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Culture

Amazon Has Revealed The Books That We Quarantined With This Past Year

By Laura Rogan

Amazon Has Revealed The Books That We Quarantined With This Past Year

It’s safe to say we smashed our reading target this year.

Not only have our waistlines grown this year, but our bookshelves have too – with most of us turning to the world of fiction as a form of escapism during the lockdown. From taking on the charts, to getting stuck into a self-help guide full of mindfulness techniques to keep us sane throughout the pandemic – here’s everything we’ve been reading this year, according to Amazon.

Fiction: Top 10

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, Charlie Mackesy

Released just last year, Charlie Mackesy’s beautiful The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse has helped many through the national lockdowns, providing a heart-warming read with beautiful illustrations. And while the read itself is fairly short, it’s a stunning piece of art that’ll take you to a whole new world entirely. The story follows four unlikely friends, as they discover a number of important life lessons. 

Read this if: you need a little bit of magic.

The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman

Richard Osman’s newly released first novel has taken readers by storm this year, taking Amazon’s #2 spot for the entire year in just two months. The comedic murder mystery follows four unlikely friends nearing their 80s who meet weekly to try and solve unsolved murders. But when a murder takes place right on their doorstep, the gang find themselves investigating their first-ever live case.

Read this if: you need a light-hearted laugh.

Where The Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

A truly beautiful book that stole my very own heart this summer, Where The Crawdads Sing is an international bestseller for a reason. Muddling a murder mystery with a love story, the book follows young Kya – who grows up isolated and completely abandoned in the marshlands. Connecting two timelines, readers get to start right at the beginning of her journey, following along as Kya experiences her first-everythings – including her first love. I know its cliché, but I can only describe it as ‘unputdownable’.

Read this if: you want to be hooked.

Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo

A title that’s only increased in popularity during the year-and-a-half since it’s been released, Girl, Woman, Other follows twelve women in the UK – all living in different times, within different social classes and with different struggles. Described as a ‘love song’ to modern Britain and black womanhood, the novel documents the history of Black British women in an engaging, contemporary way that makes it an absolute must-read for 2021.

Read this if: you want to feel enlightened.

The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel

The third book in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror and the Light marks the final instalment, taking readers way back in history to document Cromwell’s rapid rise and fall. The final instalment covers the last four years of his life, taking fans up to his execution.

Read this if: you’re a history buff.

Normal People, Sally Rooney

Another lockdown hit thanks to BBC’s much-loved adaptation, avid readers have been going nuts for Normal People – and as a result, Sally Rooney’s books have been topping the charts for quite some time. Released two years ago, the book marks Rooney’s second novel, following two young lovers as their relationship enters adulthood. The book is a raw, honest and emotional approach to love, which has left readers feeling all the feels as a result.

Read this if: you want to feel all the feels.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri 

Extremely relevant during a time where many are still fleeing for their own safety, The Beekeeper of Aleppo tells the story of a family whose lives have changed drastically as a result of the Syrian Civil War, following as they’re forced to escape their home town – travelling through a broken world and uncovering a number of dangers and heartbreaks along the way.

Read this if: you need a reminder of your determination.

The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides

The first psychological thriller on the list, The Silent Patient tells the gripping story of Alicia Berenson – a woman who’s life and marriage seemed perfect until she shot her husband in the face five times. Never speaking a word again, a criminal psychologist becomes determined to uncover just what happened that night – and why.

Read this if: you love a good mystery.

Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer

A new take on the hit saga, Twilight, Stephenie Meyer is back – this time, re-telling the events of the original books from Edward Cullen’s perspective. Written especially for the self-described ‘Twi-hards’, the book fills the gaps that were missed in the original story, flipping the narrative to help fans re-discover the world of vampires from an actual vampires viewpoint. If you’re looking for a new adventure, then I hate to say – this isn’t it, but if you are looking to re-enter Fawkes with a new narrative to the story we already know and love, then you’ll be pretty chuffed with Midnight Sun.

Read this if: you’re a self-professed Twi-hard.

The Family Upstairs, Lisa Jewell

Full of suspense, twists, turns, you name it – The Family Upstairs follows the gripping story of Libby Jones – who returns home one day to find a letter telling the truth of who she really is. The book follows multiple timelines, taking you right back to the night that a ten-month-old baby is found upstairs crying, while three adults lie dead on the kitchen floor. Honestly, you’ll just have to read it to make sense of it.

Read this if: you need to lose yourself in a world where the pandemic doesn’t exist.

Non-Fiction: Top 10

A Promised Land, Barack Obama

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The memoir of former POTUS Barack Obama, The Promised Land has been a huge hit in the charts since its release last month, and includes a very detailed, personal account of Obama’s journey to becoming President. The first of two volumes, The Promised Land delves right in – starting with Obama’s younger years, before working up to some of the landmark moments from his first term. The beautifully written book proves exactly why Obama will go down in history as one of the most important Presidents of all time.

Read this if: you love Barack Obama.

Mrs Hinch: The Little Book of Lists

This one’s for the die-hard Hinchers. If you follow Mrs Hinch with a close eye, you’ll be pretty familiar with her organisation systems and lists already – and if you want to get in on the action, you’ll want The Little Book of Lists. The book is full of – you guessed it – lists, including Hinch Lists, Fresh’n up Fridays and Tadaa lists.

Read this if: you’re a bit of a clean freak.

This Is Me, Mrs Hinch

Mrs Hinch is undoubtedly riding the wave of success at the moment, with multiple books in the charts and millions of followers in her arsenal. Her biography, This Is Me, unveils a more personal side to the influencer, taking fans right back to her childhood, through to where she is right now.

Read this if: you’re a big fan of Mrs Hinch.

Good Vibes, Good Life, Vex King

Instagrammer Vex King talks self-love in Good Vibes, Good Life – giving readers hope with personal experiences, positive manifestations, and inspiring messages within in his book. If you need a little bit of a lifestyle shakeup, the book has been described as “the guide to mastering self-love, finding purpose and achieving true happiness”, with many claiming the spiritual approach can help to build a more meaningful life.

Read this if: you’re feeling a little bit lost.

 Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race sold out for quite some time during this summer, as the BLM movement gained incredible traction following the tragic death of George Floyd. Reni Eddo-Lodge has created an essential handbook that can only be described as a must-read, with many demanding it is added to the school curriculum following this year’s events. The book explores both eradicated Black history, alongside race relations in Britain today.

Read this if: you want to learn more about both systemic and systematic racism.

Skincare, Caroline Hirons

This one’s for the beauty buffs. Suitable for all ages and skin types, Caroline Hirons has created the ultimate guide to looking after your skin, with expert advice on how to glow from the inside out.

Read this if: you’re obsessed with beauty tips.

This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor, Adam Kay

A book that really caught the attention of book lovers at the beginning of the pandemic, in particular, This Is Going To Hurt is a funny, honest account by Adam Kay – featuring a collection of diary entries that he wrote during his medical training. From the lighthearted, heartwarming moments, to the heartbreaking realities of what it’s like to work on the NHS’ front line, this book is an essential read for anyone looking to understand exactly what it is our NHS workers do for us.

Read this if: you enjoy real-life stories.

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, Florence Given

Sure, it may have a gorgeous book cover, but on the inside, Florence Given provides essential dialogue around the discussion of feminism, taking a no-holds-barred approach to topics such as body image, beauty expectations and the toxic structures of our patriarchal society.

Read this if: you’re looking to explore feminism.

Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living, Glennon Doyle

The book that shook Adele’s brain, Untamed has received ample acclaim for its inspiring content, which tells the story of how Doyle found herself falling in love with another women whilst married with three children. Glennon decided to let go of the world’s expectations of her and reclaim her true untamed self, and the rest, you’ll find in the book.

Read this if: you need a kick up the backside.

Happy: Finding Joy in every day and Letting Go of Perfect, Fearne Cotton

Another self-help guide to get you through the rest of the pandemic, Fearne Cotton continues with the happy vibes in Happy, where she helps readers along with their spiritual journey in escaping their brains to enjoy the simple stuff. And the best part? It was designed to dip into whenever you need a dose of inspiration, helping to keep you on track and feeling good.

Read this if: you need some literary dopamine.

Here’s the top 20 in full:

  1. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, Charlie Mackesy
  2. The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman
  3. Where The Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
  4. Pinch of Nom: Everyday Light
  5. Pinch of Nom: 100 Slimming Home-Style Recipes
  6. A Promised Land, Barack Obama
  7. Code Name Bananas, David Walliams
  8. Mrs Hinch: The Little Book of Lists
  9. Slime, David Walliams
  10. Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo
  11. 7 Ways, Jamie Oliver
  12. Guinness World Records 2021 
  13. Pinch of Nom: Quick and Easy
  14. This Is Me, Mrs Hinch
  15. The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel
  16. Normal People, Sally Rooney
  17. The World’s Worst Parents, David Walliams
  18. Good Vibes, Good Life, Vex King
  19. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge
  20. The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri

See the full top 100 here.

Read more: 10 Lovely Dublin Bookshops That Are Still Delivering During Lockdown