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 Virtues — Natalia 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.