This is the first year I've set myself proper reading goals and it's something I'm so excited about. I've really rediscovered my complete love for books over the last year or two and there's so much I'd like to read and push myself to try this year.
I've made a few reading bucket lists of things to get through from my TBR mountain over the last few years, which I'll share for 2021 at the end, but here are my big reading goals for the year:
1.) Read 60 books. This is my Goodreads target for the year - I managed to achieve this in 2020, but with the ability to actually leave my house on the cards this year I figured it would be a bit harder!
2.) Read a book that's won an award
3.) Read 10 books that have been on my TBR for over a year
4.) Read a book published in every year since 2010.
5.) Finish the Game of Thrones series
6.) Diversify my reading further - make sure I read at least one book written by a person of colour and one book written by a woman every month. Read 5 books with LGBT main characters over the year.
7.) Re-read a book I loved
8.) Read 5 books from the '1001 books to read before you die' list
9.) Read a book that's over 500 pages long
10.) Read a novella
And here's my book bucket list of things from my TBR that I'd love to get through this year. I've got quite a mixture of books that are new to my shelves that I'm very excited to read, and books that have been gathering dust for years!
'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' by Taylor Jenkins Reid
'A Dance with Dragons I: Dreams and Dust' by George R R Martin
I'm desperately trying to go with the flow and not stress out about the fact that February's almost over and I'm just posting this, but I love the Goodreads year in books roundup and really wanted to write about this. I read more books last year than I have since I was at uni (hello being shut in my house for most of the year), which resulted in reading 22, 861 pages of books!
I read a lot of books that I loved last year - I found new series' to get completely hooked on, revisited old authors I love, and re-read some books that I keep coming back to. But, there were a few that disappointed. I know it's February and way overdue, but I love reading these kinds of posts, so here are my five least favourite reads of 2020 with 5 as absolute least favourite:
1.) The House Gun by Nadine Gordimer. This is a psychological narrative about parents Harold and Claudia struggling to understand how their son is being accused of murder. The book delves into the legalities around a case such as this, as well as sexuality, race and gender tensions. My real issue with this book was the writing style - you were totally distanced from the characters, which I struggled with. I felt like I couldn't connect with any of them and it made it a tough read to get through for me.
2.) Bad Romance by Emily Hill. The stories in this short story collection are all written by the same author, and range across a variety of different situations, from a woman faking pregnancy at her ex's wedding to get back at him, to another woman being widowed under circumstances you'd never expect. I struggled with this because all of the stories didn't feel different enough to stand alone, but didn't feel consistent enough to work together. It was hard to engage with any of the stories and it felt like they could do with a lot more editorial work.
3.) Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen is largely about a teen girl called Nofar who lets people believe that a washed up celeb sexually assaulted her. She knows he's innocent, but when people see her crying in an alleyway because he's been rude to her, she does not correct their assumptions. From here the lie spirals. I hated the message behind this book. In a world where women are desperately fighting to be heard and taken seriously about sexual assault, I don't think we need a book that suggests it's very easy for women to lie about this. It was also framed as a teen being desperate for attention and lying about this as a result which just felt insulting.
4.) Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. The plot for this takes place after To Kill A Mockingbird, when Jean Louise is grown up. We learn that Jem has died (not a spoiler, this is shown right at the start) and that she's going back to her home town to see her dad and childhood friend. This was my most disappointing read of the year. It retrospectively ruined my perspective of TKAM and I felt as crushed as Jean Louise did. The writing wasn't great, the storyline was disappointing and you can see why the author didn't want it published when she was alive.
5.) Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller is about eight year old Peggy whose father is a survivalist. He takes Peggy from their home in London to live in a hut in a remote European forest. When her father tells her everyone she knows is dead because beyond the forest the world has collapsed, Peggy realises she's going to have to get used to life in the wilderness. This book was totally not what I expected - the title made it sound like a romance and the cover didn't make it look as dark as it actually was. As the book progresses, Peggy starts having sex with a strange man whose an adult whilst she's a teenager (I think 15ish at this point). As the book closes we realise the man is her dad, and their relationship is still written in a weirdly romantic way.
It's taken me about ten minutes to even consider how to start this post (and I'm totally not a fan of this beginning), but lockdown 3 feels like it's totally drained my creativity and energy. January was filled with lots of walks to force myself out of the house, and lots of reading in the bath to thaw off. There wasn't a single book last month that I totally LOVED, but I think that might have been more because I was feeling miserable than because all the books I read were rubbish.
I had a look back over last year's goals post because lord knows my goals flew out of the window, never to be seen again, roughly three months into the year and I could hardly remember what they were. I'd actually mentioned the virus I'd heard of in the post, but I also said I thought 2020 would be a great year, so there's that.
Every year I write a 'highlight reel' post on here, but with 2020 being what it was, that didn't quite feel right. I'm going to kickstart by saying that obviously 2020 was a shit, weird year, but here are my good bits that made things a little happy at points, and bearable at others.
Unsurprisingly, last year I read more books than I have in any recent year. I blame nine months of rarely leaving the house, long baths, coming across great book series/new authors I'm OBSESSED with and not leaving the house again. I read some truly great books in 2020, and spent a whole lot of time recommending things over and over again to my friends and family. Obviously not all of my ten are in the pic above, mostly because a whole bunch are kindle books! Without further ado, here are my top 10 favourite books of 2020 in order with number 1 being my absolute top tier fave: