Today on The Tattooed Book, I’m going to be looking at my books of the year 2020. This year will probably go down as one of the worst in living history but that didn’t stop great books being published. Sadly, due to the world being a dumpster fire, I haven’t had the focus to read as much as I’d have liked. However, what I have read has been great. So here we go, the best books I read in 2020.
My Dark Vanessa is the incredible debut novel from Kate Elizabeth Russell. Inspired by her own life experiences, it follows the protagonist, Vanessa as she discovers the teacher she was abused by at school had abused other girls. What she had convinced herself was a ‘normal relationship’ suddenly becomes abuse and it destroys her. Alternating between her teenage years and modern day, you follow her experience of grooming and how it has impacted her adult life.
It feels wrong to say I enjoyed My Dark Vanessa due to its sensitive content but it is a fascinating and gripping novel. Read my full review now.
Rosamund Lupton is an incredible author and her latest novel, Three Hours, is no exception. Based in an English school, you follow a group of students and teachers during a shooting. Each chapter is a different moment within the ‘three hours’. This ramps up the tension to a level where you just won’t be able to put it down.
If you want a rollercoaster of a read, Three Hours is it. While fast-paced and action-packed, it still manages to become an uplifting story with some truly tender moments. Read my full review now.
This Lovely City by Louise Hare is the second debut novel on my list and is an absolute heartbreaker. Set in 1948, it follows musician Lawrie Matthews as he steps off of HMT Empire Windrush and into a new life. However, England is not the beautiful and welcoming country he expected. When Lawrie discovers the body of a mixed-heritage baby, the police jump to the worst conclusion.
Louise Hare really brings post-war London to life and this fictional snapshot of the era makes for wonderful reading. The characters are beautifully written and you’ll be bereft when you leave them behind. Read my full review now.
Would you eat human flesh if everyone else was? That’s the question that Agustina Bazterrica highlights in the literary horror Tender is the Flesh.
In the future, animals are all infected with a disease that makes them inedible. Instead, specific ‘types’ of humans are bred to eat and breed. Marco works at an abattoir and is beginning to lose it. His wife has left him, their baby passed away and he’s seen more death than anyone should.
Tender is the Flesh is just as dark as it sounds. It’s not one for the faint-hearted and is sure to turn your stomach, but it is superb. Read it, read it now…but not if you’re eating.
I feel a bit cheeky sneaking Call Me Mummy in as my last fiction choice in books of the year 2020 as it’s not published until 2021. However, Tina Baker’s debut novel had me reading well past my bedtime, so I couldn’t miss it out.
Mummy is desperate for a child, and when she sees a ‘scummy mummy’ yelling and swearing at a beautiful little girl, she knows she can give her a better life. Before she knows it, she’s carrying the little girl onto a bus. Behind her, the little girl’s mother starts to scream her name in fear instead of anger.
Call Me Mummy is a book that is packed full of unlikeable but understandable characters, none of them living up to other people’s expectation. Not all little girls are good and not everyone can be a ‘perfect’ mother. Dark and unpredictable, you’ll be gripped. Read my full review now.
I’m terrible at reading non-fiction but I picked up the audiobook of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes a while back and only got around to listening to it early this year. The subject of death is an incredibly tough one, especially with everything that’s going on at the moment. However, Caitlin’s book of experiences as a mortician is handled delicately and with a genuine passion to educate. She discusses her educational path, how bodies are treated and how death is handled by different cultures.
I listened to this audiobook just as the pandemic was starting to dominate the news in early March. Due to this, I didn’t write a full review as my brain was elsewhere. But I do plan to listen to it again and write a full (and glowing) review in the future. For the moment, trust me, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is one of the most fascinating, education and touching non-fiction books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading/listening to.
Enjoyed my books of the year 2020 but need some more recommendations? Check out my best books of 2019.