Looking back through my blog content, I didn’t spend much time talking about my 2019 reading list. I might have mentioned a book here and there but the only time I blogged about books this year was for my 2018 list which I published in late January (better late than never?!). This year I set a goal of 70 books and finished 77 as of today – this number astounds me because I used to read a couple dozen books a year. The benefits of sobriety! I’ll take you through a few of the best books in a few different genres that I enjoyed.
Best Audiobook: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
There is a lot of debate on book Twitter if audiobooks even count as books read and I’m here to say they absolutely count. If you listen to a book and take in all the information from the book you have every right to count them on your “read” list. I have tried to read A Man Called Ove many, many times because everyone told me it was good, but it didn’t take until I listened to it while I sweated it out at the gym. All this time I had been pronouncing Ove wrong – this is one of the benefits of listening – hearing things pronounced correctly.
Best Memoir: Educated by Tara Westover
This was one of the most absorbing books I have ever read. I was constantly struck by the fact that Tara Westover and I grew up in the very same United States of America but that our experiences could be so vastly different. I could not imagine that people lived the way the Westover family lived and that Tara’s transformation from her chaotic and hard scrapple beginnings was nothing short of a miracle. I recommend this book to everyone I meet.
Best Parenting Book: The Awakened Family by Shefali Tsabary
True confession: I have never read a parenting book cover to cover and I have attempted many of them. Until this one. I listen to a podcast by Heather Chauvin called Mom Is In Control (don’t we all wish that were the case!) and happened to catch one of her throwback episodes with Dr. Shefali who has also been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. It was the right message at the right time and all the advice I garnered from this book resonated with me and has changed the course of my parenting over the last few months. The basic premise is that we as parents are here to usher our kids through their early years while letting them become who they are supposed to be, meaning we need to pull back on our expectations for them as far as their grades and interests. It has been a game changer.
Best Writing Inspiration: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is a re-read for me, sort of. The first time around I listened to it on audiobook and I loved it so much I decided to purchase it for my “writing library”. It was a different experience to read it so maybe there is something to audiobooks don’t count as reading. This book provides a lot of no nonsense advice about writing that resonated with me. Writing is hard for everyone and you have to plow through it and keep going. It’s a book I’ll come back to again and again when I need inspiration.
Most Interesting Topic Book: A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming by Dylan Tuccillo
When I returned from Greece, dreaming was a topic I got very interested in. The thought of controlling what I dreamed about was very cool and the thought of being “awake” in my dreams was even cooler. This book was a page turner for me and I read it in one sitting, eager to put the knowledge I had gained to the test. Unfortunately it was also at a time when I was working on a new morning routine and adding writing down my dreams to the list got a bit overwhelming and I had to give something up. I intend to work on this in 2020.
Best Fiction Book: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
I only handed out 5 of 5 stars to three fiction books in 2019 and this was one of them. This was also the longest book at 582 pages but it didn’t seem like it as I was reading. My husband got into Boyne a few years ago (he loves novels by Irish authors) and I got him this book for Christmas in 2017 and he raved about it until I finally agreed to read it. It’s the story of teenager who becomes pregnant, is shunned by her church and she goes off to have the baby who she puts up for adoption. The story follows the boy she gives up and how their lives intersect (unknowingly through the years). Lots of clever humor.
Also of Note:
Somebody I Used to Know by Wendy Mitchell. Memoir by a woman who has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and we hear about her journey first hand.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. I think of this as a companion to Tara Westover’s Educated because once again I was thrown into an unknown (to me) subculture of American life.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. Woman was going to leave her husband who ends up dying. Evvie transforms as we learn more about why she was leaving.
The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker. If you are familiar with the list of bad men in media (aka Matt Lauer) and want to delve into that world, this book is a fictional account. I loved the writing style of this one.
What was your favorite book of 2019?