As I come to the half-way point in the year, I’ve so enjoyed so many of the books I’ve read in 2020, and keeping tabs on them here in this blog too; so thought I would take the chance to reflect on everything so far.
It has been an eclectic mix, with 28 books read in total in the last six months – 20 new reads and 8 re-reads, a pretty good ratio for me as I love nothing more than returning to an old favourite book, but have sometimes found myself doing nothing but that, never getting stuck into trying anything new.
There have been 9 children’s books in the list, from my classic battered pony-book comfort reads (Ruby Ferguson’s inimitable Jill ❤️) to the beautiful and captivating The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson.
I’ve also read several memoirs, stepping into the worlds of Tom Cox and Giovanna Fletcher among others, enjoying the humour and warmth of their story-telling and a window into their worlds – Judith Kerr’s Out of the Hitler Time not quite fitting into the memoir category but very almost, recalling her childhood and adolescence in the war years; and Last Christmas, with its collection of essays on Christmas from so many inspiring perspectives, full of memories too.
I’ve read 4 parenting books, learning and growing guided by the gentle and inspiring voices of Sarah Ockwell Smith, Izzy Judd – and Giovanna Fletcher too, whose lovely Letters on Motherhood definitely spanned both genres.
I returned to some absolute classics of childhood literature in Anne of Avonlea, The Secret Garden and Little Women, and read beyond where I had before in the Marches’ world in Good Wives, watching Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy find their feet in an adult world, still holding on to the grounding of their childhood.
My favourite new books I’ve read this year so far have been Lucy Mangan’s childhood reading memoir Bookworm; Jhumpa Lahiri’s beautiful novel about culture and belonging The Namesake; Sophie Anderson’s Slavic folklore-inspired The Girl Who Speaks Bear; The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, Joanna Cannon’s debut novel of faith, community and second chances; Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott, new to me and as warming a volume as Little Women; Lissa Evans’ Old Baggage, bringing to life vibrant characters of the Suffragette movement some years on; and Bernardine Everisto’s Girl, Woman, Other, a wonderful commentary on race, gender and the experiences of a diverse and engaging range of strong female leads.
Our book club, adapting to the new times with reads being chosen between us all and discussed remotely, has also covered a very diverse range. Three of my favourite books I’ve come across this year have come from those picks, and in fact both last month’s book, The Girl Who Speaks Bear, and this month’s, Girl, Woman, Other, have won the Indie Book Awards announced last week.
I feel like I’ve had a chance to experience so many viewpoints and places even in this very strange year where we haven’t been able to physically travel anywhere. I’ve caught a glimpse of both Norway and Italy’s beauty in A Modern Family; the Nigerian cityscape in My Sister, The Serial Killer; Jack Reacher’s America by greyhound bus and diner stop-offs; Anne Shirley’s Prince Edward Island under the white blossom trees; the rugged, sparsely house-dotted hills of Massachusetts in Little Women; the hospital corridors with Adam Kay; the Guernsey streets in Paper Aeroplanes; the roses curling to life in The Secret Garden with Mary and Dickon; Christmases in more times and places than I could describe in Last Christmas; the twisting passing-place lined Highland roads and lonely castle ruins in Bloody Scotland; and the view from curled on a sofa devouring book after book with Lucy Mangan in Bookworm – that one at least not far from the truth!
I’m so enjoying reading this year and at the half-way point really enjoyed reflecting and very much looking forward to another six months and many more books.
My books of 2020 so far..
Book reviews / reading round-ups:
Hope you are all having a good week. X