I love, like references to Shakespeare, the Bront√ęs, Sappho, recurring motifs of moonlight, the sea, prophetic dreams, and ghosts. And all anchored by somber themes dealing with growing up and grief!

Other highlights: Jordon Sondler's Feel it Out, reading Little Women in its entirety for the first time, and the collected Moomin comics, Vol 1.

Classic Literature

Classic literature is another one of my favorite book categories! Some that I really enjoyed reading recently: the devastating Tess of the D'Ubervilles (you can read my review here), Jane Austen's witty Emma (which I read as part of my book club with some of you lovely people!), and re-reading Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (a lovely feel good novel written in the 30s) and Brideshead Revisited.

Audrey Hepburn by Mark Shaw, 1953

Did you read any good books this past year? I would love to hear your recommendations, as I'm hoping to read even more in 2021 ♡! Also, does anybody want to be Goodreads friends? ♡


  1. This was so fun to read and very well written!^^ I will definitely be checking out some of these books♡

    1. Ahh thank you so much Eunice! I'm a bit self-conscious about my writing "skills", so your comment means a lot <3 I would love to know if you end up reading any of these and what you think!

  2. I've read An Elegant Spirit!! I was struck by how her professionalism and humility came from a place of insecurity, and how her humanitarian work came from a place of sadness rooted in her experience during WWII. Last month I watched the Audrey documentary on Netflix! Nothing new but still lovely to watch :) I liked hearing from her granddaughter. -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

    1. OH and I have a postcard of Sisi up in my room, which I think I got from Austria but could have also gotten from Budapest... My first reaction to seeing it in the gift shop was what beautiful hair she had. I haven't read that book about her but I have read her Wikipedia page haha

    2. Oh my gosh, you did such a good job of articulating what I thought of An Elegant Spirit, Audrey! I had remembered reading about her humanitarian work, but reading the book really made a lot about her click into place for me, especially about her experiences during WWII. I also watched the new Audrey documentary! I really enjoyed it as well, and I appreciated they had ballerinas portray Audrey at different points in her life. Omg it's so cool you have a Sisi postcard from your travels! And indeed, her hair routine was out of this world - the biography I read touches upon it and it was QUITE the process! Thank you for stopping by, I always so appreciate your thoughtful comments Audrey <3

  3. Brideshead! Agh, as always your taste is impeccable. I need to get back into reading, I’m defo gonna refer to this list once I get back to the library!

    1. Omg Zelly my love... Thank you so much angel ;___; I'm so glad to hear you also love Brideshead Revisited ahh ;__;!! I can understand what you mean about wanting to get back into reading, throughout 2020, there were weeks all I wanted to do was read, and then others where I couldn't stand to sit still! But I hope you are able to get back into reading soon and I would love to hear if you end up reading of these! Sending you love bby <3


Thank you for stopping by! I read (and cherish!) each and every comment, and respond to questions either via email or twitter (to make sure you see them!) ♡

Mermaidens - Musings of a Modern Mermaid ©2011-2014 All rights reserved
Portrait in Header Illustration by Sibylline Meynet designed by Designs Blue Moon