Monday, December 30, 2019

Best Books I Read in 2019

This year, 2019, was a year I read a lot of books. 415 books. It was difficult to decide on my top ten.

#10  Eiffel's Tower for Young People by Jill Jonnes
I know it says it's for young people, and, no, I haven't read the original version for adults, but this book is mesmerizing.

#9  Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas by Stephen Harrigan
When you grow up in Texas, you are forced to do Texas history in fourth grade and seventh grade and in high school. So I've read a ridiculous amount of Texas history. Nevertheless, Stephen Harrigan looked at the old stories with fresh eyes and found lots and lots of new stories for all of us who are forced by birth or choice, exacerbated by a strange sense of deep pride, to love this crazy part of the world.

#8  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I was so afraid of being disappointed by this book (I so love Secret History) that I waited years and years and years to finally read it. Don't wait. It's magnificent.

#7  Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Another book I was sure was overhyped. I was wrong.

#6  The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11
Load yourself up with boxes of Kleenex before you read this one. The Kleenex will come in handy for the horrifying break with ordinary life that many in this book experience, but it will also be needed for the almost unbelievable acts of deep heroism that are shared in this book.

#5  The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Classics are classics for a reason: classics speak to people across time. Age of Innocence speaks to us across time.

#4  Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Stories of people in deep pain. A therapist who listens and can share a strategy or insight in a way that provokes positive action. 

#3  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace is one of my few failures; a few years ago I tried and gave up on it. People told me to try Anna Karenina first. Excellent recommendation. Now I'll try War and Peace again.

#2  Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel
Bonnie of Bonnie's Books led me to spend my Thanksgiving weekend simultaneously reading Justice and watching the online Justice course. It was almost enough for me to try enrolling in Harvard at 63.

#1  Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Irony. Moby Dick is one of the books I always said I'd never read. When Bronwyn of Brona's Books announced a Moby Dick readalong, I couldn't help myself...I joined in. And then Moby Dick turns out to be my favorite read of the year. 

And, just because I couldn't bear to leave out lots of my other favorites, here are some favorites by category:

Did you read any of these last year?
What were your favorite reads of 2019?

Mon. | Dec. 30 – Favorite Books Read This Year #AMonthofFaves Join this year’s hosts  Girlxoxo and Traveling with T for our annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was (Estella’s Revenge is taking a hiatus for this year). We have a schedule of topics planned out, so feel free to join in anytime for some or all of the topics. There will also be a link-up on our blogs so that we can all stop by each other’s posts to leave comments, high fives, good vibes and well wishes.
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


  1. Picking favorites is probably hard when you read 415 books. I added Maybe You Should Talk To Someone to my TBR because I’ve seen it on a few “best” lists.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I thought that one was fabulous in a year of meh reads.

  2. Loved The Only Plane in the Sky!

  3. I've got The Only Plane in the Sky on audio. I'm saving it for when I can handle it. Don't all of us remember exactly where we were that day. I certainly do. Anyway, glad to see Lori Gottlieb's book on your list as well. I want to listen to that one again this coming year. I probably ought to try that Harrigan book about Texas history (though I know a bunch of it - same classes that you took - ha!). And it is a big, crazy place to live. I love it though.

    1. Me, too, Kay. It's ridiculous how much I love Texas. Even though it drives me crazy.

  4. I've read 7 of your favorites and thought they were all great! I'm jotting down some of the other titles you've listed. I need to look over my reading for the year and maybe the decade.

  5. Justice and The Only Plane in the Sky are on my list for 2020. You've had a wonderful 2019 of reading, let's hope 2020 is just as enjoyable. Happy New Year!

  6. I think I'm going to check out Maybe I'll Talk to Someone.

    Thanks for the reminder about The Night Circus. I need to read that one soon.

    1. Maybe I'll Talk to Someone is almost like going to a little therapy yourself.

  7. I re-read The Night Circus this year and it was just as wonderful the second time around. Also, HOW did you read 415 books this year? I'm impressed.

  8. Wonderful list, Deb. I see several of my favorites here and a couple more that are must reads for 2020!

  9. Wow, what an amazing list! I hope you find lots of great books this year and I'm going to take note of some of your favorites.

  10. The Flatshare ended up being one of my favorites as did Saving CeeCee Honeycutt when I read it years ago.


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