2019 was a year of fantastic reads for me personally. I branched out and read things totally outside of my comfort zone, learned about new people, places, and historic events, listened to more audiobooks than I ever have in my life, and had a blast doing it. Below are my very favorite reads of 2019! Let me know if any of your favorites are on this list and what you’re most looking forward to in 2020! (You can also check out my favorite reads of 2018.)
Atomic Habits by James Clear
If you’re into personal development, wanting to break a bad habit, start a new one, or just overall would like to improve your life in some way, read this book. I listened to the book on audio while working out, and the amount of times that I had to stop what I was doing to take note of an important quote was outrageous. I plan on purchasing the physical copy to re-read and really dig into, as well. Clear describes habits in such a simple and eye-opening way that you can’t help but start noticing your own patterns and behaviors and tweaking them as you read. This is one I’ve recommended many times, and will definitely come back to.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Reid Jenkins
You’ve probably seen this book cover everywhere because it seemed to be one of THE books of 2019, and for good reason! Daisy Jones & The Six was such a unique read, and because it was written in interview format, it was quick and engrossing, as well. I read it over several nights while soaking in the tub, but I also have friends who highly recommended it on audio because of the different “cast” of voices that read the book. It’s all about a rock band in the 60s and 70s and the relationships and rise to fame of the band members. It’s a fictional story, but written in such great detail that members of my book club found themselves searching for pictures of Daisy Jones on Google and looking up old band albums on Spotify. It’s so fun and enjoyable.
Columbine by Dave Cullen
I have found it increasingly difficult to voice my feelings about this book or find words to describe it at all. It obviously made my list of favorite books of the year and impacted me deeply, but how do you describe a book about such a horrific event as a “favorite”? Columbine was moving, impactful, horrifying, and memorable in ways that I still think about often. As a child who was too young to remember this day when it happened, I found myself completely enthralled to learn more about the moment in history that did happen during my lifetime. Cullen writes in such detail and sensitivity towards everyone involved and it is so important. I highly recommend that everyone read this at some point in their lifetime.
Educated by Tara Westover
Yet another nonfiction title on my favorites list, but this one is different. Educated reads like a fictional story of the wild and difficult upbringing and entrance into the world of Tara Westover, a child of extremely devout Mormon parents living “off the land” in Idaho. Tara’s stories of her childhood into adulthood are at times, completely unbelievable, yet they all happened. I found myself crying for her and then cheering her on as she made a way for herself in the world as an adult. Highly, highly recommend.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Another book that you’ve probably seen everywhere over the last year, Where the Crawdads Sing was a fantastic work of fiction. Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, you follow the coming of age story of a girl, abandoned by her family, living in the marshland of North Carolina, from childhood through adulthood. I found that I literally couldn’t put the book down until I knew how it ended. I sometimes find myself shying away from the most popular new releases because I’m worried they won’t live up to the hype I’ve seen, but this book lived up to the hype and then some.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Wow. I saw the movie Unbroken when it first came out several years ago, and I remember when I left the theater my entire body was sore because I had tensed up the entire movie from the sheer intense nature of Louis Zamperini’s situation. Olympics, war, plane crash, shark attacks, internment camps, and the list goes on – he endured it all and lived to tell the tale. This book details his life from childhood through adulthood, sharing in detail of his experiences in every life stage, and at times I found it hard to believe that this could’ve all possibly happened to one individual. The things he endured will shock you and make you believe in the sheer power and will of humanity. Must read.
Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury
Slightly different from everything else on this list, the Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury is a must read for any Christian woman. I think “Christian fiction” has a bad reputation for being cheesy or similar to a Hallmark movie, but Kingsbury’s writing is just so authentic and relatable that I found myself thinking of this family as friends. I can’t even count the number of times that I cried for this family as they endured hardships in their lives, and how I cheered for them when they were overcome. Start with this series and then get ready to be sucked into all of Karen Kingsbury’s writings and continue on with the Baxter family through life.