I was so excited to write today’s post – my favorite books of 2019. It’s been a great year of reading for me and I had no problem coming up with a list of books that I loved. Some of these I read quickly and compulsively – just wanting more and more. Others I read slowly, carefully absorbing the words and thoughts of the author. Isn’t is great how some reading experiences can be so different from others, but each is just as rewarding?
So today I’m linking up with Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl and a couple hundred other readers to share my favorite books of the year. Be sure to visit the linkup to get lots of other great recommendations!
Keep in mind – not all of these books were published 2019, but I did read them this year. And in no particular order, here were my favorites!
I know I said “in no particular order,” but Jayber Crow was easily my favorite read of the year. It’s the one that resonated with me the most and has changed my daily habits like no other. This was one of those books that I read s-l-o-w-l-y and enjoyed every second.
I read the entire Gilead trilogy in 2019 and I think that Home was my favorite, although I’d be happy to use any of the three for this list. This was another slow read for me, but I love how Robinson dives deep into families and people and shows us how similar we all are.
Code Name Helene was so much fun. It ticked so many boxes for me: the French Resistance, simple french food, funny, sad, engaging. I’m usually not affected by the love stories in novels, but this one was top notch. I loved the characters, I loved the settings, I loved the story – amazing! This will be published in March 2020 so make sure your librarians have it on their lists to order!
The Dutch House is a sweeping family drama that centers around the ownership of the Conroy family home. The characters are rich with complexities and human nature is on full display. I want to know more about this family!
The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s much anticipated follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, was just good fun. I couldn’t stop turning the pages, I found each story line fascinating (which isn’t a common opinion), and I loved seeing some resolution to the original story.
I read books 8 through 15 in the Inspector Armand Gamache series this year, and The Beautiful Mystery was easily my favorite. Monasteries are some of my favorite settings and this one was beautiful, especially given the simple french cooking that was on display at each meal.
Devotion is a moving spiritual memoir by Dani Shapiro. She was raised in the Jewish faith and lost touch with the traditions as she grew older. This was her attempt to find meaning in life, spirituality, and family. It was beautiful. I would recommend reading this before Inheritance, her most recent memoir, because having this background made the discoveries in Inheritance even more illuminating.
Imagine being a struggling writer in NYC, learning that an editor is finally interested in your novel, and then arriving at a fancy publishing house only to find that the editor is Jackie O. The Editor was another fun, quick novel that let the reader imagine Jackie O’s life after John – living as an editor in NYC. I loved the glimpses into what her life might have been like: glamorous yet quiet and thoughtful.
The Stationery Shop was another surprise for me. Two star crossed lovers in 1950s Tehran who meet in a bookstore. The entire novel was incredibly moving. Plus, the Persian food was described in amazing detail – I could practically smell it through my Kindle.
The Missing Ones is the second novel in the Hester Thursby series. It’s set on an island in Maine and is a gripping mystery, full of twists and turns with danger at every corner. Edwin Hill did a good job making this compelling, but less dark and gory than the first in the series, which was a relief. I can’t wait until the third novel is published!
Salt to the Sea told the story of a WWII event that I’d never heard about – isn’t it incredible how many catastrophes are forgotten? This is the story of civilian Germans/Prussians fleeing their homes as the end of the war nears. Sepetys is so good at writing stories that draw me in – she utilizes short chapters, changing points of view, and quick story lines to keep the narrative flowing and the pages turning. Don’t be intimated by the heft of some of her novels because they move fast.
The Gown was such a cozy read! I loved so much about this book. There were so many little details that made me want to curl up, put the kettle on, and get out my sweet teacups. There are plenty of scenes with tea and toast, warming slippers, sweet gardens, and lots of embroidery. Truly – cozy at its very best.
I feel so lucky to have had such a great reading year in 2019. If 2020 is even half as good then I’ll be one lucky duck! Did you read any of these? Are any on your TBR? Let me know!