Earlier this week, we bought you some of the choices made by Warwickshire Libraries’ staff for their ‘Books of 2020’. In this bonus blog, we’re going to let you in on the favourite books mentioned during our Virtual Reading Group, held earlier this week.

We met to discuss the books we’d read in 2020. Some were titles that made us think and kept us entertained during what has been an eventful year. Some have stayed in our thoughts since we turned the last page, while others left a general impression of having been enjoyed (and there were a few mentioned that some in the group weren’t so keen on but they are mentioned here as we all like different books and it would be wrong to leave them out!)

Below are the titles we mentioned during the session. Some will be on BorrowBox, as either eBooks or eAudio titles, while others you can search for on our catalogue and borrow from your local library.

We started our discussions with a quick icebreaker, talking about the fictional worlds we’d most like to live in. The Discworld from Terry Pratchett’s massive series of fantasy novels was mentioned, as was Middle Earth (though only after the battles had ceased). Nevermoor, the fictional world of Jessica Townsend’s Morrigan Crow series was championed for its magic and mystery, while the remote island bought so vividly to life in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ got a vote. The worlds created by Matt Haig in two of his novels also got the thumbs up – ‘How To Stop Time’ and ‘The Midnight Library’.

We then made a start on our favourite titles so without further ado, here’s a list of them all (in no particular order):

‘I Carried a Watermelon’ by Katy Brand

‘Behind Her Eyes’ by Sarah Pinborough

‘The Vanishing Half’ by Brit Bennett

‘The Mirror and the Light’ by Hilary Mantel

‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell

‘The Second Sleep’ by Robert Harris

‘The Plague’ by Albert Camus

‘1984’ by George Orwell

‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ by Christy Lefteri

Any book by Victoria Hislop

‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens

‘The Mercies’ by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

After sharing the above and explaining why each was a memorable read and who we’d recommend it to, we then had a ‘lightening round’. Everyone had 30 seconds to sell another of their favourite books to the group. The titles chosen included ‘One Family Christmas’ by Bella Osborne, ‘The Fever Tree’ by Jennifer McVeigh, ‘The Lido’ by Libby Page, ‘The Relentless Moon’ by Mary Robinette Kowal, ‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead and the ‘Dolly Parton’ edition of the ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ series.

After a breather, we returned to discussing other books we’d read in 2020, some of which divided opinion:

‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ by Heather Morris

‘The Flatshare’ and ‘The Switch’, both by Beth O’Leary.

‘A Deadly Education’ by Naomi Novik

‘Normal People’ and ‘Conversations With Friends’, both by Sally Rooney

‘Sweet Sorrow’ by David Nicholls (as well as a quick mention for his other novels ‘One Day’ and ‘Us’)

Novels by Lesley Glaister

‘The Silk Weaver’ by Liz Trenow

‘Mice’ by Gordon Reece

‘Queenie’ by Candice Carty-Williams

‘The Only Good Indians’ by Stephen Graham Jones

‘Monster She Wrote’ by Lisa Kroger and Melanie R Anderson

‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you’re looking for reading inspiration, we hope that’s given you a few ideas to try. Each one mentioned was memorable to our readers and stayed with them after the last chapter was read.

If you’d like to join our Virtual Reading Group, we meet monthly via Microsoft Teams. You can find the details of the latest planned meeting on our Eventbrite page.

If you’re just getting started with BorrowBox, or need any help at all, you can email us at libraryenquiryteam@warwickshire.gov.uk. Alternatively, we have two videos – one about getting started which you can view here and a second with tips and tricks for making the most of BorrowBox, available to view here. This includes the all-important ‘hit return’ – when you’ve finished with a title, please hit the return link in your ‘My Loans’ list so that the next reader can enjoy the title.

You can also read our earlier blog post to ensure you’re a BorrowBox whizz, including finding out how to adjust the font, font size and background when reading eBooks and change the playback speed when listening to eAudio books to ensure you get a reading/listening experience that suits you.

We’d love to hear your favourite books of 2020 so do let us know in the comments.

Happy Reading!