Our 11 Most Popular Blog Posts of the Notable Year That Was 2020

Our 11 Most Popular Blog Posts of the Notable Year That Was 2020

Tuesday, 29 December, 2020

There’s no reason to candy-coat it: 2020 was a rubbish year, and we’ll be happy to put it in the rearview mirror. On the upside, however, it was also a year filled with books that gave us challenging characters and happy endings and surprise plot twists and armchair travel.

And 2020 brought us you.

According to our most popular blog posts of the last 12 months, you, dear readers, are a bunch of weirdos. In the best way. You loved our posts about Edward Gorey and the Codex Gigas and Gothic manor house stories — which you know is like a bullet train into our hearts.

Here are our top 11 posts of 2020. Feel free to hit up the comments if there’s something you’d love to see in 2021.


1. Welcome Yule with The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper

a red cardinal sitting a snowy branch
Photo courtesy of Ray Hennessy/Unsplash.

The shortest day, the longest night, the transition to deep midwinter — the winter solstice is a powerful date on the calendar. This moving poem by British author Susan Cooper captures its magic and was our most visited post of the year. {more}


2. 13 Books We Love Set in the Library Because Libraries Are the Best

the atrium of the austrian national library
Photo courtesy of BGSImage/Shutterstock.

For readers, the book-lined shelves of libraries and archives are a dreamy backdrop for stories that resonate. These novels and nonfiction titles explore the drama, adventure, and history of our favorite bookish places. {more}


3. Podcaster and Author Anne Bogel Recommends Six Books with a Strong Sense of Place

podcaster anne bogel sitting at her desk

Anne Bogel has excellent taste in books, and her podcast What Should I Read Next? is a must-listen around our house. She took on our challenge and recommended six genre-spanning books for armchair travelers. {more}


4. 100+ Great Books for the Armchair Travel You Need Right Now

british bulldog sitting on a couch with throw pillows
Photo courtesy of Paolo Nicolello/Unsplash.

Let these stories whisk you away to the beaches of Mexico or the castles of Prague, to Japan or Morocco and the Sea, to a country manor house or a delightfully spooky place that makes the real world tame in comparison. {more}


5. 5 Gothic Novels That Feature Moody Houses and Haunted Heroines

black and white illustration of haunted house

From classics Jane Eyre and ‘Northanger Abbey to Agatha Christie and Tana French, the creaky halls and haunted histories of manor houses are the ideal backdrop for secrets, ghosts, betrayal, and romance. {more}


6. Visiting the Codex Gigas (Devil’s Bible) at the National Library of Sweden

the codex gigas lying open on a table
Photo courtesy of Paolo Nicolello/Unsplash.

A sinful but repentant monk, an assist from the devil, an 800-year-old book, potential madness, and a rivalry between Bohemia and Sweden. This story of the Codex Gigas, also known as The Devil’s Bible, has everything. {more}


7. 14 Inspiring and Imaginative Instagram Accounts to Take You Around the World

the facade of the hotel europa in prague against a blue sky
Photo courtesy of Radomir Rezny/Shutterstock.

It’s never a bad time to gaze on beautiful historical libraries, unusual bookshops, archival photos, or travel pics that transport you to somewhere else in an instant. These Instagram accounts inspire our imaginations. {more}


8. 15 Books That Capture the Magic and Mystery of Prague

aerial view of prague castle at night
Photo courtesy of Paolo Nicolello/Unsplash.

Prague’s stunning architecture and magical atmosphere make it one of Europe’s must-visit cities. But we love it because it’s full of stories. Everywhere you look, there’s a tale to be told, a mystery to unravel. {more}


9. 7 Great Novels That Go Behind The Scenes at Restaurants

chic restaurant interior
Photo courtesy of Cloris Ying/Unsplash.

The heat of a restaurant kitchen is a delicious catalyst for the drama inherent in professional rivalry, found family, true love, and everything in between. There’s nothing quite like food to bring people together. {more}


10. The Delightful and Diabolical World of Edward Gorey

black and white portrait of edward gorey in a fur coat

In honor of what would have been American artist Edward Gorey’s 95th birthday, we invite you to creep into his gleefully macabre world of Victorian manor houses, elegant characters, with plenty of murder and mayhem. {more}


11. 13 Must-Read Books If You Wish You Were in Paris Right Now

notre dame cathedral in paris
Photo courtesy of Antonio Magrì/Unsplash.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Paris is always a good idea. That’s why we’re recommending 13 books that are like a magic portal to Paris. Wouldn’t you enjoy a virtual trip to the city by the Seine? {more}

Top image courtesy of Harrison Moore/Unsplash.

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keep reading

Deanna Raybourn is the author of the irresistible Veronica Speedwell and Lady Julia Grey series of romantic suspense novels. She took on our challenge and recommended her favorite books with a strong sense of place.
Tina Hartas founded TripFiction because she knows, as we do, that reading books set in far-flung locales is a lovely way to armchair travel and prep for real-world adventure. Here are her top picks for great books.
Set in Sweden, Scotland, England, Canada, and Salem, Massachusetts, these stories place memorable characters in dire circumstances so we can live vicariously — and safely — through them. Welcome home.
In literature (and life), a home is often seen as a reflection of a person's status, motivation and values — a nifty shorthand for conveying character. The stately manors in these six classics speak volumes.
These books — set between the two world wars — feature houses that could be a safe haven for the characters, if it weren't for all the tension, the close quarters, the haunted feelings, and oh, yeah... muuuurder.
With most of us home 24/7 with a variety of real-life characters, now is an excellent time to turn to fictional friends. They're entertaining, inspiring, and very human. Basically, the perfect quarantine companions.⁠

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