Best of 2020 : Part II – Under the Radar Books

I will always remember 2020 as the year I finally got down to starting a dedicated blog which was to become a home for all my bookish adventures. I even titled it ‘The Lockdown Project’ to give myself the much-needed push during the dark days of baking endless batches of banana bread.  

A month of ‘offline’ work, and 3 months post go-live, here we are – a vibrant little community that’s reading, reviewing, and discussing all things books.

I am so excited for 2021 and publishing all the amazing content that’s being planned, but before we get there, I’d like to take a moment to talk about 5 really amazing books that sort of flew under the radar in 2020, but really deserved a little bit more attention.

P.S. The below list has been curated from a (never ending) pile of ARC’s that were kindly sent my way. I do a monthly feature called ‘ARC of the Month’ where some of these have been featured, for the others, I will be posting more detailed reviews of these in the coming months.

  1. The Vanishing Act

The Vanishing Act by Charlie Hodges is a dark, funny whodunnit, with an unlikely protagonist at the centre of it.

In the opening scene of The Vanishing Act, we are introduced to our protagonist in the form of Tom Knight, an ageing, ex-SAS officer, who has now relocated to Eastbourne to spend his twilight years. Tom however, is not one to go gentle into that good night, and despite his bad leg, still works as a private detective and almost finds love in the form of the charming Fran, who dumps him, when she finds out that Tom lied about his age.

In a cruel twist of fate, Fran is framed for the murder of 3 women at her care home and Tom, jumps in to the rescue, hoping to be, both figuratively and literally, her ‘Knight in Shining Armour’!

Hilarious and full of twists, this is a delightful read that can easily be wrapped up in a weekend or single session of undisturbed reading. Charlie Hodges intends this to be the first in a series of ‘Tom Knight’ mysteries and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of his work.

2. The Light Ages

If you have read my blog, you’d know I have talked about my apprehension towards Non-Fiction. I do however attempt to read at least 1 Non-Fiction every year, and this year it was this ambitious project by Seb Falk.

Written in seven parts – from the basics of monastic life to universities, astronomy and medicine, The Light Ages by Seb Falk attempts to summarize the pathbreaking research that occurred in the middle ages that then led to some of the most important scientific discoveries that happened in the so called ‘Age of Discovery’

Seb Falk is a historian who teaches at the University of Cambridge and his academic background is very apparent from his style of narration and the rigorous research he has put into the making of this book.

This is an ideal book for a time when you’re looking for a detox from your usual book genres and want to spend a few hours star gazing with our very talented ancestors, learning how they predicted seasonal changes, marked time, and laid the foundations for SatNav.

3. Loner

Loner reminded me of Juno and Fleabag. It made me chuckle, sometimes even laugh out loud, and I remember spending more time marking my favourite quotes than actually reading and absorbing the book!

This book by Georgina Young, is a quirky, coming of age story of Lona, who has recently dropped out of art school and is trying to make her way in the big bad world. However, Lona is lonely, despite having so many people around her.

Loner isn’t a story in the conventional sense – it doesn’t have a beginning, an end and a central plot. It’s a few chapters really, in Lona’s life, that we get to experience, delivered in small bite sized chapters, almost like reading Lona’s journal entries which are full of sarcasm and dry humour.

Georgina Young is an extremely talented writer, and I’d really really like to see more of her work in the coming year

4. This Time Next Year

Sophie Cousen’s wrote a typical girl meets boy and they fall in love story, only, it really isn’t your typical girl meets and boy and they fall in love story.

Minnie and Quinn, they go back many many years, but they don’t know that, well not yet atleast. Being a sucker for missed chances and what if’s, the plot tickled all my romance and chick-lit fancies, making me stay up way past bedtime to finish up the book.

This was an easy breezy summer read, but is also just perfect for the holidays.

5. There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job

And finally, we get to the ONE BOOK that would walk away with the ‘Book of the Year’ award for 2020 if ever I was to do one.

This little gem by Kikuko Tsumura was talked about in hushed whispers, like a secret well- guarded, given out only to those really in need.

In ‘There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job’ we meet our unnamed, thirty something narrator as she starts her first ‘seemingly’ easy job. Having reached burn out, she has left her highly demanding job to look for something that is ‘Just easy, no trouble at all’

But can there ever be a thing as an easy job?

This book found me when I needed it the most, and it really should be a must read for everyone who is searching for that mythical work-life balance.  In summary – healing and rejuvenating.

And it’s a wrap!

Happy Reading and Thank You for 2020 🙂

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