Sunday, January 5, 2020

Favorite Books of 2019



New year, new book post.

Poor 2019 didn't see the light of day on this blog. The new year always brings a reset, and I'd love to start writing more, but it's so hard to find the time. I'd love to stop time, stop the children growing, stop all responsibilities and just reeeeeeeeeaad and wrriiiiiite, but you can't stop living. And all the living makes me tired, and all the tired requires rest, and then there's another day gone. So we'll see what the new year brings and take it one day at a time.

For now, here's a list of the best books I read in 2019:

Circe by Madeline Miller - This is a crash course in Greek mythology plus an incredible story of love and loyalty, all held together with stunning and descriptive writing.  I hadn't read any Greek mythology since 9th grade, but all the vague memories and names came flooding back with this book. The gangs all there - Odysseus, Scala, Agrippa, Helios, Zeus, Apollo, Achilles and of course, Circe.  I absolutely loved this book and still think about it six months after reading it.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens - I can't add anything to all the hype surrounding this book from the past year. It really is pure literary magic, and  I can't wait for this to be a movie. The scene where Tate takes Kya inland to see the white geese (or was it swans?) land in the water...

American Royals by Katharine McGee - A total beach read that I flew through, this story reimagines modern day America as a monarchy- The House of Washington - instead of an elected presidency. It centers around the American monarch's family and the love lives of the king's three kids. It's pure bubblegum.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng - I wish I had read this one with my bookclub because there is so so so much to discuss, debate and challenge. Several of my friends who read this were split on if they loved it or hated it. I loved it, but it's not an easy story. Read it and decide for yourself...

The Beholder by Anna Bright - I flipped out when I walked into Barnes and Noble one evening last summer and came across this book! Anna Bright is a real life friend of mine!! And she wrote a book! And not just one book but the first in a series. The Beholder is a fairytale mashup with some great romance.

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp - I know a lot of folks can only handle Ann Voskamp's writing in small batches, which is why her Advent devotional is so lovely. Each day of Advent, there's a few pages to read followed by some reflection questions. Waking up early in the quiet of the morning to do this devo was one of my favorite parts of December.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes - It's just a pretty normal but perfectly charming love story set in Maine, and I read it right before we went on a family trip there this fall. It's a sweet read.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes - I loved this book so much. It's the true story of a traveling library and the four women who ride horses through the eastern Kentucky mountains delivering books. There's love, there's murder, there's mystery, there's literature... it's perfection! It's kind of like the mountain version of Where the Crawdads Sing.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - It's been 12 months since reading this one, but it makes you laugh, cry, and absolutely love Eleanor so much. My bookclub read this together and it prompted one of the best discussions we've ever had.

One Day in December by Josie Silver - just another page-turning love story. Several of my friends had mixed feelings about the main guy in this book because he was at times a jerk, but I feel like it made him more human. The book takes place over 10 years, and although you sort of know how it will end, there are a lot of twists along the way.

Becoming by Michelle Obama - I just read this over Christmas, and it was a great reflection over the past decade. I lived in DC for 6 of the 8 years that Obama was president, and actually got my first job there by dancing with a guy at an inaugural ball in 2009 who then passed along my resume to my future employer. True story. I didn't really know that much about the Obamas, but reading Michelle's biography had me YouTubing old campaign speeches and realizing for the first time what a privileged yet plain weird job it is being the president and first family. Did you know that they have to pay for their own groceries in the White House??? Michelle's insights also are a moving and personal reflection on what it means to be black in America. It's truly worth your time.

Happy new year! May 2020 be a year well spent in the company of friends, family and more good books.