Much can be said about 2020, but for me, it has been my most productive reading year ever. I might have had a bit too much time and a disappearing motivation to do anything else that reading, but oh well, Corona happened and a lot of escapism was needed, apparently. I ended up reading 75 books in total, and even though you could go to my Goodreads-account to see my ratings for them all, I thought I would give you my top 2020 book recommendations here. Do I need to say they’re all 5/5 stars for me?
‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens – Kya has lived alone in the swamp since she was a child, and she is perceived as uncivilized and uneducated by the locals, who easily suspects her when a young man from the city is found dead. I loved the beautiful descriptions of nature and the relationships Kya forms with the flora and fauna around her. This book is definitely a crowd-pleaser, and I would recommend it to basically everyone.
‘Annihilation’ by Jeff Vandermeer – Four female scientists are being sent into Area X to research the restricted territory. The 11 expedition teams before them have all disappeared or returned insanely, but as it is the first time a team of only women will survive the uncanny wilderness? This book was a strange experience and I’m still not sure what actually happened even though I read the whole trilogy back to back. Sidenote – I loved the first volume the most and it can definitely stand alone. I enjoyed the other books too, though.
‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell – In this heartbreaking, frustrating and beautiful story we follow adult Vanessa stubbornly deny the sexual abuse her teacher inflicted on her when she was a young girl. And as the teacher is still a part of her life, she is continually being manipulated by him. I read Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ earlier this year, and I would recommend reading it before ‘My Dark Vanessa’, but please feel free to drizzle a couple of happier books in between if you need to.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – A few hours before the collapse of the civilization a famous actor dies on stage in the middle of ‘King Lear’. A couple of years later a theatre group travels around the country to entertain survivors in the cities. But life on the roads is dangerous when the end of the World has occurred. I loved this apocalyptic story, especially because a little hope can be found amidst all the misery.
‘Giovanni’s Room’ by James Baldwin – David travels to Paris where he meets Giovanni, and he is immediately attracted to the beautiful, Italian bartender. They spend three months in each others company, but when David’s fiance Hella returns from her trip to Spain, David has to choose between them. This might be the best classic I’ve ever read. It is such a beautiful, tragic story, and the topic will never be irrelevant.
‘Pachinko’ by Min Jin Lee – A young Korean girl falls in love with an older gentleman, and she ends up pregnant. But he is already married and she refuses to be his second wife. Her honour is saved when a young, handsome but ill priest asks for her hand in marriage. They move to Japan to live with his brother, and here the growing family has to survive through the second world war and the difficulty it is to be Koreans living in Japan.
Honourable mentions – I’ve also (re-)read ‘the Hunger Games’ trilogy, the ‘Harry Potter’ series, ‘the Hobbit’ and ‘the Fellowship of the Ring’ but as they are old favourites to me and you probably all know them by now, I don’t feel the need to give you a full description – but I thought I would mention them anyways.
So, there they are – the recommendations of the books I loved reading in 2020. I think I’m going to dial the number of books I read in 2021 down a bit, but more on that topic later – I’m going to share my reading goals with you all in a future post, so stay tuned. Now, let me know your favourites from 2020 – I’m curious and always open for book recommendations!
Want more book recommendations? Read about the books I read throughout December right here.