31/12/2020

My Top 10 Books Of 2020

When I set my goal of reading one book a month at the start of the year it's safe to say that I had no idea a global pandemic was around the corner that would give me more free time than I'd had in years. Despite being a bookworm I think I read about 3 books in 2019 and so I was determined that 2020 would be the year that I rediscovered my love for reading. Well, just the other day I finished my 50th book of the year so I think we can say that I have well and truly found my love for books again. For me it was all about learning what I loved to read, and as you'll see in this post that tends to be dystopian fiction's, medical non-fictions, anything space related and non-fiction books by disabled authors. I truly have 4 categories of books that I love most and my bookshelf heavily reflects that. As an adult I've found myself more drawn to non-fiction books so I'm glad that this year I've managed to rekindle my love for fiction by finding the genres I love. 


FICTION

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

Kicking things off is a dystopian novel, which is also the first book I've read that is translated from another language, and it did not disappoint. The Unit is set in a society where older people who are deemed economically worthless are sent to a retirement community that resembles a 5 star hotel. They live a life of luxury with gourmet food and everything provided for them. The catch is that the residents must consent to medical experiments and donating their organs, until they provide their final donation. This definitely isn't a story for the faint hearted but I adore dystopian novels, particularly those that have a foot in reality still. I sped my way through this and I think it would be right up your street if you like The Handmaid's Tale.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Speaking of The Handmaid's Tale, the paperback copy of the sequel, The Testaments, finally came out this year and I was quick to snap up a copy. Now, I don't want to spoil anything because I went into this book not knowing when or where it was set and who narrates it, and I'm glad because it made it so much more enjoyable to read. What I can say though that this is a sequel done right, you can really tell that Margaret Atwood has had years to think about how she'd like the story of Gilead to end and it blends into the ongoing narrative in the TV show flawlessly too. I was intimidated by how long this book is but in the end I raced through it in a couple of days! 

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse 

This was only the 5th book I read this year but it has stuck in my mind everyday since then. I'm featuring Sweet Pea but the sequel In Bloom is also very much on this list and I don't doubt that come February 2021 the 3rd book, Dead Head, will be a firm favourite too. If you're a fan of Killing Eve then this series will be perfect for you, with it following female serial killer Rhiannon, who I guarantee you will end up rooting for. The writing style really hooked me in and is present across all the authors writing, I strongly recommend you also check out The Alibi Girl. If I had to choose a standout book/series this year then I think Sweet Pea wins the prize. 

Vox by Christina Dalcher

It's no surprise that my final fiction favourite of the year is another dystopian story, which is another that I would recommend to any The Handmaid's Tale fans. This was the book that reignited my love for reading at the start of the year, and really showed me what I enjoyed reading. It's set in a dystopian era where women are only permitted to speak 100 words a day, following Jean McClellan as she attempts to fight back. Again I really liked this story because scarily I felt that it wasn't wildly unbelievable. A must read for any dystopian fans!


NON-FICTION

Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd

Now we move on to one of my other favourite genres, medical non-fictions. I've been obsessed with medicine for as long as I can remember, going from watching Casualty as a child to medical documentaries as a teenager and now books as an adult, in fact I even watched the spinal fusion surgery and hip replacement I've had myself on YouTube prior to undergoing the operations, so you could say I've got a strong stomach. Unnatural causes ticked every box I wanted as Dr Richard Shepherd outlined his time as one of Britain's top forensic pathologist's. There's everything from famous cases to how his work affected his personal life, and it really did grip me. Silent Witness is one of my favourite TV shows and this book really was like a real life version. This is a profession we often don't hear much about so it really was a fascinating insight into the realities of being a forensic pathologist. 

Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement 2020 was the year that I hunted out more books by non-white authors, particularly black authors. There's a reason why this book in particular gets recommended again and again, because it really is enlightening. I thought I was pretty clued up on racism but just a few chapters in and I recognised that actually, I knew very little, especially around Britain's history with racism. This is the kind of stuff that should be taught in schools, and the fact that it isn't just goes to show that racism is a problem in this country, don't for one second think that this is just a US problem. One of my goals for 2021 now is to read more fiction books by non-white authors as that's definitely one of the areas in which my bookshelf is very white dominated. I hope that everyone carries on being more conscious of the books they're reading and who they are by beyond 2020. 

Disability Visability edited by Alice Wong

Despite being disabled myself I also realised in 2020 that my bookshelf was seriously lacking in books by disabled authors, and out of that was born my Books by Disabled Authors series that I've had a lot of fun writing this year. 9 out of 50 books I read this year were by disabled authors and one of the standouts was Disability Visibility, an anthology put together by disability rights activist Alice Wong. This books honours and spotlights the everyday disabled people, rather than the few that get highlighted regularly across the media, it gives a voice to the unheard. It highlights the discrimination disabled people face and celebrates our community, and is perhaps the best snapshot of our community that I've seen and read so far.

The Pretty One by Keah Brown

Another disabled author next and this one is from the creator of the #DisabledAndCute hashtag, Keah Brown. This book is a gathering of personal essays on topics that matter most to Keah as a black disabled woman. It's raw and conversational and it really felt like a safe space to me, particularly when she discussed still struggling with internalised ableism. As a disabled person it was so empowering to read that others shared my struggle and for non-disabled people I think this is a really important insight into the nuances and intersections of disability. 

Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig

The final book on my list by a disabled author is by writer, teacher, advocate and creator of the @sitting_pretty Instagram account, Rebekah Taussig. Her debut book is truly an extension of her popular Instagram and she explores many themes ranging from love to kindness. My copy is absolutely littered in post it notes where I have marked important pages or quotes, which is a sure sign to me that this books deserves a place on this list. I have never related to a book as much as I did this and I found myself nodding along the whole time, she really did a brilliant job of sharing a snapshot of her life as a disabled woman.

Limitless by Tim Peake

Now, there are many space related books that could have made their way on to this list but in the end I gave the slot to one of my more recent reads, Limitless by British astronaut Tim Peake. I remember following Tim's journey to the International Space Station in 2015, the buzz around it was just incredible, with him being only the second person to wear the United Kingdom flag in space. I consumed his second book, Ask An Astronaut, in one sitting so when I knew he was finally releasing an autobiography I was eager to pick it up. I really knew very little of his career prior to becoming an astronaut so it was fascinating to learn that he hadn't had dreams of going into space as a child, his career just naturally led him to where he ended up. This was such a different autobiography to the American ones I'd been reading previously, because it is much harder to become an astronaut when you are from the UK. Seats on spaceflights are prioritised to the countries that financially contribute the most to the International Space Station and spaceflight in general, with that mostly being the USA and Russia, so Tim's journey was not an easy one and it's why it was such a big deal when he did finally lift off. If you're a space fan like me then this is surely a must read!

So, they are my top 10 books of 2020! Now I know just how quick I can read when I love a book I'll definitely be upping my reading goal for 2021, right now I'm hoping to read 75 books, so we'll see how I do with that. I'd love to hear about the best books you've read this year, I'm always looking for more to add to my wishlist!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for these great reading ideas! I'm looking forward to diving into some of them :-)

    ReplyDelete


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