Saturday, January 4, 2020

Top Books of 2019

Why hello there! Yes, it's me. I just wanted to check into this mostly forgotten corner of the internet to share my top books of 2019. I know I'm not writing book reviews here, but I'm still reading! This was actually one of my best reading years in a long time. The best since having kids, really. So here are my favorites, listed in the order I read them. I did manage to narrow my list down to 10, but there were others I was sad to be leaving off that I have included at the end as honorary mentions.
1. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Stephen Brusatte
I was dinosaur obsessed as a little kid and I loved getting back into that world with this book. I was surprised how much research continues to happen in the field. There continues to be many dinosaurs discovered all the time, which I hadn't realized. The author is around my age as well, and I think the idea of being a paleontologist is so cool.
2. Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran
This was so fascinating to read. It tells the story of Queen Lakshmi, one of the last queen's of India prior to the British conquest. It's told from the point of view of Sita one of her female guards. I loved the details and the historical aspects of this one. Months later it's still one that I can't forget.
3. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
This is one that's been on best of lists since it was published in 2017. A Holocaust survival story that almost too good to be true, and yet it is since it was based on the author's family's survival story. There were a lot of siblings and at times it can be hard to keep them all straight. But there's several haunting scenes in it that you can't forget.
4. The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
I read 3 of Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter books this year. I enjoyed them all by this one narrowly beat out Ghosts of the Shadow Market to make the list. I loved getting to go back in time and see how Magnus and Alec's love story began. At this point there's so many Shadowhunter books it would seem a little intimidating to get started, but I continue to enjoy them! (It also helps that my mom introduced me to them when there were only 3! Little did I know 10 years later they would still be published.)
5. Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
Another of those haunting stories that just stays with you. It's a story of a newspaper reporter and the aftermath of having one of his stories go nationwide. There's a bit of a love story in it, which helped offset the sad mystery throughout. Another one that shows some of the dark times of history that we don't want to forget.
6. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
Such a fascinating story of a culture I knew nothing about going in. This takes place on the Korean Island Jeju starting just before World War 2. I've read several books by Lisa See, but I think this might be my favorite. It has some familiar themes as others, showing the ups and downs of female friendship, but yet it's also so different than her others. Like many others on this list, this isn't an easy one to get through, but it's one that's hard to put down and impossible to forget.
7. We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet
Out of all the books I read this one made me cry the most. It takes place during England and starts with a little girl being sheltered in the midst of an air raid. I wouldn't describe this one as haunted though. For taking place during a war it isn't full of a bunch of atrocities. Instead so much is about love and loss and parts are heartbreaking.
8. Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Out of all the books on this list this is by far the lightest. It was so much fun getting back into the world of Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood). There were times that I was laughing so hard I had to put the book down. This has all my favorite parts of the early Shopaholic books and was especially the perfect read around the holidays.
9. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Another you continue to see on best lists. This was different than I though it would be, but I completely get what all the hype if about! There was a bit of a twist near the end that I didn't see coming at all. (Although it's a little obvious, given some of the clues, I just didn't let myself believe it.)
10. It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories Edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman
This is a collection of YA short stories all with a Jewish theme. There's been several similar Christmas themed books out there and I was so excited to see that this existed. It seems to be marketed as a Hanukkah book and while there are Hanukkah stories in it, it's more of a collection of being Jewish as a teen or young adult now. There were many different perspectives, feeling too-Jewish as well as not Jewish enough. There were stories on Birthright trips and Jewish summer camps both experiences I, as well as many other, have found memories off. I was a little surprised at the number of stories with a LGBTQ-slant, although I get how that makes sense today. I loved reading it so much now, but I think if I had read it in college, I would have loved it so much more.

Honorary Mentions
Daughters of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Disney's Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World by Richard Snow
Front Desk by Kelly Yang

To see my favorite books from years' past go here: