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Recent English and history graduate, Jade Connell Carroll started a podcast, Aboutabook, to share her love of books ...

Jade Connell Carroll's top 10 reads of 2020

Hi! My name is Jade Connell Carroll, and I’m from Malahide. I have loved reading since I was a kid, there were always books on my Santa list! Recently I started a bi-weekly podcast called Aboutabook. On the show, I talk about famous author’s lives, and the historical background behind books. I was inspired to start the podcast after I graduated this year after finishing my English and History degree at UCD. I wanted to blend my two interests and share my passion with others. Here is a list of my favorite books I read this year, and many of them feature on the podcast.

Jade's top 10 reads

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I read a lot of Gothic novels this year, and this was my favourite! The writing was beautiful and I bookmarked so many quotes. It also gave me renewed appreciation for the Kate Bush song!

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

I read this as part of “Our City Our Books” and loved it. It had a similar dark tone to Wuthering Heights. When I reached the last few chapters, I couldn't put it down. I always like to read the book before watching the movie, so I have yet to see the latest Netflix adaptation.

A Classical Education by Caroline Taggart

I picked up this book because I have always been interested in Ancient Civilizations and Mythology. If you want to learn more about these topics, this book is a great place to start. It also discusses how the ancient world influenced our world today in a casual and funny way.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I read this for Halloween and it certainly got me in the spooky spirit! I was of course very familiar with the character, but I didn’t know much about the plot. It got me particularly interested in the Irish roots behind Dracula, and so I chose it as the first book to discuss on my podcast.

Madonna: An Intimate Biography of an Icon by J. Randy Taraborrelli

I chose to review this book as part of my History and Biography class while in college. I thought I was a Madonna superfan, but there was so much information in this book I didn’t know. It was really well researched and traced the highs and lows of her career and personal life.

Overcoming: A Memoir by Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan

I have been following Vicky Phelan’s story ever since she was thrown into the public eye, following the CervicalCheck scandal in 2018. She has led such a remarkable life and I am even more amazed by her strength after reading her memoir.

If Only by Melanie Murphy

I have been following Irish Youtuber, Melanie Murphy on social media for years. Her debut fiction novel explores the “what if” scenarios we all think about. It was a fun summer read, pure escapism!

Animal Farm by George Orwell

This book had been on my list for a while, and I understand why it is deemed a classic! I did a whole class on the Russian revolution so I was particularly interested in this creative allegory. It was also the shortest book Iread this year.

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This is another book about mythology. It’s actually intended for younger kids, but I loved it! It’s about a young boy who discovers that he is the son of the sea God Poseidon. The story follows him as he goes on a quest across America to catch a thief who has stolen Zeus’ lightning bolt. It’s the first book in the series and I think I will continue to read the rest.

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker.

The story focuses on the life of African-American women in the Southern United States in the 1930s. I really enjoyed this book because the issues explored in the novel, such as racism, gender and class are still so relevant today.

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