This will be the last post I make before the new year. So firstly to anyone who is reading this, I wish you a happy new year! Mine has been a little rough, so I’m certainly hoping for better things in 2021.
All of my posts until now have been about my nature walks, but this blog isn’t solely dedicated to that. I want to keep this blog open to writing about whatever I feel like sharing. I have always been an avid reader of fiction since I was a child, so I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite books that I have read this year. I hope this list inspires anyone looking for a good read!
5. Dune – Frank Herbert
I had heard of Dune many years ago but I don’t tend to read much sci-fi literature, so to be honest I never really had much interest in it until I saw that it was being made into a film with Timothee Chalamet as the lead. And mostly because I think Timothee Chalamet is a perfect human being (Zendaya too!), and also because the movie trailer peaked my interest, I decided to give the book a go in preparation for the film (which now sadly is delayed and will be released next year, thanks COVID). I found it difficult and slow to get into, but once I got into it I enjoyed the characters and the world that Herbert built. It was definitely a bit of a strange book, seemingly joining strong sci-fi elements with religion and politics. I don’t usually enjoy novels that have a complicated and intense political theme, and to be honest I would have preferred Dune with less of the political stuff and more focus on the world of Arrakis and its people. Nevertheless, it was a good read. Imaginative, immersive, and clearly very intellectual from a sci-fi perspective with its exploration of planet eco-systems and terra-forming. I’m even more excited for the film now!
4. Jamaica Inn – Daphne Du Maurier
I read Daphne Du Maurier’s famous ‘Rebecca’ while I was at university and really liked it, so when I was looking for a decent and spooky gothic read I knew she would be a suitable choice. My best friend inspired me somewhat, as she had just started reading ‘Rebecca’ herself, not to mention Netflix brought out their own adaptation of it (although I wasn’t hugely impressed by that film). Jamaica Inn was a LOT darker than I imagined it would be. Shockingly so, to be honest. I didn’t expect it to be quite that brutal. Of course it was a perfect gothic page-turner that constantly kept me wanting more, and Daphne’s style of writing is easy to go along with so I was hooked from the first page. The ending disappointed me slightly, but I won’t spoil it for anyone here. And overall I loved it and will likely re-read at some point in the future.
3. The Priory Of The Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
If you’re looking for an excellent fantasy novel to occupy you for a few weeks, I can highly recommend this novel by Samantha Shannon! It has everything you could ask for: interesting and likeable characters with great depth and growth throughout the book, a plot that is intriguing but not convoluted, intertwining storylines, a colourful and rich fantasy world with a variety of cool creatures and cultures, a satisfying mix of action, magic, and romance, and a strong feminist focus on the awesome female main characters, who are realistically complex. I loved it from start to finish. The only thing I was disappointed about was that the book had to end!
2. The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
Next on the list is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I found this novel easy to read, and a heart-breaking but thoroughly interesting insight into the Nazi occupation of France in WW2. When I was at school we were taught a lot about the horrors of WW2, but we predominantly heard about what life was like for the soldiers, or how life was in England. So it was it fascinating and horrifying to read about what life was like for ordinary people living in occupied France, struggling to survive and protect their loved ones while also resisting the Nazis and their cruel fascist command, in ways both small and large, and enduring tremendous loss and suffering in the process. The novel focuses on the lives of two very different sisters who have a complicated relationship with each other and with their father. My only criticism of this book is that it does get almost overly sentimental at times, but honestly I loved it despite that. It made me cry at the end, so it definitely touched me emotionally.
- All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
Number 1 on my list of books that I have enjoyed reading this past year is All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Firstly, let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book so much I recommended it to my mum, who also enjoyed it and recommended it to her friend, who also loved it and recommended it to their friend. Hence why I don’t have a photo of the book like the others on this list – it’s still in the hands of someone else.
This book is so beautifully written. I can’t even begin to describe how elegantly and masterfully language is used in this novel. I found it a little difficult to get into at first because of this reason, but once you get used to Doerr’s writing style the book unfolds in the most artistic and beguiling way. It follows two children during WW2, a young blind girl in France and a young boy in Germany, who paths begin to draw towards each other as the war progresses. It is haunting, captivating, and devastating, but ultimately a very moving story and is now certifiably in my top 5 favourite novels of all time.
And that’s all of them! Let me know in a comment if I peaked your interest, or if you have any suggestions for a good novel for me to read in 2021. I have just started reading ‘The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared’ by Jonas Jonasson, so I’m already on my way with next years list!