In 2019, I started the year with a new year’s resolution to read 25 books. That was just over two books per month. I achieved this goal and was inspired for 2020 when I decided to read 30 books in the year. Today’s date is December 26th 2020 and I am delighted to say that, with less than a week to spare, I have completed my 2020 reading challenge.
So how did I get on? What did I read? What would I recommend? What would I definitely not recommend?
Keep reading and I will answer your questions and (hopefully) inspire your reading list for 2021.
What books did you read in 2020 and why did you choose them?
My full 2020 reading list of 30 books can be found here. There was no rhyme or reason to why I chose specifically these 30 books. At the beginning of the year I didn’t have a plan. Initially I chose books that I had seen recommended online or on TV and had written down in my to-be-read list in the notes section of my phone. Then lockdown happened and I had a single book on loan from the library. From March to June I read books that were in the house that I hadn’t read before. Then the libraries reopened and I went back to reading recommended books plus some that were given to me from friends and family.
What are your top three books from your 2020 reading challenge?
It is very tough to call but I would say these were my top three:
- Overcoming by Vicky Phelan – This is a harrowing read but important to understand exactly what happened to many women and their families as a result of the Cervical Check scandal in 2018. Vicky is a strong and empowering woman from Limerick and she tells of her life before and after 2018.
- Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris – This is another harrowing read but again important to understand exactly what happened to many families during World War II in concentration camps. This is a sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz and I recommend that you read them in sequential order for the best experience.
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – This was the penultimate book that I read as part of my 2020 reading challenge. It was quite different to anything I had read before and I believe that is why is has stood out for me among the other books that I read this year. The characters, the story line and the setting are all interesting and attention grabbing. Definitely try get your hands on this one.
What book would you read again?
In keeping with my top three above, I would read Cilka’s Journey again, it really is that good. There’s a lot in the book and I feel it’s the type of book that when I’d read a second time I’d learn something new that I missed the first time.
What book would you not recommend?
I don’t like to say “I wouldn’t recommend” because my taste in books is going to be different to the next person and the next person, etc. Personally, I wouldn’t read Lord of the Flies again. I found the way in which it was written quite old-style and for that reason it didn’t engage me or grab my attention in the same way more modernly written books do so. The way in which it is written is conducive to the fact that it was written in the 1950’s.
Have you plans for a 2021 reading challenge?
Yes, of course! My initial thought was to read 32 books in 2021, two more than I read this year. However, I think that’s only a little challenge so I have now decided that I’ll read 35 – wish me luck! I already had a number of books in my to-be-read pile and I plan on getting stuck into them over the Christmas break. They are Here’s the Science by Prof Luke O Neill, The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, How Animals Saved My Life by Noel Fitzpatrick, Can You Die of a Broken Heart by Dr Nikki Stamp and Climate Justice by Mary Robinson. I’ve lots to get started with.
Where do you get your books from?
Most of those listed above have been won or gifted to me. Generally I go the library. I find it really handy because you can order online and your local library will get your requested book(s) in from other libraries all over the country. An excellent service I would say.
Did you ask Santa for any books?
What is your favourite book of all time?
I think The Book Thief is my favourite book ever. I’m not sure why, maybe because the character is so lovable and her story is so tragic. I’ve read the book at least twice and watched the film even more times. Definitely add it to your reading list if you haven’t read it before.