2020 Reading Reviews

Reading in Lockdown

The 2020 book round up, but this time it’s for grown ups.

In the UK, we’ve survived two lock downs, a transfer to a tier system, and endless U-turns from the government. All in under a year.

How have I survived? By reading extra wonderful books, of course!

So here’s the first instalment of the 2020 book round up….

Published this year...

What I've read that's been published this year

For this blog, I’ve deliberately chosen only to write about the books that have been published in 2020. Mostly, because that way it limits the number of books that I’m suggesting in one go. Secondly, I’ve also limited my choices in this entry to books that are not YA or children’s fiction. There’s another blog entry on the way for those!

The more observant will notice that I’ve included a range of books in the carousel at the top of the page. This may, or may not be a hint at some of the other books that I’d recommend based on this year’s reading list and the next entry to the blog… ooh… mystery…(!)

Other recommendations, usually suggestions for students, can be found elsewhere on the tuition blog pages. 

My Book of the Year

Hands-down, Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet is the best book I’ve read this year. It’s the first non-fiction book I’ve ever devoured from cover to cover and is easily the most important piece of writing I have read, ever. 

I honestly cannot praise this book enough. 

A Life on Our Planet, written by David Attenborough and Jonnie Hughes, follows Attenborough’s career as a presenter and natural historian. It synthesises Attenborough’s anecdotes with environmental science, referring to a range of scientific studies along the way. It charts, in no uncertain terms, the effect that the human population is having on the world.

A Life on Our Planet
the midnight library

The Midnight Library - Matt Haig

A work of fiction that showcases the light at the end of the tunnel.

Over the last few years, Haig has become renowned for his writing on mental health. In his novel, The Midnight Library, released in September this year, he writes of a woman called Nora who has reached her crisis point. 

In the opening pages of the book, she attempts to commit suicide. The rest of the novel follows the different lives that she could have had if she had made different choices throughout her life. 


Suitable for Young Adults+

Suicide is a taboo topic. People still don't want to talk about it. But it is something that needs to be discussed. The novel is certainly less graphic that 13 Reasons Why, and handles the difficult topic with sensitivity.

Overwhelmingly Positive

There are countless decisions that we all make each day. Some of them big, others minuscule.
Haig contemplates different realities based on these choices and comes to one solid conclusion:
Regretting decisions you've made doesn't mean you would be any happier in an alternative reality.

Other Books from this year

The 2020 book round up continues…

Hamnet book

Hamnet - Maggie O'Farrell

Named as Waterstone’s Book of the Year and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Hamnet is not really about the boy at all. 

Instead, it’s about his mother, Agnes, and how she copes with being an outsider and the loss of her son. 


War Lord - Bernard Cornwell

Book 13 in The Last Kingdom/ Saxon Chronicles. I started the books after watching the four series on Netflix at the start of lockdown. Cornwell has hit a formula that works and provided a bit of escapism at just the right time.

war lord book cornwell


It might be a little to early to set goals for 2021, but I’m going to do it anyway!

This year I’ve passed the 50 books read marker. Next year, I’m aiming for a nice round 100. Suggestions are more than welcome!

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