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Happy New Year! For my first post of 2020, I decided to put together a list of the 10 books I am most excited to read this year. January is brightening up just thinking of them! Wishing you all a year of happiness in both the real and fictional world…
1) The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale is one of my all-time favourite books, and I am addicted to the T.V. series too! I was so excited when The Testaments was released and look forward to satisfying more of my morbid curiosity about Gilead.
To stop my expectations getting the better of me, I am going to try reading and enjoying it for what it is, rather than constantly comparing to The Handmaid’s Tale.
2) Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
I hadn’t heard of this book until it was joint winner of The Booker Prize this year. I added it to my Goodreads list, then completely forgot about it until my parents got it for me as a Christmas present!
Apparently, it is unique in being written from so many different perspectives – consider me intrigued…
3) Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Circe by Madeline Miller was on my list of the top 10 books I read in 2019. I have always loved Ancient Greek mythology and became entranced by the author’s fresh perspective on these epic stories. After reading so many wonderful reviews of Song of Achilles, I need no further convincing!
4) The Confession by Jessie Burton
I was lucky enough to meet Jessie Burton at an author event hosted by my local bookshop this year. Now I have a very pretty signed edition of The Confession which looks irresistible on my bookshelf!
I have a soft spot for historical fiction and was amazed by her previous novel The Miniaturist. With this one focussing even more on women and female relationships, it seems to be ticking all the boxes…
5) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My book club did a Secret Santa and this was my gift! A band of travelling actors performing Shakespeare? Set in a post-apocalyptic world? Recommended by Jessie Burton (see above)? ‘Disturbing’, ‘unsettling’ and ‘haunting’? This mysterious book-gifter knows me so well.
6) Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
You can read my review of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Measure for Measure here. I found it one of the most resonant early modern plays I have ever watched. Imagine my delight when it appeared on the reading list for one of my modules next semester!
“The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?”
7) Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I was watching the BBC documentary ‘Novels That Shaped Our World’ and Their Eyes Were Watching God appeared on the episode showcasing some of the most important books by women writers. The story follows a black woman who has been married three times and is on trial for the killing of one of these husbands. It went straight onto my list!
8) English Renaissance Drama by Various Authors
As much as I love Shakespeare, I also feel there were many other incredible playwrights in the early modern period that are often overlooked. See my post on Questioning the Canon: Shakespeare versus Marlowe. So I can’t wait to study this anthology, which includes plays such as ‘Doctor Faustus’, ‘The Duchess of Malfi’, ‘The Revenger’s Tragedy’ and ‘Volpone’.
9) The Vagina Bible by Jennifer Gunter
As in 2019, my aim is to read more non-fiction this year. Hopefully, my newfound discovery of the BorrowBox app, which lets me borrow audiobooks from my library, will help with his!
I was reading an article about the gender health gap and it got me looking into the subject more deeply. This empowering, myth-busting, stigma-shattering title seems like a great place to start!
10) The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
I know I already have Song of Achilles on the list, but you can never have too many mythological retellings! I studied Regeneration by Pat Barker at A-Level and can still remember her direct, pulls-no-punches writing style.
Although this book takes on a very different subject – the Trojan War seen through the eyes of the women caught up in it – I think it’s going to be equally powerful.
Have you read any of these books? Which one should I put to the top of my list? Let me know what you think in the comments – I would love to hear from you!