Considering that I spent a lot of time at home not doing a great deal, I don’t feel like I’ve read as much as other years, unless the days of lockdown all merged together… I think it’s because my focus has been elsewhere, and for a while, I stopped reading before going to sleep (since remedied). The books I’ve read have been a mixture of genres and fiction. Some are well-known bestsellers, and others from indie authors I discovered on Twitter. I’m going to list everything below, splitting things up by fiction and non-fiction.
- Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris
This book is written by the same author as the Tattooist of Auschwitz (which I would recommend reading before this). It’s written from the viewpoint of Cilka, a prominent character in the first book. We discover what happened to her following the liberation of the camp. This book packed the same punches as its predecessor, giving us the brutal setting of a Siberian gulag prison. We get to experience a whole lot of courage, endurance, and love. Going into too much depth would ruin the story, but it’s well worth reading.
- The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
This book isn’t like anything I’ve ever read before. Narrated by death, it focuses on a young girl in Nazi Germany and her foster family. This book is a bestseller, and rightly so. I stayed up way too late many a night, unable to stop reading.
- A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
Centered around a group of friends, following their lives, and exploring many themes, this story wasn’t an easy read for me. A Little Life took me to a dark place and then seemed to go even further still. The book focuses in on one friend in particular – Jude, a man who experienced trauma on an unimaginable level as a child. He carries his trauma with him throughout his life, and although we get to see glimpses of the sun, most of his story is dark and stormy. Some people believe this book to be just too upsetting, too dark. While I can understand this, in my opinion, it’s worth the read. The author’s words truly get under your skin and make you feel a host of emotions. Again, I lost plenty of sleep time to this book.
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
I devoured this book over a few nights. I couldn’t get enough. It follows the life of a famous actress – Evelyn. Again, I don’t want to say too much, but this book is just amazingly written, with twists and turns I never saw coming.
- The Witcher Series (books 1-3) – Andrzej Sapkowski
I was inspired to read some of The Witcher books due to the phenomenal Netflix show. The books follow that show but similarly to Game of Thrones, they take you much further into the world and add much more depth. If you like fantasy and enjoyed the Game of Thrones books, I imagine you’d like these too. They do take focus and attention to read, but the payoff for that is well worth it. I’ll probably continue to read these throughout 2021.
- Tabitha Trilogy – Andrew Hall
I follow the author of these books on Twitter, and he always responds well to my content, so I decided to support him back by reading his books. The Trilogy definitely isn’t what I’d usually choose, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them, because I really did. Within these stories, we follow Tabitha, who wakes one day to find an alien invasion on her doorstep. However, Tabitha is different, and her journey is one that you would never ever guess. Andrew’s writing is rich and colourful, and I’d definitely recommend having a look if you like Sci-Fi/Dystopian.
- Rebeccas Choice – Heidi Gallacher
This is a victorian era romance novel, a lovely easy read. The book is based around Rebecca, a woman who makes difficult choices following her marriage. It explores the difficulties women in victorian England faced when it came to love, marriage, and life.
- The Sisters of Auschwitz – Roxane van Iperen
One of the best things I read this year, this book tells the true story of a Jewish family in WW2 and the unbelievable ways they kept each other safe and alive. Unlike any other book I’ve read based around the holocaust. A difficult subject, but one worth reading and learning about, especially following the recent rise in antisemitism.
- Normal People – Sally Rooney
A bestseller now adapted for tv, Normal People was a decent read. I explored the changes to grammar the author made in this post, but overall a decent read, one that made me think about myself and the relationships I’ve experienced. Definitely one to read.
- An Edited Life – Anna Newton
Anna is a content creator who I’ve followed for around 7 years, her website: The Anna Edit is updated frequently and a really great blog. I’m a big fan of her content, but it took me a while to buy her book. An Edited Life, can be most simplistically described as an organisation manual. Following changes in my life and career, and a desire to become more organised, I decided it was time. Anna splits her writing up into different areas and gives advice and personal examples. Easy to digest and follow. Big fan. It’s the kind of book that you can keep going back to depending on what you need.
- Train Happy – Tally Rye
Again, Tally is another content creator that I’ve followed for a long time. Her content is based most generally around intuitive and self-first health and fitness, and her Instagram in particular is a really positive place, and her podcast makes for great informative listening. I have a lot to thank Tally for, as her work allowed me to become more comfortable, confident and happy with myself and the choices I make. She brings a wealth of knowledge into her book, alongside a movement guide. If the ideas of diet culture, intuitive movement, and self-love/peace interest you, read this book.
- Skincare – Caroline Hirons
This book is written by a literal god when it comes to skincare. I’ve followed her advice for years, and this book is like a bible when it comes to skincare. I don’t think I need to say much more than that.
- Beyond Beautiful – Anuschka Rees
Following Tally’s book, I wanted to dig a little deeper and read more into diet culture, intuitive eating, movement, and the whole idea of self-love. This book taught me about all of those things. It goes deep, showing how media, the economy and society distorts our perceptions of ourselves to make money and success. It looks beyond the simplistic idea of beauty that we feel we have to work toward. Awesome book.
Following on from this post, I’m going to share my reading goals and my book list for 2021! I’m setting myself a pretty big challenge, but I’m excited. If you’ve any book recommendations, please comment them below. I’d love to have a look at what you’ve enjoyed.