Ok, I have to admit having seen some people’s reading lists for this year I was kinda disappointed that I hadn’t read 100 books, but then I thought, wtf who even does that haha!
Loads of us have had more time to read books this year than ever before. Although I typically have a book on the go at all times, there has been moments when I’ve been hooked on Below Deck (if you know, you know), Virgin River and other addictive TV shows that has kept me equally entertained and escaping from the reality of this unusual year.
I’ve enjoyed learning about new authors, diversifying my bookshelf and catching those novels that have been hyped up online, just to see what I think about them myself. I’m so excited by the prospect of all the books I’m yet to read, and having browsed a bookstore the other day with my friend Sarah (no not me, another Sarah), identifying which ones we still want to read, that is A LOT.
I’ve set up a mini bookshop through Bookshop.org, a new platform launched in 2020 which supports independent book shops with donations from the purchases made. The book orders are fulfilled via a wholesaler however you can actually make a purchase via a bookshop’s profile page which means they get the full profits from the order. I am now registered as an affiliate which means I’ll get a small % of the money if you purchase through my shop – it’s little bits of income like this that helps pay towards the upkeep of my blog! Check out more information about Bookshop.org here.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next book for the Christmas period or the new year, then here’s everything I read this year. Let me know what I didn’t read that I should DEFO add to that ever growing TBR list…
Thrillers (my fave)
- The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – thriller about a strange family, and even stranger goings on. Told from two time periods from a number of perspectives, we try to decipher what happened at the house all those years ago. It kept me hooked, and I read it in literally 24 hours.
- The Woman at the Window by AJ Flynn – slow thriller about a woman stuck at home with agoraphobia. After seeing what she thinks is the horrifying murder of her neighbour through the window, she sets about investigating it from the comfort of her home. Loved this one, great twists.
- He Said, She said by Erin Kelly – just after a seemingly magical moment during an eclipse at a festival in Cornwall in 1999, couple, Laura & Kit witnesses an attack and then find themselves in court testifying against the attacker. Fast track to present day, and the attack still haunts them. Found this one slow to start with but a couple of great twists led me to really enjoy it in the end!
- Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce – gritty, passionate and tense, an exploration into dark and unhealthy relationships, set on the backdrop of barrister Alison’s first ever murder trial. Read this one very quickly and I really enjoyed! Read the blog.
- My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – a haunting story told by Vanessa as both a teenager (2000) and in modern day (2017), as we explore the story of her relationship with Jacob Strane, her English Literature teacher. Beautifully written, uncomfortable and eye opening. A 5* read for 2020. Read the blog.
- The Trip by Sarah Linley – Holly is she sure that no-one knows what happened on the beach that night in Thailand. But someone knows something. They’re determined to find out the truth, and will go to any measures to find it. Enjoyable thriller, easy to read!
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Theo, a psychotherapist is fascinated by a murder case after which the killer, Alicia, stops speaking. Can Theo get her to talk again, and at what cost? Raced through this book and loved it, great twist!
- The Heatwave by Kate Riordan – After returning to her home village in France, Sylvie is forced to face her past and reveal to her daughter, Emma, the truth about Emma’s older sister and why she has never met her before. Gripping, but I found the ending quite disappointing.
- The Guest List by Lucy Foley – an easy to read ‘whodunnit’ thriller. A group of friends meet for a remote wedding, but things aren’t as dreamy as they seem, a killer lurks amongst them and one of them will die. Enjoyed both this and the Hunting Party, similar theme but enjoyable. Read the blog.
- The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine – not the most thrilling of thrillers, but I enjoyed guessing who the killer in the small village of Kirkby Abbey could be. Not a big surprise in the end but an easy read.
- Something in the water by Catherine Steadman – Newly married couple Erin and Mark head to Bora Bora for a luxurious honeymoon – however during a trip scuba diving, the pair find something in the water. Under the impression they’re the only ones who know about it, they keep their findings a secret. But someone does know and will drive the couple to do things they have never even imagined before… LOVED this book, it was a great, gripping, page turner. I was hooked from chapter one!
- Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – the captivating tale of Lin, an escaped convict who manages to build an incredible life in the Bombay slums and underworld in the 80s. Exhilarating and exciting! Read the blog.
- Falling by Jane Green – a light hearted romance novel which actually kept me intrigued, unlike most romance novels (unless they’ve got juicy sex scenes…👀). Surprising ending!
- Where the Crawdad’s Sing By Delia Owens – an enchanting coming of age tale, entwined with nature, class, race, sex, love and the law. Discover how one lone woman can captivate the hearts of a judgmental town, whilst pursuing a self taught career in writing and art. Beautifully written, with a side order of murder mystery – loved it.
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo – a novel of short stories following womxn from different cultures and backgrounds, with a spectrum of sexualities and from varying eras, intertwined and inextricably linked. Another 5* read for 2020.
- Mr Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo – meet Barry, Seventy-four years old, Antiguan born but living with his wife Carmel in London. But Barry has been living a double life, in a relationships with his best friend Morris. An exploration of culture, prejudice and myths. Heart warming and funny.
- Queenie by Candice Carty – Williams – packed with relatable moments for twenty-somethings (and beyond), Queenie shows us the ups and downs of life. Whether that’s self love, race, feminism, friendships, relationships, family, work, culture, sexual and mental health – you name it, it’s in there. Took me a while to get into it, but enjoyed. Read my full review.
- Olive by Emma Gannon – Olive is in her early 30s and has always done everything with her friends. But as marriage and babies become their priorities, Olive starts to feel left behind as she tries to work out what she really wants. An honest and heartfelt account of what it means to not have children in a society where that is constantly pushed at you once you get to a certain age. Kind of triggering in a way as I reach the same age bracket, (ok I cried at one point) but I did in the end, enjoy Olive’s story.
- The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld – an uncomfortable novel following Jas and her deeply religious family on their farm in the Netherlands. Fraught with grief over the loss of the eldest sibling, the family explore some strange and unhealthy coping mechanisms. It’s raw, gritty, packed with metaphors you’ve never read before, as well as scenes that you won’t forget for a long time. A tough but captivating read.
- How to stop time by Matt Haig – I actually listened to the audio book of this via Spotify, which was a welcome change. Tom Hazard suffers or benefits (deepening on how you look at it) from a rare condition and has been alive, for centuries. From hanging out on South Bank in the early 1600s, to playing the piano in a Parisian jazz bar in the 1920s, Tom has been there done that. But has he really lived? The book explores love, trust, friendships, living in the present and what it means to really be stuck in the past! Another 5* book for 2020.
- I am not your baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite – Candice explores her experiences and life as a black mother in the UK, in this honest and eye opening book. I’m a white, non mother, but I know how important it is to learn about and empathise with these lived experiences. I encourage everyone to delve into this book as Candice’s voice and those of many other mothers need to be heard. Really recommend.
- Playing Big by Tara Mohr – my copy of this book has made it to The Netherlands with me as it’s packed with coloured markers and post-its on which I’ve made notes and created reminders for myself. This book is a guide to recognising and understanding your inner critic, finding your inner mentor and stepping up and out of your comfort zone to create and build the career / life you really want. Loved it!
- Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez – I’ll be honest I read probably the first few chapters of this one before I was overwhelmed with facts and data that basically was infuriating and pissed me off. I defo want to give the rest of it a go, but take it a chapter at a time!
- Period Power by Maisie Hill – another one I haven’t quite finished but mostly because I don’t think it’s a ‘read in one go’ kind of book. Learn more about your cycle, what makes you tick at certain points within it and use this knew knowledge to your advantage to ensure you are taking better care of yourself based on the hormones that are flying around your body at any one time. Essential reading for all who menstruate to be honest. If you’re not keen on reading the book, hear from Maisie on Deliciously Ella’s podcast, titled ‘Period Power’ too, for a insight into the themes she discusses in the book.
- Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – an essential read for everyone. Explore and understand the history of systemic racism in the UK. Eye opening and pivotal in the understanding of how to dismantle it.
I’d LOVE to hear about the books you’ve read this year? What shall I get on my list for 2021?