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I leaned heavily towards fiction, although the selection also features the nature, history and biographical books that have touched me most in the past 12 months.

These are the 20 best books of the year.

This past year has been a golden one for nature writing, with fabulous books from David Attenborough, James Canton, Stephen Moss and Lucy Jones.

2: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador)Although Shuggie Bain is a gloomy, brutal read, there is an underlying compassion and humour that make it an enriching one.

It is also, at heart, a tender love story about a gay boy called Shuggie and his troubled alcohol-addicted mother Agnes.

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