2020 Reading Stats & Resolutions for 2021

I had set myself the goal of reading 40 books in 2020, and I managed to read 54! I’m very happy about this as I was afraid working and lockdown would affect my reading negatively, but in the end I read nearly 17,000 pages in 2020 – which is so amazing and frankly, a little scary.

I have read some truly amazing books last year, and I wrote an article about my 10 favourite ones over there. I have also discovered audiobooks, and this has been life-changing for me. I now listen to wonderful stories when working, cooking, or even tidying. And all for free, as I mostly use the BorrowBox app with my local library.

I really wanted to share my reading stats with you because it is mostly an excuse for me to talk about a website I’ve only recently discovered: The Storygraph. It works a little bit like Goodreads in that that it allows you to track your reading and the books you want to read. However, it does have a few exciting features that I know many Goodreads users are very much asking for. First of all, you can rate books by 0.25 – so if you want to rate a book 4.25 or 3.5, you can! Also, there are four status available for each book: to read, currently reading, read, and did not finish. I love that DNFing a book doesn’t have to be counted as read or not, but you can actually record your attempt at reading a book and explain why you didn’t like it at the moment you read it. There are also tons of reading challenges created by the community, which are very fun and you can add your books to the prompts so that you can have a clear vision of your TBR pile for that particular challenge. The stats are pretty fabulous as well. I put some of the books I read in 2020 into the app and here are my stats so far (click on the pictures to see them fully):

I find those charts very satisfying, I confess! As you can see, it’s a great website if you are a mood reader because there is a real emphasis on moods in reviews and recommendations. Personally, this is perfect for me and so I thought I would share it in an article – should it interest anyone.

Anyway, time for reading resolutions! I set myself the goal to read 50 books this year. I want to read more French novels as well, I sometimes feel like I’m losing my French, which isn’t true because it’s my first language after all, but I’m definitely more comfortable in English. I want to feel more at ease when writing in French, and there is such a wealth of literature in this language that I would love to share it on this blog.

I am also taking part in the 2021- Previously owned TBR Reading Challenge on The Storygraph because I really want to read the books I already own, and ~maybe~ buy a little less books. As long as I live in a small studio flat, I think I really need to stop buying so many books… which is definitely something I say every year but always miserably fail at!

Did you take some reading resolutions this year? Please let me know if you’re taking part in any challenges, I would love to discover some more!

Sunday Post #16

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog

You can find the original post here.

First Sunday Post of the year! I took a little break at the end of the year because I was with my fmily in France and really wanted to make the most of it. I am back this week, and I have some ideas for new articles on my blog… I hope you will like them!

I think we can all agree that 2021 did not start in the best way possible, so I hope everyone is okay out there. I will try my best to focus on the positive this year – no matter how hard it might get.

This weekend I baked galette des rois, which is a traditional French dessert we eat during the first weekend of January to celebrate the arrival of the Kings who came to visit Jesus. It’s basically puff pastry and frangipane, so it’s very easy to make – here’s a recipe if you’d like to try (no need to put liquor in the almond cream). There is always a little figurine (originally a broad bean) inside the cake, and the one who finds this little present in their slice is crowned the King or Queen for the day. I am not religious but this dessert is one of my favourites as it brings back great memories, so I love to bake one every January. It didn’t look beautiful, but tasted delicious:

I’ve read and finished

Currently Reading

Damian Albarn – Everyday Robots (arguably not the happiest song to start the year, but it is so beautiful!)

Have a great week, and happy reading! x

Stacking the Shelves #5

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s reviews and you can find the original post here, for more details and guidelines.

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I haven’t bought many books in December (compared to my usual buying rhythm!), and the ones I have bought indeed are in French. That’s simply because I was visiting my family in France for the better part of last month! Looking back, I wonder why I came back to England so quickly in the New Year… In any case, I will link to an English version of the French books if they have been translated, so you can have a look for yourself and maybe enjoy some French lit!

A YA novel about a young farmer at the end of the 19th century, on the outskirts of Paris, who dreams about plants and freedom
Available in English at Waterstones
Available in English at Waterstones

This last one is actually a set of three books presenting pioneering women photographers from the invention of this art form to today. This was a Christmas present from my boyfriend, and I think it’s just perfect because I can read it everywhere and the photographs inside are still beautiful – despite the small format.

I will try not to buy a lot of books this month… I’ve already bought one so this isn’t going very well, I guess! What about you? Any book buying resolutions for 2021?

Top 10 Books of 2020

I was lucky enough to read some great books this year and if I’m honest, it was hard to pick only a few so that’s why I ended up with a list of ten. I love them all equally so the list is in no particular order.

Daisy Jones & The Six is one of the most atmospheric books I have ever read. This is the story of a rock band in the 1970s, told by the members themselves in a series of interviews all collated together to tell a story. Honestly, it is the best form to talk about a band like this so that every member’s personnality shines through their words. I was just sad the songs were not real.

I love history – especially the Victorian era – and I like true crime, so obviously one of the things I love most to learn about is historical true crime. But you know what’s even better than this? Paying a tribute to the women who lived in grim conditions to end their lives in a horrendous manner, only to be forgotten by the media and history because they were ‘only’ prostitutes. Hallie Rubenhold shows in this book that most of Jack the Ripper’s victims were not, in fact, sex workers but even if they were, they deserve to be remembered and their lives should be celebrated, not their deaths. This is a really fantastic book that’s very accessible, even if you’re not fully aware of the Victorian period in general. I thought it was very engrossing and I read it in a matter of days. It taught me so much about working class history, especially on the side of women which is often discarded by historians. I would also like to add that it isn’t graphic as the author doesn’t really mention the killings themselves, but there are explicit mentions of physical and alchohol abuse.

Bill Naughton was a playwright who wrote the popular play, Alfie (adapted into film 1966, with Michael Caine – would recommend this film!). He was born in Ireland, but grew up in Bolton, an industrial town in Lancashire. In this book, he recalls growing there in the 1920s and working at the cotton mill as a young boy. I got this book for my boyfriend originally, because he is from Bolton and wanted to know more about the past of his hometown, but I ended up reading it and absolutely loving it. Like The Five it’s a very interesting account of working class daily life, and in Naughton’s memoir you can also see what impact time and globalisation had on Northern industrial towns.

This is going to sound strange but I’m not sure why I loved this book so much, but it haunted me for weeks after reading it. I loved all the characters of this book and thought Celeste Ng’s writing was perfectly balanced. What I mean is that she is always fair to her characters even if they are someimes ridiculous or just bad. I haven’t watched the TV show yet, because the book is still so fresh in my mind I’m afraid to be disappointed – but I really want to give it a go this year!

The End of Eddy in English

I wrote a rather extensive review on this one earlier this year so I don’t want to repeat myself too much. I just loved this short novel so incredibly much because it was very raw and honest, and it felt so close to me on aspects of class and ambition, which I have always felt quite alone about when I was younger. If you’re looking to read some translated fiction this year, then please do read The End of Eddy.

Another book I reviewed at length, and I may or may not haave annoyed everyone with my love for this gorgeous novel. It’s so beautiful and lyrical, I can’t recommend it enough.

I have seen this book everywhere on bookstagram and it was definitely worth the hype. The Vanishing Half is the heartbreaking story of two sister with completely different lives and it broaches so many important issues that I find it actually educational. I have reviewed it on here, so please give it a read if you want to know more.

Another very important book that I wish I had seen more people talk about this year. Just thinking of this novel makes me want to cry, but it is the perfect example to understand why we need a movement such as Black Lives Matter. I talk about it in more details in a review, where I tried my best not to get too emotional.

2020 marked my discovery of a very little-known author called Stephen King. I don’t know if you’ve heard about him, but he really is quite good. ‘Salem’s Lot is a small American town suffering from a vampire invasion. I love vampires, so I was really excited to read this story. In the end, what I truly loved was King’s representation of small town mentality by representing various characters hour by hour during the same day. I read some reviews and it appears that’s what people hate bout the book, but I’m always partial to a good backstory and a fountain of details – which probably explains why I love Victorian literature so much.

In the aftermath of my Victorian Literature master, I didn’t manage to read a lot of classics last year. However, the one I read also turned out to be one of my favourite books ever. I always thought this wouldn’t be a book for me for some reason (not sure why!), but I was completely wrong. This novel is so intense and creepy, don’t believe the adaptations you’ve seen of it and just read it!

I sincerely hope that I get read as many great books in 2021. Did you read some great things last year? Please share your recommendations in the comments!


I know that most of us want to completely forget the past year and focus on a possibly brighter year ahead. 2020 was bleak and even though I was fortunate enough to not be affected by the pandemic in terms of loss and work, I still felt the heavy weight of this year on my shoulders. However I have to say that I have learnt a lot about many different things this year and so I really wanted to properly say goodbye to what has been a pivotal year for all of us.

I tend to only broach this topic during my yearly check-ins and I was really hesitant to mention that this year because it is something very personal. But I have mentioned this before and I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of their struggles – we need to speak out more on mental issues. As I said, I have hinted at this before but I’ve been struggling with my mental health for quite a while now, and I started the year in a very bad place. I had been hunting for jobs during the last half of 2019 but couldn’t find anything. I had to accept the fact that I wouldn’t get a great job straight out of uni, and so I applied to literally every entry-level job I saw. I was in a very bad place financially and I’m not someone who copes well with uncertainty and having no purpose, so this was a very difficult time. I then found a job and it was nice to get a little bit of money in the bank but I knew from the beginning it wouldn’t do.

When lockdown started in March, I struggled even more because I felt like my whole life was my job in recruitment and I didn’t even like it that much. In the day, I would look at CVs, cover letters and job descriptions. In the evening, I would edit my CV, write cover letters and look at job descriptions to get a job in publishing. It was all very repetitive, and I think my brain assimilated the two and I started getting very upset when someone would get hired at work because it felt like everyone was getting their dream jobs but me (which I know is completely ludicrous as 2020 has been terrible for many who lost their jobs and struggled to find a new one). I just felt so sad and empty, I couldn’t even sleep properly anymore.

I was on the waiting list for therapy all that time and I finally got assigned to a therapist in the Spring. It helped me so very much – I can’t stress that enough. It sounds silly but being confronted with your own thoughts and words on paper or in someone else’s mouth makes everything sounds completely different. I realised what was wrong and what I needed to do to let go of unhelpful thoughts. I am still working hard at giving up my old thinking pattern, but I already feel so much more like myself – something I hadn’t felt in years. The NHS is a wonderful system and we need to applaud it – not at our windows, but by voting for people that would fund it properly. I would’ve never been able to get the help I needed if it wasn’t for the NHS, and I know this is the case for many, many people in the UK.

In the summer, I’ve also been accepted into the Society of Young Publishers mentorship program, SYP Into, to help people get into publishing. I got paired with the most helpful and lovely mentor, and I’m so glad I got to meet such a wonderful person during such a grim year. I feel a lot more confident that I can get a publishing job and I’ve even had several interviews since I became a mentee. I also learnt a lot about what I want and don’t want in my career, and I think that’s really useful because when we start we tend to accept everything and that’s how we end up being taken advantage of. Publishing is a very competitive industry though, and it’s been even worse this year, but I’m hopeful I will find something for me this year.

Finally, last year I started this blog and photography again – two hobbies that are very dear to my heart. It’s been a joy to share my love of books on here again. I have taken a break recently because I’m still not quite healed yet and I know now that it’s better to just stop and rest, than desperately trying to exhaust myself and go around in circles. I have spent the holidays with my family in France, which was lovely as I hadn’t seen them for a whole year! I’m back in the UK and in quarantine now, so I hope to be able to bring some nice content in the coming weeks.

This was quite personal, but it’s nice to check-in every now and then. I hope you all have a good year, may it be filled with laughter and great books!

Sunday Post #15

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog

You can find the original post here.

This week was especially rubbish at work, but it made me even more motivated to apply for publishing jobs. I am also really looking forward to be back in France with my family next Wednesday, and enjoy a soothing Christmas break. I say ‘soothing’ but my teenage siblings seem to have planned a whole schedule of things to do together so I might not have much time to rest! But being with them and our pets will be perfect to get energised before the new year.

I’ve read and finished

This is the French translation of stories by Junji Ito, incuding ‘The Story of the Mysterious Tunnel’

Currently Reading

Sister Sledge – He’s The Greatest Dancer (I’ve been exclusively listening to my disco playlist this week because there is no better remedy to low mood!)

Have a great week, and happy reading! x

Book Review: Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (2020)

Nina is a 32-year-old food writer who’s at a point in her life where everything is slowly changing around her. She’s one of the last in her friendship group to be single whilst her best friend is married and expecting a second child. Her mother is getting really involved with various trends and her father is suffering from dementia. On the night of her 32nd birthday, Nina sets up a profile on an online dating website and starts talking with Max. At the end of their first date Max tells Nina that he will marry her (YES, I know, that’s what we commonly call a big old red flag 🚩). They date for a few months and gradually Max disappears from Nina’s life…

Like most millennial women, I love The High Low podcast (which sadly ended last week) and its two host, Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton. I think they’re both funny and I like the way they think. I read Dolly’s memoir Everything I Know About Love a couple of years ago, but I did not like it. To be honest, I never finished it and ended up donating it to my local charity shop so that someone could give it some love. I know this has been very popular and many women could relate to Dolly’s early life, but I really could not bear to read it further. I liked the writing style but Alderton’s experience is too far remote from my own experience, and I really do struggle reading about people who stubbornly choose to do the wrong thing – and there was also way too much drinking, which is fair enough for her but a personal trigger for me. This book made me so angry, I thought it’d be wiser to stop reading it. Nonetheless, I really like Dolly Alderton and her writing so I was really excited to read her debut novel, Ghosts, which focuses on modern dating and ghosting – this phenomenon where someone suddenly stops replying to your messages and calls. This is something I have experienced and it’s so strange and confusing… you never know what actually happened to the person – they could be dead for all you know – but they’re still very present in your head.

Of course, since the title hints at several ghosts, Nina is haunted by much more than the absence of Max. There is first her dad and the ghost of who he used to be, then there is her best friend and the ghost of their friendship, and finally the ghost of Nina’s past when everything seemed easier and sweeter. I am a little younger than Nina but I could really relate to this period of confusion she experiences, feeling apart from her friends, and at a loss when it comes to her family. I think that her relationship with her mum was especially interesting because you can tell that they do love each other, but they have an extremely complicated relationship and deal with the crisis in completely different ways. Their relationship felt very real and strong, it’s not often that I read about a beautifully nuanced mother/daughter relationship.

To me Ghosts is like one of those romcoms from the 80s/90s that can be very funny and romantic, but have more depth than you would first expect. We really needed a 21st century version, so thank you Dolly Alderton! This is a very modern novel in the fact that it portrays a realistic version of online dating. It’s not too exaggerated and over the top as you can sometimes see, but technology and texts are an essential element of Nina’s life – as it is for most of us. I was a little scared that online dating would be represented in a silly, exaggerated way but it really is well depicted – the strangeness of it all and the magic that happens when you finally click with someone. Obviously, this is all the more traumatising when the person you are dating stops responding altogether and you have no idea whether they’re still alive. I experienced something similar in a friendship and the way Nina feels was so vividly portrayed, I felt I was back a few years ago wondering what I could have possibly done wrong to hurt this friend who suddenly stopped talking to me. Like Nina, you feel at a loss as to why Max decided to disappear from her life because he was about to meet her parents and had just told her that he loved her. And then suddenly, nothing.

Since Ghosts is a modern take on the traditional romcom, the ending might not necessarily be satisfying for everyone. I thought Alderton’s message was very uplifting but there were a few things at the end that made me frown a little, I think we could’ve easily done without those… and I’m pretty sure that anyone who’s read this book will know what I’m talking about. Overall I liked Nina’s story but as I would like watching a feel-good film on a rainy afternoon, and I’m not sure I will remember much from it in a few months. I still would recommend reading this novel, you’ll spend a nice time in its company but don’t expect too much from it, just take it as it is – a pleasant read about modern dating and friendship.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish – The Writing Styles of Classics & Contemporaries

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

You can find more details about it here.

I haven’t read lots of classics this year, but this is actually what I tend to prefer reading. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I love history, and so there’s no better way to immerse yourself in a historical period than to read a book written then. There is also something about the language that is completely different. Yes, it is a little trickier to read but I find the writing style so much more beautiful, in general. It’s often that I read a chapter from a Victorian novel and don’t really pay attention to the plot because I’m too engrossed in the lyrical quality of the text. Of course, this is not always true and I can feel the same way for book that were recently published. Also, I love descriptions, context, backstories, and lots and lots of insignificant details – which is something that I can really only find in classics, in general.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

That being said, I love reading contemporaries as well but for different reasons. I get different things from different books, which sounds obvious I know, but it’s so true! Contemporary novels allow me to find characters I can relate to a little bit more, and they allow me to get in touch with the world that surrounds me. I like to read them to make sense of my own experience as well, and understand why I feel the way I do. They also enable me to see our society through someone else’s eyes, someone from a different background or country. 

Even though classics are my absolute favourites, I don’t think they should necessarily be prioritised at school. Literature should be made enjoyable to students, and I know that it’s difficult to get enthused about books after studying the same five old dead white men all your life. Of course, authors like Shakespeare and Dickens are at the basis of the English-speaking world’s pop culture, but would it not make sense to also study more contemporary writers who represent another part of the population? We need to introduce more varied texts in the curriculum, written by women, working class and BAME authors. I think we also need to make sure that each of this text is compelling and thought-provoking. Reading is so, so important and needs to be promoted a lot more at school because it teaches us to think critically – something more important than ever.

Well, I got a bit carried away there, but this is  a topic I’m really passionate about! I was really thinking about this when I read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, earlier this year. I think it would be such a great book to study at school since it tackles so many important topics. I think this is a book that could potentially become a classic in a few decades, but maybe I’m biased because I loved it so much.

Do you prefer classics, contemporaries or both? I would love to know everyone’s thoughts on this topic and if you do too, you should definitely check Rukky’s and Dani’s posts to find out more.

November Wrap Up

This will be a very short one from me, I’m afraid. I’ve really struggled to read last month, and when I did I decided to read the longest book in the world: Les Misérables. My attention span was so bad I couldn’t even listen to audiobooks, which I really missed. Anyway, here’s what I read in November!

I finished The Woman in Black on the 1st of November, and it was a perfect Halloween read. I think Susan Hill recreated the atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story so well, and I was hooked! The story takes place in a small village, where the narrator has to go for business. He needs to sort out the papers of an old woman who’s just passed away, and who loved in a remote house. Everyone in the village seems very eager to see him leave as soon as possible, especially after he starts seeing a pale woman dressed in black around the village… This is a wonderful little book, very spooky and atmospheric. It’s great to read around Christmas as well, as ghost stories would be quite popular for this time of year during the Victorian era.

I definitely want to talk more about this book in a review some time soon. It’s a very modern and refreshing comedy, which deals with dating sites, and growing old. I was really excited to read this novel because I like Dolly Alderton and I think ghosting is such a relevant topic for a 21st century romantic comedy. I think the despair and utter loss coming from that is perfectly portrayed in this book, and I would highly recommend it if you need a little pick-me-up.

Now, I did NOT finish Les Misérables. I have yet to read the two last parts of the novel, but I decided to take a break (after over 700 pages). Not that I don’t like the book or I’m sick of reading it; on the contrary, it’s one of the best thing I’ve ever read. I just wanted to read other things around Christmas, partly because I have books I am dying to read, partly because I want some great content for this blog. But wow, what a beautiful novel! I love the fact that the plot is so compelling but that Hugo always interrupts the action to give some historical and political context. I have cried a few times already, but that was to be expected.

I hope to have a little more books to talk about next month! How was your reading in November? I feel like a lot of people struggled this past month. Hopefully, we’ll all feel better thanks to the festive period!

Bookish Gift Guide

There are two things I love doing in my free time: reading and browsing websites to find beautiful things. It’s a little bit of a problem, really. I spend hours looking at books, clothes and various random things that I find beautiful, but I actually never buy them (well, sometimes but very rarely!). I just like looking at them. For that reason, I love gift guides because they gather all these pretty items in one place for me to admire. I thought I would try my hand at those this year, although I know that there are so many gift guides out there already. Hopefully, you will find my personal touch a nice addition!

Last time, I shared some books that would make a great present for Christmas. Today, I thought I would share some bookish accessories and gifts that would please every bookworm in the world.


I think bookmarks are a perfect gift if you’re shopping on a budget or doing a Secret Santa because they’re always useful, and there are some amazing designs out there. I especially like these hilarious bookmarks from BookmarkBoys on Etsy. Each bookmark costs £3.75 but you can get a bundle of 3 for £10 – perfect for someone who’s always reading several books at once!

A book-inspired notebook

Everyone loves a good notebook, and Country House Library has the most beautiful selection of notebooks with vintage book covers. I also love Paperblanks notebooks as they are extremely luxurious journals which you can close and that have a pocket to put loose papers. They’re also beautiful and I have gifted a few in the past few years… to myself!

Writing Sets

I think that most people who love to read equally love to write. As we not be able to see all our friends and relatives for a few more months, writing letters might a nice way to make communication a little special. If you’re looking for something to gift to a Jane Austen fan, then look no further: this stationery set is just perfect. It seems to be quite popular, though so I have linked it in three places in case it runs out!

Waterstones | Blackwell’s | Amazon

Bookish Clothing

It’s not often that you come across bookish clothing that is both cute and stylish. Joanie Clothing managed to do just that, and they have a wonderful selection of bookish slogan tops to choose from. They go up to a size 22, which also a great bonus! My personal favourites are their famous Avid Readers Club sweater, their Read More Books t-shirt, and 1984 sweatshirt.

Something from a Museum Gift Shop

If you know that your bookworm is particularly fan of a specific famous/old author, it’s definitely worth checking the museum’s online gift shop. You will find beautiful gifts there, and you will help supporting a museum in what has been a very tricky year. You can also make a donation to the foundation, in the name of the person you’re offering this donation to. I linked to the Bronte Parsonage Museum because it’s a very special place to me, but all museums have an oline shop.

I hope this little guide will have provided you with some inspiration – if not for this Christmas, then next year. You can also definitely pick from this list to treat yourself, I won’t tell!