My favourite reads of 2020
No particular order.
- The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau, Graeme Macrae Burnet Detective and Mystery Fiction. This book has an “old-style-mystery” feel to it.
- Salt Creek, Lucy Treloar Historical Fiction. The dispossession of Indigenous people from their lands … we know how that ends. In this story, the possessors also pay a high price.
- Mammoth, Chris Flynn. Historical Fiction. Such an inventive story, and so entertaining. The surprising ending has a message of hope for the future of the world.
- The Far Field, Madhuri Vijay. Historical Fiction. Devastating effects of the main character’s actions are like a “A ripple widening from a single stone/ Winding around the waters of the world.” (from the poem The Far Field by Theodore Roethke)
- The Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim. Fiction. Classic. This book totally immersed me in the time and place – 1920s Italy in a castle on the Mediterranean Sea. The style of writing evokes the charm of the era (it was the time of “dressing for dinner” and “polite behaviour”), and the descriptions of Italy in Summer are enticing. Book me a trip to Italy!
- Simon the Fiddler, Paulette Jiles. Historical Fiction. Music takes a prominent place in this story, adding depth to the picture of post-war Texas, and making complete the character of Simon. I felt the American West come alive in this story.
- Greenwood, Michael Christie. Historical Fiction. Like the trees, this story is magnificent.
- Lucky’s, Andrew Pippos. Fiction. Highly entertaining. Lots of fascinating characters give the story variety, and multiple bizarre situations (e.g. the horse riding into the cafe) add that extra zing.
- How Much of These Hills is Gold, C. Pam Zhang. Historical Fiction. An epic story told brilliantly.
- Tiger, Polly Clarke. Fiction. Awesome descriptions of tigers and their behaviour in the wild.
- Infinite Splendours, Sofie Laguna. Fiction. This book is both devastatingly tender and devastatingly powerful. References to paintings of the Masters is a fascinating aspect of this story.
- Jack, Marilynne Robinson. Historical Fiction. Another exceptional character study to follow the first three in the Gilead series.
- The Temporary Gentleman, Sebastian Barry. Historical Fiction. A sad, sad story.
- A Thousand Moons, Sebastian Barry. Historical Fiction. Very moving.
- Tyll, Daniel Kehlmann Translated from the German by Ross Benjamin. Historical Fiction. This is a very entertaining read. The dialogue between Tyll and various others has a modern feel.
- Fallen Land, Taylor Brown. Historical Fiction. The building of tension as the chase continued made this book a real page-turner, and such vivid descriptions of the setting made it easy to picture the action. And the horse is a hero!
- The Mercies, Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Historical Fiction. Men without mercy … women with courage.
- Circe, Madeline Miller. Historical Fiction. She turned men into pigs!
- The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin. Historical Fiction. Unhurried, quiet and dreamlike.
- The Redeemed ( The West Country Trilogy, #3), Tim Pears. Historical Fiction. Beautifully told story of a man finding his way back, physically and emotionally, to his home in the West Country of England after World War II.
What an array of styles and storylines! Thank you for the 2020 list. Sebastian Barry featured prominently.
I look forward to adding to my pile from your 2021 recommendations. A couple of my favourites – Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe for its well sourced but little-known Indigenous accomplishments; Eleanor Oliphant is Infinitely Fine- of all the novels from last year that were underpinned by characters and their personal struggles, this, and its ending, has stayed with me the most; as well as about 35 of the 42 I managed to challenge my brain with this year. 😃
Your list of all you have read is a great reference and I go to it regularly to add to my TBR pile. It steers me away from my more mundane crime and thriller reads – my go to genre when I need to unwind and not have to think too deeply.
Happy reading 2021. 🎉📚📖
Thank you for Glance-a-Book. It certainly fills a need and goes beyond other sites in giving an insight in to
Thanks, Travlyn. I have heard a lot about Eleanor Oliphant so I will have to put it on my TBR list. I’m looking forward to another great year of reading – one of the only things unrestricted by COVID! Oh, and by the way, there’s nothing wrong with crime and thrillers.