My Top 10 Books of 2020!

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Well, 2020 has been a year I think most of us would rather forget! I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and well. In the midst of the chaos, we’ve all come to appreciate books even more, with their reassuring constancy and the opportunity they provide to escape reality for a bit.

So without further ado, in no particular order (because I am extremely indecisive!) here are the top 10 books that helped me survive 2020:

1) Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Synopsis:

In Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo intertwines twelve lives – mostly black, British women. Their voices range from Hattie, an ancient mixed-race grandma struggling to keep her family farm and her pride along with it, to Amma, a black lesbian playwright whose radical work is showing at the National Theatre for the first time.

Through this lively spectrum of characters, Evaristo explores the nuances of identity, connection, and what it means to be proud of who you are.

Read if: You want to enjoy a vibrant novel about the black British female experience, which acknowledges that one voice is never enough.

Full review here.

Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo Book Cover Image

2) The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Synopsis:

Lydia is one of the most feared Aunts in Gilead – but she’s about to go rogue with a secret manuscript.

Agnes and Daisy are both navigating the trials of coming-of-age – but with one raised inside and one outside Gilead, they might as well come from different planets.

These three unlikely women will be brought together to unite against the powerful Gileadean theocracy – challenging every single one of their assumptions about reality in the process.

Read if: You want to become immersed in a searingly realistic dystopian novel with a powerful feminist message.

Full review here.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood Book Cover Image

3) Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

Synopsis:

Isabella is a woman of deep religious belief, who is soon to enter a convent where she will begin her devout life as a nun. Shortly before she embarks, Isabella is informed that her beloved brother Claudio has been arrested by Lord Angelo. His sentence is death.

Isabella meets with Lord Angelo to plead for her brother’s life and he strikes a deal: her virginity in return for a pardon. Torn between a sister’s love and her unwavering religious faith, Isabella’s struggle dramatises the public and private battles for power that have raged for centuries…

Read if: You’re intrigued by the sound of a Shakespeare play that actually seems relevant to the modern world.

Theatre review here.

Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare Book Cover Image

4) Me & White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

Synopsis:

Racism isn’t just about overtly bigoted white nationalist groups – it’s everyone’s problem. In Me and White Supremacy Layla F. Saad generously provides a structured guide for people with white privilege to interrogate our relationship to racism. By the end, you’ll have a solid foundation to help you embark on genuine anti-racism work.

Read if: Every person with white privilege should read this book and take up the challenge of immersing themselves in an anti-racism journey.

Magazine article here.

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad Book Cover Image

5) The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Synopsis:

Theo has just started a new job at The Grove, a psychiatric unit for violent female criminals. Top of the list of new patients he must take on is Alicia. Alicia seemed to have it all – a flourishing career as an artist and a loving husband – until the night she shot him in the head. Since that fateful night, Alicia has refused to speak a word.

Disentangling Alicia’s past and the motives for her crime is not going to be easy – especially when The Grove is hiding secrets of its own.

Read if: You want to be kept guessing by a stand-out thriller that deserves the hype.

Full review here.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Book Cover Image

6) A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

Synopsis:

“Sing, Muse, he said, and I have sung … I have sung of the women, the women in the shadows. I have sung of the forgotten, the ignored, the untold.”

The names of the Trojan war heroes echo down the centuries – Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon – while the women drawn into its devastation remain a footnote in all these songs and stories.

In A Thousand Ships, Natalie Haynes attempts to imagine, not one, but many voices for these women. From the most powerful goddess to the lowliest priest girl that serves her, each is irrevocably changed by the men’s war, each has a story. And that story deserves to be told.

Read if: You’re in the mood for a rich and ambitious feminist retelling.

Full review here.

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes Book Cover Image

7) The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Synopsis: Pecola Breedlove has only one wish: blue eyes. Growing up as a black girl in the structurally racist society of 1940s Ohio, it seems the only way to guarantee her survival.

Written in Toni Morrison’s characteristic no-holds-barred style, The Bluest Eye chronicles the effect that multiple burdens of oppression can have on one child’s small, fragile life.

Read if: You’re ready to be drawn into a deeply disturbing psychological depiction of internalised racism.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Book Cover Image

8) The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

Synopsis:

The Shock of the Fall begins with nine-year-old Matthew experiencing a tragedy which he cannot tell us about. It’s just too painful. For the rest of the story, we follow him through the years of childhood, adolescence and into his first grimy flat and minimum-wage job.

All the while, Matthew’s grasp of reality fragments as he struggles to come to terms with what happened that fateful night on the coast.

Read if: You’re willing to be turned into an emotional wreck by this achingly poignant portrayal of mental illness.

Full review here.

the-shock-of-the-fall-by-nathan-filer-book-cover-image

9) Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Synopsis: Following a sort-of breakup with her boyfriend, Queenie enters full rebound mode. But as she trawls dating apps, she soon realises that hooking up is hard enough without the added problem of racial fetishisation. To make things even worse her old-fashioned relatives view therapy as shameful and her boss at the magazine isn’t letting her write about anything she genuinely cares about.

As she bounces haplessly from one poor decision to another, Queenie realises that there’s nothing like hitting rock bottom to give you a whole new set of priorities.

Read if: You’re looking for an incisive, darkly funny and character-centric exploration of a whole spectrum of social issues.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams Book Cover Image

10) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Synopsis: Achilles may be one of the most feared warriors of the Trojan War, but after every battle he returns to his lover Patroclus, a man more suited to the medical tent than the heat of battle.

Focussing on a romance that defies the gods themselves, Madeline Miller takes a unique perspective on the Trojan war to illuminate one of the most epic love stories of all time.

Read if: You want to get your retelling fix with an ancient and deeply moving love story.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Book Cover Image


Have you read any of these books? What was your favourite read of 2020? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you! Wishing you lots of love and positivity for 2021 X x x


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19 thoughts on “My Top 10 Books of 2020!

    1. I definitely would recommend The Testaments if you enjoyed The Handmaids Tale – in my opinion it wasn’t quite as atmospheric as the original but had more characters which made it a bit faster paced. The Song of Achilles is a beautiful story as well. I hope you enjoy these books if and when you get around to reading them! Thank you for commenting Cherelle 📚❤️ X x x

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I actually put Girl, Woman, Other on my TBR after reading your review, thanks for the reminder to pick it up. I’m not good at picking favorites, but one of the most impactful books I have read this year is called the Complete Enneagram. It is about an ancient personality typing system which has been re-discovered and is now used by some psyco-theropists, spiritualists and psychologists to understand people’s core motivations. A bit out there, but really fascinating, and frighteningly accurate in my own case. I hope you had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think if I had to pick an absolute favourite from this list it would be Girl, Woman, Other so I really hope you enjoy it. The Complete Enneagram sounds fascinating – I love anything personality related, it’s a great feeling when someone explains you to yourself! Hope you had a lovely Christmas too Alyson and wishing you a happy New Year. Fingers crossed we can get some normality back in 2021! 📚❤️ X x x

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  2. GWO is one of my 2020 favourites as well. The Bluest Eye is on my wish list. I will post my favourites tomorrow, but actually I just finished another book, Love and Other Thought Experiments, which was so unique and might actually be my favourite of the year. I am not going to rewrite my post, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed GWO as well, it was so unique! I’d definitely recommend The Bluest Eye as well, it’s a really powerful story. I’ll have to check out Love and Other Thought Experiments, and I’ll keep an eye out for your favourites post tomorrow as well! 📚❤️ X x x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. i’m ashamed to say that i haven’t read so many books on this list!! song of Achilles has been on my tbr for so long, and i’ve been wanting to read queenie for a while too, so i’m glad you liked both of them!! i loved going through this list, florence!! 💗💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Ahaana! 🥰 It’s good when you haven’t read many books on one of these recommendation lists – it means you have lots to look forward to! Song of Achilles is a really powerful story and Queenie is really moving but funny at the same time – I read it with my book club and everyone enjoyed it which is rare! Happy reading for 2021 📚❤️ X x x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay it’s great to find someone else who agrees that The Testaments was brilliant! I tried not to compare it too much to THT and I thought it was a fantastic book in its own right. I especially liked getting Aunt Lydia’s perspective! 📚❤️ X x x

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