We may be a little biased but we know just how important a good book can be to lift your spirits, especially during difficult and overwhelming times such as these. One very positive thing to come out of 2020 is the fabulous array of books, poetry collections and short stories that have been written and shared with the world.

We have compiled a list of our top 10 favourite books to have been released in 2020.

All are available to borrow either from our libraries or as e-books or audiobooks on Borrowbox.

10. The Searcher by Tana French: a mystery novel set in a remote village in rural Ireland.

9. Apeirogon by Colum McCann: meaning ‘infinite number of sides’, Apeirogon is a heart breaking yet wonderfully hopeful story of friendship, loss and belonging.

8. Summer by Ali Smith: the last in Smith’s seasonal quartet, this novel encapsulates the hopefulness that accompanies summer every year.

7. The Motion of the Body Through Space by Lionel Shriver: a fabulously entertaining read about health, ageing and the complexity of human beings.

6. Weather by Jenny Offill: a short but wonderfully insightful novel about librarian Lizzie Benson who tries to juggle life’s pressures.

5. Real Life by Brandon Taylor: an exceptional novel about a young man’s struggle to escape the shadows of his past.

4. The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel: following Thomas Cromwell’s final years, this novel brings the magnificent Wolf Hall trilogy to a close.

3. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: both a family saga and intricate insight into American history, this novel beautifully explores the power of the past to shape a person’s present and future.

2. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell: Winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, Hamnet is a stunning depiction of the timelessness of loss and grief.

1. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart: Booker Prize winning Shuggie Bain is both harrowing and uplifting: a truly unforgettable story of love, addition and belonging. An absolute must read!

What have been your favourite books this year? Share your thoughts with us on social media! Find us on Facebook: @LlyfrgelloeddAuraLibraries Twitter: @LibFlintshire and Instagram @aura.wales

The Aura Book Corner

Our December 2020 book of the month is: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. We love this book so much it has reached the number one spot on our top books of 2020 as well as our book of the month for December 2020!

Hugh ‘Shuggie’ Bain, a caring and lonely little boy, has to grow up quicker than most children. Set in Glasgow in the 1980s, Shuggie spends his childhood trying desperately to care for his mum, who he loves more than anyone else in the world, as she battles against abuse and addiction. Teased and bullied mercilessly in school for being different from the other boys, Shuggie wishes to be ‘normal’. As Shuggie’s siblings strive for a fresh start away from home, Shuggie finds himself even more isolated, trying even harder to support his mother: the one person who loves him for who he is, unapologetically.

New phone numbers and Christmas opening times

Please note: we have had new numbers at the following libraries:

• Broughton: 01352 703760

• Buckley: 01352 703860

• Mold: 01352 703780

Our other library contact numbers remain the same:

• Flint: 01352 703737

• Connah’s Quay: 01352 703730

• Holywell: 01352 703850

Aura’s libraries will close at the end of the day on Wednesday, December 23. All branches will be closed for the period December 23 to January 3, 2021 inclusive: our libraries will re-open as normal from January 4.

Online Christmas activities

We have got lots of Christmassy activities for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home. From online crafts to extra special Rhymetime and Storytime sessions, your library is here to help you get into the festive spirit - and that’s not even to mention our fabulous Christmas carol sing-a-long! To keep up to date with all our online library activities, visit our Facebook page at @LlyfrgelloeddAuraLibraries, Twitter page at @LibFlintshire and Instagram page at @aura.wales.

Christmas ‘Grab and Go’ bags

We have some fabulously festive ‘Grab and Go’ bags available at our libraries this Christmas season which include a collection of tempting titles lovingly chosen by our wonderful library assistants. Pick up a bag during your next visit to the library and enjoy a Christmas blind date with a book!

From everyone here at Aura Libraries, thank you for reading, stay safe and we hope to hear from you or see you soon! Whilst we may be facing difficult times, remember: we are always united by books!

• Aura is a charitable, not-for-profit, organisation responsible for managing the majority of leisure, libraries and heritage services in Flintshire. Aura is owned by its employees and operates for the benefit of local communities.