Wednesday 30 December 2020

My top reads of 2020

I read 76 books in 2020. That’s a little more than I read in a normal year, but not much. I’m surprised actually – it’s been far from a normal year and I thought I’d have read more. I did watch the entire seven seasons of Buffy though, so that probably accounts for quite a bit of reading time… 


So, without further ado, my top reads of 2020: 



Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell 

A book that sweeps you up and tears out your heart. I’ll tell you how good this book is: I read this right at the start of the first lockdown and it managed to fill my head totally with something other than You-Know-What. 




Friend Me by Sheila M Averbuch 


I was bowled over by this middle-grade thriller. Tense, thrilling and with an attention to detail that would put a lot of adult thrillers to shame, plus an emotional core hits home. Clever, very clever. 




A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson 


At the start of the year my family decided that we were each going to recommend a book for all the others to read. I would never have picked up a non-fiction book about bees of my own volition, but Dave Goulson made the subject entirely fascinating. 




The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman 


I got a Folio Society beautiful set of His Dark Materials from my family for my birthday. I used to love The Subtle Knife the most. In fact, I think the first time I read The Amber Spyglass I didn’t really understand what was going on, which seems odd now, as it’s absolutely clear and so magnificent. What books these are! 




Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart 


I spent several weeks at my mother-in-law’s when the first lockdown happened and started working my way through old books on her shelves. It’s been hard to pick a ‘top book’ from those I read, as I wouldn’t unequivocally recommend any. I don’t know why it comes as a surprise that books date. Of course, we all love books we’ve read years ago, but when we read old books for the first time nowadays… so much exposition, such slow build, not to speak of casual sexism, racism, treatment of children that ranges from bizarre to abusive… Of course they’re of their time, and that’s fascinating, but it’s hard to lose yourself in the story with all these alerts going off. The Mary Stewart book I’ve chosen is a mystery with a slightly supernatural air. It was diverting rather than gripping, but the Scottish countryside was gorgeously brought to life.  





1 comment:

  1. Claire, WOW, what an honour to see FRIEND ME here - thank you so much! You read a huge amount so this means a lot. Thanks!!


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