AD – Affiliate: If you’re interested in any of the books mentioned in this post, check out my Bookshop.org shop. If you purchase any of the books from my shop I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you!
I keep thinking back to last year, at the end of 2019. I was sat at my dining room table, writing my best books for 2019; I remember feeling excited for the year to come. I had a regular income and had finally settled into my new working routine. I was excited to see what books I discovered in the coming year.
Except, 2020 had a different plan in mind for all of us. With Covid and numerous lockdowns, most of us found ourselves spending more time at home than we would have ever expected.
With this unexpected amount of time on our hands, many of us became divided in our reading habits. Some of us sored and went through more books than we could ever imagine, and for others, like me, there were numerous reading slumps.
However, despite my multiple reading slumps, I ended up loving quite a few books. So, here is my Best Books of 2020.
Maybe in Another Life By Taylor Jenkins Reid
After reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo back in 2019, I fell in love with Taylor Jenkins Reids writing style. Every book of hers that I’ve read, I’ve become captivated and had to finish them in a single sitting, and this year I ended up reading two of her novels, Daisy Jones & the Six and Maybe in Another Life.
Although I enjoyed Daisy Jones, it was Maybe In Another Life that became a favourite of mine. Hannah Martin has spent most of her adult life looking for home, so when she returns to Los Angeles, it is at a party where her life could go two ways. Told in parallel points of view, we see what Hannah’s life turns into based on a single decision.
Strange Weather in Tokyo By Hiromi Kawakami
Another book that I picked up back in January, Strange Weather in Tokyo, is an intriguing narrative that follows Tsukiko and her former teacher who is always referred to as Sensei.
Hiromi Kawakami wrote a beautiful narrative about connection and unlikely relationships and the impact that they can have on us and our lives.
The Last Wish By Andrzej Sapkowski
After The Witcher TV show launched at the beginning of the year, it’s safe to say that I became obsessed like the rest of the world and binged watched it all in a single sitting. But I couldn’t stop there!
Instead, I decided to pick up the books and am currently making my way through it. The Last Wish is technically the first in the series and a collection of short stories – some we see in the TV show, and some are entirely new. I liked reading this one due to its familiarity but also a sense of adventure. I love fantasy but never read enough of it and hope to finish reading this series in 2021.
Mooncakes By Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
It’s safe to say that I loved Mooncakes this year that it had to go on my list! I read this one in April and July – it became a sort of comfort blanket for me and one I know I’ll probably reach for again in 2021.
This graphic novel has everything, with a deaf main character, a non-binary main character, same-sex relationships and a significant focus on family love and romantic. Oh, and there is magic and witches too! If you haven’t read it, then you definitely should.
Sweet Bean Paste By Durian Sukegawa
After reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold last year, I realised that I was missing out on so many books and became determined to read more Translated Fiction. I definitely read more this year than ever before, but I want to keep reading more in the new year.
I’ll admit that when I picked up Sweet Bean Paste, it was purely for the gorgeous cover, but I found an emotional and reflective tale on our relationship with others and why we shouldn’t judge based on appearance. This book hit me, and by the end, I was in tears, such a good book!
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race By Reni Eddo-Lodge
Earlier this year, with the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement, I realised my own internal biases and the fact I don’t read as diversely as I could. I’ll admit that I’ve been ignorant, but I am working to change that, I’ll make mistakes, but I’ll learn from them too.
Like many people this year, I picked up Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, and it was an eye-opening book. I learned so much about racial biases and the UK’s history and events that I had no idea even occurred. It’s a brilliant book and an educational read that will change your perspective entirely.
Ready Player One By Ernest Cline
Ready Player One has been on my bookshelves for years now, and after watching the film, I finally picked it up. I found the entire novel intriguing and liked how it differed from the film so much. Admittedly, I did feel that it was crammed with too many references that it sometimes felt like a fanboy listicle, but I did enjoy it.
Let’s Talk About Love By Claire Kann
Let’s Talk About Love was a book that meant a lot to me in 2020. In case you aren’t aware, I am asexual, and since coming out, it’s been lonely. There aren’t many books out there with ace characters, let alone the main character, and it’s not something that people know or discuss as much about.
Reading Let’s Talk About Love, is an own voices novel following Alice, a Biromantic asexual. It’s a profoundly emotional novel and one I connected too massively and gave me a lot of hope for the future.
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling By Wai Chim
Another cover buy for me in 2020 and one that I was not expecting to love as much as I did. On the cover, I thought this was going to be a cute YA romance about an East Asian protagonist in Australia. However, this novel was so much more and tackles being a carer and mental health and how we talk about mental health.
If you haven’t had the chance to pick up this book, then definitely take the time to add it to your 2021 TBR.
A Kind of Spark By Elle McNicoll
Another own voices book and one that I didn’t expect to impact me as much as it did. A Kind of Spark is Elle McNicoll’s debut novel and tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial for the witch trials that took place in her hometown years before.
Addie’s story becomes so much more than a simple campaign, as she must challenge others’ perceptions due to being autistic, dealing with bullies, and finding new friendships. I devoured this in a single sitting, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book by Elle McNicoll.
Out of Office By Fiona Thomas
Another non-fiction title to add to my best books of 2020 and one that helped me this year too. Earlier this year, I took a leap of faith and became a full-time freelancer. It’s kind of scary and requires a lot of research to find your footing, but six months down the line, I’m enjoying it and excited to see what the future holds next.
Fiona Thomas is a writer and full-time freelancer and wrote the book Out of Office to provide her own experience and advice – and answering all the questions that sometimes feel embarrassing to ask about concerning freelance life. It’s insightful and beneficial to me and made me feel more confident working freelance.
Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow By Jessica Townsend
It wouldn’t be an end of year round-up of my best books without featuring one of Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor novels. Since featuring the first book in the series in my 2018 Best Books, it’s safe to say that I am completely in love with this series.
As the first book in the series, I don’t want to give too much away. Still, this one was surprising indeed with new characters, relationships and changing opinions on characters we thought we knew – I can’t wait to read the next instalment.
That’s it for my best books of 2020 – it’s been a rollercoaster of a year, and I’m looking forward to putting it behind us and seeing what books I get to read in 2021!
How about you? Which books feature on your Best Books of 2020? Have you read any from my list?