Books of the Year - 2020By Ellen Mellor - Samarcand Books
These aren't necessarily books that were published this year but rather some of the best books I've read this year. You can see the rest of the ones I've read over at my Goodreads page, where I'm currently behind schedule to hit my target.
(There is one book that I have chosen that is only available through Amazon, unfortunately - The Ladies Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite. It's a wonderful lesbian historical romance about a gorgeous young author/astronomer and her patron, a beautiful countess. I don't often read romance novels but this one was just an absolute delight from start to finish. I actually listened to the audiobook version and the reader was a completely spot-on choice - a really elegant and rather delicious 'upper crust' English accent that was just to die for.)
Jasper Fforde£20.00 £19.00
I love Jasper Fforde and have ever since The Eyre Affair first came out. His writing is just endlessly fun and inventive and, at times, just plain daft.
Jodi Taylor£10.99 £10.44
I was introduced to Jodi Taylor's 'St Mary's' series by a colleague at work when there was around five of them. I immediately devoured them all and continued. This is the 11th book in the series (along with the two books from the 'Time Police' spin off) so perhaps not the best one to start with. But trust me, read the first one and you'll soon be reading this one.
Derek Landy£14.99 £14.24
Another novel in a series. This is actually the third novel in the second Skulduggery Pleasant series. Landy has created a truly compelling universe of magic and weirdness hidden behind the facade of normality. Skulduggery (the one and only skeleton detective) and Valkyrie (Skulduggery would describe her as his sidekick, she'd hit him for doing so) are a wonderful pair and I love spending time with them.
Kieron Gillen£58.99 £56.04
The final deluxe collection of one of the best comic book series' I've ever read. It's premise is 'musicians as gods': Every 79 years, twelve young people are imbued with godhood. Within two years they will all be dead. The series follows the latest incarnations and their trials and tribulations. Gillen writes beautifully and is complimented perfectly by the artwork of McKelvie who is an absolute master of human expression. There are also soft cover collections of the series but, if you can afford it, get the Deluxe Editions as the extra content at the back is well worth the money. And they look so pretty on one's bookshelf...
Thomas Heasman-Hunt£9.99 £9.49
Coming from the Twitter account, @smolrobots, this is exactly what it says. 100 hundred small robots (well, 99 small robots and one big one, called 'Bigbot') that you didn't know you needed. It is absolutely wonderful and will just make you smile with just how very, very lovely it is.
Jonathan Van Ness£8.99 £8.54
JVN is an absolute gem. My favourite member of Queer Eye's 'Fab 5' and this book just drips with his signature style and vocabulary. Despite the endless optimism and positivity, his life has not been easy - he has experienced drugs addiction, homelessness and being forced to survive with sex work - and he talks about it all here openly and honestly.
Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz£29.99 £28.49
The first comic book series I collected was the X-Men back in the mid-80s. This latest collection is a virtual reboot of the whole concept. Mutants have founded an island nation for themselves and have declared that any mutant is welcome there. The last time they (well Magneto who is now good again. Or as good as he ever is) tried this is didn't end well, with the death of millions of mutants. This time, they are more prepared and a lot more militant. Jonathan Hickman is a brilliant and imaginative writer and this is an amazing start to a the latest iteration of all things 'X'.
Iain Banks£9.99 £9.49
One of the books that was definitely not published this year. I'm currently re-reading all of Banks' (and M. Banks') novels. This is the best of the ones of his I have read so far this year. It's a smart and witty thriller/satire about big business and corruption. I absolutely couldn't put it down. I'm really not sure if I prefer this or The Wasp Factory.
Susanna Clarke£16.99 £16.14
I have been waiting impatiently for Susanna Clarke to write another book. Both Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and The Ladies of Grace Adieu were amazing books and this one is just as good. She is a lyrical and evocative writer and one that everyone should read.