Picture this: It’s a quiet, summer afternoon. Perfect for kicking back with a cool drink and a good book. But which book? We asked everyone at the Library for their favourite reads of the year to help you out – but be warned, you might just end up with an even harder decision to make about what to read next!
More than one of our librarians got stuck into a series this year, including Lorraine, who devoured Dervla McTiernan’s Cormac Reilly novels. Jill relived some classic Euro-crime with the Commissario Brunetti books by Donna Leon, while Andrew worked his way through nine of the eleven books in the Expeditionary Force series. Tric, meanwhile, personally helped the latest Jack Reacher novel, The Sentinel, fly off the shelves, and Petrina got stuck into the latest Stephanie Plum novel, Twisted 26.
Crime and mystery proved popular again this year, with Yasmine getting ready to read Tara Moss’ The War Widow over the break, as well some classic Agatha Christie titles. Petrina recommended I catch killers: The life and many deaths of a homicide detective by Gary Jubelin, Other crime fiction that topped the list this year included The last voyage of Mrs Henry Parker (Annette), Troubled blood and The survivors (both Lorraine), Joel Dicker’s The truth about the Harry Quebert affair (Tric), and The Dry, by Jane Harper (Lauren H).
Some of the books on our lists were repeat offenders, with Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu and Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine both making their third consecutive appearance on our annual list. Runners-up include The Yield, by Tara June Winch and The day of the triffids, by John Wyndham notching up two back-to-back appearances.
2020 was another strong year for Australian authors at the Library, these were some of our top picks:
- The tap-dancing knife-thrower – Paul Hogan, and The champagne war – Fiona McIntosh (recommended by Julie)
- All our shimmering skies – Trent Dalton, and The dictionary of lost words – Pip Williams (from Adele)
- The single ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village – Joanna Nell (thanks, Annette!)
- The golden maze – Richard Fidler (a literary consolation for Jocelyn’s postponed trip to Prague)
- The world beneath – Cate Kennedy, and Jasper Jones – Craig Silvey (two more for Petrina!)
- Apprentice – Kristen Young (sent in by Lauren H)
- Song of the crocodile – Nardi Simpson (
- Jane: Girl, woman, other – Bernadette Evaristo, On Earth we’re briefly gorgeous – Ocean Vuong, and Utopia Avenue – David Mitchell
- Julieand Karen: The Return – Nicholas Sparks
- Adele: Infinite Splendours – Sophie Laguna, Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark – Julia Baird, In the woods – Tana French, and Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell
- Annette: An almost perfect holiday – Lucy Diamond
- Yasmine: The tiger’s wife – Tea Obrecht
- Jill: Bellwether – Connie Willis, and Double entry: How the merchants of Venice shaped the modern world – and how their invention could make or break the planet – Jane Gleeson-White
- Andrew: Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and World War Z – Max Brooks
- Tric: A gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles
- Petrina: The book of two ways – Jodi Picoult
- Kate: Feel free – Zadie Smith, and Freshwater – Akwaeke Emezi
- Lauren H: The painted bridge – Wendy Wallace
- Siobhonn: In search of Mary Shelley – Fiona Sampson
From everyone here at the Library, we’d like to wish you all the best for the coming year, and a restful, happy break. Whatever you’re reading, we hope it brings you as much joy as these books did us!