A Little Life

2020 – A Year in Books

After great plans to become a book blogger, a lot happened – one of those things being that I became the owner of my very own children’s book (wonderlandbookshop.co.uk). Being surrounded by beautiful books all day, every day is a very special thing indeed and despite the challenges of the pandemic, I feel very lucky to have had such an opportunity and I’m so grateful to everyone for their support.

Owning a bookshop, I decided it was about time to get on top of managing my Goodreads account (please connect with me, let’s be friends, kay?) I set my 2020 challenge to read 52 different children’s books and I’m pleased to announce that I logged 73 (strictly speaking, 72. I decided I was logging A Little Life as well, because it was epic). This doesn’t take into account any re-reads or “grown-up” books read. There’s been lots of highs to sing about, but a few stand outs include…

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski

I loved this portal fantasy adventure! 12 year old Flick Hudson ends up in The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, run by Jonathan Mercator, where she discovers a fantastic secret – there are hundreds of worlds just a step away from ours and all you have to do is step into the right suitcase. Jonathan invites Flick to join the Strangeworlds society and explore other worlds – but in the middle of this, the world of Five Lights is in danger, with buildings and streets disappearing. It’s up to Flick to save the day and save Five Lights before it collapses, taking our world with it. Unique, fun and magical with a wonderful cast of characters, this is an exciting middle-grade adventure like nothing I’ve read before. You can purchase it here (link leads to Wonderland Bookshop’s Bookshop org link).

Boy, Everywhere by A.M. Dassu

Wow, just wow. Boy, Everywhere is an upper middle-grade and is the story of Sami and his family as they flee their home in Damascus. Leaving their comfortable life behind, they journey to Manchester. This harrowing and compelling story documents their journey across the choppy waters in a dinghy, their experiences as they are held in a detention centre, and leaves you feeling as if you want to hold Sami and his family tight and never let them go. This is story of hope and compassion and it blew me away. You can purchase it here (link leads to Wonderland Bookshop’s Bookshop org link).

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, this book had been in my TBR pile for a while and I finally decided to get cracking. What an experience. Four college graduates move to New York to make their way in life. The novel begins by giving us an insight into each character, but eventually focuses on Jude, who becomes the centre of the group, who holds them together. Jude has suffered a tragic past, with life experiences beyond comprehension, which have shaped who he is as a character. The novel charts the lives of the four friends, and how his past trauma defines Jude’s life. Heartbreaking, this book emotionally battered me, and four months on, I still can’t stop thinking about the characters. Purchase it here (link leads to Wonderland Bookshop’s Bookshop org link).

So, what’s happening book wise in 2021? I’m going to set my Goodreads target at 100, but it won’t be limited to children’s books this time. However, I won’t be logging rereads. I am also starting on my own Booker Challenge where I am aiming to read every Booker winner.

Got any other book recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

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