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Our Top 5 Books of the Year

Despite predictions of decline even their extinction, physical high street bookshops remain in good shape. People like bookshops and people like books.

It was our belief in this that after working in bookselling for forty years between us, we finally got to fulfil our long-held dream by opening The East Gate Bookshop in Totnes on December 12th 2020.

We think it’s been a very good year!

Our belief that people like bookshops and people like books is unshakable; what we do rely on is publishers sharing that belief, and what we have been delighted to witness, is yes they do too. In our forty years of selling books, we can honestly say the quality of physical book publishing is a high as it’s ever been. All the gloomy prediction of publishers developing their digital output and paying less attention to the physical product has proved to be nonsense. Hurray for that we say, and long live the book!!!


So, with so many great books published this year, we’ve had the pleasure of looking back and picking some of ours and our customer’s favourites. After lot of agonising, we have curated a paperback selection, a hardback selection and a children’s selection. It really was a tricky job, and looking at them again, we still think there are some books we could have included – but, what to leave out! We think it’s been a very good year!

Our top five paperbacks

In the bookshop you notice a buzz around certain books when they first arrive in hardback; Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow certainly had that vibe and it’s been a huge hit this year in paperback.

In Trespasses, Louise Kennedy, 1975 Belfast provided the backdrop to her compelling tale of ordinary people caught up in sectarian violence.

If a little escapism is more your thing, then Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s dazzling debut When We Were Birds brings the colourful Trinidadian culture to life in a tale of magic and love with.

If you prefer non-fiction, then Guy Shrubsole was a worthy winner of the year’s Wainwright prize for The Lost Rainforests of Britain, his paean to Britain’s once magnificent temperate rainforests, now reduced to mere fragment.

And who can not be inspired by Rebecca Lowe as she recalls the beauty, kindnesses and complexities of the lands she travels through during her amazing 11,000k solo bike ride in The Slow Road to Tehran

You can browse the full selection of thirty books by clicking here:

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