My Top 5 books of 2020

I’ve read a lot in the past year and to be honest I probably can’t remember every single book but I do want to share some of my favourites, ones I have reviewed and ones I have kept in the corner of my brain (in the hope I will write about them and never do).

Reading has proved ever so useful in the midst of numerous lockdowns and worrisome times. It brings a sense of escapism and adventure, an experience we all crave but can’t experience in person. Plus if you’re in the same position as me and read as part of your education then you also get exposed to a wide range of literature at the same time.

Luckily for you I can share a bit of both, I usually try and avoid writing on texts I study because my brain is full of my education anyway and I don’t always want it leaking into my hobbies. Plus I don’t want to give away all my secrets to my course-mates (not that they probably read this anyway).

Anyway, if you have a New Years resolution to read more, you want to start reading or you’re just looking for something to escape in then I have you covered. Here are my favourites;

Book 1: Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other

I have banged on about this book to no end and probably am boring you at this rate however it really did stand out to me as both interesting in form and content. Proven in its award winning status, if you haven’t read this book yet, what are you doing?

Steeped in black culture and experience it highlights the lives of 12 women and their sexuality, insecurities and womanhood.

A book we can all relate to in some degree.

If you have read this wonderful book and want some thoughts on it or if you want to hear some more before buying it then you can read the review I did here.

Book 2: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I read this not long after reading the aforementioned novel. Both were reaching a wide audience and sense of acclaim at the time, both highly deserving of it. Queenie is one of those novels I was supposed to look further into and write a post on…. and then life happened. However, even then I have not forgotten it.

Queenie is a 25 year old Black woman who has just split up with her white boyfriend Tom. The novel explores her mental struggles with this period in her life, her struggles to embrace her culture and understand that of others, and her battling feeling displaced in all corners of her life.

Queenie is filled with sorrow and laughter. It truly feels real. A factor which majorly attracted me to its narrative. I highly recommend you read it.

Book 3: Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners

This was assigned to me as part of my reading for a module I was doing. Modernist in style it depicts the story of Moses who goes to collect a fellow ‘Jamaican’ (I quote this because a lot of those coming to Britain were labelled Jamaican when they weren’t all from there) coming into London after the Great War. It’s one of the first stories where poor, black immigrants were depicted in fiction and made a name for itself because of how deep and real the narrative is.

Selvon effectively highlights how such a city in London, steeped in promise and wealth, was in fact shadowing a life filled with misery and struggle, especially for those of the Windrush.

Selvon’s novel is one I thoroughly enjoyed and I implore you to read it, not only for its fantastic narrative but for its relevance to todays wrongdoings. Please look into #jamaica50 and the sad reality that those of the wind rush generation are still facing.

Book 4: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare was a novel I read during lockdown, a cozy read with a particularly inviting narrative, it sucked me into the reality of Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey rather quickly.

The story had all the charm of a classic rom com while keeping you interested with the comical idea that both characters had never actually met.

This novel leaves you itching for more and, while reading, an urge to shake both characters into realising what they are missing. If you want an easy read that goes perfect with a cup of tea then this is the one for you!

Book 5: Affinity by Sarah Waters

This is another book that I read on my course this year, it is filled with superstition, history and apprehension. Not necessarily a genre I usually read, Affinity certainly took me by surprise.

I mentioned it in this blog post if you would like more recommendations from my studies.

Incorporating mystery, magic and plot twists, the tale of two women from different parts of society takes you on a journey steeped in history and spiritualism.

A must read if you want to broaden your horizons and are in need of a bit of escapism.


I was going to make this list longer but with my academic year being cut short in second year my reading list was abruptly stopped. Plus, if I am honest, my want to read after being pushed into a lockdown faltered and it took me a while to pick up literature for pleasure.

It’s something I’m going into this year trying to look at differently, I want to appreciate the books I read and take more time to understand them and importantly, remember them. I’ve started a Good Reads account so if you want to look at what I’ve already read and what I am currently reading, whether that is for my course or for leisure, you can stay updated there.

If you’re interested I might share a post on how I’m keeping updated with my reading and remembering them. Let me know below if you like the sound of this!

Much love,

Sophie x


3 thoughts on “My Top 5 books of 2020

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