*This list was created in mid to late June so this reflects my thoughts and opinions on books up until that time*
Hey All! Following yesterday’s more negative post about my most disappointing reads of the year so far, I wanted to follow it up with a far more positive outlook on the year so far.
I’ve read some really great books this year, and I’ve read some possible new favourites (I’m talking about ‘Vicious’ and ‘The Binding’), but I’ve also discovered authors from my favourite books I’ll definitely be reading more from.
This was quite a hard post to write as whilst I could write a dissertation for each of the individual books I’ve been disappointed by this year, I struggle to write reviews or even summaries for books I loved beyond the standard ‘I loved this!!! Please read it and love it too!!!’. However, I have tried to do more than that with this list so I hope you enjoy reading it, and let me know if we share any favourites!
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (5 stars)
Gosh, I just love this so much. I think this is the perfect modern fairytale for readers, it’s focused around a mystical library which houses thousands of stories and lives, with beautiful symbolism and individual stories littered throughout the narrative. Whilst I think it’s great for these reasons, it’s definitely not for everyone for those very same reasons, as it’s a fairytale and sometimes fairytales don’t have a lot of character or plot depth, but regardless of that it’s beautifully told and I loved the characters and the book still.
The Binding by Bridget Collins (5 stars)
This was the first ever book I read for my ‘Waterstone’s Book of the Month‘ series and it’s one the that kicked off the series. I love this book with my whole heart, and whilst it’s definitely not for everyone the story touched me in a way that made it an instant favourite for me. The story was heartbreaking yet uplifting, and it was so full of love and hope. I personally liked the way this was told, but again it’s not for everyone as the first third of this is very slow-paced. Read my full review here.
Circe by Madeline Miller (5 stars)
I bought this in January based off of a whim and a determination to read more women authors this year (which I think I’m succeeding in). I’m really glad I picked this up. Whilst I’ve never been obsessed with Greek mythology, as many people my age were after reading ‘The Percy Jackson’ series, I found myself growing obsessed with Circe and her story. From what I’ve heard this is an unique take on Greek mythology and the retelling of it, and it’s definitely put Madeline Miller on my radar. Read my full review here.
Vicious by V. E. Schwab (5 stars)
I couldn’t make a favourite reads list for 2020 without mentioning Schwab at some point. Really I want to put more than one book by her on here, but I don’t think that would be fair or right so I’ve narrowed it down to one, and it had to be ‘Vicious’. ‘Vicious’ is a masterpiece, it has fantastic characters, brilliant world-building and a plot that has you continually turning the page for ‘just one more chapter’. It’s hard to see how anyone couldn’t like this, and from all the Schwab books I’ve read so far, this is clearly her best.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I read this book for Asian Readathon and I’m so glad I took part in that Readathon, because this book was as good as everyone says it is (it really is, I promise). It’s a fantastically well told story with a number of brilliant, flushed out characters with a mystery that has you coming back for more. It’s written beautifully and there’s nothing to complain about with this, it’s just a fantastic book. Read my full review here.
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (5 stars)
This made me feel multiple kinds of way. It’s heartbreaking, funny, joyful, sad and plenty of other emotions all bundled into one fantastic book, and I never realised autobiographies could be this good until I read this one. I would recommend you listen to the audiobook of this as it just heightens the experience, but honestly you’ll still love it without Trevor Noah narrating to you (but I don’t know why you wouldn’t pick that option over a paperback!) Easily my favourite non-fiction read of the year so far.
Anna K by Jenny Lee (4 stars)
It feels like a miracle that a book from my ‘Buzzfeed Recommends‘ series would grace this list after four of them were on my ‘Most Disappointing Reads of he Year So Far’ post, but ‘Anna K’ defied all my expectations. I wasn’t sure I was going to love this as I’ve never read Anna Karenina before, but this was glorious – this is everything Gossip Girl and Riverdale wants to be, but made good. It was so entertaining and I loved the romances and characters. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more books by Jenny Lee now.
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas (5 stars)
I think Angie Thomas is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me (and for everyone else). This book was a great read and I really enjoyed reading about Bri, the protagonist, and all the relationships she had with those in her life. I thought the character arc in this was fantastically well handled as well as building distinct secondary characters and a compelling plot conflict – Thomas just knows how to write a good book. Read my full review here.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt (4 stars)
Even though I have no grand literary theories on the characters, symbolism or plot in this book (as some readers seem to), I really enjoyed this. My love and praise for this will seem like nothing new in the literary landscape as this book has been around for a while, but it’s an important love to me. This is the first book I’ve read like ‘The Secret History’ and whilst it can be decisive (some people hate it), I was one of lucky ones who loves it.
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (4 stars)
Zusak makes me feel a lot of things, and that has never been more true than when I read ‘Bridge of Clay’ – the man just knows how to make the reader sad. This book certainly isn’t for everyone as it’s fairly slow-paced, character-driven and the writing style and story aren’t the norm; however as time has gone on I’ve kept thinking about this book and I’ve realised it’s really left a mark on me – and that’s the sign of a good book.