• Sophia Blackwell

2020: A Year in Reading




I’ve read some amazing books this year. I’m so impressed with the authors who’ve had a book out in 2020 – they’ve been so stoical and good-humoured about it, and I wish them all the parties in the world once it’s safe. I’ve read a couple of these for work, sometimes when commuting at the start of the year, sometimes on long afternoons when there was nothing else to do. Books have been a huge part of my life since I was a child but it doesn’t matter how many books you read – if you’ve read one or two this year and they’ve made you see the world differently, that’s more than enough!


Top Ten: The Vanishing Half, Red at the Bone, Motherwell, The Consequences of Love, Scabby Queen, Mr Wilder and Me, Trio, Wintering, In the Dream House, Shuggie Bain. Hopefully some surprises in there, but I know these are popular across the board too and it’s good that they’re getting the love they deserve.


Literary Fiction


Middle England – Jonathan Coe

One Year of Ugly – Caroline McKenzie

Big Sky – Kate Atkinson

The High Moments – Sara Ella Ozbek

Requiem for a Knave – Laura Carlin

The Talk of Pram Town – Joanna Nadin

The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor – Rana Haddad

The Motion of the Body Through Space – Lionel Shriver

Love and other Thought Experiments – Sophie Ward

Actress – Anne Enright

The Group – Lara Feigel

Red at the Bone – Jacqueline Woodson

The Strawberry Thief – Joanne Harris

The Harpy – Megan Hunter

Tulip Fever – Deborah Moggach

Monogamy – Sue Miller

The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett

Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel

The Anointed – Michael Arditti

The Pull of the Stars – Emma Donoghue

The Mothers – Brit Bennett

Rainbow Milk – Paul Mendez

The Magnificent Sons – Justin Myers

The Pharmacist – Justin David

Mostly Dead Things – Kristen Arnett

Friends and Strangers – J. Courtney Sullivan

Scabby Queen – Kirstin Innes

Small Pleasures – Clare Chambers

My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell

Victoria Park – Gemma Reeves

An Archive of Happiness – Elizabeth Reeder

The Scoop – Cat Walker

Mr Wilder and Me – Jonathan Coe

Trio – William Boyd

The Most Fun We Ever Had – Claire Lombardo

When I Ran Away – Ilona Bannister

You Exist Too Much – Zaina Arafat

The Inverts – Crystal Jeans

The Wages of Sin – Kaite Welsh

Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stewart


Commercial Fiction


The Thirty List – Eva Woods

How to be Famous – Caitlin Moran

Did you see Melody? – Sophie Hannah

The Last Act of Adam Campbell – Andy Jones

The Model Wife – Julia Llewelyn

If the Dress Fits – Carla de Guzman

Diary of a Confused Feminist – Kate Weston

Like a House on Fire – Caroline Hulse

When You Read This – Mary Adkins

If I Never Met You – Mhairi McFarlane

Grown Ups – Marian Keyes

The Cancer Ladies Running Club – Josie Lloyd

Just Friends – Holly McCullough

Only You – Kate Eberlen

The 24-hour Café – Libby Page

Pretending – Holly Bourne

For When I’m Gone – Rebecca Ley

No, we can’t be friends – Sophie Ranald

A Ration Book Wedding – Jean Fullerton

A Borrowed Life – Kerry Anne King

Very Nearly Normal – Hannah Sunderland

Precious You – Helen Monks Takhar

Logging Off – Nick Spalding

Invisible Girl – Lisa Jewell

Big Summer – Jennifer Weiner

The Shelf – Helly Acton

A Groom with a View – Sophie Ranald

The Other Passenger – Louise Candlish

In Case You Missed It – Lindsey Kelk

Out with the Ex, In with the New – Sophie Ranald

Five Hundred Miles from You – Jenny Colgan

The Lies You Told – Harriet Tyce

The Longest Whale Song – Jacqueline Wilson

The New Girl – Harriet Walker

Ghosts – Dolly Alderton

Olive – Emma Gannon

A Sense of Place – Maisie Mosco

You can’t fall in love with your ex (can you)? – Sophie Ranald

Dancing the Charleston – Jacqueline Wilson

Unfiltered – Sophie White

Mad Love – Nick Spalding

Checking Out – Nick Spalding

Bricking It – Nick Spalding

The Woman Who Wanted More – Laura Zimmerman

Why Mummy’s Sloshed – Gill Sims

Finders Keepers – Sabine Durrant

The Summer Job – Lizzy Dent

Love your Life – Sophie Kinsella

The Girls are all So Nice Here – Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Going Green – Nick Spalding

Everything’s Perfect – Nicole Kennedy

I Give it a Year – Helen Whitaker

Christmas at the Island Hotel – Jenny Colgan


Non-fiction


The Good Ancestor – Roman Krznaric

Motherwell – Deborah Orr

Things I Learned from Falling – Claire Nelson

VSI – Silent Film

Staunch – Eleanor Wood

Mrs D is Going Without – Lotta Dann

VSI (Very Short Introductions) – Dementia

VSI – City Planning

VSI – Canada

VSI – American military history

VSI – US Supreme Court

VSI – French Philosophy

VSI – Montaigne

VSI – Biogeography

VSI – World Music

VSI – Global Islam

With Friends like These – Danny Wallace

VSI – The Ghetto

VSI – Nuclear Weapons

Everybody Died So I Got a Dog – Emily Dean

VSI – American Business History

VSI – The Russian Economy

VSI – Ecology

VSI – Philosophical method

Where There’s a Will – Emily Chappell

VSI – Socialism

What have I Done? – Laura Dockrill

Frida in America – Celia Stahr

VSI – Philosophy

Uncanny Valley – Anna Wiener

The Consequences of Love – Gavanndra Hodge

Hippy Dinners – Abbie Ross

Hidden Valley Road – Robert Kolker

Wintering – Katherine May

A Place for Everything – Anna Wilson

Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls – Nina Renata Aron

In the Dream House – Carmen Maria Machado

The Pink Line – Mark Gevisser

Uncovered – Leah Lax

Glorious Rock Bottom – Bryony Gordon

Coming Undone – Terri White

Sybille Bedford, An Appetite for Life – Selina Hastings

The unexpected joy of the ordinary – Catherine Gray

Lady Sidekick – Anneka Harry

More than a woman – Caitlin Moran

The Little Book of Humanism – Andrew Copson and Alice Roberts

All the Young Men – Ruth Coker Burks

The Sopranos Sessions – Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz

My Friend Anna – Rachael DeLoache Williams

The Woman who Fooled the World – Beau Donnelly and Nick Toscano

The Covent Garden Ladies – Hallie Rubenhold

House of Glass – Hadley Freeman


Graphic novels, poetry and plays:


Bingo Love – Tee Franklin

With Some Wild Woman – Jill Gardiner

Reckless Paper Birds – John McCullough

The Times I Knew I Was Gay – Eleanor Crewes

Tally’s Blood – Anne Marie Di Mambro


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