My goal this year was to read 30 books and despite having more free time than I bargained for, I didn’t quite meet that goal. However, I did read more than the previous year. I’ve managed a whole 12 in 2020 and I totalled five in 2019. So that’s something. I also ventured into reading more Fiction books, which I’ve never done, aside from books that I’ve read after watching a film or tv adaptation.
I hope that broadening my literary palate will continue into 2021 and beyond.
The books I read in 2020
I grew up listening to Lily Allen. I still know most of the lyrics to her albums, ‘Alright, Still’ and ‘It’s not me, it’s you’. These were highly influential to me as an angsty teen going through heartaches and breakups. Reading this autobiographical style book earlier this year was eye-opening to hear the truth behind the headlines and the struggles she went through. An open and honest look at Lily’s life and would recommend this book to any fans of Allen’s.
2. Attached: Are you Anxious, Avoidant or Secure? How the science of adult attachment can help you find and keep love- Amir Levine
I featured Attached in my previous post about my favourite non-fiction books. Attached is all about the psychological theory of relationships and that our early environment and parents parenting style can influence our later relationships. This is known as Attachment Theory. Since going to therapy, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn and heal things from my past and I found this book hugely educational.
Anything psychology-related always sparks my curiosity and why I studied Psychology at A-Level and University. I would highly recommend if you always find yourself in the wrong relationships or have an interest in Psychology.
This book won’t be for everyone but if you have any difficult feelings towards the way you were parented as a child in any capacity, then I would recommend this book. This book was hugely helpful for me in understanding a lot of my childhood and reparenting myself.
This book tells the heartbreakingly true story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew and his time at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. This book was extremely moving and whilst telling all the horrible tales of war, it also a beautiful story of love, friendship and hope. An extremely powerful book that I would wholeheartedly recommend.
The Guest List a classic murder mystery set on a remote island off of the coast of Ireland. Guests are invited to the wedding of a tv personality and his soon to be wife, a magazine editor.
Each chapter is from the point of view of a different character: the bride, the event planner or some of the guests. A few chapters in and a body is found and the mystery behind the murder begins to unravel. It was amazing how each chapter genuinely felt like a different person telling the story and it was a real page-turner. Very gripping and had plot twists, that I never saw coming.
Written by the same wonderful author as The Guest List and written in a similar format.
In this story the characters attending a New Years Eve getaway at a remote lodge. A group of old university friends and the hosts of the hunting lodge are the narrators of each chapter when a body is found and the story unravels to who was killed and why the murder took place.
I preferred The Guest List as I found the characters a little harder to relate to in this book but it was still a great overall book.
A must read toolkit for any working woman. The chapters range from useful information about money, how to network and how to overcome creative blocks. A great little read if you want career advice
This had been on my list for a while and after the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer and the conversations about race. I wanted to educate myself and become a better ally.
Of all the books, I read this year this has been the most educational. I learnt more about British history and the history of Bristol, I city I currently live in than I did in any of my history lessons at school. Which is astonishing. A attended school less than an hour away from Bristol, one of the biggest importers of the slave trade in the United Kingdom. So it seems like that would have been just as important as learning about Henry VIII. I believe it is really important to learn ALL history and not just a whitewashed version.
Reading this book also sparked difficult but necessary conversations amongst family and friends. I would honestly recommend this book to everyone to read.
Probably my favourite of all the books I read this year. It’s definitely not something I wouldn’t have usually picked but it was highly recommended by Alice Spake. It was so good I savoured every second of it and desperately didn’t want it to end. The story is set in a marsh in North Carolina in the 1950s to late ’60s, following the life of a young girl called Kya in its first timeline and then the murder of a local celebrity in its second. It’s a murder mystery, coming of age and romance novel all rolled into one.
An absolute must-read if you are a fan of true crime.
I had watched the documentary of the same name which prompted me to read this book. ‘I’ll be Gone in the Dark’ is all about the serial killer known as the ‘Golden State Killer’. A name, coined by the author, the late Michelle McNamara, a brilliant true-crime writer. The book’s title comes from something the then-unknown killer said to a victim (he has since been found, arrested and charged). It weaves seamlessly between rehashing of the Golden State’s victims stories and stories about Michelle’s life.
Michelle, unfortunately, passed away during the writing of the book so the latter half was completed by crime writer, Paul Haynes, investigative journalist, Billy Jensen and McNamara’s comedian husband, Patton Oswalt.
If you end up liking this book, I highly recommend the Murder Squad podcast by Billy Jensen and the cold case investigator, Paul Holes (who helped capture GSK and features in the book). I mentioned it previously in my favourite podcasts post. I also low key fancy both Billy and Paul.
I think this came up as a recommendation as I had previously read The Guest List and The Hunting Party. Another murder mystery. I am a sucker for them. The book set in two timelines one about four friends who go on a skiing holiday and the other about two brothers who take their girlfriends skiing to the same resort but a couple of decades earlier. It was a good read, albeit a little predictable but I got through it in a day or two and would recommend if you are into murder mystery style novels.
I’m not sure if it’s because me and Michelle have lived in similar towns and cities or I’ve gone through similar things to her but I found this one of the most relatable books I’ve ever read. The book is a series of stories about Michelle’s journey with mental health and also features stories of other individuals mental health and therapy experiences. I loved reading about other peoples perspectives and the familiarity of Michelle’s journey.
What books did you read this year?