2020: My Insanely Impressive Reading Year

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With just today and tomorrow left in 2020, I am really looking forward to the beginning of the end for covid-19. Yes, it may be a long way off, but the light is beginning to come through. And while 2020 was a horrible year for so many reasons, one silver lining of the year was having getting back to reading and reigniting my passion for the written word. This post contains affiliate links and links to my own products. For more information, please read my disclaimer.

It was an impressive reading year for me, so I decided to share what I read and why you should read it too! Some books I’ve already talked about here on the blog, and others I’ve been enjoying without sharing, so they’ll be a surprise!

Reading in 2020

Back on New Year’s Day, I set myself the goal of reading 18 books in 2020. I had just about managed to read 14 books in 2019. And so I wanted to challenge myself to spend less time on my phone, and more time reading. Who knew 2020 would mean that literally all I could do for several months was read or stare at my phone?! I decided that this year I would include any books I have consumed, whether they be paperback, hardback, ebooks, or audiobooks [AFF], so get those TBR lists ready to add to!

Physical Books I Got Reading in 2020

Hypnos
Written by Jon Biddle
What if the unthinkable became a reality? What if technology could be used against you? A software program has been stolen from the digital vaults of the CIA. It is capable of bridging the gap between A.I. and human consciousness, making a person do whatever the controller wants, creating a potentially terrifying new world. The organisation responsible has racist, right-wing views and a perverted desire to reduce population growth by culling it using the software. Only the rich and the powerful can be part of Asclepius. The software is uploaded to the brain via eye movement using a smartphone, leaving open the possibility for entire countries to be controlled remotely.

read my review of Hypnos by jon biddle here
Book cover for Hypnos by Jon Biddle
Find out how to buy your own copy of Hypnos by Jon Biddle here!

Tusker
Written by Dougie Arnold
Find out all about Tusker, including my thoughts after I read it, by clicking here! The sudden and violent increase of elephant poaching in the remote Kenya game reserve of Uwingoni threatens its very existence. Those who have devoted themselves to the protection of its precious wildlife seem ill equipped to deal with this new menace. However, the arrival of two young people with no experience of Africa might just prove a turning point. For the first time in his life Harry feels he has found somewhere he really belongs and something he can fight for and believe in. Ana, a journalist escaping the horrors of a different war, brings a fresh insight into the battle against poaching as she struggles with her own internal demons.

Tusker book cover, written by Dougie Arnold
Purchase your copy of Tusker in both Kindle and Paperback editions from Amazon!

F**k No!: How To Stop Saying Yes, When You Can’t, You Shouldn’t, Or You Just Don’t Want To
Written by Sarah Knight
This was actually one of my 2019 Christmas presents! Having read and loved other books by Sarah Knight, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into F**k No. Especially after I read the blurb!
For Sarah, saying no is easy. For the rest of us, it’s stress-inducing, blood pressure-raising, teeth-grinding hard. But it doesn’t have to be. F**k No! is filled with tips, techniques, and practical strategies that will arm you with not only permission to decline, but plenty of ammunition for doing so.

Book cover for F**k No! by Sarah Knight for my books read in 2020
Click here to buy F**k No! right now on Amazon!

Warlight
Written by Michael Ondaatje
Okay so this one was another Christmas present last year, and to be honest I did struggle a bit with it. But it was well worth persevering with!
It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women all who seem determined to protect Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel journeys through recollection, reality and imagination to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, to piece together a story that feels something like the truth.

Calm: Working Through Life’s Daily Stresses to Find a Peaceful Centre
Written by Fearne Cotton
Remember when Amazon Wishlists took over Twitter and everyone was preaching “Spread Kindness and Joy!”? Well, through one of those wish list exchanges, I found myself the proud reader of Cotton’s Calm. It was the perfect read for mid first lockdown as my brain struggled to relax into not going to work five days a week!
CALM is Fearne’s mission to find the simple things that can inch us away from stress and over to the good stuff. Including expert advice, conversations with wise friends from all walks of life, easy ideas to try, activities to complete – and the little things that have made a difference to her own, sometimes-bumpy life – this book is a friendly reminder that Calm is a place that exists in us all, we just have to find our way back to it.

Calm by Fearne Cotton book cover
Check out the latest pricing for Calm by Fearne Cotton on Amazon!

Girlfriend In A Coma
Written by Douglas Coupland
Check out all about Girlfriend in a Coma by reading clicking here to read my review!

1984
Written by George Orwell
Was there ever a more appropriate time to read the book Mum and Dad bought me for my 22nd birthday?

The Art of Being Normal
Written by Lisa Williamson
Again, I actually reviewed this one here on the blog. Check out my review of The Art of Being Normal!

Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble
Written by Paul Cookson
This was read as part of a book blog tour, and so you can find my honest thoughts and opinions on Fire Burn Cauldron Bubble here.

Christmas with the Teashop Girls (The Teashop Girls #2)
Written by Elaine Everest
Set in late 1940, the war feels closer to home than ever for Rose and her staff at the Lyon’s Teashop in margate. I was kindly sent Christmas with the Teashop Girls to read, with no obligation to post about it. However I loved it that much I just had to share it with you all!

Audiobooks I Listened To in 2020

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals
Written by Rachel Hollis
Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough. In Girl, Stop Apologizing, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people-whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee-instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.

Book Cover for Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
Click here to buy Girl Stop Apologising right now on Amazon! [AFF]

Between The Stops: The View of My Life from the Top of the Number 12 Bus
Written by Sandi Toksvig
This long-awaited memoir from one of Britain’s best-loved celebrities – a writer, broadcaster, activist, comic on stage, screen and radio for nearly forty years, presenter of QI and Great British Bake Off star – is an autobiography with a difference: as only Sandi Toksvig can tell it. A funny and moving trip through memories, musings and the many delights on the Number 12 route, Between the Stops is also an inspiration to us all to get off our phones, look up and to talk to each other because as Sandi says: ‘some of the greatest trips lie on our own doorstep’.

Between The Stops book cover
See the latest pricing for Between The Stops on Amazon

Me
Written by Elton John
In his first and only official autobiography, music icon Elton John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the smash-hit film Rocketman. The result is Me – the joyously funny, honest and moving story of the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time.

Me by Elton John book cover
Read real reviews about Me by Elton John now on Amazon!

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3)
Written by George R.R. Martin
Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavour, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world… But as opposing forces manoeuvre for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilisation. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others – a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords…

A Storm of Swords (The Illustrated Edition) book cover
Get your hands on this gorgeous illustrated edition of A Storm of Swords from Amazon here!

A Feast For Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)
Written by George R.R. Martin
A Feast for Crows brings to life dark magic, intrigue and terrible bloodshed as the war-torn landscape of the Seven Kingdoms is threatened by destruction as vast as any in its violent past. The War of the Five Kings has ripped Westeros apart. The bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning Lannisters occupy the Iron Throne, with allies as ruthless as themselves. Lord Frey was host at the Red Wedding, so called for the massacre of the guests, their screams unheard above the music of the feast. Euron Crow’s Eye is as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, sworn to deliver the whole of Westeros to the ironborn. No less to be feared are their enemies. The Starks of Winterfell and the Martells of Dorne seek vengeance for their dead. And the last of the Targaryens, Daenerys Stormborn, will bring fire and blood to King’s Landing when her young dragons reach their terrifying maturity. The last war fought with dragons was a cataclysm powerful enough to shatter the Valyrian peninsula, now a smoking, demon-haunted ruin half drowned by the sea. Against a backdrop of alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel … and the coldest hearts.

A Feast for Crows leatherbound edition book cover
Don’t want to pay a fortune for this gorgeous leather-bound edition of A Feast for Crows? Check out other options on Amazon here!

A Murder Is Announced (Miss Marple #5)
Written by Agatha Christie
The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn, including Jane Marple, are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette which reads: ‘A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m.’ A childish practical joke? Or a hoax intended to scare poor Letitia Blacklock? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out…

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Written by Reni Eddo-Lodge
A worthy read, and an eye-opening audiobook to consume during the peak of the #BLM protests.

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)
Written by George R.R. Martin
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance – beset by newly emerging threats from every direction.

Killing For Company: The Case of Dennis Nilsen
Written by Brian Masters
Inspired to read this after watching the ITV series, Des, Masters’ unique study of a serial killer’s mind is a must read for any crime loving reader!

The Complete Yes Minister
Written by Jonathan Lynn
Based on the TV show, this gives a humorous look behind the doors of government. A light-hearted read to give you a laugh as you try not to cry at the parallels drawn with the current state of affairs.

The Complete Yes Prime Minister
Written by Jonathan Lynn
The sequel to the popular Yes Minister, presented in the form of diaries, official documents and letters, rather than simply transcribed scripts.

The Midnight Library
Written by Matt Haig
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. A Fabulous book, even if it did lead to a bit of og an existential crisis on my part!

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (Dash & Lily #1)
Written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Having watched the Netflix series first, I fell in love with Dash and Lily all over again. Cohn and Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Ebooks I Enjoyed Reading in 2020

Creativity Brewing: 30 Short Stories Hand Roasted to Perfection
Written by Kevin Barrick
Enjoy a selection of flash fiction stories hand-roasted to perfection. Each story has been crafted to be your perfect pick-me-up. Whether you like light roast, medium roast, or dark roast, this collection serves it all! In a breathtaking collection of tales, Kevin Barrick guides you through humanity’s darkest and finest hours. These stories are more than just brief; they are generations of turmoil, pain, and excitement compressed into a single moment that resonates for days.

Creativity Brewing book cover
Support an indie author by buying Kevin’s Creativity Brewing from Amazon here!

Reflections of My Youth: A Poetry Collection
Written by Mahesh Mali
Mahesh actually reached out to me to see if I would kindly review and raise awareness for his poetry collection. You can find my post on Reflections of My Youth here.

To Summarise

All in all, I got reading 25 books this year. And that’s not including the blogging ebooks I read and studied, or the textbooks I’ve been reading as part of my Open University course! I can’t wait to see what books I will be reading in 2021. Have you tried reading any of the books I’ve mentioned above, or have you added any to your to be read piles now that you’ve heard about them? Let me know in the comments below, and happy reading for 2021!

3 thoughts on “2020: My Insanely Impressive Reading Year

  1. sunsetsbooksandwine

    What an achievement! Well done! Here’s to more reading in 2021! Xx

  2. brittshedhappens

    If there has been one benefit to the lockdown and the cancellation of all the things we would normally be leaving the house to enjoy, it’s that we had more time for relaxing activities like reading. I know that I’ve dug into a few more books than usual this year!

  3. Pingback: January 2021 and Happy New Year - Life With Ktkinnes

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