Favourite books of 2020

It’s that time of year — my nine favourite books of 2020 (nine because, of course, this all originated in Instagram and nine images make a nice square grid). It was tough to pick, although most of them stood out immediately.

9. Weather — Jenny Offill

A wonderfully dry take on an existential crisis. I also really enjoyed her first novel, The Dept. of Speculation.

8. Hamnet — Maggie O’Farrell

A spellbinding account of the death of Shakespeare’s son — O’Farrell on a whole new level.

7. The Glorious Heresies — Lisa McInerney

A heart-stopping, gut-wrenching, addictive read — about murder and survival in post-crash Ireland. Fabulous Mantellian black humour.

6. The Little VirtuesNatalia Ginzburg

Collected essays that read like a memoir, and that I want to buy for all my friends. I must read more Ginzburg in 2021.

5. The Cost of Living — Deborah Levy

The first part of Levy’s memoir — heavenly, honest and moving. The second part is also fabulous.

4. Milkman — Anna Burns

A book I was pretty late to but absolutely loved. Burns’s blend of suspense and dark, understated humour is masterful.

3. Suite Française — Irène Némirovsky

A sensational classic — one of the best things I’ve ever read.

2. The Second Sex (vol. 2) — Simone de Beauvoir

A life-changing read — like meeting yourself. It left me depressed that change is so slow but ultimately convinced by de Beauvoir’s reasons to hope.

1. Ducks, Newburyport — Lucy Ellman

My absolute favourite book of the year — a masterpiece about motherhood, anxiety and dealing with the world today. Both profoundly sad and wonderfully funny, it will stay with me forever.

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