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My Book Recommendations from 2020

2020 was certainly a very peculiar and challenging year. We stayed home and discovered things like TikTok and Zoom and how to make banana bread. Some of us found new pleasure in small things. Others struggled to make it through the days. We gained a new appreciation for the people who keep our world going; posties and shop workers and, of course, the NHS. If one of your loved ones fell prey to Covid I offer you my heartfelt condolences.

Personally, I have always been a reader, a habit encouraged by my mum, and so, in addition to writing, I spent a great deal of time during 2020 with my nose buried in a book. I also discovered the joy of audiobooks. My housework chores are far less onerous with an audiobook accompaniment.

Here are my top ten reads of 2020

This was a brain-bender of a book, beautifully conceived and very well written.

It made my heart sing to know that beautiful literary fiction can still command a large readership and sell well.

The cataclysmic finale to a brilliant series that had me hooked from page one of the first book.

Poignant and absorbing, this story is about how traumas of childhood pursue us into adulthood.

A hard-hitting novel about how what I do affects you, and vice versa, and about just how far we are responsible for each other.

Such an interesting idea, this book is about memory, guilt and love.

The landscape and culture of Iceland are beautifully depicted in this novel. The subject is somber but the writing soars.

Two women, one the wife of a successful weaver, the other a girl rescued from prostitution, both battle to establish their own personhood in a world dominated by men.

This is a book about romance and love in later life, but it avoids queasy sentimentalism. Jane Austen fans will enjoy the clever references to her work.

An epic novel, beautifully written, about resilience in the face of all that life throws at us.

In all I read 40 books in 2020 and listened to about ten more as audiobooks. I recommend that you join Goodreads, which is an on-line reading community where you can keep track of your reading, find book recommendations for you and also, crucially, post your reviews for books you have read. Goodreads offers you the chance to undertake a reading challenge for 2021. You simply set a target and then off you go. It is interesting to look back on your year of books.


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