What’s one thing quarantine was good for?
Not that I need an excuse to stay at home and read, but it definitely helped me make a dent in my ‘to be read.’
At the start of the year, I was going to the library and picking out 3 books at a time, but once they all closed I switched to using ‘Open Library‘- which is a library website that lets you can borrow books in the same way. They obviously have a limited selection but I would recommend it if you’re missing the library as much as I was!
In 2020 I managed to read 30 books- in a mixture of fiction and non fiction, short stories, poetry and long novels. My only goal for the year was to read things that I wouldn’t normally pick up and without reading a long synopsis before starting the book.
And I discovered some amazing authors and stories that I perhaps would have normally missed.
I started the year with two books I got for Christmas 2019: Plague and Fire by CC Humphreys (one of my favourite authors.) They are a two-part series set in London, 1666 during the Great Plague- but an even more sinister murderer threatens the people of London.
I would call Manson’s book a self-help book as such, but it did contain some poignant points about not caring what others think and living your own life- just didn’t really go about it in any revolutionary way or give insights on how to do so.
I picked up Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland by chance in the library and it was my favourite book of the year! I also read A Wild Sheep Chase, which I didn’t love as much but I want to read the rest of his works next year. His stories are so unique!
My Syfy phase:
I’d never read any Science Fiction books so I wanted to give the genre a chance. I’m not quite sold on the genre yet but I plan to read more next year.
★★★☆☆ ★★★☆☆ ★★☆☆☆
As someone fascinated by true crime, of course, the Black Dahlia case is one I’m obsessed with. When I heard Steve Hodel has written a book presenting evidence of his Father being the murderer I couldn’t read it fast enough!
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer trilogy promised a lot: A young girl who doesn’t know if she’s crazy or haunted as everyone around her keeps dying. The first novel was full of intrigue but the teen romance with a ‘bad boy’, lack of insight into the character psyche and underwhelming story development meant I didn’t love it.
★★★★☆ ★★☆☆☆ ★★☆☆☆
The Castle of Otranto is regarded as the first gothic novel in the English language. It was quite hard to read due to the ‘old’ language used, however, it was really interesting to see where the genre began. Reading Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson- written around 200 years after Castle of Otranto– showed similarities in the way they were written but also the areas where the genre had developed.
★★★☆☆ ★★★☆☆ ★★★★★
The English Patient follows four dissimilar people brought together at an Italian villa during the Italian Campaign of World War II. It’s a beautiful account of human connection amidst the destruction of war and its written so delicately and seductively.
★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Definitely the most unique book I’ve read: a progressively lipogramatic epistolary fable. Highly recommend!
My least favourite book of the year: I thought it would be an interesting insight into neurology but the way Sacks talks about his patients was quite condescending and didn’t really go into their minds, he just described some weird stuff they did…
I loved hearing Stephen King talk about writing!
I would say this book was part memoir of the craft, part autobiographical. He also included a list of recommended books at the end, which is where I got the titles of some of the books on this list.
★★☆☆☆ ★★★☆☆ ★★★★☆