With all this free time at the moment, I’ve been reading more than I have done in years.
At the beginning of the year, one of my goals for 2020 was to read at least 1 book a month, which I thought might be a push given that I was set to move abroad and work full time – I just didn’t think I’d have much time to sit down and read.
But of course that’s all gone out the window and I’ve been trying to spend this time staying at home doing things other than binging Netflix. Although some people might not see reading as being productive, I find that it engages the mind and keeps you focused. To me, reading is learning in the best possible way.
In another sense, reading during this time has been a much needed form of escapism. The things which have really got me down recently and made me feel like I’m failing at life (bailing on living abroad, being unemployed for example) have been threatening to eat away at me, so getting lost in a good book helps take my mind off those things and see the bigger picture.
Here are some of the best books I recommend you try reading this year. Don’t hesitate to leave your own thoughts and recommendations in the comment section below!
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
This book was a big hit last summer and I devoured it in a matter of days. It follows a narrator who awakes in a forest with what appears to be amnesia, and is given eight days to figure out who murdered Eveleyn Hardcastle. Trapped in a different ‘host’ each day and viewing the run-up to Evelyn’s death from different perspectives, the narrator must not only find the murderer, but also make sure to survive the time loops himself. Almost playing out like a game of Cluedo, the Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle will have you hooked.
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris
I know most people probably read The Tattooist of Auschwitz last year amidst all the hype, but more recently its sequel, Cilka’s Journey, was published – and it is just as good if not better. Based on the very few facts known about Cilka, we follow her story from one concentration camp to another. Believed to be a Nazi sympathiser, Cilka was transported to a Russian Gulag and forced to spend 10 years there, where she trained as a nurse. Thoroughly recommend this to all readers.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
This is on my list and has been recommended to me by my sister. Perfect for those who enjoy reading fantasy fiction, or have an interest in the portrayal of LGBT characters within the genre, the Priory tells the story of a Queen who must conceive a female heir and protect her realm from destruction. It sounds a little Game of Thrones-y to me, so I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood
Another recommendation from my sister, it’s a crime that I haven’t read it yet. Its popularity has been renewed since the release of the hit TV show and its novel sequel, so it’s about time I get stuck into this modern classic.
True to Me by Kay Bratt
Recommending this one as a much lighter read! When Quinn’s mother is on her deathbed, she reveals a secret: the man she thought was her father, was not actually her father at all. On a mission to discover her true roots in Maui, Quinn settles into the Hawaiian culture and learns the importance of family.
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
I’m currently half way through this but I had to include it. The tag line is ‘one house, two families, three bodies’. If that isn’t enough to draw you in, then I don’t know what is! The Family Upstairs follows Libby, who has just inherited a huge London house where she is told her parents were murdered, but the case was left unsolved. The chapters are split between three points of view, so I can’t wait to find out how they are all connected.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
In 1969, the town’s favourite Chase Andrews is found dead in the marsh, with no evidence of it being an accident, suicide or murder. While Barkley Cove’s (pretty terrible) detectives are on the case, we are taken back to the 1940s and ’50s where Kya, AKA the ‘Marsh Girl’, is growing up alone and poor, an outcast of society. This one took a little while to really get into but I loved how unique and beautifully written it was.
The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney
This was very different for me but I enjoyed reading something different to my usual picks! An AI version of Abbie wakes up and is being taught by her husband how to be the perfect wife and mother to their severely autistic child. But where is the real Abbie and why did she leave behind clues suggesting she was not happy? This technological/psychological thriller was a real page turner with so many twists and turns, and has definitely expanded my reading!
I’m always looking for new books to read, so let me know if you have any suggestions – any genre welcome!