2019 Honorable Mentions

I’ll be finishing the year having read roughly 170 books. So believe me when I tell you that picking the top 10 best books of the year can be really hard! I did it, but I also wanted to take a moment to let you about a few more books that didn’t make my final cut.

I’m sure I left out a book here or there that’s worthy of being mentioned, but I hope you’ve enjoyed the various lists I’ve put together for you!

Here are some links to the other posts already published:

Now, on to the Honorable Mentions of 2019!

 

Historical Fiction:Screen Shot 2019-12-25 at 9.30.37 PM

The World That We Knew by: Alice Hoffman

I love how Hoffman writes magical realism, and this one was a perfect blend of that magical element and historical fiction!

The Paragon Hotel by: Lindsay Faye

I loved this one and it would have made my Top 10 List had the syntax not taken so long to get the hang of. It was a totally new perspective on Portland, Oregon than I’ve ever heard and I was fascisnated.

Mrs Everything by: Jennifer Weiner

I was expecting something on the lighter side when I picked this one up, but found it surprisingly deeper. I also thought it would be more popular than it was, but either way, I really liked this one!

Summer of ’69 by: Elin Hilderbrand

I had never read Hilderbrand prior to this one and many of my book twins didn’t love it, but I personally did! I loved the time period and the setting and found it to be the perfect escape earlier this year!

 

Memoir:

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How We Fight For Our Lives by: Saeed Jones

Jones has a powerful way with words and this memoir touched my heart. I listened to the audiobook; Jones narrarates it himself and that adds to the overall impact of the book.

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by: Jose Antonio Vargas

Vargas is a journalist and his intelligene shows through in this book. He brings a new and valuable perspective to the issue of immigration and it’s absolutely timely.

Out East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer by: John Glynn

This is a tough one  because it wasn’t a total homerun for me; however, it was well-written and an important perspective to the coming out conversation. I also lived vicariously through the story because a summer in Montauk sounds absolutely fabulous!

All That You Leave Behind by: Erin Lee Carr

Many mentioned this one as a good book that handles grief…and while I agree, it wasn’t among the top memoirs I read this year. I loved reading about the relationship Carr had with her father and there were some great takeaways for me.

Long Life the Tribe of Fatherless Daughters by: T. Kira Madden

This is an extremely open and honest look into Madden’s coming of age story. It’s full of trigger warnings (addiction, rape, assault, etc), but also so very well written and good! I highly recommend it!

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by: Brittney Cooper

I also listened to this one on audiobook and it is narrated by Cooper. She is so smart and I learned A LOT from this one!

 

Best Book Club Choices:

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Golden Child by: Claire Adam

I personally think a book club pick should be divisive, controversial, and full of discussion topics. This book fits all of those things…and more! The ending will leave you reeling and it’s sure to ignite a lively conversation at your book club meeting. It’s also a story that sticks with you long after you’ve finished it!

The Dearly Beloved by: Cara Wall

Not my favorite book I read this year, but it’s full of lively discussion topics. Wall tackles issues of faith and everyone should be able to find themselves somewhere in one (or more) of the characters.

The Need by: Helen Phillips

This one is best to go into blind. You don’t want to know much about it as it could potentially spoil the overall effect. Once you’ve read it, you’ll definitely want to talk to someone about what happened…a great choice for your next book club selection!

The Gifted School by: Bruce Holsinger

Not only did this book gain a lot of attention this summer, it also did a fairly good job of dividing its readers. Some seemed to love it and others could have done without. While I fell firmly in the middle immediately after finishing it, I have found that its premise has grown on me as the months have passed. Regardless, there’s a lot to discuss here and it would be an excellent choice for a book club!

The Farm by: Joanne Ramos

Books that fall under the dystopian genre (an imagined state or society where there is great injustice and suffering) are perfect choices for book clubs. They meet all the requirements of division and controversy. Add in topics that are hot political issues and you have a definite winner. This one will challenge your beliefs and give you some great conversation!

The Dreamers by: Karen Thompson Walker

The Dreamers is a great choice if you like to speculate about what is acutally going on. It’s not so outlandish that it doesn’t feel realistic – it seems as if such an epidemic really could happen! This is an imaginitive novel that will liven up any book club meeting!

 

Fiction, With More Substance:

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A Woman is No Man by: Etaf Rum

This one has stuck with me since I read it. Powerfully done, it really touched my heart.

The Last Romantics by: Tara Conklin

There are many deeply flawed, but relatable, characters in this story and I loved it! I couldn’t put it down!

Very Nice by: Marcy Dermansky

This book was like a soap opera – full of drama and eccentric characters – I could not stop reading this one. I think I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning because it was that good! I hope someone picks it up to make it into a movie because it would be excellent!

Patsy by: Nicole Dennis-Benn

So many parts of this book made me angry and made me want to throw it across the room. However, the writing is excellent and the issues it talks about are so good and I ultimately appreciated the growth all of the characters showed.

Queenie by: Candice Carty-Williams

This book requires patience and trust on the part of the reader. For awhile, it’s just irritating and it will make you want to DNF…but if you stick with it, it begins to blossom into a beautiful story that will change your heart.

Sugar Run by: Mesha Maren

I found this story facisnating! Many didn’t like it, but I found it meditative. I especially enjoyed the main character and was rooting for her throughout the book.

The Other Americans by: Leila Lalami

Worthy of much more buzz than it got, this book gave me a lot to think about.

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by: Balli Kaur Jaswal

I still haven’t read Jaswal’s first book, but if it’s anything like this one, I’m in for a treat. Light and sweet, it’s also very deep and meaningful. I related to the element of grief and I thought the story was well done.

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by: J. Ryan Stradal

Again, I haven’t read Stradal’s first book, but many argue it’s even better than this one. I liked this one so much so I’m excited…I can’t imagine how it could get much better!

Red At the Bone by: Jacqueline Woodson

When an author gives mulitple perspectives surrounding the same time period or event, I’m automatically interested. Add Woodson’s writing ability to that equation and you’ve got a great book!

 

Nonfiction:

Screen Shot 2019-12-25 at 9.55.26 PM

Fall & Rise: The Story of 9/11 by: Mitchell Zuckoff

I’m a big fan of reading anything related to the events surrounding 9/11 and this one is well done! I preferred The Only Plane in the Sky, but also think they offer different things (while also reiterating some of the same things).

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by: Bill Bryson

This book was so fun! Factual information can be fairly boring, but Bryson has a way of relaying that information and I couldn’t put it down!

Sabrina & Corina: Stories by: Kali Fajardo-Anstine

I probably liked this one the more because it was set in Colorado so I was familiar with a lot of the landmarks Fajardo-Anstine talked about. However, the short stories were interesting as well and I enjoyed reading them (that coming from someone who isn’t crazy about short story collections)!

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by: John Carreyrou

I think everybody has heard of this story by now and for good reason! It’s a fascinating look into the Pheranos scandal in Silicon Valley. Carreyrou is a talented writer and this one almost reads more like fiction!

 

Thriller/Mystery:

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Miracle Creek by: Angie Kim

This book made me question how far I would go to protect my children. It’s an interesting question and one that I’m not sure you can answer until you’re put in a position that requires you to make a choice.

The Silent Patient by: Alex Michaelides

I loved this psycholically twisted mystery and it made me appreciate the thriller genre in a whole new way!

The Doll Factory by: Elizabeth Macneal

One of the most atmospheric reads I had this year, there was something about this one that kept me reading. Ultimately, it’s a very slow burn and it won’t be for everyone, but I really liked it!

The Chain by: Adrian McKinty

I think it’s every parent’s worst nightmare to think about their child being kidnapped. But would if you had to kidnap another kid in order to get your child back? That’s the premise of this book and it had me hooked from the beginning.

The Whisper Man by: Alex North

A lot of people thought this was super creepy. I wasn’t all that scared, but I still enjoyed it as a thriller and couldn’t wait to find out how it ended.

The Mother-in-Law by: Sally Hepworth

There is a mystery to be solved in this one, but it’s much deeper than that. There’s a lot to unpack here and I really enjoyed it!

 

Romance:Screen Shot 2019-12-25 at 9.52.49 PM

Evvie Drake Starts Over by: Linda Holmes

A romance done right usually gives me all the happy vibes and this one did not disappoint. It was light and fun and I really enjoyed reading it!

The Flatshare by: Beth O’Leary

Maybe my favorite romance I read this year, this one has it all! I loved the characters and the progression of the story. It wasn’t cheesy and didn’t have dialogue that made you roll your eyes as you read it. I loved everything about it.

Waiting for Tom Hanks by: Kerry Winfrey

Out of the three, this one is probably the cheesiset, but it still didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying myself while I read it.

 

 

 

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