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The Best Books I Read In 2020

For the second year, I made an effort to read more books and kept a record of what I did manage to get through on my Instagram Stories as a highlight (which you can see here). These five were the pick of the bunch.

1. The Offing by Benjamin Myers

Ben Myers is my favourite new British novelist, and his latest The Offing was just what I needed during this strangest of years – a beautiful tale, told with great sensitivity and kindness. Click here

2. Sacred Hunger, Barry Unsworth

I love immersive eighteenth century historical fiction (even more so when the setting is a ship), so I raced through this overlooked 1992 Booker winner about the ‘triangular trade’. A tense, humane, moral and beautiful thing. Click here

3. To Calais, In Ordinary Time, James Meek

Was it a good ideas to read a fairly stressful novel about the Black Death in the week the entire world went into lockdown? Probably not. But the technical mastery and downright weirdness of this medieval fable had me hooked. Click here

4. Say Nothing, Patrick Radden Keefe

A history of The Troubles that is also just a fantastically well written and righteous piece of journalism. Click here

5. King Leopold’s Ghost, Adam Hochschild

This history of the Belgian genocide in the Congo is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of popular history of the last two decades, and it made me understand my own life in different ways. Click here