Being Anne’s Books of the Year 2020 #books #fiction #bookbloggers #amreading

By | December 16, 2020

Just over a week left until the big day, and I think I must draw a line under this year’s reading and choose my books of the year – I haven’t stopped reading though, I still have a few Christmas books I really want to get to before it feels too late to do so. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed looking back through the year’s posts, remembering the pleasure every book has given me – and perhaps particularly so this year, when escaping into books has felt more important than ever before. Other than at the start of lockdown in March, my reading has never faltered – even when I sadly lost my mum in July.

My Goodreads challenge tells me I’ve read more books this year than ever before – 160 at last count – and that’s just made it so much more difficult to pick out the particularly special ones. I’ve said “one of my books of the year” so many times that I did make things rather more difficult for myself than I should have done – but if I tell you that I gave five stars on Amazon and Goodreads to 127 books this year (I chose well!), the task was never going to be easy because I wanted to include every one of them.

Last year, I finally managed to draw up a list of 30, drawn from across all the genres I’ve read – this year, it’s a list of 36 because I just couldn’t bear losing any more from my initial list of (ahem!) 53. I did have some few basic rules – no novellas (sorry!), no more than one book per author (and some authors made that very difficult!), but I would include Christmas reads (just two in the end – although there were six in my list of 53!), and the original publication date was immaterial if I read it in 2020.

Anyway, here is my final list of 36, in groups of nine – they’re in the order I read them, I’ve made absolutely no attempt at ranking (which really would have been a step too far…), and all links are to my reviews…

The Place We Call Home – Faith Hogan

Beyond the Margin – Jo Jackson

Hidden – Linda Gillard

One Dozen Second Chances – Kate Field

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove – Cass Grafton

Wild Spinning Girls – Carol Lovekin

I Am Dust – Louise Beech

The Walls We Build – Jules Hayes

The Lost Lights of St Kilda – Elisabeth Gifford

The House By The Sea – Louise Douglas

The Memory – Judith Barrow

That Night in Paris – Sandy Barker (a difficult choice between this one and The Christmas Swap!)

Spirited – Julie Cohen

Sing me A Secret – Julie Houston

Roots of Corruption – Laura Laakso

People Like Us – Louise Fein

To Catch A Witch – Sharon Booth (with a special mention for Christmas with Cary, a novella I particularly loved…)

Growing Up For Beginners – Claire Calman

The Beauty of Broken Things – Victoria Connelly

Sunshine and Second Chances – Kim Nash

The Old Girls’ Network – Judy Leigh

Where We Belong – Anstey Harris

Four Minutes to Save a Life – Anna Stuart

Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Cafe – Annette Hannah

Miss Benson’s Beetle – Rachel Joyce

Endless Skies – Jane Cable

The Saturday Morning Park Run – Jules Wake (with a special mention for The Spark – it was a difficult choice!)

The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness – Laura Bambrey

The Country Escape – Jane Lovering

Only Human – Diane Chandler

The Second Marriage – Gill Paul

Boomerville at Ballymegille – Caroline James

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe – Jessica Redland (with a special mention for Finding Love in Hedgehog Hollow and Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes too!)

Christmas Wishes – Sue Moorcroft

When I Come Home Again – Caroline Scott

Harper’s Highland Fling – Lizzie Lamb

Every book I’ve had to leave out has really hurt – particularly those where I’ve read more than one by the same author but just couldn’t decide on one stand-out book. I’ll specifically mention Maggie Christensen, Mandy Baggot, Emily Harvale, Kathryn Freeman, TA Williams, Lucy Coleman/Linn B Halton, Kiley Dunbar, Christina Courtenay, Kath McGurl, Josie Bonham… and I know I really shouldn’t have started this, because I’m only going to forget someone whose books were every bit as special to me.

There’s such a lot for us all to look forward to next year – hopefully our lives will return to something like normal thanks to the vaccine, we’ll be able to travel again without fear, and I know I’m particularly looking forward to hugging people again at all the book-related parties. Since March, I’ve spent most of the year on my own (Zoom and Facebook Live have been an absolute life-saver) – in fact, I think the only time I’ve been “in company” was at mum’s funeral, other than the doctor and dentist and trips for food shopping. I do wish I could tell you that I’ve done everything that I wanted to around the house, learned a new language or that I can now play a musical instrument – I’m sorry, I’m going to be a bit of a disappointment, I’ve read books! And I do know that many of you haven’t had the luxury of all that me-time – but I hope spending more time with the family made up for all the agonies of home schooling. I’ll be spending Christmas on my own too, something I’ve never done before, in all my 65 years: there will be some sadness (and some lovely memories, of course…) but I am rather looking forward to watching TV and films I’ve chosen for myself (and who knows, there might just be a bit more reading too!).

I’d like to thank every author who’s brought me so much pleasure – and the escape I so needed – throughout this difficult year. Thank you too to those of you who’ve consistently provided such wonderful support – blogger friends, blog tour organisers, authors, publishers, readers and friends. All the Twitter shares never fail to amaze and delight me, and mean so much to me and to the authors I feature – thank you all so much.

I had planned to take a blogging break in January – but then I started hearing about all the new releases and blog tours, and just couldn’t resist. So, just a few more reviews planned in the run-up to Christmas, then I’ll be back with you on 4th January. I wish everyone – and those you love – a wonderful Christmas, and a New Year we can hopefully all look forward to.

55 thoughts on “Being Anne’s Books of the Year 2020 #books #fiction #bookbloggers #amreading

  1. Helena Fairfax

    Thanks for the wonderful recommendations through the year, Anne. Your list of books of 2020 has helped me focus on some of the very good things that have happened this year, and books have been a big part of it. Your blog always leaves me feeling uplifted. Wishing you all the very best for Christmas, and happy reading! x

    1. Anne Post author

      Helena, thank you for being such a wonderful supporter – I’m delighted that reading the blog leaves you feeling uplifted, because that’s the feeling I get putting the posts together too! Wishing you a lovely Christmas xx

  2. Victoria Springfield

    Thanks for this Anne. It must have been hard choosing but wow what a great list. So many books to add to a ‘must read’ list but there will be so many coming out in 2021 we’ll need an 8-day week (at least…)

    1. Anne Post author

      I’m working on the idea of sleeping a little less, Victoria – thank you for your comment, and have a lovely Christmas…

  3. Kate Field

    There’s nothing disappointing about a year spent reading books. That pretty much sums up my year too, although I’m well behind your total! Thanks for including A Dozen Second Chances on your list, Anne, it means a great deal to me to see it there. All the best for Christmas and 2021. x

    1. Anne Post author

      Never any question mark over its inclusion Kate – thoroughly deserved, and I’m really looking forward to reading Finding Home in April. Have a lovely Christmas! xx

  4. sandybarker

    Thank you so much for your kind words and these wonderful recommendations. And thank you, in such a difficult year, for being so generous with your time and so thoughtful with your reviews. It is a thrill and an honour to be on this list.

    1. Anne Post author

      Sandy, discovering your lovely books has been one of this difficult year’s greatest pleasures – the only problem was deciding which one to include! Have the loveliest Christmas…

  5. Sarah Mallory

    Thank you for making your list, Anne, some books there that I shall now add to my TBR list! Your blog and book reviews are always interesting and uplifting, so a big thank you for doing this through what has been a terrible year for everyone, and especially difficult for yourself. You are an inspiration. BEst wishes to you for Christmas and the New Year, and happy reading!

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Sarah – it’s been really lovely to have the opportunity to feature you (and to get to know you a little better) this year. Wishing you a lovely Christmas xx

  6. Kate Ryder

    What a fabulous list of books (several I’ve read, but also many to add to my TBR list). Apologies for being one of those authors in January to change your plans for a blogging break! Wishing you a very happy Christmas watching all those films YOU want to watch and, as always, thank you for providing us with such intelligent reviews throughout the year. Xxx

    1. Anne Post author

      I’m just a girl who can’t say “no”! And very much looking forward to reading Beneath Cornish Skies for a review on 7th January. Thank you for your lovely comments, and I’ll try and take a proper break later in the year instead xxx

  7. lindasbookbag

    Wonderful post Anne. I do hope I’ll get to give you a hug in 2021 and that this Christmas isn’t too strange for you. In the mean time, thank you for all these wonderful book recommendations and blog support and keeeeep reading! Happy Christmas xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Linda – I’ll look forward to that hug! And thank you for making me aware of so many lovely books too – Happy Christmas! xx

  8. juliehoustonauthor

    Oh, Anne, thank you so much for including Sing Me A Secret in your Top books of 2020. Totally honoured and have a bit of a lump in the throat!! What fabulous books to be in a list with. Your reviews are absolutely brilliant – you truly are the queen of reviewers. Keep on reviewing and putting Wetherby and the North on the map!! Totally convinced 2021 will be a so much better year for all of us!!

    1. Anne Post author

      Wouldn’t have left it out for the world, Julie – it was quite wonderful! Thanks for the lovely comments (and your support) – have a lovely Christmas, and let’s hope 2021 will be a year to look forward to xxx

  9. Joanne

    A wonderful list Anne and quite a bit overlap with mine which is no surprise! I think reading is a very productive use of time, especially in what has been a difficult year, even more so for you perhaps. Like you, I’m looking forward to hugging friends again and hopefully being able to travel just a bit in 2021. For now, I’ll send love and virtual hugs xx

    1. Anne Post author

      I rather thought we might overlap a little, Joanne! Thank you for all your support this year, and all the lovely book recommendations – sending love, and hoping you’ll have a lovely Christmas xx

  10. Liz Hinds

    What a great list! Especially after what has been such a sad year for you. God bless you, Anne.
    And I know that because you’re you, your Christmas will be a good one. Some tears and some smiles.
    But here’s to a better – oh so much better – 2021. xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Liz – hope you and yours have a lovely Christmas, and that 2021 will be a better year for us all xx

  11. Sharon Booth

    Anne, I’m feeling totally overwhelmed that you’ve included one of my books in this amazing list, and given an honourable mention to another. I never expected that and I’m quite emotional right now! I know you’ve had such sadness this year, and I’ve been astounded that you’ve still managed to read so many books and produce so many blog posts. I should also say that a great many of the books on my Kindle are there because your review of them made it impossible for me to resist them! As an author I’m delighted your reviews are so well written and enticing. As a reader on a budget, not so much! Thank you, Anne. I really do appreciate this xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Sharon, your books thoroughly deserve inclusion in this list – I love your writing. And I do know how many books I’ve added to your reading list this year – I can only apologise, but you’ll love them as much as I did! I do hope 2021 will be your year… xxx

  12. Swirl and Thread

    Anne this is such a gorgeous and generous post. I hope you have a peaceful Christmas after a year we will never forget. May 2021 bring many hugs. Happy Christmas Anne xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Mairead, and for all your support this year – wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thanks Daisy – I’m sorry you didn’t make the final cut, but it’s been so lovely to rediscover your lovely writing this year xx

  13. whatcathyreadnext

    Some of my favourites too are on your list. (I haven’t yet summoned up the courage to start the difficult job of choosing my top reads.) Enjoy indulging yourself at Christmas and I join you in wishing for a better year in 2021. We all deserve it.

    1. Anne Post author

      Thanks Cathy – and wishing you a lovely Christmas and a New Year to look forward to xx

  14. Zoé O'Farrell

    Some fabulous books on this list that I have and haven’t read! Hope you have a wonderful christmas exactly how you want it.I look forward to your reviews next year too <3 xxx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thanks Zoe – and I’ll look forward to yours too. Have a lovely Christmas xxx

  15. Christina Courtenay

    Thank you so much for mentioning me, Anne! It’s always a huge pleasure and honour to appear on your blog! Have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Xxx

    1. Anne Post author

      Oh Christina – if only my list featured more books, because I so wanted to include one of yours! Have a wonderful Christmas xx

  16. Jessica Redland Writer

    What a gorgeous blog post, as are all of yours. I only manage to read a small number of books in a year but I know I’d struggle to pick favourites from them so I can completely understand your pain in choosing from a whopping 160+! That’s an impressive list and I’m so glad that, in a difficult year, you’ve been able to find escapism and comfort in the pages of a book.

    Thank you so much for including Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe on your list – especially as one of only two Christmas reads – and for the honourable mentions of Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow. So very kind of you. It’s lovely seeing so many friends included and I am especially thrilled to see Sharon Booth on the list, also with an honourable mention for her simply gorgeous novella.

    Wishing you all the best for a peaceful Christmas and really look forward to hopefully seeing you next year.

    Jessica xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you for the lovely comments Jessica – and for all the joy your books have given me (and so many other readers) this year. I’ll be reviewing New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow on 7th January, and so looking forward to enjoying more from you next year. Have a wonderful Christmas xx

  17. Judy Leigh

    Thank you, Anne. May your 2021 be a specially joyful, wonderful and uplifting year. You deserve it!

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Judy, and for your books that I’ve so enjoyed – I’m so glad I found you! x

  18. Deborah Klee

    Anne you provide amazing support to writers and readers with your book blog recommendations. I am in awe of the number of nooks you read and review each year. I am sorry to hear that you lost your mother this year. It is an incredibly hard loss to bear. My mum is always the voice in my heart comforting, advising, and laughing with me.
    I appreciate you reviewing Just Bea for my blog tour when you were hoping for a break.
    Wishing you a restful Xmas and happy healthy new year.

    1. Anne Post author

      Thank you Deborah – it’s been lovely “meeting” you this year, and I’m looking forward to reviewing Just Bea on 1st February (who needs a break, eh?!). Have a really lovely Christmas xx

  19. Melissa Oliver

    What a lovely post with great recommendations, Anne! Thank you so much for featuring my RNA Joan Hessayon Award win on your blog in September and also for bidding (& winning) my debut on the Children in Need book auction- I hope you enjoy it!
    Wishing a lovely Christmas and a happy, healthy 2021.
    Melissa x

    1. Anne Post author

      Melissa, thank you – and wishing you a lovely Christmas xx

  20. Cass

    Oh wow! Thank you so much for including me in your list, Anne.

    Wishing you a peaceful Christmas full of memories and lots of reading time.

    Hugs. xx

    1. Anne Post author

      My pleasure Cass – thoroughly deserved! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas xx

  21. Lizzie Lamb

    Hi Anne, its been a difficult year for so many of us and its manifested itself in various forms (!) Writing helps me to escape into a safer, more reassuring world where I’m in charge. I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed my latest novel and thank you for flagging up even MORE books to be added to my TBR list. Have a wonderful Christmas and catch up with you in 2021.

  22. Jo

    There have been some great releases this year and like you, I’ve read a crazy amount of books this year. I think it’s been important to escape to other worlds.

  23. Jill's Book Cafe

    Some great reads there Anne, more to add to my pile! This year has been one we’ll never forget and made all the more heartfelt for you due to the loss of your mum. Have the best Christmas you can and wishing you all the best for 2021. May it see us all getting together again and enjoying our bookish events and endeavours. Take care, love Jill xx

  24. Judith Barrow

    Anne, this is a wonderful post, and so indicative of you. I will be checking out quite a few of these books – thank you for showcasing them. I’m also always in your debt for the brilliant and generous reviews you’ve written for all my books. I know 2020 has been a hard year for you in more than one way, and I wish you a peaceful and more hopeful 2021 With a bit of luck we might see you at the Narberth Book Fair – out of Thorne and my hands now, but sure to be just as successful and good. fun. Much love to you. <3 <3

  25. Kathryn Freeman

    What a fabulous list of books – many I’ve read but some I’ll now have to add to my TBR pile! And thank you for the honourable mention, very kind of you. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support you give us writers. You are a superstar as well as a media star, and I so appreciate the blog tours you’ve taken part in. Wishing you a happy Christmas – I hope you pick your movies as well as you pick your books! – and all the very best for 2021 xx

  26. Janet MacLeod Trotter

    Anne, this is such a lovely post. Despite the great loss of your mum, you remain courageous and an encouragement to us all. Will be thinking of you this Christmas and hope it’s one of peace, tranquillity and lots of pleasurable reading xx

  27. Sara Gethin

    What a wonderful post, and lovely recommendations, Anne. I’ve so enjoyed reading your reviews over breakfast and lunch through the year, and you’ve helped me discover some marvellous novels. Thank you for keeping on posting throughout 2020, despite the terribly sad time you’ve had. Take care, and I hope you enjoy cwtching in over Christmas xx

  28. alexcraigie

    These are wonderful recommendations, Anne. Hope you have a lovely and peaceful Christmas and that 2021 brings you happiness, health and something more ‘normal’ than this last one has been. x

  29. Anne Post author

    Just a quick – and massive – thank you to everyone for your comments and good wishes. I’m sorry not to reply to them all – and my “like” button never works! – but I wish you all the best Christmas possible, and a New Year to look forward to xxx

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