We have finally reached the end of this hellish year we call 2020! The roaring 20’s it was not. But 2021 has to be better, right? Right? In the meantime, let Jess reflect on her favourite reads of 2020. Expect pandemic novels, horror, and you guessed it… more horror.
What were the stats?
Books read: 78 (beating my annual goal of reading 50 books a year)
Longest book read: The Stand by Stephen King at 1,325 pages. Trust me when I say this book was an absolute beast.
Dominant genre: This should come at no surprise… it’s horror. 2020 really spoilt me for choice this year. If you’re interested in some of the absolute gems that were released in the horror genre you can find them here.
The Stand by Stephen King
If you want to truly terrify yourself in the middle of a pandemic then look no further than this absolute beast. Could this book be one of my favourite books ever written? Yes, yes it could. There were characters I loved, characters I despised, a precious doggo, a gripping battle between good and evil… I’m obsessed.
Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay
Another pandemic novel, you ask? Why, yes, indeed. Tremblay’s Survivor Song is an incredible twist on Zombie lore with a beautiful female friendship at its heart. This is definitely a pandemic styled novel like no other, so please read it and enjoy that crushing pain deep in your soul.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia
The gothic novel that’s been on everyone’s lips this year and will certainly leave you wary of mushrooms. I would highly recommend if you’re interested in The Yellow Wallpaper, books set in beautiful Mexico, and the allure of Gothic literature.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to read about Dracula on the streets of Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives? Because Grady Hendrix has the answer. I don’t think I can ever rave about this book enough because it left me obsessed. Now I have to spend 2021 reading everything Hendrix has written.
Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas
If there is one thing you must know, it is that I’m absolute trash for a Sarah J. Maas novel. Whatever it is, I’ll read it and 9 times out of 10 I’ll love it. Crescent City was no exception. It reminded me of an adult Zootopia, and I can’t even put my finger on what I loved the most? The world-building, the romance, the emotion, the trauma? I need the sequel, like… yesterday!
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
I (surprisingly) hadn’t heard a lot about Simone St. James leading into 2020 despite The Broken Girls being such a hit but I’d stumbled upon the summary for The Sun Down Motel and it instantly became one of my most anticipated reads of the year. James beautifully intertwines 80’s nostalgia, violence, and obsession with supernatural forces.
Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare
This was the most fun I’ve had with a horror novel all year and whether you’re a fan of horror or not, this is one you will definitely want to add to your tbr list. Unafraid of bloodshed, Cesare brilliantly brings back that nostalgia for late 90’s/early 00’s slasher horror films. After reading this, you may never look at clowns in the same way again…
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
This book was raw, unsettling, frustrating, saddening, horrific, dark, compelling. I finished this book feeling haunted, angry, and sad. Sad for the life Vanessa Wye could have lived had she never met Jacob Strane. This will be one of those books that stick with me for life. Please read this book at your own risk (tw: rape, pedophilia, gaslighting, sexual assault)!
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
When it comes to Stuart Turton, I will read everything that he writes. Turton’s sophomore novel was a wonderful mysterious affair set aboard the Saardam – a locked room mystery so to speak (with a slight supernatural flair). Expect a Sherlock and Holmes vibe with the simultaneous offering of an ensemble cast fit to rival Agatha Christie.
- The goal that never changes… read a minimum of 50 books. I’m a broken record at this point.
- Read a minimum of 5 literary classics – I have my eye on The Master and Margarita, The Woman in White, The House of the Dead, Gaskell’s Gothic Tales, The Grapes of Wrath, and The House of Seven Gables.
- Read poetry again – it’s been a while since I’ve gotten emosh over poetry.
- Read the books I didn’t get around to in 2020 (looking at you The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue) whilst trying to read all the books I’m looking forward to in 2021.
But we know 2021 will be filled with lots more horror novels and non-fiction books about the mafia and drug cartels 😌 I can’t resist!
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