2020 Reading Wrap up: 50 books!

three images of artie one looking smug, one looking confused, one looking awkward and smiling. on a collage green background. a lint of book covers at the bottom, text reads: reading wrap up

Hey Pals,

I boosted my book reading goals from 12 to 50 last year as I quickly demolished books in the two official lockdowns in 2020. With lockdown three hanging over my head with an unknown end date, I’ve been trying to continue to demolish as many books as I can ASAP. this is my second post of 2021 and will be a little wrap up of all the books I read in 2020. Check out my first post of 2021, all about my goals for this year. Don’t forget to go and watch my first video of 2021!

If you would like to support me and some indie bookshops then please consider using my affiliate link and browsing my lists in the BookShop

Biting Anorexia 4/5 stars. One of the better misery mental illness memoirs I’ve come across. I’ve read quite a few on mental illness/eating disorders, and not many of them have the concern of triggering readers or trying to provide a hopeful ending to their books. This one does both, whilst it avoids numbers altogether (calories, weight, etc.) it also have a positive outlook at the end and resources. Plus, it was overall and entertaining and relatable read as well.

Memories of Old Sussex 2/3 stars. I don’t have a lot to say on this. It was interesting to read about some very old history of the area i’ve lived my whole life along with some quirky traditions of the area, some that are still around but some not. It wasn’t super entertaining and I skimmed chapters, but if you’re looking for a book with useful info about Sussex, this will help you. It is also very, very short.

Alice Oseman books, Radio Silence(3/4 stars), Solitaire(2.5/5 stars), I Was Born For This(3.4/5 stars) I read Radio Silence first, which was enjoyable. I liked the main character and her history with the other MC. There were parts that were completely unbelievable and didn’t really fit with the story. Then I read I Was Born For This, I liked 50% of this book (the band half) as I personally find fandoms quite scary and uncomfortable for the reasons shown in this book (which I believe was the whole purpose) again there were some things that didn’t add up or make sense but it did show me I really enjoy band centred stories, so that’s something I’m looking for (if you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments!) and finally I read Solitaire, which was the first book to be written by Oseman at a very young age, personally I could tell. It was the most scattered of the three novels, lots of points throughout the book that appeared to be starting or signalling something and it never got rounded up in anyway. The ending was odd, the stuff with the MC’s family is very odd… kind of unbelievably neglectful considering I read Heartstopper too… something there really didn’t make sense to me. But also I don’t have much to complain about, I bought all three books for 99p each on Kindle.

If Only by Melanie Murphy 4/5 stars. One of my first adult novels I’ve picked up and read by choice. I love the concept of this book, the MC’c Granny had a magic necklace that is passed down through the women of the family and shows you alternate lives you could have had. They weren’t always as huge a focus as I was expecting, there were many times the MC just forgot she had this magic necklace which I found hard to believe! But I really enjoyed watching the character grow as well as the surrounding characters.

Raw 0 stars. Worst book I read in 2020 by far. Don’t read it, highly triggering, not much actually writing it was mostly other people’s letters… Blergh.

Lot by Bryan Washington 4/5 stars. Lot is about a young Gay Black man growing up in Houston. CW for sexual assault of a minor. It was a very interesting read, I picked this up super cheap for Kindle, the physical book should now be available. An Own Voices book I would recommend, with an interesting writing style.

Becoming Dangerous 3/4 stars. A book of personal essays with the theme of ritual and magic. Not all the essays will be interesting to everyone, I definitely struggled to read the whole things and skimmed a few essays but I think some of them were so reflective of me, or such a different POV that I enjoyed them a lot and do recommend others give it a read if they can.

Divergent 4/5 stars. I’ve been really enjoying dystopian fiction in 2020 and plan to continue reading them into 2021. Divergent was spookily relevant to our world today and I enjoyed it enough that I do want to try and carry on reading this series this year. I’m interested to see how the books go, as the films ended very weirdly and the pacing was everywhere.

Poems of William Blake 1/5 stars. Boring. I don’t want to read classic poetry ever again.

How to Give Up Plastic 4/5 stars. Really great read, remembered to talk about disabled people which I find tends to be lacking in environmental talks! Has some handy work book time tables in as well.

Cemetery Boys 5/5 stars. This was one of my favourite books of 2020! I love the queer/trans representation, the Neuro Divergent representation in Julian, and I loved reading a supernatural book that wasn’t rooted in white paganism. The latinx culture described in this book is beautifully woven into this story, you can tell this is very close to the authors heart.

Fruits Basket Vols. 1-4 3/5 stars. Eh, I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series. I may watch the new show that’s being made/has been made. But I also don’t think I disliked it enough to unhaul the books. You can check out some of my links for the video and insta post on my full thoughts.

From Baghdad, With Love 3/5 stars. Nice to have a happy ending but CW there is a lot of human and dog death in this memoir. Not something I would re-read but glad I gave it a chance.

Heartstopper Vol. 3 4/5 stars. I always enjoy reading Heartstopper as they tend to be a light and fluffy break from reality, however I feel like there could have been some trigger or content warnings for this, especially for people who haven’t read Solitaire (which, I had not at the time) for Eating Disorders, because even though I am mostly in a stable place when it comes to disordered eating, reading this was triggering for me as I wasn’t prepared or expecting it. I’m not sure what the further volumes will be like, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Chibi Vampire Vol. 1-7 4/5 stars. Another story where I loved the concept a lot. An interesting twist on vampires and how they work. I also love the misunderstanding between the MC and Love Interest, slowly becoming friends, slowly LI being accepted by the family. I would love to carry on reading this series but it was discontinued long ago, it isn’t super easy to access the books outside of Amazon… Watch this space.

Princess Diaries books 1 & 5 1/5 stars. Book one was lovely and progressive, in a surprising turn of events. The I accidentally skipped three books, read book five and was dreadfully assaulted by a lot of ableist language and ideas which I really didn’t appreciate. I know this is an old book, I don’t really care. It was very uncomfortable to read.

Loveboat Taipei 5/5 stars. I found this book fantastic really. It had vivid imagery, and the general plot was something I could relate to (I talk about this more in my video) and I really enjoyed how the author writes. There were some rather extreme moments that I didn’t fully believe that also lead to characters making up which I found even HARDER to believe. But I really liked the Dyslexia representation, something I can relate to but also interesting to see this from a non-white perspective. I personally recommend it if you love romance and sexual tension.

Hunger Games 1 & 2 5/5 stars. Another old series I started in 2020, but I feel like these books have held up well, if anything they are still relevant today… I’ve actually been seeing memes about the tiers and lockdowns in the UK being referred to like the Districts in the Hunger Games. Funny but also awful. I also love the selection of disabled characters in the books they’ve had so far, just wish they were gayer.

Harry Potter 1-7 3/5 stars. A series I wanted to read so I could put my own opinions out there on the content. Though parts I loved and felt very nostalgic over, there were a lot of parts that were deeply upsetting to read, especially thinly veiled misogyny, xenophobia, transphobia, ableism, racism… All I’m going to say is, if you continue to read and enjoy Harry Potter, you need to look at it critically and be aware of it’s issues.

Dark Days by James Baldwin 5/5 stars. Very short read, also very cheap if you want to buy new at £1 or less! Three essays that are definitely a staple read for 2021, there’s basically no excuse not to read this and open your eyes to Civil Rights and Gay Rights Protests of History, written very well by a queer Black man of the time. I plan to read more of his work when I have the money and the chance to browse a bookshop again.

Transformation 2/5 stars. The writing wasn’t great, didn’t seem to have been edited before publishing, I liked the premise of the story: queer merpeople? Mood. But the story fell quite flat and I thought some places the writer could have been more creative with it had just been missed and it was a super white story.

My Mad Fat Diary 3/4 stars. Besides the homophobic and racist comments, it was an enjoyable book. I find it hard to enjoy books that use slurs etc. where the writer/character isn’t from the community the slur is related to. I know this is based in the 80s but I feel like there is another way to do it.

Gossip Girl 1-7 4/5 stars. These were a great time to read, I do plan to continue reading this series I think there are 5-7 more books but they aren’t easy to find second hand! Minimal slurs used in this series and everyone is gayer. I’ll be making a reading vlog for this series that will go up on my Channel later this month so sub to the channel and keep your eyes peeled.

Mediator book 1 1/5 stars. Not anything like I remembered this series being like. There are a lot of problematic things said and used including cultural appropriation. I wanted to re-read the full series but the first book hit so badly that I truly couldn’t and unhauled all of the books I had.

Pretty Little Liars book 1 4/5 stars. This was a lot better than I was expecting, a thriller version of Gossip Girl really in a more rural suburb. Rich white girls coming out my ears, I would REALLY like to read more books about people on an average household income rather than stinking rich and there isn’t often an inbetween. I like that the sapphic romance is canon and I’d be interested to see how this develops and the character of Emily in general, but I also still really love Hannah even in the books. I think Caleb was a character made for the show, so I’m curious about Hannah’s romantic life after boyfriend 1.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I am currently working on reading as many books as possible in January for a video, and my video next week will be about the series of books I started and want to continue/finish in 2021, so I will mention some of the above but go into more details as to why. With a lockdown still hanging over my head, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to leave the house (so far its estimated mid Feb but nothing official) and I’m not sure when I’ll be getting my vaccines, but I’ll keep everyone updated on all of that. It’ll just be a lot of books content, I think! I don’t have a lot to do or talk about. I’m trying to submit a lot of work and for a lot of projects in January so I may make a post discussing that, let me know if you’d be interested in reading about projects outside of my personal ones. I’ve taken a break from doing a lot of stuff, but I want to try and get back into streaming on Twitch again, please follow me there and you’ll be notified when I go live!

Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see from me specifically!

~ Artie


3 thoughts on “2020 Reading Wrap up: 50 books!

  1. Wow! This is a wonderful post. One of my goals this year is to read more books and this is a great place to start. Thanks for these recommendations.

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