Post: My Top Reads of 2020

First things first, I have read so many good books this year that this was really, really difficult. So my strategy was: choose quickly, don’t overthink it, and try not to feel too sad for the ones you loved that didn’t make the list! And of course I’ve since read another couple that I want to add…but I’ve got to call it at some point!

I’m going to keep this straightforward, so here are my lists of 20 novels, 10 short story collections, 10 non-fiction books and 5 books in translation (reading more translated literature is top of my priorities for 2021!) that I absolutely adored this year, along with links to my reviews where relevant. Everything is in the order I read it in, not any kind of super-advanced ranking system or anything!

I also want to take this opportunity to send HUGE thanks to all the authors, publishers and publicists who have sent me books to review this year. It is an enormous privilege, and I feel very, very lucky. And to my fellow book bloggers, who have been such a support this year in so many ways: I love you, even though you have made my TBR grow to preposterous levels! I am really happy to have found the bookish community this year.

Right, onto the lists!

Top 20 Novels Read in 2020

  1. The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey
  2. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
  3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  4. The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen
  5. Saving Lucia by Anna Vaught
  6. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
  7. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
  8. You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr
  9. The Sound Mirror by Heidi James
  10. Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
  11. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  12. A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley
  13. For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley
  14. Inside the Beautiful Inside by Emily Bullock
  15. Love Orange by Natasha Randall
  16. A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington
  17. Should We Fall Behind by Sharon Duggal
  18. The Night of the Flood by Zoe Somerville
  19. The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  20. Exit Management by Naomi Booth

Top 10 Short Story Collections Read in 2020

  1. You Will Never Be Forgotten by Mary South
  2. Sky Light Rain by Judy Darley
  3. The Dressing-Up Box by David Constantine
  4. Dancers on the Shore by William Melvin Kelley
  5. The Almost Mothers by Laura Besley
  6. Famished by Anna Vaught
  7. Exercises in Control by Annabel Banks
  8. A Place Remote by Gwen Goodkin
  9. Nudibranch by Irenosen Okojie
  10. Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books Read in 2020

  1. Kilo by Toby Muse
  2. Watermarks by Lenka Janiurek
  3. What Doesn’t Kill You edited by Elitsa Dermendzhiyska
  4. How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  5. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  6. PMSL by Luce Brett
  7. Sway by Pragya Agarwal
  8. Running the Orient by Gavin Boyter
  9. I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite
  10. Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again by Katherine Angel

Top 5 Books in Translation Read in 2020

  1. The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany translated by Humphrey Davies
  2. Flights by Olga Tokarczuk translated by Jennifer Croft
  3. The Silence and The Roar by Nihad Sirees translated by Max Weiss
  4. Long Live The Post Horn! by Vigdis Hjorth translated by Charlotte Barslund
  5. Three Rival Sisters by Marie-Louise Gagneur translated by Anna Aitken and Polly Mackintosh

I may or may not do a full list of all my 2020 reading at the end of the year – we’ll see! Do let me know if you’ve read and loved any of these, or if you have any on your TBR! And if you fancy commenting with your top read of 2020, please do!

Ellie x


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