The fact that it is the middle of 2020 is mind-boggling. On one hand, I am mentally stuck in March, but on the other, it feels like this new reality has been with us for much longer than four months. About the only positive thing to say is that I have been able to spend all this time indoors catching up with reading.
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. I’m hardly alone in adoring it, given that it won the Booker, but Evaristo is such a fresh and innovative new voice.
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020
I don’t really read series, so nothing so far – however I am highly anticipating the latest in the Cormoran Strike series, Troubled Blood, which is set to be released in September.
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – I’m seeing it everywhere and so looking forward to getting stuck in.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
See above #2!
5. Biggest disappointment
Lie With Me by Philippe Besson – I think I was expecting this to be emotionally impactful and compelling, but the sparseness of the prose meant that it fell short for me.
6. Biggest surprise
Thin Girls by Diana Clarke – it took me a little while to get into, but I couldn’t get enough of it, and it has been on my mind in the days/weeks since I finished reading.
7. Favourite new author (debut or new to you)
Ling Ma, debut author of Severance – this is a very close second to the ‘best book of the year’ – a gripping and masterful portrait of a fictional pandemic and a searing indictment of modern society.
8. Newest fictional crush
Connell from Normal People? Should I join the back of a long line?!
Also, not a character but Jia Tolentino, the author of Trick Mirror, is astonishingly talented and I am in love with her writing.
9. Newest favourite character
Amma from Girl, Woman, Other – a Black British playwright, her life summed up so beautifully here –
“Amma then spent decades on the fringe, a renegade lobbing hand grenades at the establishment that excluded her
until the mainstream began to absorb what was once radical and she found herself hopeful of joining it”
10. Book that made you cry
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
11. Book that made you happy
12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
I adore the cover of Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, which is sitting on my bookshelf staring at me and begging to be read.
13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
A ridiculous number, but I’ll just pick the top five:
- Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- The Travelers by Regina Porter
- Hysteria by Jessica Gross
Are any of these on any of your lists? Are you also freaking out that we are halfway through the year?!