10 Books I’ll Be Reading in 2020

Throughout my degree, and since graduating, I have found it difficult to motivate myself to read for leisure. This is partly because I now find it more time and energy consuming to read than I once did, but it is also due to the link I’ve made in my brain between reading and studying. For some time now, I have been wanting to get back into the habit of reading regularly; I love book shopping and keep buying exciting-looking books in the hope they’ll peak my interest. And now I am putting my foot down. I will not be buying any more books until I have read the ones I already own. And so, here is a list of 10 books that I have bought and that I am yet to read but which I *will* be reading this year. My hope is that I can manage to read at least one book a month, at least to begin with… and to enjoy it!

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  1. ‘There is no Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years’ – Mike Berners-Lee (Non-Fiction/Manifesto): “We have the chance to live better than ever. But, as humans become ever more powerful, can we avoid blundering into disaster?” I’ve felt very upset and incredibly powerless in recent days, weeks and months with regard to global warming; it’s hard to know what to do, and if anything you can do will actually make a difference. I hope that this sheds some light on the topic and makes me feel empowered, rather than depressed…
  2. ‘Daily Rituals: Women at Work’ – Mason Currey (Non-Fiction/Biography): Currey’s book collates information about a host of inspirational women, from Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Bronte to Coco Chanel and Patti Smith, exploring their day-to-day lives and how they found time and got to work. This unsurprisingly appealed to the feminist in me.
  3. ‘Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking’ – Matthew Syed (Non-Fiction/Thought-Piece): “Success is no longer just about talent, or knowledge or skill. Today, it is also about freeing ourselves from the blinkers and blind spots that beset us all, and harnessing a critical new ingredient: cognitive diversity.” This intriguing thought-piece was a gift from my brother, who works in Mental Health and has ADHD and Aspergers, and who I love to bits. He hoped this book would help me to feel proud about thinking outside the box, and I’m certainly sure it will.
  4. ‘Kindfulness’ – Padraig O’Morain (Self-Help): “True self-care starts inside – with dropping the search for that ‘perfect’ persob and giving the gift of compassion to your imperfect self.” This book, featuring a 7-day course in self-compassion, is written by psycholtherapist, counsellor and former health correspondent of The Irish Times, Padraig O’Morain. Worth a try, eh?
  5. ‘Metamorphosis & Other Stories’ – Franz Kafka (Fiction): ‘Metamorphosis’ has been on my radar for a long time, and I have wanted to read it for about 6 years. The pre-war modern classic is perhaps Kafka’s most well-know works and whilst I would love for my German to be good enough to read this in its original language, the psychological and sociological subtexts are perhaps best processed in my mother-tongue.
  6. ‘Civilisations’ – Mary Beard (Non-Fiction): Part One, ‘How do we look?’ and Part Two, ‘The Eye of Faith’ form part of ‘Civilisations’, which has been made into a BBC Documentary series, presented by Mary Beard herself. I have resisted the temptation to watch the series before I have read the book, so the sooner I read this, the better!
  7. ‘Assassin’s Apprentice’ – Robin Hobb (Fiction): “The kingdom of the Six Duchies is on the brink of civil war when news breaks that the crown prince has fathered a bastard son and is shamed into abdication. The child’s name is Fitz, and he is dispised.” This story tells of Fitz’s training to become an assassin and to use the traditional magic of the Farseer family. This is one of my partner’s favourite books, but the copy is my own.
  8. ‘In Patagonia’ – Bruce Chatwin (Travel-writing): A gift from my parents, this book details Chatwin’s travels in southern Argentina and Chile. I was unable to go to Patagonia during my Year Abroad, but have every intention of returning one day. Maybe this book will catalyse that…?
  9. ‘The Skills: From First Job to Dream Job, What Every Woman Needs to Know’ – Mishal Husain (Non-Fiction/Memoire): I saw this book on a shelf with other ‘career-advice’ texts. I picked it up out of surprise that Mishal Husian had found the time to write a book, and bought it because it is one of the handful of candid texts I have seen on the topic. With chapter breakdowns such as “My journey to this book. Overcoming doubt. Finding my courage” and “Managing the different elements of your life. Banishing guilt. Thinking long-term”, this book seems at first glance to be both informative and reassuring. In Clare Balding’s words, “I wish I’d been able to read this when I was 20.”
  10. ‘Tidelands’ – Philippa Gregory (Fiction): “Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, and England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament. The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even to the remote Tidelands – the marshy landscape of the south coast”. Even though this story is set in Sussex, its cover design and blurb instantly conjured images of the Essex countryside where I grew up… I look forward to reading Gregory’s take on rural coastal life.