This was the year that reading took a hold of me. I have always loved reading, but like so many others, often found myself falling out of the habit of it and only really reading on holiday when you have time to do all the relaxing things you want to do and don’t just have to choose one. I think it’s totally ok to sometimes fall out of love with reading, but whenever I manage to make time for it, I am always reminded of how it really is the most effective down time for me. Sit me in front a TV and I will scroll through my phone, I’ve already completed Spyro on my PlayStation so that’s out of the question now, which did leave getting stuck into a good book. And since the Summer, I have devoured books. I make sure to always have one in my bag for when I am on the tube, to put aside 30 mins before bed whenever I can, and to try and leave a good chunk of time on the weekends to get my nose into a book. Anyway, there are three books posts here, here and here which cover lots of these in depth too, but without further rambling, these have been the standout ones of the year for me

 

Educated - Tara Westover

 

I think my favourite book of the year! I loved it so much, and was so drawn in by the story. I have really enjoyed memoirs and this was just the stand out one. 

 

Slouching Towards Bethlehem - Joan Didion

 

My first Didion experience. There is another Didion on this list but I prefer this one for the variety in it. I love the way she writes, I love the stories and themes in this book, the standout essay being Slouching Towards Bethlehem and On Keeping A Notebook. 

 

In The Distance - Hernan Diaz

 

I think this was my favourite fiction of the year. At the time I didn’t feel totally blown away with it, but it’s one of those books that has really stuck in my mind, to the point where I really want to re-read it. 

 

A Little Life - Hanya Yanigahara

 

I didn’t love this but I have to put it on here. It’s the sort of book I want to speak about to anyone who will listen because I am so outraged by the whole experience of reading this god forsaken book. It’s pure misery from cover to cover, but I can’t lie and say it didn’t totally consume me while I was reading it. 

 

Between The World And Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates

 

Another one I want to re-read. A very short but powerful book!

 

The Broken Earth Trilogy - N.K Jemisin

I read these very recently over Christmas, the first fantasy novels I have ever read and I think I picked a good entry way to the genre. They were brilliant. The world Jemisin creates was so intricate and beautiful, and the characters even more incredible. 

 

Norwegian Wood - Murakami

 

I had this on my bookshelf for weeks and deliberately left it so I could read it in Tokyo, which was perfect. My first Murakarmi book and the next on my list are The Wind Up Bird Chronicles and Kafka On The Shore. His writing was totally not what I expected for some reason but I loved it even more than I imagined. 

 

Calypso - David Sedaris

 

This is the book that made me laugh the most this year! And it started a Sedaris obsession that led me to lots of his other books. This one is still the stand out one for me, and I recommend it to anyone - it’s the sort of book that can make you laugh out loud on the tube despite your best efforts. 

 

 

The Year Of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion

 

Another amazing one from Didion. All I can say about this one is that if you live with grief, or know someone who is, then this is well worth the read. I didn’t find it a very emotional read personally, but just a beautiful way of navigating grief. 

 

The Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar - Cheryl Strayed

 

 

I read this right after a break up and it gave me so much comfort. A complication of Strayed’s letters as an agony aunt over the years, it overs so many varied topics while sharing her own life experiences. I have since bought four more copies of this to hand to anyone with a broken heart, as it’s such a comforting read. There is a brilliant podcast too! 

 

 

Just Kids - Patti Smith 

 

The book that kicked off my reading frenzy of this year. I loved this book! Apparently the audiobook is really good too as Smith reads it herself.

 

As for reading throughout 2020 - I will keep sharing it all with you, and you can also follow me on GoodReads under “Elizabeth Hadfield”. Please let me know your favourite reads of the year in the comments too - it could also be interesting articles which is something I want to make sure I am reading more of throughout the year. 

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