All The Books I Can Read

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My Best Books Of 2019 (Top 10 Tuesday 31st December)

on December 31, 2019

Best lists are a tricky beast because I read so many wonderful books it can be hard to narrow it down to a list that doesn’t just go on forever. But for my best books of 2019, there has to be something about them that sticks in my mind, that singles them out. This post is also doubling as my Top 10 Tuesday December 31 post (hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl) where the topic is Top 10 Reads of 2019. I actually have slightly more than 10….but it’s fine.

These are in the order I read them, not actual preference.

The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper. Her non-fiction is just….incredible. This was about some of the horrific fires of Black Saturday 2009 in Victoria and it’s rich with the details of some of the stories of those that lost their lives or that were close to people that did. It was also the first book I read in 2019, so it was a powerful way to start the reading year. My review.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Oh wow, this book. This was a 10/10 read for me and heck we all know I give them out almost not at all. The writing is amazing, the story is phenomenal and the ending is just….something that I still think about. And I read this in January. My review.

No Friend But The Mountains by Behrouz Boochani. This is another 10/10 read for me and is my Book of the Year. This was written by a Kurdish refugee seeking asylum in Australia, confined on Manus Island. He wrote it on WhatsApp in Farsi and sent it to his translator. It’s very poetic and the sheer task of translating that into English and keeping the integrity intact must’ve been a task. It was admirably done. It highlights with unflinching realism how horrifically people have been treated by this country’s government, just for daring to come here. My review.

What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume. The summer Aussie YA I’ve always wanted to read with a plus-sized main character and a super cute love interest who is hot for her the way she is. My review.

The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan. The second in the Cormac Reilly series, about a detective in Ireland who took a demotion and is regarded with suspicion by most of his work colleagues. This book involves his partner in a crime and these books are just so good. I can’t wait for more. My review.

Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee. A memoir detailing one woman’s fight for justice in her case against someone who sexually molested her. Bri Lee works as a judge’s associate in a Queensland – both regional and metropolitan. She sees her boss, known affectionately as “Judge”, deal with a lot of sexual assault cases and a large amount do not result in convictions. This was very confronting with a lot of painstaking research but also raw emotion as Lee came to terms with her own status as sexual assault victim and her quest to have her voice heard. My review.

Vardaesia by Lynette Noni. I ended up loving this series so much! Each new book just built on the world and the story in such interesting ways and I really liked the characters. This finale was really well done and it was such a satisfying journey. My review.

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. Sally Hepworth is just the master of a family drama. Her portrayal of complex relationships is so clever and her books are impossible to put down. My review.

The Place On Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta. Melina Marchetta is my Queen. It’s impossible for me not to love her books and I especially love Francesca Spinelli, Tom Mackie, Jimmy Hailler and Tara and Justine and Will. These kids have gone from high school students thrown together to adults who are a family. I love them ALL. My review.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. I absolutely loved this – it’s about two people who share a one bedroom flat but they’ve never met. One works nights and sleeps in the flat during the day. The other works days and sleeps in the flat overnight. They start leaving little notes for each other and eventually….things happen. This is cute AF and weirdly, I never wrote a review of it.

The Island Of Sea Women by Lisa See. This was such an amazing story about a matriarchal society living on Jeju, an island off the coast of South Korea. The women in the society are basically free divers, training from a young age to hold their breath and dive to deeper and deeper depths to harvest the sea while the men stay home and look after the children. It was amazing – moving through WWII and Japanese occupation. My review.

The Forgotten Letters Of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn. A brilliant dual timeline book about a young woman committed to a mental asylum by her husband in the 1950s after a loss and a woman in 2017 taking up a new career posting to a remote island off the coast of Cornwall. Incredibly engaging. My review.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. Possibly my romance of the year – this book is amazing in 5,000,000 different ways. A Hispanic First Son of America and a very British prince who cause a scene and are then told by their respective minders that it’s time to make nice….and they discover that under that animosity that actually kinda like each other a lot. This is amazing. 1,000,000 more like this would be fab. My review.

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves. This is the first book I’ve ever read by Ann Cleeves, although she’s a prolific writer with several series’ even having been adapted for television. This is the first in a brand new series featuring a detective who fled his overly religious family some 20 years ago. He’s now working in his home town although his rejection of his family’s religious lifestyle means he’s basically invisible to them (as does his choice of partner). This was good and I am eagerly awaiting the next one. My review.

Guest House For Young Widows: Among The Women Of Isis by Azadeh Moaveni. A divisive book, I have no doubt. This tells the story of some of the {young} women who were lured to join a new Muslim caliphate. In some cases, they were as young as 15 and married off almost immediately to ISIS soldiers. A lot of them are widows, some have been widowed more than once. And now the debate rages about what to do with them. My review.

I Am Change by Suzy Zail. This was amazing, a YA set in Uganda and the struggle of a young girl to be able to just go to school and complete her education and the struggles of a mother who wants a traditional life for her, to preserve her culture (even facets of it that are now illegal) and a daughter who just wants to write and be something other than a wife and mother. My review.

The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black. Yasss. I love this whole series. My review.

The Only Plane In The Sky: An Oral History Of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff. This was so good. It’s just so simple – the story of what happened to each person on 9/11 from people who worked in the Twin Towers, first responders, loved ones who lost people either in the towers or those who were on the planes. It’s in chronological order from the early morning onward and it is pure story, no politics. My review.

2019 had a lot of memorable books – I have a few dozen more I could probably list as honourable mentions but that would make this post go on forever. I just decided to be a bit ruthless and stick to the ones that I felt really stood out, or that I felt changed my reading landscape.

Hope you all read many, many wonderful books in 2019 and here’s to more of the same in 2020!


24 responses to “My Best Books Of 2019 (Top 10 Tuesday 31st December)

  1. What a good list! I have some of these still on my tbr. You had a good mix of fiction and non-fiction too.

  2. Great choices! Some of which I’ve read, some of which are still on my TBR.
    Wishing you a Happy New Year 🥳

  3. The Only Plane in the Sky was one of my top reads from this year as well! It was overwhelmingly good. And so many others on your list are on my tbr. I’ve wanted to pick up No Friend But the Mountains ever since I first heard about it. Such an amazing story!

    Happy New Year! My TTT

    • No Friend But The Mountains is incredible but it’s so heartwrenching as well, particularly because I’m Australian and I’ve always felt that consigning people seeking asylum to what is basically a prison, no matter what the powers that be say, is a crime against humanity. He’s one of the few people that’s been able to get his story out there, to help people see what it is that these refugees are subjected to. Unfortunately, it still hasn’t been enough.

      • Dedra @ A Book Wanderer says:

        Yes, it is heart wrenching. It must be especially hard to be so close to the story. The first time I came across a description of the book, I was shocked. I’d never heard of it. Hopefully this book helps bring awareness and an end to the injustices! ❤️

  4. That Lisa See book looks interesting. Happy 2020 reading. Here’s my list

  5. Jocelyn says:

    Wow, what an impressive list. The only one I’ve read is The Mother in Law and that one totally shook me. I’m definitely adding a few of these to my TBR, especially No Friend But The Mountains. Thanks for the recommendations!

  6. Nikki @The Night is Dark and Full of Books says:

    I don’t usually read full-on romance books, but seeing everyone love Red, White & Royal Blue makes me want to give it try. I hope 2020 will be another great year full of lovely books.

    My TTT.

  7. lydiaschoch says:

    Wow, I Am Change looks good.

    My TTT.

    • I found it incredibly fascinating and also heartbreaking and disturbing. It’s not own voices but the author did interview about 30 Ugandan girls extensively and kind of…combined a lot of their stories and shared experiences into a narrative.

  8. Cate @ The Crime Scene Bookworm says:

    I haven’t read any of these, but I did finally get my hands on Red, White, and Royal Blue and the Cruel Prince, so I’ll be starting each of those shortly and I can’t wait! Great list!
    My TTT

  9. curlygeek04 says:

    There are quite a few books on this list I want to read, especially Guest House for Young Widows and The Only Plane in the Sky. Island of Sea Women is also on my list. Thanks for the recommendations!

    • Guest House for Young Widows is one of those books that I think will divide people – but it will make for some really incredible discussions as well. There’s a LOT going on in there and it’s really seeking to present a side I don’t think people see or even want to see, too often.

  10. I’ve seen The Only Plane In The Sky on so many lists today. That one is going on my TBR for sure.

  11. The Queen of Nothing made my Top 10 Lists for the year. The Forgotten Letters and The Only Plane in the Sky both sound good.

  12. Poinsettia says:

    It looks like you had a great year of reading! I’ll have to check some of these out. I like the sound of The Island of Sea Women. Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

  13. Marg says:

    I was surprised to see I had read 6 of these!!

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