PLEASURE OF READING REDISCOVERED
Page Turners favourite books of 2020
The publisher Bloomsbury have claimed that people have ‘rediscovered the pleasure of reading’ in lockdown.
The firm, best known for publishing the Harry Potter books, said profits jumped 60%. Popular books included ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race’, ‘Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood’, ‘White Rage’ and ‘Such A Fun Age’. Page Turners already know the pleasures of reading and were asked to reflect on their year of reading and to decide which was their favourite book of 2020.
Babs’s favourite book this year was ‘The Lost Man’ by Jane Harper. The book tells the story of Cameron, the middle brother of three, who is found dead in the remote outback in Western Australia, having apparently walked miles from his car which was fully stocked with water and supplies. Babs says it is so atmospheric, descriptive and well written that it transports the reader to the unrelenting heat and isolation of the Australian outback.
May chose the ‘Collins Wild Flower Guide’ by Streeter, Hart-Davies, Hardcastle, Cole and Harper. May claims that during the first lockdown, when repeating the same walks, it gave her an interest. She started taking photos and noting small differences between the flowers she spotted. It is a large book that would probably not fit in most stockings, but would fit under the tree, next to the box of Celebrations!
Helen’s most memorable book was the, excellent and thought provoking ‘A Mad World, My Masters: Tales form a Traveller’s Life’ by John Simpson. John Simpson was the BBC World Affairs Editor and his riveting and beautifully written accounts of his experiences brought a new perspective to Helen’s understanding of many world events in the late 20th century.
Lynne’s choice was the Booker Prize Winner, ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernardine Evaristo. The book follows 12 very different characters, from different periods of time, on an entwined journey of self discovery in Britain. The vibrant book opens your eyes to the struggles and pains of many black British families.
Sandra’s selection was ‘Sweet Sorrow’ by David Nichols. Sandra really enjoyed this book which is a compassionate story about the pain and loneliness of a teenage boy and his life changing summer; a classic coming of age novel. Sandra claims this is a good read for sitting in front of a fire on a winter’s day and for anyone who has fallen in love….what better stocking filler for a romantic at Christmas time?
Nicola’s favourite book was ‘The Lost Words’ by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. There are magical words and spells to conjure words lost to the lexicon of children. Beautifully illustrated by Jackie Morris. Nicola says this is a delight to share with youngsters and to lose yourself in – particularly in these strange times when the natural world has gained in importance for so many.
Sylvia loved every minute of her favourite book of 2020: ‘The Small House at Allington’ by Anthony Trollope. It is the 5th novel in the series ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’. It concerns the Dale family who live in the Small House on the estate of the Squire of Allington. It is a gentle slow story; it takes some of the characters two chapters to walk out into the garden!
Jill chose ‘The Secret River’ by Kate Grenville. It is set in the early 1800s and vividly follows the lives of a Londoner and his wife following their transportation to Australia. How they cope with many hardships, and bring up their family in desperate conditions amid the Aboriginals whose community they have infiltrated, is a thought-provoking reading experience.
Jenny selected ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which she missed reading with Page Turners a few years ago. The story follows the course of the Nigerian-Biafran civil war in the 1960s. It is told through the experiences of ethnically Igbo characters, exquisitely written as lives intertwine. Jenny couldn’t put it down, and she doesn’t know why she has waited so long before reading this masterpiece.
What was your favourite book of 2020?
Maybe one of these suggestions from the Page Turners will find its way into someone’s Christmas stocking this year….if Santa is not in a lockdown in Lapland……..and is allowed to deliver presents!