A dusty tome, a gripping page-turner, a fluffy romp – what do these all have in common? Aside from the fact that they are, in fact, books, these three tropes of the printed word hold the ability to transport us to other worlds and different perspectives. In other words, escapism. 

If you’re feeling a hankering for pastures new, and with at-home celebrations for the holidays literally what the doctor ordered, books are your ticket. Soak up time with loved ones, yes, but we also recommend taking some time for yourself. Curling up by a fire and diving into a well-told story is a soothing cup of tea for the soul. To that end, we reached out to our Facebook group Let’s Talk for their favourite reads of 2020, asked around the office (virtually, of course), and even threw in some truly addictive podcasts perfect for long walks. 

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The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 

“Loved it!” - Sally Aycrigg-Tate, a Let’s Talk Facebook member.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. Would you read the permutations of your life’s choices? Nora Seed finds herself faced with this impossible decision. 

Normal People by Sally Rooney 

“Just amazing” - Anita Kalafati, Sahara London Boutique.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship. Adapted by the BBC to stunning popularity this summer, you can read or watch the incredible love story…or both.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

“During the crazy months of the pandemic, to be given the time to reflect and take things slower felt so important. With the BLM movement coming to prominence during the summer, it allowed me to really dedicate time and effort to educate myself on this long-standing and important issue. A year of perspective in many ways, and as confronting as it was, the learnings gained from reading this book and other materials were the most important lessons of 2020 and I will continue to actively seek out more...” - Irena Gordon, Sahara Marketing Manager. 

Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism.

Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert MacFarlane

“An exploration of the Earths underworlds as they exist in myths & literature” - Paulina Harvey, Sahara Human Resources.

Travelling through the dizzying expanse of geologic time—from prehistoric art in Norwegian sea caves, to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come—Underland takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind.

The Nightingale by Kirsten Hannah 

“Has to be one of my favourite books this year, and I have been reading a lot in lockdown!” - Christine Winter, a Let’s Talk Facebook member.

The book tells the story of two sisters in France during World War II, and their struggle to survive and resist the German occupation of France. This epic panorama will also be adapted for the silver screen next year. 


Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

“I am very grateful that the BLM movement for equality and against racism gained broader support this year due to recent protests. I would urge everybody to continue to inform themselves on this topic and can't think of a better gift to give a loved one this year than the gift of knowledge!” - Imogen Love, Sahara Content & Creative Producer.

This joint winner of the Man Booker Prize 2019 follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry

“I have loved this cookbook through lockdown, it’s like I was travelling to Italy or France with every meal and gave me a reason to cook delicate and beautiful, not but overly complicated food at home. Something to look forward to on the weekend.” - Irena Gordon, Sahara Marketing Manager.

 

Eat Green: Everyday flexitarian recipes to shop smart, waste less and make a difference - Melissa Helmsley

“I love this cookbook. It’s got great recipes if you want to reduce your meat intake, and every recipe is really flexible; if you are missing an ingredient, she gives other options to use. I’ve used it loads and not had a bad meal from it!” - Jules Garside, Head of Retail Operations.

We all want to enjoy delicious food that’s good for us, simple to make and affordable enough to cook every day, but we also want to reduce our impact on our planet. This beautiful, practical cookbook shows you how.

You’re Wrong About by Hosts Michael Hobbes & Sarah Marshall

“I love podcasts or books that expose information contrary to accepted wisdom. Not only is this one fascinating and an epic conversation starter, but suits perfectly those who, like me, can sometimes be stubbornly contrary.” - Justine Houghton, Sahara Creative Copywriter.

Mike and Sarah are journalists obsessed with the past. Every week they reconsider a person or event that's been miscast in the public imagination. Perfect for learning an alternative take on accepted public impression, this is the ultimate long walk listen. 

The Goop Podcast by Hosts Gwyneth Paltrow and Elise Loehnen

“I love exploring important topics that push me out of my comfort zone and further into my fullest potential. I love the Goop podcast and would recommend it to anybody with a curious, open mind.” - Imogen Love, Sahara Content & Creative Producer.

Listen for informal chats with leading thinkers, culture changers, and industry disruptors—from doctors to creatives, CEOs to spiritual healers—about shifting old paradigms and starting new conversations.