Friday, 1 January 2021

2020 Favourites




I wrote my review of 2020 here, but I really enjoy writing a separate post on my favourite books, films, podcasts and other things I enjoy each year.

Most of these are not new, but new-to-me. 

Here's what I loved in 2020:

Books

I finished 2020 having read 142 books - a few more than my original goal of 70 books!

Thanks, Global Pandemic!

I am hugely grateful that in 2020 I signed up, and was approved for, NetGalley, which means I'm fortunate enough to receive free advanced copy for some books that I request in exchange for an honest review. It's been an absolute gamechanger for me over the months that libraries have been closed!

It's been both really hard and really easy to pick my favourite books of 2020. When asked, my top 3 were for sure In The Dream House, Boy Parts and My Dark Vanessa, with special mentions to Scabby Queen and The Most Fun We Ever Had.

If I had to pick one single book of 2020, it would undoubtedly be Boy Parts. You know my love of American Psycho (I wrote my undergrad American Studies dissertation about it) and Boy Parts is like a modern, feminist, subversive and horrific American Psycho. I want to buy a copy for everyone I know.

Here are my top books I read in 2020:
  • In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Boy Parts by Eliza Clark
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russel
  • Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
  • How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell
  • How do we know we're doing it right? by Pandora Sykes
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Benett
  • Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Deity by Matt Wesolowski
  • So you want to talk about race? by Ijeoma Oluo
  • The Choice Factory by Richard Shotton (this was work-related but it still makes my list for being brilliant!)

Audiobooks

I've split audiobooks out from my reading list, though they count towards my reading goal, as I consume them differently and I have a very different approach to what I want to listen to compared to what I want to read with my eyes. 

I only read non-fiction on audio, and to be honest I got back super into podcasts in 2020, so I listened to a lot fewer audiobooks than I had done previous (I also no longer had to drive to work from March, which was when I would often listen to audiobooks). However, I still listened to some fantastic books - these were my favourites:
  • Alchemy by Rory Sutherland
  • Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
  • Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper
  • Dopesick by Beth Macy
  • The Woman who Fooled the World by Beau Donelly

Films

I watched A LOT more films in 2020 than I would do in a normal year. I'm not a bit rewatcher normally because we usually only watch one film a week on a Sunday night, so I like to watch something new, but that went out of the window in 2020 (I think we watched Game Night twice over about 6 weeks).

This list, however, is all films I watched for the first time in 2020. These were my favourites:

  • Host 
  • Searching
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Klaus
  • The Invisible Man
  • Soul
  • Carrie
  • Hamilton
  • 13th
  • Your Name
  • Tenet
  • The Farewell
  • Hoop Dreams
  • Before Sunrise
  • The Lighthouse
  • Uncut Gems
  • Parasite
  • 1917
  • The Talented Mr Ripley

And TV shows that I loved in 2020
  • The Americans
  • I'll be Gone in the Dark
  • The Last Dance
  • Cook Eat Repeat

Podcasts

I feel like you're either a podcast person or you are not a podcast person. And if you are not a podcast person you don't get it, and if you are a podcast person you don't know how anyone could go through their life without podcasts. I am the latter.

I listened to sooooo many podcasts in 2020. I have a weird system for my podcasts too - some are for running, some are for while I'm working, some are for day-to-day, some I save for "special occasions". 

These were my favourite listens in 2020:
  • You're Wrong About
  • The High Low
  • What Page are you On?
  • You Must Remember This - Six Degrees of Song of the South
  • Twenty Twenty
  • Brought to you by
  • Decoder Ring
  • The Missing Crypto Queen
  • The Butterfly Effect
  • Maintenance Phase
  • Nice White Parents
  • Uncover: Satanic Panic

Cookbooks

Like with everything else on this list, I did soooooo much cooking in 2020.

And I even eventually got SO SICK OF IT OMG LET'S JUST HAVE TOASTIES FOR TEA.

However, I have used some excellent books in 2020. I've kept this to new releases, but I've also loved cooking from some of my old favourites, like my Anna Jones books and The Roasting Tin books (I wrote about my favourite Roasting Tin recipes here, and my favourite vegetarian recipe books here). 

Here's what I loved to cook from in 2020:

  • Flavour by Yottam Ottolenghi (review here and here)
  • The Roasting Tin Around the World by Rukmini Iyer (review here)
  • Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley
  • Jerusalem by Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
  • Start Simple by Lukas Volger (review here)
  • Charred by Genevieve Taylor (review coming!)
  • One Tin Bakes by Edd Kimber (review coming!)
  • All of the Roasting Tin books

Blog posts I wrote

I wrote 50% more blog posts in 2020 than I wrote in 2019. Admittedly, there wasn't a lot else to do! But I am so glad to have got a bit of my blogging mojo back in 2020. I have a 20 point lists of blog post ideas, and in 2021 I want to keep trying to write short, quick blog posts rather than these 1000+ word posts (like this one...). 

But I am really proud of a few blog posts I wrote this year (of course, the really long ones...) if you don't mind me indulging in a little self promotion...
Here are some other miscellaneous things that I loved in 2020:
  • Uniqlo thermal jackets
  • Uniqlo thermals
  • Bamboo socks
  • Headspace App
  • Yoga with Adriene
  • Monopoly Deal card game
  • Cross stitch kits from Plastic Little Covers
  • Sugarhill Boutique jumpers
  • Blockbuster board game
  • Coffee and Kin recyclable Nespresso pods
  • Buying all my clothes off Depop
  • HappyFeed app

I'm excited for more reading, more writing, more films and more podcasts in 2021!

Charlotte x

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