As the year comes to an end, let’s all reflect on all the wonderful books we’ve had time to read this year!
As you can probably tell by the list, I like to read. And I like to read widely. From biographies, to young adult, to fantasy, to philosophy — I love it all. Below is the order of books I read this year. You can probably tell when I got tired of a genre and needed to try something new.
Believe me when I say this was an unusual number of books for me to read in just a year. I had a lot of time traveling with audiobooks and physical books, and I had a job for several months where I listened to audiobooks while I worked. Needless to say, these past three months I’ve slowed down a lot. I can already tell this upcoming year won’t be as big of a list!
Have you read any of the books listed below? What books did you read this year? List out your book winners or want-to-read(s) in the comments below!
I’ve also written several reviews for the books listed below. Check out their links!
If you’ve never seen this move starring Anton Yelchin (Star Trek), you should definitely check it out. It was on Netflix the last time I watched it. What’s great about this movie is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it also maintains a pretty cohesive and entertaining story. Basically Odd Thomas can communicate with dead people. But he also can see these strange creatures that bring about bad luck and death. It’s really funny, very charming, and both the movie and the book made me cry.
When I started this book, I didn’t know how much I’d been missing a grand fantasy series. Little did I know I’d be strapping in for another 14 books (and a prequel). I haven’t finished the series yet, but this one is by far my favorite. It’s fast-paced, nostalgic of those old fashion epics of yore, and creates a very unique world. It’s also being made into a TV series, so definitely read this first book before it comes out!
I’m usually pretty skeptical of how-to or self-improvement books, but this one really spoke to me. I’ve been hearing about it for a long time by a variety of different creatives that I follow on podcasts, YouTube, etc. So I finally gave it a go. This book is so helpful and encouraging for people who feel like they’ll never be creatives and make money. It also gives fantastic, practical advice for getting through creative blocks.
I went through a phase of wanting to explore “classic” Italian literature and ended up reading this book among the few I selected. It was one of those rare times when I couldn’t stop reading, and when I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about this book and how much I wanted to know what happened next. I’m usually not a huge fan of realistic fiction or pretty dry storylines, but there was something almost mystical about the writing. If you’ve ever read The Sun Is Also a Star, you might like the dynamic that is created in this book between the two leads.
I was recruited to read this book by a teacher who wasn’t sure if it would be okay to let her grade school students read. It was pretty violent and had some swearing, but the structure, voice, and story were so strong and engaging that I couldn’t put it down. Every spare second I had, I found myself gravitating back to this book. It does a lot of unique things with the white space of the page, and I think that it’s a great addition to the YA world.
If you’re tired of the same fairytale stories of helpless girls and misogynistic knights, this collection of stories will be perfect for you. It’s a bit of a story within a story, but it also gives new twists to stories that feel a little familiar. I’ve never read Byatt before this book, but I’m definitely interested in reading more of her works.
If you’ve ever seen American Horror Story and felt like it was trying too hard to be edgy for the sake of being edgy, you might feel the same about this book series. Honestly, though I liked the first and kind of liked the second, this series got out of hand and wacky way too fast. Set in a boy’s Narnia-dream-world come to life, this book series pushes sexual tension, the cost of magic, and realistic wizard schools to the extreme. Interesting, but definitely not my favorite read this year.
Coming in a close second to my favorite audiobook of the year, this book was super inspiring as a writer. I’ve read only a few of King’s books, but hearing him talk about his experiences as a struggling writer, while also being highly entertained was a highlight of my day. Seriously, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to grow in their writing. I also highly recommend listening to the audiobook, as Stephen King reads it himself.
While my philosophical reads this year were pretty limited, the few that I read were very insightful. This book really made me question my beliefs about heaven and hell — especially regarding if hell even exists. Even if you don’t necessarily consider yourself a Christian, Rob Bell writes in a very approachable and inclusive way. Annnnd this book basically got him excommunicated from the church. So it’s definitely filled with controversial ideas.
Audiobooks are usually hit or miss with me, as they can often be read so poorly. But even more often, reading them out loud reveals all of the book’s flaws. But in this case, I would recommend listening to the audiobook over reading the physical book. Firstly, the reader (Bahni Turpin) was fantastic and made hearing the names of places and people much easier than reading them. Secondly, there were several times where characters chant or sing songs. And Bahni sings. Actually sings. It gave me literal chills. There was one part near the end where this happened and I started screaming with excitement in my car. Yes, I know I’m a nerd.
These might be the longest books I’ve ever read in my life. And while you can’t really say that they’re action-packed, this slow-burn fantasy series is so addicting and hypnotic that I couldn’t put it down. The only problem is everyone has been waiting for the third and final book to come out for several years past its promised released date. I know that I will be super hyped to read the conclusion, and if you like really scientifically grounded fantasy with great bard-like storytelling, you should definitely read these two.
Practical Magic – It wasn’t awarded above, but its one of the best magical realism novels I’ve read. It’s definitely worth the read. If you like to imagine how real witches live in our world and want something similar to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants at the same time, this one’s for you.
If You Could Be Mine – this deserves a mention just for being incredibly unique and powerful. It follows the story of two young Muslim girls as they wrestle with feelings for each other and how to survive in a society that strictly forbids their relationship. Definitely a book worth considering if you want to see a different perspective than most YA books.
Well, that’s it for this year! What books did you read in 2019 or have planned to read in 2020? I would love to know your tops for the categories I’ve listed above. Have you read any of the books I’ve read this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!