Last year I set myself the task of reviewing every book I read. I figured this was only fair since I’m always harping on how one of the best ways to support a writer is to leave a review (hint hint).
This chore was also a bit of a marketing ploy (what isn’t?) to gain a little notice on Goodreads and Bookbub. Little did I know that Goodreads was going to present me with a handy little graphic at the end of the year listing all the books I read and reviewed in 2019.
Okay, maybe not ALL the books. I simply never added some books (lazy me), I did slack off a bit with December’s reviews, and sometimes I’d give up on a book and never mention it. But overall, Goodreads provided a wonderful glimpse at my year in books.
So what to do with that glimpse? Share with you my Top Ten of the (nearly) 100 books I reviewed last year, of course!! Hopefully this gives you some idea of my all-over-the-place reading preferences and maybe gives you some inspiration for your own To-Read list this year.
Oh, and if anyone’s interested, I’m always looking for new friends on Goodreads!
Now, on with my favorite books of 2019!!!
#10 Spaceman by Mike Massimo
Because you can take the girl out of the lab, but not the lab out of the girl, I’m endlessly curious about astrophysics and science in general. This means I regularly listen to the Star Talk podcast, which sometimes features astronaut Mike Massimo. On the show, he’s terribly funny, so when I came across this book I snatched it up.
Not only did Mike’s humor shine through, but the book provides an excellent lesson in never giving up on your goals.
#9 Grandville (Graphic Novel)
Through my library I have a free subscription to Hoopla. And on Hoopla, besides movies and music, you can check out graphic novels!!! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Grandville, but let’s just say that after reading the first one, I gobbled up the rest of the series.
Imagine steampunk mystery/thriller, but in a world where animals are the civilized ones and humans are their bizarre little servants. The books are endlessly clever with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor.
#8 Paul is Undead by Alan Goldsher
I reviewed this one earlier this year on the blog and it remains the funniest book I read in 2019! Take the story of The Beatles, put it in a world where zombies are your average citizen and you’ve got a book that’s impossible to put down (except when you’re laughing so hard you drop the book).
#7 The Vanishing Man by Charles Finch
I may be biased on this one. I LOVE the Charles Lenox series for its nods to Sherlock Holmes, its uber-British main character, and its terrific writing. So when I saw this latest installment, I couldn’t get my hands on it fast enough. To be honest, the book could have sucked and I’d have devoured it. Luckily, it didn’t suck and was actually one of my top three favorites of the entire series so far!!
#6 A Study in Emerald (Graphic Novel – Neil Gaiman)
I almost always enjoy a re-telling of Sherlock Holmes’s stories and, at first, I thought that’s all I was in for with this one. Sure, it’s Neil Gaiman, so I expected it to be a bit grittier and stranger. What I was not expecting, and what catapulted this into my top ten, was the OMG! twist at the end.
#5 The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun
At the annual library sale last year, I nabbed a small handful of The Cat Who mysteries for super cheap. Since I’m persnickety about readings series out of order, I tracked down Book One (this one). I figured if I didn’t like it, I’d just pop the books I’d gotten into a Little Free Library. Turns out, I fully enjoyed it (I’m sure there’s a catnip analogy I could make here), so much so that I’m now clawing my way through the series.
#4 The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London Book 6) by Ben Aaronovitch
On the same London shopping trip during which I picked up my #1 Book of 2019, I bought a copy of The Rivers of London, mainly because I liked the map on the cover (what can I say, I’m a sucker for novels with maps). The series instantly became one of my absolute favorites and I’ve read Books 1 – 4 more than once.
In 2019 I also read Book 5 (Foxglove Summer) and all the graphic novels of the series I could find, but The Hanging Tree proved to be the best of the bunch and is probably my second favorite book of this series that takes the legends of London, weaves them into a fantasy/mystery, and populates them with snarky characters in a way that’s utterly addicting.
#3 The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
Sigh. A president who can form a coherent and compassionate thought. Remember what that was like? This wonderful book was made even better because I found it in audiobook format….and it was read by Barack himself!!
#2 Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut
This is another one I reviewed on the blog earlier this year. I’ve read it before, but forgot what an enjoyable, page-turning mix of biography and fiction it is. Plus, it has some excellent Vonnegut quotes (see the post, if you’re curious).
And now, drum roll please, because it’s time for my top pick of 2019……
#1 How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
In a bookstore in London (because my vacations always involve a bit of book shopping) I came across a book with a quirky cover and catchy blurb by some guy named Matt Haig. Even better, the book was on a Buy Two Get One Free sale (during which I also picked up Rivers of London)
Soon after getting home, I read my bargain book (The Humans) and I immediately thought, “No book is going to top this for nailing human emotions while being immensely light-hearted and entertaining.”
Well, folks, How to Stop Time came really close to topping The Humans. It didn’t quite knock The Humans off its pedestal, but it did make it wobble. I don’t have the words to describe how well-written and how absorbing this book is. Just get it, give a try, and let me know what you think!
What about you? Any favorite books from 2019? Anything you’re looking forward to reading in 2020?
Note: The Top Ten titles above are affiliate links.