at the end of 2018, i made a pact with myself that i would read 20 books throughout 2019. for the first 9 months of the year, i did really well on this challenge and read 14 books. i thought finishing 20 in time for the end of the year would be totally do-able…then, i traveled for 6 weeks and totally got off track. i did finish fifteen books during the year, and i’m working on number 16 now (which is now number one for 2020!).
(i use goodreads to track my books!)
that being said, i, for one, think i have great taste in books (😉), and i absolutely love talking about books with people. in 2019 i read books that expanded my mind, grew my perspective on different things and people. a few really stood out to me, so here are my top picks from what i read this year:
educated, tara westover //
someone gifted me this book, and it was easily my favorite book i read this year – which is saying a lot because i read a lot of good books this year! educated is an autobiography of tara westover, and her story is incredibly powerful. her upbringing was pretty unimaginable to me, and reading how she got through it really made an impact on me. i also had the privilege of seeing her speak at the INBOUND 2019 conference a few months after i read her book, and it just solidified even more to me how phenomenal of a person she is.
lost roses, martha hall kelly //
i am a self-professed historical fiction junkie, particularly from the early 20th century time period. one of my absolute favorites in this genre is lilac girls, so when the prequel to lilac girls came out this year (lost roses), i had to read it! i even got my mom hooked on them, too! lost roses follows the mother of the main character in lilac girls, and the pair of them are generous, charitable women who happened to live during both WWI and WWII. both of the stories are based on real life, which makes them even more powerful. in june of 2019, my mom and i went to the actual house where the main characters lived in bethlehem, connecticut, and got to see the author, martha hall kelly, speak as well as get a tour of the house – it was a great weekend. (as i’m writing this i’m realizing that i got to see TWO of the authors of these books this year…you can tell how dedicated i am to loving these books, hah)
where the crawdads sing, delia owens //
this was a super highly recommended book! i think it was one of the top books of the year on goodreads, and it is so worthy of that. an amazing coming of age story from the perspective of an impoverished, illiterate young girl and how she makes her way in her marsh/swamp world. it’s a beautiful combination of nature scenes, a mystery, a love story, and a narrative-driven biography.
the great alone, kristin hannah //
i picked this book up because one of the workers at my local bookstore recommended it to me, knowing what kind of books i enjoy. she was SOOOO RIGHT! i absolutely loved this book and i feel like it hasn’t gotten the appreciation it deserves — not many people seem to have heard of it. the plot somewhat reminds me of where the crawdads sing, but
the lost queen, signe pike //
historical fiction but in a much more extreme way than lost roses! this is based in pre-medieval scotland and follows a young princess. and is often described as ‘outlander meets camelot’ – both of which stories i adore. definitely recommend checking this book out if you like arthurian legends!
blink, malcolm gladwell //
a self-help-ish book by an author i just love. malcolm gladwell has published many thought-provoking books, but this one is something special! in it, he explores the idea of how humans interpret information and how we can become able to take in more information more quickly. if you’re into that kind of psychology-meets-self-help type book, you’d love it!
have you read any of these books? what books have you read recently that struck a chord with you? i’d LOVE to hear your recommendations in the comments so i can add them to my list for 2020 🥰 much love!