{reading} favorite books read in 2019

Now that that it's December already (how?!) I've been spending a lot of time frantically preparing for Christmas reflecting on the year. I took some time to look at all the books I've read (current count is 86) and decided on a few favorites. Here is my list.



{favorite non-fiction} Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. As a child I was obsessed with horses, reading books like The Saddle Club series and watching the movie National Velvet over and over. This story took me back to my horse-girl roots, but in a grown up way, telling the true story of a horse who inspired a nation, as well as the owner, trainer, and jockeys who helped make him great. I adored this story.


{favorite fiction} The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall. I can't tell you why this book has stuck with me like it has--there's nothing ground-breaking or sensational about it, but I loved every moment of reading it. See my review here. My close second in this category is The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne, which I read back in February and still think about (review here).


{favorite audio} Becoming by Michelle Obama. I mean, do I even need to explain this one? Listening to Michelle Obama narrate her smart, well-written memoir was just the best. (Original review here.)


{favorite essays} I Miss You When I Blink by Laura Philpott. I don't read a lot of books in essay format, but this was delightful. It's honest, funny, and insightful, and I found myself nodding along with so much of Philpott's observations about her life. I read a library version but should have purchased a copy, as it's one I'd like to go back and re-visit.


{favorite dysfunctional family} Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. That deserves its own category, right? I loved this story of two families who are neighbors and friends, and how one event changes their lives and their friendship forever. It sounds dramatic, but really it's a story of relationships and forgiveness.


{favorite "worth the hype"} Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. When I heard that this was an oral history of a fictional seventies rock band, I did not for one second think I wanted to read it, or that I would love it. After multiple people expressed a similar opinion, yet stated that they did read and love it, I decided to give it a try. I could not put this book down, and I found myself caring more deeply about this fictional band than I thought possible. Sometimes the hype is wrong. Not this time.


{favorite YA} Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. This was a tough book to read, about a teenage girl--star athlete and good student--who becomes an addict after a car accident. Although it's fiction, it helped me put a face to the opioid crisis, and McGinnis did a great job of showing how addiction goes beyond stereotypes, age, and class. This was a gut-wrenching book that stuck with me for a long time. (My review here.)


{favorite parenting book} How to be a Happier Parent by K. J. Dell'Antonia. Parenting books tend to be hit or miss for me. I keep reaching for them, because my children (especially the sassy three year-old) keep reminding me that I have A LOT of learning to do when it comes to parenting. Yet too often I find the advice irrelevant, obvious, or just not applicable to my daily life. However this one is different, with its focus on how I can make changes in myself as a parent, rather than strategies for improving my child's behavior. See my review here, but if you're looking for a good parenting book that offers a refreshing perspective, pick this one up.


Tell me, what were your favorites from this year? 

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