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The books that took me through 2020

Hi guys! I know that I haven’t put anything new up lately due to me moving and getting a full-time job, however I thought I would do a little roundup of some of the books I have read this year. I have picked ones which I have particularly enjoyed/ found interesting, but there are loads more I would love to talk about (including the much-hyped Normal People by Sally Rooney, and all the Harry Potter books, oh yes)… let me know in the comments if you would like to read a part 2 with all the other books! Also, I read most of these books for free using Libby, the library app. I would 100000% recommend downloading this free app (all you need is a library card) as it will give you access to thousands of books for free on any device!!

Find Me – André Aciman (the sequel to Call me by your name). Let’s start with one which I finished most recently – Find me, by André Aciman. I really loved this book. It was very thoughtful and introspective and it felt very intimate, much as the first book Call me by your name had done. This one is written in the future when Elio is much older, and is made up of 3 different sections – the point of view changes between Elio’s father Samuel, Elio himself and also Oliver. I know there has been some controversy around these books but I absolutely love them – I haven’t read anything written like them before or since, and I loved the highly descriptive writing about what’s going on in each character’s mind. This went some way to heal the heartbreak of the first book, and the whole thing transported me to the calm, sunny streets of Italy, which was much needed when stuck in rainy England!

Fever Crumb, Web of Air, Scriveners Moon – Philip Reeve (the prequel series to the Mortal Engines/ Hungry City Chronicles series)

I cannot tell you how many hours I have invested into reading the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve – the worldbuilding, characters and humour in my opinion are second-to-none, and I am surprised that they haven’t hit the mainstream audience as much as JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The Fever Crumb prequels were all-consuming – set far far before the adventures of Tom Natsworthy in the first Mortal Engines, the adventures of Fever Crumb are equally as swamped in fear, excitement, murder, mystery, exploration and even a smidge of romance. I would definitely recommend these, and because they are a prequel you don’t need to have read the Mortal Engines to enjoy them. Yay!

Neanderthal Seeks Human – Penny Reid

Okay it is embarrassing to admit how much I enjoyed this. I love all things cringey and romantic, but even for me this was a new level. The main character is a gorgeous (obviously, they always are) yet dorky woman who gets fired from her job in the first chapter, and the book follows here through all the ensuing romance and very theatrical plot (eye-rolling at some points). Although I liked reading it, it was admittedly pretty shallow, very slow and also extremely long, kind of written in a Mills and Boon style (yuck) but for some reason hundreds and hundreds of pages! I would recommend this as an easy read which will probably make you smile and laugh, but also cringe a LOT.

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

A very interesting and eye-opening book about race relations in the UK. I would recommend this book to everyone – the author tells us about the black experience in the UK which is still a very much unspoken about topic. One part which stands out to me is when the author is explaining how our social systems are rigged against BAME people –Eddo-Lodge highlights with detail that at every stage of a black man’s life he is at disadvantage compared to his white male peers. This is a hugely powerful thing to understand and acknowledge, and I think that if more people read this one we could be a lot more aware of our own privileges in everyday life.

Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer

As you might have gathered from all my other blog posts, I am very conscious of my own carbon footprint (you can read about my adventures through veganism here). My decision to no longer eat meat and to minimise dairy content considerably at first stemmed from health issues and from the knowledge of the emissions associated with animal farming. However, this book by Jonathan Safran Foer entrenched my desire to avoid all things animal-based through its harrowing and often disturbing portrayal of the conditions in which farmed animals must survive around the world. I would not say that I enjoyed reading this book – in fact it was very painful reading at some parts due to its violent descriptions – but it got the message across! I would recommend this to anyone who cares about diet and animals, or any staunch “our ancestors ate meat and so should we” believers… we all know at least one 😉

Atomic Habits – James Clear

I read this one after my boyfriend had read it and started a load of new habits to improve himself. At first, I thought this new book on productivity and self-improvement was a bit ridiculous as humans are not supposed to be machines whose only value is their output, however there were some useful tips and life stories in this book which can be applied to life in useful ways. For example, the concept of habit stacking (putting habits together so that doing one triggers the other), and of doing things in certain places/ at certain times is a useful thing to remember when trying to build new practices into your life.

Tamed: Ten Species that Changed Our World – Alice Roberts Another non-fiction book – this time about natural history. Professor Alice Roberts takes us through human history with this one, and the key species we have domesticated through time which have got us where we are now. These include domesticating dogs from wolves and cattle from aurochsen, as well as the global journeys of apples, horses and rice.  I found this book an interesting but slow read, as in some places it can be quite technical (with genetics tied in throughout). I also thought that the format of the chapters was a bit repetitive, but that was probably to make the format more understandable to the reader.

Clan of the cave bear – Jean M Auel

Probably my favourite read of the year, Clan of the Cave Bear is the first in the hugely successful series about an orphaned human girl during the Last Ice Age, who is taken in by a clan of Neanderthals (human ancestors, which you can read more about here). This is another very long read but the world building was incredible, and the development of the characters kept me hooked right up until the end. I can’t believe how much the author must have researched to write this book – the detail is mind-blowing. I will definitely be reading the next books in the series in the new year!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you 🙂

Other posts by me:

Yellowstone Wolves as ecosystem engineers

Why should we bring back the beaver?

Badger Culling



Published by avleveri

Hi! I'm Anna, an environmental science graduate from the UK. My main interests (if you can't already tell from my blog posts) are sustainability, consumption, conservation, nutrition, fitness and food! Lots of food.

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