“A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader’s. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it.”
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2020 has been kind to you so far. As promised, here I am with my 2019 wrap-up. As you can tell from the above photo I had a tough time coming up with a strict Top 10 favorites. From my initial list of 40 I was able to narrow it down to 24, then down to just 10. It was really challenging but lots of fun, too. I am happy to report that I have been successful with my 2019 reading goals: 1) to read diverse authors and genre, 2) to reach my Goodreads goal of 100 books 3) to build my Netgalley profile and 4) to join blog tours.
I am a mood reader so this will be a diverse list. As a friend of mine once said, one can never know what I’ll be reading next. I hope you connect with some of my favorite books, too. Without further ado– presenting my Top 10 Favorite Reads of 2019, in no particular order:
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier – was absolutely stunning, the perfect mix of romantic gothic mystery. It’s a tragic but beautiful tribute to the female charm and power.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – a hypnotizing tale of a unique marriage between two very intense forces. This book is on point about everything that a marriage is and is not. Though I found the first part a bit dragging at times, the second half of the book simply took my breath away. There is no love story like Lotto and Mathilde.
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is a short but intense scifi read that leaves you wanting more. It’s an epistolary romance that surprised me with an unexpected level of passion.
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson – as I have discussed on a previous post, this book is a heady meditation on language and memory, as we follow the story of a mother and daughter living on a boat by a river. It’s an intoxicating mix of folklore, contemporary and magical realism.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – This book is more than your average crime thriller, not only because it is based on a true story, but because it is a lengthy meditation on a nation’s culture of violence, the insufficiency of justice systems, and explores the reader’s limits for empathy.
Atonement by Ian McEwan – is perhaps the saddest love story ever told. It’s simply beautiful, heartbreaking and unforgettable. The best thing about it is how the author used the form and structure of the novel to get his message across. Remarkable.
Solanin (Solanin #1-2) by Inio Asano – though not as polished and sophisticated as some of Asano’s popular novels, this one has become my favorite among his works. The raw emotions and simplicity of style made the story not only more relatable but also showcased the artist’s storytelling prowess, without his usual embellisments.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – I honestly felt like I had a wonderful friend in Anne Frank while I was reading her writing, and it is such a privilege to be able to do so. These are thoughts of a brilliant young girl, way ahead of her time. I devoured all her entries as though I was the one who needs comfort, and not she. Though I knew how it all ends, I was not prepared with the amount of tears I shed on the last few pages.
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim – is the book that surprised me the most this year. It is an intricate and soulful tale that will challenge the way we see humanity: its relationships, its sense of justice, and the consequences of our actions no matter how big or small. I talked about this in length here.
The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson – I love the build up of tension, the quiet sadness and the terror of human loneliness. It is one of those rare short stories collections wherein all of the stories are equally great, or at least wonderfully curated to make the whole thing a cohesive masterpiece. I talked more about this book here.
Of course I just can’t limit my favorites to just 10 (I’m so sorry!) I still have a lot more to recommend, so here are some of the honorable mentions:
- Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle #2) by Diana Wynne Jones
- A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld #32) by Terry Pratchett
- Patience by Daniel Clowes
- Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito
- Sleepwalk and Other Stories by Adrian Tomine
QUIET BLOCKBUSTERS – These titles are not so popular, and they are not action-packed or exciting or thrilling, but I love them for being beautifully and skillfully written, with exceptional insight to the human psyche.
WORTH THE HYPE
- Illuminae series (The Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
HARD TO READ FAVORITES – These titles are some of my most loved reads this year, and they did not make the Top 10 list only because they were not as effortlessly enjoyable as the others, and have taken me a lot longer to read. But they are definitely more than worth it.
- The Vorrh (The Vorrh Trilogy #1) by Brian Catling
- Fire & Blood (A Targaryen History #1) by George R.R. Martin
- The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Below are some screenshots from my favorite bookish tracking app/community Goodreads. If you are also a member there, let’s connect! Add me here.
I have read a total of 151 books. 151! My personal best.
2020’s goal is to actually read less. As much as I love reading, I think last year has been more of a therapy for me, a sort of escape from reality. 2019 is the worst year of the decade for me and my mental health. So I’d like to DO more this year. I’m hoping to do online courses, go back to running, travel, more projects!! Wish me luck.
I remember how when I first started my bookstagram and this book blog, one of my main reasons for doing so is that I wanted to have a platform where I can talk about books. Before all this, when I finish a book I just mark it as “Read” on Goodreads and then move on. I am somehow left with a feeling of loss because I knew I might eventually forget how or why I loved a certain novel. Currently, I am at least comforted by the fact that I now belong to a community that celebrates the same passion for reading, that always welcomes me when I have all sorts of book hangover. I can now say farewell (see you later!) with ease to these stories, and most importantly–I don’t feel so alone anymore.
All I am trying to say is thank you for being here and for tolerating my bookish obsession. Being a part of the bookish and blogging communities has not only motivated me to read more, but has also encouraged me to do more of what I love. I have learned how to be comfortable with my own thoughts, and to be more open to other’s as well.
I appreciate each and every one of you. Care to share some of your 2020 goals, bookish or not? Let’s chat in the comments! 🥂