‘One of the ways to improve your writing is to read, read, read!’Mrs Austin, Primary School Teacher, Epsom, Surrey
I remember being told this when I was at school, many moons ago.
Maybe I decided to take my teacher’s advice for once. I’ve been a bookworm as long as I can remember. Books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, anything. In a wide range of genres too. I just love reading. My teacher was right too- it does help with my work as a copywriter.
Now, here’s my geeky little secret. I have a spiral-bound pad where I note down every book I read. Yes, I agree- it’s very nerdy of me. But it’s good to look back and remember the books I have enjoyed, or not, throughout the year. I even put an asterisk against my favourite books!
Since my secret is now out and we are creeping towards the end of 2020, I want to share my favourite books of the year. Some were published this year and some are older. They are just the ones I have enjoyed the most.
The Great Wide Open- Douglas Kennedy
Probably my favourite fiction writer, I have read pretty much everything Douglas Kennedy writes. He is the master of creating strong female protagonists. The Great Wide Open is a coming-of-age tale. The main character Alice deals with family dynamics and secrets, whilst trying to build a life for herself. It begins in 1960s America and follows Alice to Ireland and back again, weaving in historical events of the time. Epic and compelling, it’s true Douglas Kennedy, so of course, I loved it.
Step by Step- Simon Reeve
If you’ve never heard of Simon Reeve, he’s an award-winning travel documentary maker. His compassion towards the countries he visits and the people he meets always shines through. I was keen to find out about the life behind his world travels. This book follows Simon’s life so far, from disconnected schoolboy to one of the star documentary makers of the BBC. It’s definitely the best autobiography of the year. I’ve ended up liking the down-to-earth Simon even more. In fact, I think I would happily marry him!
The Lost Man- Jane Harper
Australian crime noir is in-vogue right now and it’s pretty much thanks to Jane Harper. I’m hooked on this writer and The Lost Man is her best novel so far. Set in the scorching, desolate scrublands of the outback, one of three brothers is found dead at the Stockman’s Grave. Dark family secrets must be uncovered to find out the truth about what happened. Absorbing to read with dark with twisty turns in every chapter. If you are looking for something new in the crime genre, try The Lost Man.
World Without End- Ken Follet
Once in a while, I love to throw myself headlong into a chunky book series and lose myself in another time. I can always count on a Ken Follet novel! World Without End is the second of the awesome Kingsbridge novel series. Starting in 1327, this epic historical saga follows four children on very different paths through a time of great historical change. If you are after an easy to read but fully immersive tale featuring love, greed, ambition and revenge, World Without End is for you. Don’t be put off by the length, you’ll not notice when you are hooked in. It deserves its place on ‘my favourite books’ list.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
I picked this book up by chance when browsing in a shop during a long wait for a train. I’m glad I did! The main character, Queenie, is making her way through young adulthood, figuring out who she wants to be and what she wants to do. It’s very much of the current time covering issues around race and gender. Hilarious and heart-breaking, I was championing Queenie from start to finish. Candice Carty-Williams is an author to watch.
Convenience Store Woman- Sayaka Murata
On the back end of reading something rather heavy and hefty, I picked up this weird but lovely book. Quirky, funny and completely Japanese, this charmed the socks off me. Keiko struggles to fit into normal society but as part of the team at a local convenience store Keiko finds peace and her place in the world, until she feels the pressure to change things up and move on. Such a fun read!
The Killing Season- Miles Corwin
I decided to spend a Summer, (not literally!) in South-Central LA, following two of the LAPD homicide team’s jaded and overworked detectives. They deal with the dregs of society on the gang-infested streets, where murder rates rise in line with the Summer temperatures. A best-selling true crime book which is as compulsive as watching HBO’s famous series ‘The Wire’. You want real-life American grit and grime, read The Killing Season.
So, there you have it! My favourite books of 2020. If you are struggling to find reading inspiration, why not pick up one of these little beauties. For further reader reviews and ratings, check out Good Reads and Amazon.