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January 2, 2020

2019 Year End Survey and Top Picks List



I am very pleased with my reading in 2019. I surpassed my Goodreads goal of 50 books, reading more than I have in any given year since 2007, and ended the year with some wonderful books. I didn't listen to as many audio books as I did last year, but I received a wireless headset for Christmas and am already noticing more listening time during the day. The only ebooks I read were book club selections and those numbers probably won't go much higher in 2020 since I prefer to read books in print. I hope to continue knocking books off my ARC stacks; I have so many dating back several years. I read a ton of nonfiction (thanks partly to the Nonfiction November Challenge), but not much in the way of sci-fi or classics. I didn't have a lot of 5-star books and I'm surprised at the number of average (3/5 stars) and fair (2/5) books on my list. I may have been a bit more stingy with higher ratings this year. OK, enough chatter. Here are my stats for 2019:

Books Read: 55
Print:  45
Audio:  8
Ebooks:  2
ARCs: 5
Fiction:  29
Nonfiction:  17
Mystery:  9
Science Fiction:  0
Classics:  1
Poetry:  1
Teen/YA:  0
Childrens:  1
Memoirs:  11
Graphic Novels:  1
Rereads:  4
Male Authors:  13
Female Authors:  42
New Authors:  21
From My Stacks:  24
Borrowed:  31

Ratings:

5 stars:  6
4.5 stars:  11
4 stars:  17
3.5 stars:  3
3 stars:  10
2 stars:  8

Top Picks of 2019

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb (5/5)

Henry, Himself by Stewart O'Nan (5/5)

Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg (5/5)

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (5/5)

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny (5/5)

Becoming by Michelle Obama (5/5)

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (4.5/5)

Devotion by Dani Shapiro (4.5/5)

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (4.5/5)

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne (4.5/5)

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman (4.5/5)

Kitchen Yarns by Ann Hood (4.5/5)

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (4.5/5)

After You by Jojo Moyes (4.5/5)

Whiskey When We're Dry by John Larison (4.5/5)

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny (4.5/5)

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny (4.5/5)


#1 Book of 2019: Henry, Himself

Favorite Book Group Selection: Whiskey When We're Dry

Favorite Audio Book: Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

Favorite Mystery: How the Light Gets In

Favorite Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache/Three Pines - Check out all the Louise Penny books on my list this year!

Click here to see all the books I read in 2019. I've included links to all my 2019 reviews, as well.

38 comments:

  1. I was surprised at how many audio books I listened to in 2019. I noticed several Louise Pennys on your list. I've got to make the time to read one of her books.

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    1. Kathy, I'm sure I've mentioned this before but you might want to skip the first in the series (Still Life). It's not terribly good and it might put you off of the series. With that said, do read them in order as so much happens and the plot builds on each installment.

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    2. I really liked Still Life. Isn't it funny how differently people can feel about the same book?

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    3. Absolutely! I even read it once and listened to it for a reread. Still didn't knock my socks off the way her later books have.

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  2. I loved Henry, Himself, too.

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    1. Deb, I plan to reread both Henry, Himself and Emily, Alone later this year. I'm sad that I didn't care for Wish You Were Here. I wonder if there will be a fourth title in this series.

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    2. Putting Henry, Himself on my list.

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    3. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  3. I bet you will listen to more books with those wireless headphones. I think I've mentioned that I'm usually close to 40-45% on audio. Of course I love the fact that Louise Penny has reeled you in. Ha!

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    1. Kay, I have a huge stack of Louise Penny's books to get back to, but first to tackle my library books, then I'll go on a LP binge!

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  4. I just love these end-of-year posts... many of my favorites are here, as well a several on my tbr list. Why haven't I read Henry, Himself yet?? And Louise Penny, too.

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    1. I do too, JoAnn. I'm envious that you get to read Henry, Himself for the first time. I don't know if others will agree that it's worthy of being #1 on a Top Ten list, but it was for me. At least in the fiction category. Louise Penny's books are top-notch, as well.

      You've inspired me to put together a Best of the Decade post for both fiction and nonfiction.

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  5. So much fun reading this!! You know, I think I liked HH better than EA. I think I told you I reread the latter after reading Henry. I'm not sure if it was the book I liked better or the person! Of course, he was in a different situation - younger, his wife still living.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this, Nan! As I told Deb, I plan to reread HH and EA later this year. I wonder if I will still like EA as much as I did when I first read it.

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  6. Oh, I love a good mystery! I want to read more of Louise Penny in 2020. Can I recommend a mystery which utterly stands out in my 2019 reading year? It is The Whisperer by Karin Fossum, and I was blown away by it. Perhaps you would like it, too. I’m sorry that my translated literature love has taken me down paths which are a bit separate from yours, but you know that inherently we are alike. You will always be my dear blogging friend, my first, from 2006. Happy New Year, Les!

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Meredith! I will seek out The Whisperer next time I visit my library. Happy New Year to you, my dear blogging friend. Goodness. 2006 seems like a lifetime ago, doesn't it?

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    2. 14 years at this game? That's longer than I was in elementary school, middle school, and high school combined!😳😄

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    3. Pretty amazing, isn't it?! We have to go for 20! :)

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  7. Fun to see your favorites from the year all in one place! I completely agree with your high ratings on Henry, Himself and Night of Miracles. Perhaps I need to give the Backman novel another try, because I sure loved A Man Called Ove. So many books to read...that always makes me happy. Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

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    1. Laurel, if you need further inspiration, take a glance over to the right to my sidebar. I have a spot under "Extras," which has a link to my Annual Top Tens. I plan to compile a list of my all-time favorites from the past decade, so stay tuned. With regard to Backman, it took me quite a while to get interested in My Grandmother Says To Tell You She's Sorry. It felt very confusing, but I eventually figured things out and thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I was tempted to read it again as soon as I finished.

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    2. I loved A Man Called Ove but dnf Ask My Grandmother...I just put his novella on hold at the library which I’ve heard is amazing!

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    3. Kristen, it took me quite a while to figure out what was going on in Ask My Grandmother, but once everything came together, I fell in love with it. Might be worth another try.

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  8. Thanks!! And if you enjoyed the 'My Grandmother...' novel so much, I will definitely give it another try!

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  9. This is a terrific post and I’ll be revisiting it often for new ideas of what to read! I really enjoyed my reading this year and loved Susan Hill’s The Magic Apple Tree. I’m also completely immersed in Deborah Crombie’s series with Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. I do want to get back to Louise Penny soon, too! Happy reading in 2020, my friend!

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    1. Thanks, Robin! My mom is reading Crombie's series and I plan to once I get caught up on Louise Penny's books. I've read the first in Crombie's series and know I'll enjoy it. I've only read one or two books by Susan Hill (part of her mystery series), but would like to read The Magic Apple Tree. I gave my mom a copy of Jacob's Room is Full of Books (by Hill) and look forward to borrowing it later this year. Here's to a wonderful year of reading!

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  10. I read 56 books, 34 were nonfiction, unusual for me. My #1 fiction was The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. My #1 nonfiction was Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe.

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    1. You had a good year of reading, Maudeen! Like you, I read a lot more nonfiction than usual. I'm glad to hear that The Nickel Boys was your #1 fiction read. I'm nominating that to my book group for 2020. I'll have to take a look at Say Nothing. I'm not familiar with it or the author. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope you are doing well.

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  11. You have such a fantastic list and many I haven’t read! My TBR stack keeps getting bigger and bigger!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kristen. Be sure to check out my sidebar link for all my Top Ten lists. :)

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  12. I've never heard of Henry, Himself. I'll have to look that up. I've got Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and hope to get to it, soon. You had a great year!

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    1. Nancy, I really enjoyed both of those (obviously - they're on this list). Stewart O'Nan has become a favorite author.

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  13. What a great reading year. I love that you had several Louise Penny books on your favorites list! I need to get caught up with that series again. Ok, and I'm so glad to hear i'm not the only one with stacks of ARCs from years ago that I still haven't read/reviewed! :) Here's to a great reading year ahead!

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    1. Iliana, I'm hoping to get back to Louise Penny this spring. I have so many books remaining in that series, but my current TBR stack is full of other tempting reads. One of my goals is to read at least one of my oldest ARCs each month. I'm also going to try to reread one of the books I've blogged about on my Friday "Looking Back" posts. I've just started an old favorite - The Bean Trees (Barbara Kingsolver) - and it's soooo good. I loved it when I read it 20 years ago and so far, it's standing the test of time. So, little goals for the year ahead.

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  14. Clearly I need to start reading Penny!

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    1. Absolutely! My husband agrees with me and thinks she's an amazing writer.

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  15. I love how you broke this all down. 78% of the books I read were audiobooks this year, which was mainly because I gave birth to our little one in September and most of my reading is during nursing sessions and cleaning the house using audiobooks! I really enjoyed Becoming and My Grandmother Asked. I have been wanting to read Maybe You Should Talk to Someone!

    Here are my top 2019 reads: https://elle-alice.blogspot.com/2020/01/favorite-books-of-2019.html

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    1. Hi, Elle Alice! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my 2019 favorites. I love audiobooks, as well. I see you have What Alice Forgot on your top 2019 reads. I loved that novel! Congratulations on the birth of your son and thanks again for stopping by. Happy reading!

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