Best Books Read in 2019

sheri_z6

With all the "best of" lists popping up everywhere, I figured it was time for ours. Looking back over this year I realized I did a lot of re-reading and escapist reading (hello, vampire romance novels!) but I did do some quality, make-you-think reading, too. My favorites this year were:


1) Circe by Madeline Miller. This tale of the Grecian nymph was brilliantly told and was my favorite of the year, hands down.


2) Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. I went into this honestly thinking I would hate it. Much to my surprise it grabbed me immediately and I could not put it down. The style and structure are crazy, but once I understood what he was doing, I was hooked. Ultimately, it is a story about our humanity, and it brought me to tears in a couple of places. Brilliant.


3) Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but this was a page-turner.


4) The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett. I loved everything about this book, from the English setting to the Grail lore to the hopping back and forth in time - it just worked. I went on to read four of his other books after this and they were all good, but I liked this one best.


5) The Cuckoo's Calling (and the three books following) by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling. I have never been much of a mystery reader, but now I guess I am. These police procedural/murder mysteries are violent and disturbing, but the relationship between Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott kept me coming back to see what happened next.


6) Warlight by Michael Ondaatje. This tale of WWII spies and a half-remembered childhood was atmospheric and beautifully written.


7) Educated by Tara Westover. This memoir was also gritty and violent, but also hopeful. As a first book it had it's uneven spots, but the story was so compelling I felt it warranted a place on my best of list. Another one I could not put down.


What were your favorite books of 2019?

SaveComment21Like
Comments (21)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yoyobon_gw

The first 9 books in the Three Pines Gamache books by Louise Penny.

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
woodnymph2_gw

"Educated", "Five Days Gone" and a biography of A.E. Housman, that included his poetry collection in "A Shropshire Lad."

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vee_new

Nothing outstanding this year, but I did enjoy

Under a Wing Reeve Lindbergh's autobiography about growing up in a famous household.

The Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd an intermingling of finding the remains of a prehistoric body in the peat of a Northern island mountain and the horrors of the 'Troubles' in that sorry country.

Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach because she is an excellent humorous writer (in the English sense, 'though often lost on other English speaking people) and I don't read enough light but bright fiction.

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
msgt800

“The
House of the Mosque” by Kader ABdolah It is about a family those is
the keykeeper of the mosque. The novel describes the life in a little
village in Persia under the Saha rules and how it changed after the
religious revolution, life became a nightmare, mother who denounced
her own son because in her opinion he didn't strictly followed the
Allah law. Instead before the Ayatollah revolution, life was easy and
pleasurable.

By
the same Author I red also “My
Father’s Notebook” and was very good. The novel rivet around the
bound between him and his father, who was a deaf-mute, they used to
live in a little village far away from Theran. Of course his father
was a believer in a naive way, the son, Abdolah wasn’t and when
enrolled at the University he joined also a lefty party that acted
obviously underground dreaming about a revolution in order to wipe
out the Shah and his regime. So they were persecuted by the Shah. At
one point , the revolution arrived, but not as they have dreamt it,
it was a religious revolution, so now the party was still persecuted
by the Immans, for his father little changed, once in command there
was the Shah and now there is Komheini , that’s all. For the son
instead things change a lot, the Saha was despised from the majority
of the population, but with the immans in command , all the people
were with them . At one point he had to absconded , first in Soviet
Unit, then in DDR and eventually in Holland. He no more think about
politics, he started writing novels.

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
msmeow

The Golem and the Jinni. This is not my usual genre but I read it on Yoyobon's recommendation, and I loved it! I can't wait for the sequel.

Six Louise Penny books (maybe seven if I get the one on hold in time).

The Lost Man.

Those were the ones I enjoyed the most this year.

Donna

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
socks

Shadow Divers (Kurson)

City of Thieves (Benioff)

Island of Sea Women (See)

The Other Americans (Lalami)

Washington Black (Edugyan)

For lighter fare, I've enjoyed M. C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series.

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
msmeow

Cool!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yoyobon_gw

Our enthusiasm was premature......Harper Collins shows no release by her :o(

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
annpanagain

Socks, thanks for a reminder. I have been musing (for some unknown reason) that there are few red-haired heroes in fiction. Of course, Hamish is one.

Any more? I like the tall, dark and handsome or a dirty-blond hero ...

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
socks

Ann... I don’t have any other suggestions for you. I’m not a big fan of cozy mysteries, but I do like Hamish, the Scottish setting and all the characters. Beaton has written another series called Agatha Raisin, but I haven’t tried those. There’s a Hamish Macbeth series on the streaming services (Amazon?). I enjoyed it but Hamish doesn’t look as expected.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
vee_new

I haven't read the Hamish Macbeth series. I'm sorry to say I found the Agatha Raisin 'book one' unbelievable and therefore unreadable . . . so I didn't bother with the rest . . . and like socks am not really 'into' cosy mysteries . . . or, come to that, series!

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
msmeow

Ann, the hero in Faye Kellerman’s books, Lieutenant Peter Decker, is red-haired.

Donna

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
annpanagain

Socks, I have read some of the Agatha Raisin books but got bored with the character after a while. There is a TV series but the actor again doesn't look like the book description.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolyn_ky

I like Hamish fairly well, but I found Agatha Raisin silly.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lulu bella

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Where the Crawdads Sing

Out of the Easy

Molokai

The KItchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar

Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta

As Bright as Heaven

Pachinko

The Good Luck of Right Now

The Story of Arthur Truluv

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

A good reading year for me in terms of enjoyment. Although the number of books was way down from usual, I had a number of good ones. By far my favorite:

The Feather Thief - Kirk Wallace Johnson

Followed by (in reading order): The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Exploration - Caroline Alexander; Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens; Plainsong and Eventide - Kent Haruf; Last Night at the Lobster - Stewart O'Nan; This Tender Land - William Kent Krueger.

I do follow the monthly threads of What are you Reading? but it's nice to see a list of which ones rose to the top overall.

1 Like Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kathy_t

My favorites from my 2019 reading:

Educated -- Tara Westover
The Library Book -- Susan Orlean
The Great Alone -- Kristin Hannah
Where the Crawdads Sing -- Delia Owens
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine -- Gail Honeyman
Nomadland -- Jessica Bruder
Sadie Shapiro’s Knitting Book -- Robert Kimmel Smith
The Stranger in the Woods -- Michael Kinkel

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolyn_ky

I can never remember what I read all year, but a few good ones off the top of my head are The Dutch House, Where the Crawdads Sing, and the last couple of the War at Home series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kathy_t

Carolyn - I keep a reading journal; otherwise I wouldn't remember either. And if I read as many books as you do, I really wouldn't remember!

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolyn_ky

I keep journals, too, but by author. The last couple of years I've been listing on Goodreads, too, but another problem I have is not remembering the plot either, although I do a brief recap in the journals.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
salonva

Ha @carolyn_ky I use goodreads to keep track of the books I want to read, and then what I have read. Very helpful.I honestly don't remember too many plots clearly, but I definitely remember how much I loved (or not) a book. Just rating wtih the stars helps too!

Save     Thanked by sheri_z6
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories