Books, TV Shows, and Movies For 2020

I’m a huge reader, movie-goer, and binge-watcher. In the first 5 days of 2020, I’ve finished a TV show I’ve been watching, watched 3 movies, and finished 2 books. Here are some of the books, movies, and TV shows I’m hoping to read and watch this year.


For book recommendations, I look to The Anna Edit, friends, book store staff favorites, and Barack Obama. The Anna Edit has given me so many book suggestions that I’ve loved over the past year and a half. Barack Obama gives a quarterly and yearly list of all of his favorite books that he’s read. I also find reading psychology books so fascinating so there’s always a few in there about the brain as well. This year, my list is so long and hopefully I’ll be able to read 20 books, starting with these. I tend to go through phases of books: psychology, dystopian, YA fiction.

Psychology Books

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a book about this perfect state of challenge, skill, anxiety, and boredom where they are all balanced to put you in this place of “flow”. In this state, time seems not to pass, there is no distraction, and physiological needs seem to fade. I think we’ve all had a project or hobby where we felt that kind of flow and it’s fascinating to me.

Behave by Robert Sapolsky is incredibly popular with critics from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. This one definitely falls on the more science side of my list because it outlines the biology of our behaviors and morality. It’s so interesting to learn about why we do things and where our behaviors come from.

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison details her experience with bipolar disorder as an academic who has studied this disorder and also lives with it. This is another psychological one but turned into a really accessible, interesting book for people who don’t love research summaries.

YA Fiction

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is one that’s been on my list for a while. This one falls into the YA fiction category which I’ve been reading a lot of lately. It’s been made into a movie but I’d like to read the book before seeing it. It’s about a girl that lives in a poor neighborhood but goes to a fancy suburban school. Then she sees her friend fatally shot by police and this story follows the aftermath.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi follows a 16 year old Muslim girl a year after 9/11 in the US. This one explores themes of fear, prejudice and first love, also falling into the YA fiction category. I saw this one recommended as a staff favorite at a book store I love near my house. I have yet to pick it up but I’m excited to read it.

Lifestyle Books

Slow Medicine: The Way To Healing by Victoria Sweet discusses a slower medicine that creates personal, unique, and sustainable solutions for medical problems. These don’t treat symptoms but treat the cause of an illness, solving the problem instead of covering the signs. A friend recommended this one to me and I can’t wait to read it.

The Eight Master Lessons of Nature: What Nature Teaches Us About Living Well In The World by Gary Ferguson is an environmental book about creating a more meaningful connection with nature to enrich life. It uses science, psychology, history and philosophy to discover the relationship between wellness and nature. Does anything sound more like me?

Dystopian Novels

1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale are also those dystopian types of novels that I really enjoy. In high school we got a choice book in an English class; the options were these and Brave New World. I chose Brave New World but I really wanted to read all three. Hopefully I can check those off my list this year.

TV Shows

I’d love to finish Salt Fat Acid Heat this year. It’s a 4 part series on the absolute basic components of cooking and how they are used throughout the world. I’ve found this one so interesting so far and I can’t wait to watch the rest of it.

I began Mindhunter a few years ago but never made it past the first episode. It’s a crime drama where FBI agents try to catch criminals by studying their psyche and trying to find a “why”. This seems like a perfect combination of psychology and thriller for me.

Gilmore Girls is such a classic that I’ve never seen and I’m making it my lots-of-seasons show for the year. I always want to have a long show that I know I can’t finish in a week and becomes reliable when I need a pick-me-up so I’m hoping this will be it.

Making a Murderer is also on my list. I actually went to a talk by the lawyers involved in the case and it got me so interested in the show. I’ve never actually started it so this is the year.

I love seeing photos of space so I’m going to start Lost In Space which just came out with it’s second season on Netflix. Lost In Space is a remake known for it’s graphics and special effects.

The Handmaid’s Tale has been so popular and I’d ideally like to watch it after I read the book but I’m not sure if I can wait to start it.


I see so many movies in a year that it’s impossible for me to choose a favorite. I couldn’t even pick a top 3 if you asked me to. Here are a few that are on my watchlist for 2020.

American Factory is about the clash between America and China as a Chinese billionaire opens a factory in Ohio. It’s a documentary that just came out in 2019 and Obama highly recommends it.

Diane is a movie about a selfless woman who spends nearly all her time taking care of others but an internal conflict and past mistakes threaten her current routine. Another Obama recommendation.

The Farewell is about a family that travels back to China to spend time with and say goodbye to a family member who everyone knows is dying. But, doesn’t know herself. It sounds sad to me but is supposed to be uplifting and even funny!

Lady Bird was so popular in my family but I never saw it. It’s been released on Amazon Prime so I’m looking forward to finally being able to join in on the conversation.

Jane is a Hulu movie about Jane Goodall and her studies and relationships with chimps and it’s giving off that environmental docu energy that I love.

I’m in the middle of Apollo 11 but I thought I’d add it in since I’m not done yet. It’s the story of the Apollo 11 flight and landing on the moon and includes real and recently found footage from inside the spacecraft and on Earth as the scientists monitored the whole thing.

That’s all for my watch and reading lists for now, I hope you found some to add to your lists this year!