2019: A Best of Books Edition

Here we are, nearing the end of December. It felt like it would never come. Just kidding– this year was an absolute whirlwind. There are so many things I could reflect on as the year comes to a close; so many milestones came and went for me, so many major events that I’m sure I will one day look back on and remember as landmark moments. But right now I’m in the middle of them and find that I don’t have the words. Thankfully, talking about books is quite a bit easier than talking about life.

2019: My Year in Books

At the beginning of the year, I set my reading goals for what I thought would be both realistically achievable and moderately challenging. I knew that the impending birth of my son would create complications in a reading schedule (to say the least), and I also assumed that I would not be able to match the reading from the previous two years (130 books in 2018 and 156 books in 2017). While my goal was the same this year as the year before, it actually seemed as though this might be a stretch if I didn’t keep myself disciplined. In case you were wondering, I made it by the skin of my teeth: 106/100 books read in 2019. I’m proud.

My best months for reading were August, September, and October. In August, I was able to read 13 books, and all of them received at least three stars; I actually gave three books that month 5 stars. So basically, an amazing and unusual reading month. In both September and October I was able to read 11 books. I’m not sure what happened those months to facilitate more reading time, but I’m grateful!

Breakdown by Star Rating:

  • ✪✪✪✪✪: 16
  • ✪✪✪✪: 52
  • ✪✪✪: 35
  • ✪✪: 3

A Few Fun Tidbits: According to my Goodreads yearly wrap-up, I read 33,785 pages this year, and my average star rating was 3.8. I’m honestly not surprised. That’s like, a B- average, right?

Let’s get to the really fun stuff: my 2019 reading superlatives.

2019 Reading Superlatives

Top Thriller: Give Me Your Hand, Megan Abbott (I only read two thrillers this year, how is that even possible?!)

Favorite Literary Fiction: The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead

Best Nonfiction: Inspired, Rachel Held Evans

Most Awesome Audiobook: Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson

I’m Still Thinking About…: There There, Tommy Orange

Biggest Surprise: Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

A Fun Little Literary Frolic: The Bookshop on the Corner and The Bookshop on the Shore, both by Jenny Colgan

Absolute, All-Around Favorite: Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid

2019: My Top Ten

This part is quite difficult. I read so many great books this year! I have a tremendously hard job limiting myself, but I’m going to try. I promise. Also, this is in order from my favorite to my lesser favorites, because I like to torture myself.

  1. Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  2. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Fredrik Backman
  3. The Lager Queen of Minnesota, J. Ryan Stradal
  4. The Bookshop on the Shore, Jenny Colgan
  5. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
  6. Summer of ’69, Elin Hilderbrand
  7. The Huntress, Kate Quinn
  8. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, Kim Michele Richardson
  9. The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead
  10. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
My 2019 5-Star Reads

I do think it’s really important to give credit to the books I read this year that I thought were outstanding, even if they weren’t in my Top Ten. Just because it wasn’t my favorite doesn’t mean I still didn’t absolutely love it; all the books I have included in the list below are books that I not only gave five stars on Goodreads, but also genuinely loved and felt deeply impacted by post-reading.

  • Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Frederick Backman
  • Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
  • Summer of ’69, Elin Hilderbrand
  • The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead
  • The Lager Queen of Minnesota, J. Ryan Stradal
  • The Bookshop on the Shore, Jenny Colgan
  • The Witches, Roald Dahl
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, Kim Michele Richardson
  • Britt-Marie Was Here, Frederick Backman
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest, J. Ryan Stradal
  • Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Huntress, Kate Quinn
  • Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
  • There There, Tommy Orange
  • The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
  • Ginny Moon, Benjamin Ludwig

Closing Remarks

I could not have asked for a better reading year! Almost 65% of the books that I read this year I either loved or REALLY, REALLY liked. So many of the books I read stuck with me and kept me thinking long after the closing paragraphs. As I look forward to 2020 (whoa) I’m considering keeping 100 as my goal; Little Dude is on the move and keeping me occupied basically 85% of the time, but whenever I can squeeze in a little reading, you can trust that I will do so. Let me know in the comments how 2019 went for you– books or otherwise!

Until next time, happy reading!

One thought on “2019: A Best of Books Edition

  1. I’m glad to hear you had such a good reading year! I hope things calm down in your personal life too, especially anything that’s not a fun change.

    I also typically find that my average rating is a high 3 point something. Sometimes I wonder if that means I rate too easily, but when I’m feeling more optimistic, I think it just means I’m good at picking books that I’ll like 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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