Sunday, January 12, 2020

What I Read: 2019

I set a goal of 75 books last year, but then I went and got a real job with a heinous commute, which seriously impacted my reading time. But still, I finished the year at a respectable 51 55 (just checked my library history, turns out I went on a reading spree early in the year and didn't log any?). Once again I had several DNF's, but I didn't keep track of them. I think I need a tracking system for those next year. I also didn't count books I listened to on my commute (though one is described below because it's not worth your time.) This has been an ongoing conversation in my house. Should audiobooks count in the final tally? Maybe for next year I'll keep two lists. We'll see...

Books that everyone else loved so I finished them even though I didn't want to
Women Talking. I felt like the entire book was a lead up to a plot line that never happened. I legit looked to see if I was missing pages. My Sister, the Serial Killer. I don't know why I didn't like this one. The premise was so good but I struggled through it. I think maybe because the main character was kind of annoying. The Mars Room. Okay, so this one probably deserves it's own post. On one hand it was great. However, as someone who has spent 10 years working in California prisons, it was frustratingly obvious that the author's background research was one sided and I had a hard time getting past it. If you read or have read this one, please know that some of her "facts" about prison are either grossly outdated or untrue.

These are books that I read that I wish I hadn't wasted my time on
Firefly Lane. Kristin Hannah was one of my top picks last year so I was bummed that this one was so unremarkable. On the other hand, I really hate a "plain friend/gorgeous friend" trope so...  The Girl Behind the Red Rope. Ugh. Basically it's a remake of an M. Night Shyamalan movie that ends with a big dose of proselytizing. I often enjoy Christian literature but this one read like propaganda. I would've quit but it was near the end of the year and I needed a finish. A Spark of Light. I like Jodi Picoult and typically find her to be a good palate cleanser but this one felt gratuitous. I listened to this on my drive and the repeated, graphic descriptions of various abortions got to be a bit obnoxious. And the end was predictable and kind of dumb.

Books that messed with my head
You know I love a good, weird book. These were my favorite "WTF is going on?" books.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I liked this book as much for an appreciation of how hard it must have been to write as for the story itself. If you're reading it and want to give up, I encourage you to stick with it. It stays weird clear through the end. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna. The characters in this one will break your heart. I read these two nearly back-to-back so the differences were striking. Also a bit confusing because the titles were so similar. And finally, A Guide for Murdered Children. Goodreads tells me that less than 700 people read this one last year. If you're looking to break out a bit I really recommend it. It's weird and sweet at the same time.

Definitely read these
Becoming. Seriously, I don't need to say anything more. If you haven't read it yet you should make that the first book of 2020.And then if you're lucky you should go see her speak with a really amazing friend. Just sayin'. City of Girls. OMG. I loved this book so much. It's an awesome book about sisterhood and feminism without being preachy or ignoring the humanity of the characters. I gave this one to my sister for Christmas even though it's still in hardcover. I loved it that much.

Books I read and then recommended to my kids
Short. So, so sweet. Syd loved this one more than I did but it was fun to hear her thoughts. On The Come Up. Eli liked this one better than The Hate U Give.

And finally, these are the books I recommend to everyone. They're basically the scented candles and fuzzy blankets of my book stash. Nine Perfect Strangers. Such a fun premise. I run a bit hot/cold with this author but I really liked this one. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. Sweet and fun. Not a ton of controversy.

I've set a goal of 60 for next year. That seemed just ambitious enough when I thought I'd read 51, but now that I know there were more it feels like maybe it might be a gimmee. We'll see though. Two weeks in I've only finished one book. I find that I am much quicker to put a boring book down lately. I also have been on a spree of hitting the library buffet-style and ending up with more books than I could feasibly finish. So we'll see. After reviewing my library history I think I'm going to try to track how much I spend in fines this year. That might be a fun stat to look at year-end too.

If you're interested in my previous wrap-ups you can find them here, here

I'm still building my list for 2020. What were your favorite books of the year? What are your thoughts on audio books? And should we do an over/under for how much I spend in fines?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, lurker here. I enjoy reading about your kids and your job! I totally count audiobooks, as long as you're actually listening to it and not just having it playing in the background while you're having other conversations. I've been checking them out from the library for the last couple of years, great for commute time. And I'm happy to report my library system just decided to get rid of fines as of 1/1/20!