Books :: 2020

1. Burning Bright - Tracy Chevalier
Mad circus tales with a bit of William Blake. Read in the Before Times...

2. On the Origin of Species - Sabina Radeva
Birthday gift to my daughter from my Mum - aka Science Granny. My Mum taught Frieda the Big Bang Theory when she was 3 and she loved to recount it. 'And then Mummy, BANG, there was a big s'plosion Mummy, and tiny spark of life was borned.'
This picture book edition is truly magnificent.

3. Do No Harm - Henry Marsh
God, also read in the Before. Probably would hit differently now -doctors making difficult decisions...

4. Land Girls - Angela Huth
One of my all time favourite genres, Poms 'getting on with it' during the war. Again, lessons learned for the rest of the year...

5. I'll Eat When I'm Dead - Barbara Bourland
Perfect escapism with enough meat to not feel like total shite.

6. The Long Winter - Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Again, for the bazillionth time. Read to my daughters during those first weird days of lockdown.It felt appropriate.)

7. Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
Most read book of 2020? It was in my circle of friends.

8. The Marriage of Opposites - Alice Hoffman
Weird, lush, rambling - good escapism and just absorbing enough to engross the lockdown mind - which was very welcome at that time.

9. A Keeper - Graham Norton
Graham is so fascinating. I would NEVER have expected this novel to pop out of the TV host man that I knew. But totally engrossing, creepy, beautifully written and with such pathos. Loved it.

10. The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah
Name a more appropriate title? I'll wait....

11. Caleb's Crossing - Geraldine Brooks
Long, intergenerational drama in the vein of Garcia Marquez. Disturbingly I keep getting messages from the library that this is still outstanding despite knowing for sure I returned it when libraries opened again, dropping it through a hatch where we were told the books would stay for 14 days before being reshelved - so who can really say what might have happened to it? The drama continues...

12. The Burgess Boys - Elizabeth Strout
If you don't already know, then just take my word for it - Elizabeth Strout is always worth it.

13. Take Nothing With You - Patrick Gale
Personally I feel the same about Patrick Gale. He's not everyone's cup of tea, but he's mine.

14. Self-Helpless - Rebecca Davis
And then, back in JUNE or something, my last read of 2020. Pandemic brain took over and I wasn't able to complete a book for the rest of the year.
In conversation with a friend, bemoaning our lack of reading she declared: 
'You know what I blame? BOOKS. Books are being unreliable and uninspiring and generally disappointing. Books need to try harder.'

We cackled like loons and went back to doom-scrolling memes for the rest of the year.

15. The Hand that First Held Mine - Maggie O'Farrell
I found two more pics I read in 2020! This was not my favourite Maggie O'Farrell, but I will always read everything she ever wrote because, Maggie O'Farrell.

16. So Many Ways to Begin - Jon McGregor
And this one. Wow he's a broad strokes author. The last novel of his I read, Even the Dogs, literally haunted me for years - this one was so much more gentle, measured, quietly sad and beautiful. What a writer.

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