20 Books To Read in 2020 Victoria Hislop Book Stack

20 Books To Read In 2020

This year I have been on a self imposed book buying ban, until I did this huge book haul after my birthday. Here’s 20 books to read in 2020.

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I Have a Lot of Books…

My TBR (to be read) pile is absolutely out of control, so at the start of this year I decided I needed to do something about it. I decided that I would not purchase any books until my birthday (at the end of May). This would give me roughly half a year to save some cash and also to stop the influx of books competing for space on my increasingly crowded bookshelf.

I think I’ve done quite well as so far I’ve read 29 books this year, so I’m rattling through the books on my shelf. Of course, I did ask for a few books for my birthday and I knew I would spend any vouchers or birthday money on a few more. So today I thought I’d share all 20 of the books I bought in lockdown or received as a gift from friends and family…just incase you need a bit of inspiration for 20 books to read in 2020.

Please note, I am aware I went overboard here. I *think* the combination of being on the book buying ban for so long and lockdown internet shopping habits helped me to go a bit wild!

My Picks For 20 Books To Read in 2020 (or what’s left of it)

Wow, No Thank you- Samantha Irby*

I’m currently reading this book, it’s a selection of essays and they are super funny. Irby is coming up to her 40’s and these essays reminisce on her younger years. They also hilariously highlight how her tastes and attitudes have changed over time. I am only 23 but I totally relate to her essay “Girls Gone Mild” about the traumas of going on a night out when all you want to do is sit in your pjs’s and go to bed at 10pm.

Wow, no thank you by Samantha Irby green front cover featuring bunny rabbit
Wow, No Thank You- Samantha Irby

Playing Big- Tara Mohr*

I’ve seen this book come highly recommended by so many people on social media and apparently it’s one to really change your outlook on things so I can’t wait to get reading this one soon. It’s all about stopping feelings of being “small” or not feeling good enough and just going for it!

20 books to read in 2020 self help book, Playing Big by Tara Mohr
Playing Big- Tara Mohr

The Beekeeper of Aleppo- Christy Lefteri*

I ADORED this book when I read it last month for Beth’s Book Club. The novel follows Nuri and his wife Afra as they flee their home in Syria as refugees. This was such a powerful read and I would recommend it to anyone, it really changes your outlook on the refugee experience. I finished it in just over a day and was compelled to tell everyone all about it. If anyone would like a more in depth review let me know!

20 books to read in 2020 The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri blue front cover featuring a bee and hands
The Beekeeper of Aleppo- Christy Lefteri

The History of Love- Nicole Krauss*

My wonderful work friend bought me this as a present for my birthday and I had actually never heard of it before then. I powered through reading this during the heatwave we had last month and I really liked it. The story follows Alma, who is named for another real life Alma, from a book called “The History of Love”. This book has two main viewpoints, so avoid if you don’t like that kind of thing. For me it’s no problem, and I really liked where the story went and how the two characters lives intertwined, a really clever book!

The history of Love by Nicole Krauss book front cover
The History of Love- Nicole Krauss

Where The Crawdads Sing- Delia Owens*

If you haven’t heard of this one you must have been living under a rock. I ordered this one for myself and I am really looking forward to reading it. I think people either really love this book or they can’t get into it at all. I’ll be interested to see how I find it and thats why I think it’s one of the 20 books to read in 2020. Plus the front cover is gorgeous and I think it was the bestselling book of 2019!

20 Books to read in 2020, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens pink front cover
Where The Crawdads Sing- Delia Owens

The Return- Victoria Hislop*

Victoria Hislop is one of my favourite authors so I’m keen to read anything of hers that I haven’t already. Almost all of her novels are set in Greece which I love. Th Return, however, is set in Spain which I think I will find really interesting. I LOVE a novel set in a conflict so with this been set in 1936 during a coup by Franco, it’s right right up my street.

20 books to read in 2020 Victoria Hislop novels stacked postcards from Greece, The Sunrise and The Return
Postcards from Greece, The Sunrise and the Return by Victoria Hislop

Cartes Postales From Greece- Victoria Hislop*

Another Victoria Hislop! From what I understand this book starts with a series of postcards arriving from Greece which inspire Ellie to go and see the country for herself. I love how Hislop’s novels use these plot devices to visit the past and narrate the book from two separate time periods. If you want a summer read with a bit more depth to it I would really recommend her books.

The Mars Room- Rachel Kushner*

My pal Amy bought this for me as a birthday gift as I’d mentioned i’d like to read it. This book is about Romy, who is about to embark on two life sentences for killing her stalker. I’ve never read anything focusing on incarceration before, and The Mars Room was actually shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2018 so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it.

20 books to read in 2020 The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner 2018 Man Booker Prize shortlisted
The Mars Room- Rachel Kushner

Shop Girl- Mary Portas*

I love Mary Portas, I was lucky enough to see her speak on her book tour for Work Like a Woman*. I devoured that book, which is all about how we, as women need to be asking for flexible working. Shop Girl on the other hand, is a memoir. Mary lost her mother at a young age so i’m really interested to see what her life has been like up until she came into the public eye. Thanks to Amy for another fab birthday gift!

Shop Girl by Mary Portas a memoir
Shop Girl- Mary Portas

How To Own The Room- Viv Groskop*

Another from my friend Amy. First of all this cover is stunning. I know you shouldn’t, but I do judge a book by it’s cover i’m afraid. This book looks into recent, powerful and memorable performances by today’s great female speakers. It explores how you can use their techniques to help bolster yourself and, own the room.

20 books to read in 2020 non fiction The Five by Hallie Rubenhold, How To Own The Room by Viv Groskop
The Five- Hallie Rubenhold
How To Own The Room- Viv Groskop

The Five- Hallie Rubenhold *

This is another book that has been really popular over the last few months. This book explores the lives of the 5 women murdered by Jack the Ripper. Instead of focussing on him, this book gives a voice to the women who’s lives were taken and goes beyond the usual “they were prostitutes”. I’ve heard fab reviews of this so i’m keen to start reading it soon.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse- Charlie Mackesy*

This book is absolutely gorgeous, both in it’s message and it’s illustration. I am so excited to read it. What I would say is that this book is written as if in handwriting (like the front cover). So if you struggle to access books that are not clearly printed, perhaps an audiobook version would work better for you.

20 books to read in 2020 The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse hardback book cover
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse- Charlie Mackesy

The Song of Achilles- Madeline Miller*

One of my favourite books of 2019 was Circe by Madeline Miller so I’m really keen to read her other novel. A fun fact about me is that I love anything to do with ancient Greece, so this is my perfect kind of read. You might know Achilles best for his heel, but actually he plays a prominent role in the sacking of Troy and I think this retelling could be fabulous!

20 books to read in 2020 greek myth retellings
Greek Myth Retellings:
The Song of Achilles- Madeline Miller
A Thousand Ships- Natalie Haynes

A Thousand Ships- Natalie Haynes*

Another ancient greek retelling. Having studied classics I always found it irritating that women’s voices were never properly represented. A Thousand Ships tells the story of The Trojan War from the perspective of the women who were involved. I think this is such a clever, and long over due idea so I can’t wait to crack into this one.

The Comparison Cure- Lucy Sheridan*

This book comes recommended by the lovely Sarah Powell, who’s instagram I am obsessed with. This book aims to stop the culture of comparing ourselves to others. Lucy is a Comparison Coach and has written all her knowledge into this book to empower us to live a comparison free life.

20 Books to read in 2020 The Comparison Cure by Lucy Sheridan Comparison Coach
The Comparison Cure- Lucy Sheridan

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes- Suzanne Collins*

You may have seen this one mentioned in my My Most Anticipated Reads of 2020 blog post. This is the prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy, a series that I devoured when I was younger. This book focuses on a young President Snow, so it will be cool to see the motivations behind his actions in later years.

20 books to read in 2020 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes front cover Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games Prequel
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes- Suzanne Collins

Blood Orange- Harriet Tyce*

I’ve seen this book floating around instagram for a while and it’s been a long time since I read a thriller. I usually speed through them when I’m on holiday. Obviously that’s not happened this year, hence the lack of reading them. So I thought I would dive back into the genre by giving this book a go. Alison has been given her first murder case to defend, and I assume the dark narrative goes from the details of the case!

20 Books To Read in 2020 Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce Thriller books Cover
Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Ithaca- Patrick Dillon*

I got this book through a book recycling scheme to help make reading more sustainable. You may notice a theme but it’s about ancient Greece. I need to have a word with myself. This book follows Telemachus, son of the famous Odysseus, as he deals with rumours of his fathers death and his subsequent journey across Greece to find him. Again this is a famous story told from a new perspective which is exactly what I like.

Ithaca by Patrick Dillon Greek myth patterned book cover
Ithaca-Patrick Dillon

The Sunrise- Victoria Hislop*

The Sunrise is set in Cyprus, where since 1974, following a Turkish invasion, there has been unrest and discord between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Again this is right up my street, it’s set abroad and in the past and Hislop always weaves such fantastic family relationships and backstories in her books.

Our Stop- Laura Jane Williams*

Our Stop was another Beth’s Book Club read. I sped through this, it’s a really fun summer read. A stranger writes to Nadia in the “Missed Connections” newspaper page. What follows is a funny, frustrating and exciting love story as you follow the character through a serious of “almost” meets. It’s not too cheesy but it’s still a lighthearted book.

20 books to read in 2020 Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams book cover featuring coffee cup
Our Stop-Laura Jane Williams

I hope this post has given you some reading inspiration. I’d love to hear what books you have picked up recently or if you are looking forward to reading any of the above. What are some of your 20 books to read in 2020?

Meg x

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