Hello my fellow bookworms. Today, I am taking part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, who each week assigns a new topic to inspires us to create a top ten list based on it. This week’s topic is:
Favourite Books of 2020
Now we are in the last few days of 2020, this is the perfect time for us to start reflecting back on a difficult year, where we have needed the wonderful escape of books more than ever. After much deliberation, here are my ten favourite, new-to-me books I have read over this year, in the order I read them:
1. No God But One: Allah or Jesus? by Nabeel Qureshi – Back in the schools’ February half-term break, I read this 2016 Christian non-fiction: a follow up book to Qureshi’s brilliant bestseller, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. In this second book, Muslim to Christian convert, Qureshi analytically compares the origins, similarities, differences and authenticity of these two faiths. A slow read, but once I was about halfway through I was gripped. A fascinating book!
2. The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale – Next, in March, I escaped into this magical, 2018 historical-fiction by a new-to-me author. That follows teenage runaway Cathy as she finds refuge in the marvellous Papa Jack’s Emporium, where they make wondrous, life-like toys, which marvel children and adults alike. I bought this for my mum, who loved it so much she passed it back for me to try, and I loved it, too! A hauntingly, beautiful fairy tale for adults.
3. Lady Susan by Jane Austen – Later in March, I tucked myself in bed to luxuriate in this 1871 epistolary novella, from a collection of Jane Austen’s short/unfinished works I own. Through a series of letters, it is hilariously revealed what a piece of work the charming, beautiful Lady Susan Vernon really is! While very short, Austen still manages to pack in plenty of her trademark wit and ironic observations into this wickedly fun read.
4. The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis – Then at the beginning of April, I finished this classic, 1940 Christian non-fiction by the celebrated Christian author, C S Lewis. In which he lays out his ideas and arguments that pain is not sufficient reason to reject belief in a good and powerful God. A very apt read in the ongoing climate of change, suffering and worry we have suffered this year; and I took a lot of inspiration, hope and comfort from reading it.
5. Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett – While later in April, I enjoyed reading, in the glorious sunshine out in the garden, this hilarious fourteenth Discworld novel, which was published in 1992. It is also the fourth adventure to feature the wickedly, fun witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat; as they deal with elvish mischief in this fantastical parody of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This was just what I needed!
6. The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier – Next, over the sunny April Bank Holiday, I completely lost myself in this enchanting, Gothic modern-classic, which was du Maurier’s debut novel, published in 1931. It chronicles the lives, loves, losses and deaths of the Coombe family over four generations in a small, quiet community on the Cornish coast. A brilliant romantic adventure and family saga, with just a touch of the supernatural.
7. The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor – After a bit of a dry spell in my reading over June and July, finally in August, I read this charming, 2017 dual-narrative fiction by a new-to-me author. That reimagines the events surrounding the famous ‘Cottingley Fairies’ photographs, through a long-lost manuscript. A light, sweet and simple tale, that swept me along with the mystery, romance and magic of it all, which was just what I needed.
8. Katharina: Deliverance by Margaret Skea – Another 2017 release that swept me back in time, to a time of revolutionary, religious reform in 16th century German. This is the first book in a newer historical-fiction series from one of my favourite, modern Christian authors. A fascinating tale told through the eyes of runaway nun, Katharina von Bora, and while it has a nice sedate pace to it, I was gripped from page one!
9. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley – Then in October, I threw myself into the brilliant 2013 dual-narrative fiction, The Firebird, by one of my all-time favourite authors. This one is about Nicola Marter, who uses her special ‘gift’ to look back into the past and discover a tale of love, courage, redemption and the Jacobite rebellion. While I found myself reading slower than I would have like, this was a great, sweeping book, that helped me escape my confinement.
10. Crooked House by Agatha Christie – Finally, but certainly not least, in the last week of November, I read this 1949 detective fiction novella. This later, stand-alone, mystery and favourite of the ‘queen of crime’ herself, investigates the poisoning of the wealthy patriarch, Aristide Leonides, which was full of twists, turns and possible suspects! So much so I found it hard to put it down, only doing so when sleep and work made me!
Honorary mentions must also go to my wonderful re-reads of Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier; the cookbooks, Quick Cooking by Mary Berry and The Hairy Bikers’ One Pot Wonders by Si King & Dave Myers; the historical-fictions, The Poison Bed by E. C. Fremantle, Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir and The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner; and lastly the Christion non-fiction, The Bible Jesus Read by Philip Yancey.
Even after what has felt like a difficult, mediocre year of reading, it was still difficult whittling down all my 3-star reads to just ten! For now that’s all folks. Please feel free to share a link in the comments below for your own TTT post for this week, so we can come check it out, and I hope to see you again soon for some more lists and bookish chat! 👋📚😃
Now I’d love to hear from you: Have you read any of my choices? What have been your favourite books of 2020?