Hello and welcome to my favorite post of the year. BOOKS! YAY! Last year I read a whopping 84 books -the most I’ve read possibly ever but for sure since I started keeping track. I know people who easily read 150 in a year but that’s never been me. I always hover around the 60-70 range so this was a lot for me! The reason I read way more than usual is that I was constantly listening to audiobooks in addition to reading something on my kindle and an actual book book. My 2019 pretty much went like this: read, write, go for a walk, concert, repeat. I think it’s how I stayed sane. Hoping to do it again in 2020.
I loved almost every book I read or listened to this year. (Big thank you to my Twitter book club for the constant great recommendations.) Because I read so many and because I liked almost all of them, it was impossible to cull the herd to a measly ten like in past years. So, I’m doing something new. I’m doing 10 Best Fiction, 10 Best Non-Fiction, 2 Best YA books, and, as a bonus, my very favorite audiobook. (If you want EVEN MORE book recommendations, don’t worry, I’ve got you. Check out my past posts from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 or holy shit, 2012.)
Let’s do this, y’all. Fiction first because dealer’s choice.
The Top 10 Fiction Books I Read In 2019:
*Every single book on the fiction list got 5 stars from me on Goodreads. So this isn’t the longest post ever, I’ll try to keep my commentary brief.
- Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: My favorite book of the year. Read this if you need a sweet and amusing love story to whisk you away from reality.
- Bunny by Mona Awad: This book is so weird and so dark, in the very best way possible. I will be giving this as gifts for the foreseeable future.
- Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl: I love everything this author writes but this book completely consumed me. I think I read it in one afternoon. So compelling!
- My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: Omg this book is insane and I loved it so so much. Probably not for everyone but I found it to be so smart and revealing.
- The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai: Epic, gutting, beautiful. The book spans thirty years and by the end, you won’t know what year it is or that the main character, Yale Tishman, isn’t your actual real life bestie.
- City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: I read that the author wanted this book to go down like a tray of champagne cocktails and I think that’s the most apt description of the book there is: fun, frothy, fantastic.
- Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: Deals with race and privilege in a very real way. I can’t wait for more from this author.
- Supercute Futures by Martin Millar: I’m a huge Martin Millar fan but this book managed to surprise me by just HOW DELIGHTED I was by it. It’s hilarious, clever, and, yes, super cute.
- On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong: A novel by a poet. Super moody and evocative. Seriously gorgeous.
- Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner: Occasionally books live up to the hype. Fleishman is every guy you know while managing to also be a bit of a surprise.
The Top 10 Non-Fiction Books I Read In 2019:
- Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister: We are mad and that is good? Yup! I learned so much about the history of women’s rage and oppression from this excellent book.
- Educated by Tara Westover: Everyone from my therapist to my sister-in-law lost their brains over this book and with good cause. It’s ASTOUNDING. Just read it.
- Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino: After reading this smart af essay collection, I’m a Jia fan for life.
- Out East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer by John Glynn: A sweet and powerful coming-of-age memoir set in a shared beach house full of party animals. I couldn’t put it down.
- Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power by Pam Grossman: I found this book fascinating! Grossman gives you a comprehensive look at witches and their impact on us. Super interesting and timely.
- American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan: Full disclosure, my entire book club lost sleep over this excellent true crime book. Worth it? Totally. It’s completely insane. You’ll freak.
- The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good by Elizabeth L. Cline: This book is the reason I’m currently not buying any clothes, shoes, or accessories. The fashion industry has a giant carbon footprint but this book illustrates how to shop responsibly and curate your wardrobe in a sustainable way. So cool.
- Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results by Josh Gondelman: Charming, witty, and hilarious, like the author himself.
- Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus: Hell. Yeah. Everything you ever wanted to know about riot grrrls when you were stuck in West Texas with only Garth Brooks on the radio.
- We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer: A very honest look at what we can reasonably do to help combat climate change.
BONUS: 2 YA BOOKS I READ AND LOVED IN 2019:
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: You will absolutely fall in love with the characters and think about them long after you finish this fantastic book.
- A Very, Very Bad Thing by Jeffrey Self: A beautiful tearjerker.
BONUS BONUS: THE VERY BEST AUDIOBOOK I LISTENED TO IN 2019:
- Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, and a whole bunch of other cool people: Everyone from Amy Poehler to Chuck D narrates this fascinating and amusing audiobook. I LOVED it. (Thank you, Jenny.)
That’s it, folks! Wishing you happy reading in 2020!