I read 63 books this year (my goal was 50)! It felt so good to make reading a priority again because it’s just my thing and it makes me feel more like myself. I did listen to A LOT of these and I'll note which ones I read and which once I listened too. So, here are my favorites from the year in no particular order (also, these were read by me this year but not necessarily published in 2019).
1) Educated by Tara Westover: This memoir was heart wrenching for me and I often had to stop and take a breather. It’s a very sad but beautifully written story about a girl who grows up in the mountains with her family that tries to seclude themselves from the outside world. The audiobook was read by Julia Whelan (one of my favorite narrators) and is very well done.
2) A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: This was a reread for me because 1) I went to Oxford this year where it was set and 2) there is a new tv show based on the series. This is the first in a three part series and it’s basically about witches and vampires living amongst normal people. It’s very smart and well done. Highly recommend for fans of Harry Potter. I read this book the first time years ago, but listened to it when I reread this year and loved the narrator (Jennifer Ikeda).
3) The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary: Super cute rom com set in London. It alternates perspectives between Leon and Tiffy who share a flat but don’t actually meet face to face for much of the book because one works night shift. More in depth than typical rom coms and very good. Listened to this one on audio and loved the two narrators.
4) Still Me by Jojo Moyes: Jojo is a favorite of mine and this third book in her Me Before You trio was probably my favorite. If you read Me Before You and felt a little heart broken, keep reading. How the main character develops through the three books is what makes these so good.
5) The Cactus by Sarah Haywood: When I initially finished this book I didn't anticipate that it would be on my favorites list, but it just kind of stuck with me and the more I thought about it the more I loved it. The main character, Susan, is a rather prickly person and likes her life to be neat and ordered. Relationships aren't really her thing and don't fit into her well ordered life. Everything is going fine until her mother dies and she also finds out she is expecting. I listened to this one on audio and it was very well done.
6) Born A Crime by Trevor Noah: This memoir by comedian Trevor Noah was so very good. His stories about growing up in South Africa are incredibly funny and heart wrenching at the same time. Trevor reads the audiobook and I highly recommend listening to this one.
8) The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman: I loved this book so much that I read it multiple times this year. I read it the first time and have also listened to it a couple of times. Nina is a very smart and quirky book lover who works in a bookstore in LA. Each day in her life starts off with an excerpt from her planner and the goals she sets for herself for that day. I think I like this book so much because I see a lot of myself in Nina, but I think any person who loves books and/or rom coms would love this one.
9) The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes: I'm not surprised at all that Jojo appears twice on my list this year. I think I've read every single book that she's published (she's great for fans of Liane Moriarty and Kate Morton). The Giver of Stars tells the story of horseback riding librarians in Kentucky during the great depression and it is so very good. There are strong female roles, lots of books, and a little romance thrown in.
Note: If you don't have an audiobook subscription, I highly recommend Libro. I recently switched to Libro from Audible and love that I can support local bookstores with my audiobook purchases. You can choose your local bookstore to support, but if you don't have one I recommend supporting my friend Annie at The Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA. She also has an amazing book podcast. You can join Libro HERE.
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Have you heard??? I'm hosting a COVID-19 Reading Challenge and I want you to join me!! Click here to get a printable copy of the challenge. Feel free to email it to a friend and invite them to join as well. Below you'll find the categories plus book suggestions!