In 2018 my bedtime routine involved idly scrolling through Insta for an hour or two before I turned the lights out. Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t sleeping very well. I was depressed, anxious and constantly comparing myself to others. Desperate to get a decent nights sleep, I put down my phone and picked up a book. Two years later, sleeping better than ever and over 100 books in my read pile, it’s one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made.
I now have a library card, Good Reads account, am constantly borrowing books from my equally obsessed reading buddy, Alice, and occasionally get free books from Waterstones because I’ve purchased so many.
At the start of 2019 I started the Good Reads Reading Challenge and this year I challenged myself to read 52 books. Due to a global pandemic and being forced to stay at home for a few months I achieved my target 3 months earlier than expected! In celebration of completing my 2020 reading challenge, below are my top 5.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
In my humble opinion Girl, Woman, Other is a masterpiece. Evaristo’s creative writing style and lack of formulaic grammar may not be for everyone, though I found it easy to read. She seamlessly intertwines the stories of 12 black British Womxn and none of the characters felt lacking in any way. My mind is still blown just thinking about it. Most authors struggle to create a clear story for two or three characters, let alone twelve.
Mr Lover Man is on my to be read pile and I’m looking forward to seeing how this compares with her Booker Prize winning masterpiece.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven follows life before, during and after most of the world has been wiped out by a flu pandemic, and I decided to read it during the current Coronavirus pandemic which made for unsettling reading. Just because it was unsettling didn’t mean that I didn’t love it. Mandel really captured the humanistic mentality to fight for survival and made me really appreciate having electricity. It’s also being made into a TV mini-series which could go one of two ways…
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This is a love letter to nature, outcasts and misfits around the world. Where the Crawdads Sing made me cry, and although I cry easily, it takes a lot for a book to have me in tears. Owens had me bawling my eyes out. I was rooting for Kya from the first page.
The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
Translated by Ann Goldstein
It’s rare that you find a series that gets better with each book. The Story of a New Name is the second in the Neopolitan Novel series. Ferrante captures the passion and complexity of female friendship to the point where you feel like you are right there with Lina and Lila. I’m looking forward to catching up with them in Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay very soon.
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
I try to aim to re-read at least one book that I’ve previously loved every year but in 2020 I have re-read five. In a year where we have been faced with constant unknowns, it’s been nice to have some familiarity. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Elsewhere. It is my go to comfort read and I automatically reached for it when I forgot I had run out of antidepressants and was suffering from some rather nasty withdrawal symptoms.
What are your favourite reads of 2020 so far? Are there any books that you automatically reach for in times of comfort? Have you also read an unhealthy amount this year? Tell me all in the comments below.