As we get ready to ring in the new year, we asked our Instagram community of booklovers to name the best book(s) they read in 2020 to sail through a particularly difficult year.
Out of all the recommendations we received – besides the usual suspects including Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling), The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy), Unaccustomed Earth (Jhumpa Lahiri), and The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) – we bring you our top favourites that might make it to your reading list of 2021!
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami: A teenage runaway (Kafka Tamura) meets an aging simpleton (Nakata), and thus begins an odyssey full of "vivid accomplices and mesmerising events".
- Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami: A collection of seven short stories narrating the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone.
- Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy: From the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi to the Valley of Kashmir and the forests of Central India, the book takes you on a physical journey revealing an aching love story riddled with decisive remonstration.
- Educated: A memoir by Tara Westover: A true account of the author's life growing up without an education in a survivalist family, and how her quest for knowledge takes her across continents to Harvard and to Cambridge.
- A Promised Land by Barack Obama: A "stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs" in which Barack Obama narrates his "improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world".
- The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak: Ella, a housewife with her first editing job, reads a manuscript about the 13th-century poet Rumi and his forty rules of love, and embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author of this work.
- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: The story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing something she can’t resist – books.
- Free food for millionaires by Min Jin Lee: In this critically-acclaimed debut, Min Jin Lee tells the story of Casey Han and her Korean immigrant parents, exposing the astonishing layers of a community clinging to its old ways and a city packed with struggling haves and have-nots.
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: A murder mystery, a courtroom drama, an exploration of rivalry in a series of triangular love affairs - Dostoyevsky's last novel is a definite must-read.
- The Dressmaker's Gift by Fiona Valpy: Set in wartime Paris of 1940s, it's a gripping story of three young women who are faced with impossible choices when their secret activities put them in grave danger.