This blog’s Books of the Year, 2020

I’ve reviewed over 40 books here this year – a record.

Here’s where I reveal my shortlist of eight books which might have been my book of the year, and then the two of them, because I gave up trying to choose between them, that are my joint Books of 2020.

I’ll give you my top eight, alphabetically by author (all male authors), and then tell you which two were my Books of 2020.

Imperial Mud: the fight for The Fens by James Boyce is published by Icon Books (review).

Cottongrass Summer by Roy Dennis is published by Saraband (review).

Under the Stars: a journey into light by Matt Gaw is published by Elliott and Thompson (review).

The Book of Trespass: crossing the lines that divide us by Nick Hayes is published by Bloomsbury (review).

Net Zero: how we stop causing climate change by Dieter Helm is published by Harper Collins (review).

Red Sixty Seven: a collection of words and art inspired by Britain’s most vulnerable birds curated by Kit Jewitt is published by the BTO (review).

The Consolation of Nature: spring in the time of coronavirus by Michael McCarthy, Jeremy Mynott and Peter Marren is published by Hodder Studio (review).

The Disappearance of Butterflies by Joseph H. Reicholf is published by Polity Press (review).

All of the books above made strong impressions on me during 2020 – I’ve gone back to all of them to check facts or simply to replenish the feelings of pleasure they gave me on first reading.

But two of these books, very different from each other have made the strongest impressions and they are Red Sixty Seven and Cottongrass Summer. I spent some time trying to decide between them but, in the end, felt that would be doing one of them a disservice – they are both, in their different ways, fantastic books.

Together they are this blog’s Books of 2020.


3 Replies to “This blog’s Books of the Year, 2020”

  1. Great choices. I have read the first six, seventh is on my pile and will order butterflies. There have been so many wonderful books this year and have come at a good time.
    One of my top picks this year has to be Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty. How a sixteen year old can write like that is a mystery.
    Just finished English Pastoral by James Rebanks, very good, and currently reading The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn (yes, a female author!), an excellent follow up to The Salt Path, both biographical but heavy on the nature.
    So many books, so little time.
    A highlight of my week is looking for the Sunday Book Review. Many thanks Mark.

  2. Great choices, but “Entangled Life” by Merlin Sheldrake is a serious omission. Fungi do underpin everything (along with micro-organisms of course), and could help us to reduce pollution and global heating if applied correctly.

  3. The cotton grass summer I remember most would have been the year when the most recent occurence of F&M hit the UK.

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