Consider this list of amazing books my favourite books of the year, but also note that there are many more books I read and loved this year that aren't on this list. I've been a bit slack at keeping up with the books I've read and loved on Goodreads, but some of them are there. I'd love to go back to writing book reviews one day on this blog, but for now let's just stick to the very best of the best books of my 2020.
When I say that these books changed my life I'm not over-exaggerating. They are all works of art and works of power, and I have already recommended them many times to many people, and today I am recommending them to you. Here we go!
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Five Books That Changed My Life in 2020
The below books were not released in 2020, because I am not that up to date in any shape or form. The good news is that they are and will be as relevant now as when they were published, but it's also true that a few of them will have new updated versions coming out next year so you may want to be aware of that.
You can buy all these books via the links below or on my Bookshop.org shopping lists, namely this one for those of you in North America, and this one if you're in UK or Europe, where I've also added a handful of the other books I have enjoyed this year. Outside of these regions, I'm not sure how shipping works, but I think there could still be international shipping options depending on which particular indie shop you are buying from via the site. I choose to link to Bookshop (and other online bookstores other than the one that starts with an A) so that I can support indie booksellers as much as possible.
The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor - This is absolutely the number one book that changed my life in 2020. Reading this book, especially the first few chapters, felt like learning to breathe again, or maybe just seeing things a little clearer, because it really did bring so much clarity and several light bulb moments as Sonya Renee Taylor's words and specifically, her introduction to the concept of body terrorism made me re-think so many of my own viewpoints and experiences.
This book gave me a methodology and a vocabulary to finally see the whole world - and its many, many destructive forces - as it is, and how we dismantle it both in ourselves and then the people and systems we connect with.
Daily Rituals: Women at Work by Mason Currey - Like many of us, 2020 was not a year where I felt at my creative and productive best, and following the immediate effects of the pandemic on my travel blog's income in March, it took me many months (of having both my children at home with me all day every day) to find a rhythm that felt anything like creative or productive, and yet, when I read this over the summer, finishing it just as my eldest was going back to school full-time, I felt real hope and real motivation to move my writing and my creativity to the top of my To Do List again, and I fully credit this book with giving me the fuel to do so.
Highlighting the many ways many different accomplished female artists and writers have "got their work done" sometimes alongside, sometimes in spite of, and sometimes blissfully ignorant to any of the many obstacles working women encounter - domestic chores, husbands/partners, children, societal expectations - this book made me see just how varied our paths not only are but really should be. How we work, and how we create, is unique because we are unique. This book (and my week of fun) was really the catalyst for me getting Lover Mother Other published this year, so yes, I am incredibly grateful for this book.
I also appreciate how it was a follow-up to the original Daily Rituals book the author published a few years previously which I liked immensely, but as he pointed out in this book, it was very skewed with mainly white males featured, most of which were those who could only do their work with the support (willing or otherwise!) of women.
The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit - Once upon a time when we could do wild things like sit in a cafe for hours on end, surrounded by strangers, sometimes knocking knees with one or two, sipping lattes and browsing a stack of books that were sitting on a shelf nearby, I took a break from my laptop and picked up this book because the cover was pretty. It was in my favourite cafe in Amsterdam and it took me a long time to return to my work again. That was a few years ago now but I couldn't stop thinking about this book, so I treated myself to a copy last Christmas.
Consider it both a bible of different flavours and their many magical combinations but also very essential inspiration for preparing and researching meal times. And let's be honest, I think we all struggled to summon energy and enthusiasm for this in 2020, so yes, this book changed, or rather, saved my life and possibly my children's lives this year!
And if you'd like to save or share this reading list, here are some images you can pin:
Frances M. Thompson
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