What a great year of reading. I read some duds, but I generally liked most everything I read last year. I documented my reading on my Instagram page, shared monthly recaps on here, and tracked everything on my Goodreads.
I’m not including all of my “five-star” reviews because I feel like I was way stricter about what I considered five stars as the year went on. With that said, there are SO many books this year that I LOVED even if I didn’t give them five stars. And then even going through this list of the best of the best, I struggle to even note which are better than others. It’s very subjective. But, the job must be done (or so I’ve told myself at least).
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
This book deserves a category of its own and the very highest marks. It should absolutely be required reading for everyone. Halfway through, I knew without question that it would be the best book I read all year. It’s a memoir written by Chanel Miller, the survivor of sexual assault. She was first known to many as “Emily Doe” after her victim statement from the trial went viral. It’s poignant and powerful.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
2019 was a big year for audiobooks. I’ve loved them for a while, but this was definitely the year where publishers gave audiobooks attention as standalone entities. Production quality has really taken off and it makes consuming a book that much more entertaining. The best display of this was Daisy Jones and the Six. I thoroughly enjoyed the story (it’s fantastic!), but the way they did the audiobook was even better. There is an entire cast of performers who narrate. It felt more like a podcast and, not going to lie, fifteen minutes in I was Googling the band because I assumed it had to be real the performances were that good.
Quiet by Susan Cain
Another book that should be required reading, particularly by parents and teachers. It’s all about introverts! While it totally could have been a dry read (and I put it off for years because I assumed it would be super boring), it is excellently written. Yes, it’s non-fiction but the anecdotes keep it moving along. I’ve personally never felt more understood!
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Oh my word did this book get me. I had the worst “book hangover” after reading. It flips between modern-day Paris and Chicago during the 1980s AIDS epidemic. I read a good bit of this on a plane and uncontrollably sobbed.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
From talking with friends, this is a book you either loved or hated! I loved it and found the main character so loveable, quirks and all. I laughed. I cried. You know how Gone Girl kicked off a new genre of books? I think Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine will do the same.
Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl
I picked up this book at the recommendation of my friend without knowing what it was about at all. I found myself transported into Ruth Reichl’s world as she takes the helm of Gourmet Magazine as editor in chief. Not only is it an enchanting read because of its writing, it’s also such a great view of a unique period of time for the publishing world. And don’t read hungry! The descriptions of food had me drooling.
MORE FIVE STAR BOOKS FROM 2019:
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
From Scratch by Tembi Locke
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Tell Me Everything by Cambria Brockman