In 2020 I rediscovered my love for reading AND These Were My Favourite Discoveries
Reading is something I love; I can binge read a book as easily as I can binge watch Netflix. This year I set myself a challenge of reading 12 books and in fact I actually exceeded this number by quite a bit. I decided to stop defining myself by my dyslexia and dove back into the world of reading. Here are some of the books I’ve read and why I loved them, and why you need to get a copy too.
If you want to read more about my journey of defying dyslexia then you can read all about it here.
First up, hands down the best book I read this year…
Everything I know about love – Dolly Alderton
Without a shadow of doubt this book is my favourite from this year and if I am being honest the past few years too. Witty, real and alarmingly relatable, this book has you smiling, laughing and cringing, knowing that you too have experienced so many of the things Dolly has. It is almost as though Alderton has experienced your life and written it into a book, perhaps with a little more glam, drama and comedy. This book reminds you that we all have tumultuous lives, and that love between friends is priceless
Now for the perfect light-hearted, feel good holiday read with a touch of substance….
Flat Share – Beth O’Leary
I loved this book. I started it just as I moved to Crete this summer and it just felt like the perfect escape from starting a new busy job in a foreign country. I have fond memories of reading this book with a feta laden plate of pasta on my balcony at the sun set. You may not be able to replicate the sun set balcony views but you can go and purchase this book and find all the feel good vibes you need. Predictable on the whole, but with enough subtle plot diversions that keep you on your toes, this book will be the best rom-com you’ve read all year!
The book that brings race, gender, feminism and culture together into an enjoyable encapsulating collection of stories….
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo
Portraying shorter stories of lives that are all interconnected and interwoven this book tackles race, gender and modern society topics in a way that I’ve never read before. I have to admit the lack of capitalisation and punctuation made it a real struggle for me as a dyslexic, so it took me longer than expected to finish it, but I do think the non-traditional structure imparts such an integral feel of intimacy to the book that it was worth the struggle! Whatever your race, background and life-experience this book welcomes you into the lives of womxm and shows us how interconnected we all really are.
The book that reminded me that dyslexia doesn’t define me…..
Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
This book was the book that finally crashed through the glass ceiling of being dyslexic for me. I read it in less than 48 hours. I don’t say this to brag, but instead to remind anyone who thinks they are a ‘slow reader’ to stop putting yourself into a box. Yes, the book helped me remember my passion but that was because of its brilliance. Part crime thriller, part lament for nature, part love story this book bridges genres to create a gripping, majestic book. I won’t tell you more because I don’t want to spoil it, but get yourself a copy and you’ll understand why devoured this book!
An accessible and easy to read art history book…
What are you looking at: 150 years of modern art in the blink of an eye – Will Gompertz
You may not know this but once upon a time I was a uni art student. Though my days of studying art are behind me I still love learning more and rediscovering knowledge long since tucked away in the recesses of my mind. This book is perfect for that. As an art student I have read hundreds of books about art and yet few so palatable as this. Snappy but with substance, this book will give you a better understanding of art trends and specific pieces. I would recommend this book for anyone of any art history experience. Perhaps a great gift for an aspiring artist or someone you know loves art galleries.
The classic I have read the first few chapters of too many times but finally finished….
Jayne Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Most people know the plot, and many of us have watched the films or read abridged versions but reading the full book has always been on my to do list. I’ve packed this book on pretty much every trip I’ve been on for the past 6 years….and yet until this year had never made it beyond the first third because I convinced myself it was too tricky or I wanted a ‘lighter’ read. Granted this may not be the quickest read in the world but I can assure you it is worth the time, so keep going you can make it past the first third!….Now I have to do the same for another classic, Emma.
The Self-development book backed my research that really will change the way you communicate….
Daring Greatly – Brené Brown
This may not be a new book but like with Jayne Eyre it had sat on my shelf for too long and so this year I took action. This book shows you all your flaws in communication and relationships, but in an actionable way. This book does not leave you depressed or with a sense of fake bolstered optimism, instead this book leaves you with the tools you need to truly dare greatly. So dust off your copy or get one if you haven’t already and take charge of your life
A book as good as its hugely popular TV adaptation…..
Normal People - Sally Rooney
I binged this book. I binged the TV programme too. I must admit I read the book after watching the series, but it didn’t stop me from loving the book; I was still able to explore the subtleties of characters and the small moments between Marianne and Connell. The book and the series are sublime creative achievements, and both convey the raw emotion of the characters. I would recommend that you read the book if you haven’t already and if you somehow missed the series, go watch that too.
So that is my year in books, but what about next year? My list is ever growing, but the few that I am committing to reading are: Conversations with friends – Sally Rooney Becoming – Michelle Obama Untamed – Glennon Doyle
If you are looking to get into reading more and discovering or rediscovering a passion for reading then I would definitely recommend setting yourself an achievable target of number of books to read next year. Go for more than you read this year, but not so many if you fall off the bandwagon briefly you can’t achieve it!