Top Books 2019 aka "a list of my new friends"
Updated: Dec 17, 2019
I used to get books for Christmas. I don't anymore. Mainly because my husband says, How am I supposed to know what book to get you?? And I say, ANY BOOK WILL DO. And he says, whatever, send me a list. And then I don't send a list.
We're currently in Day 10 of Kelli Refusing To Send a List of Christmas Ideas Because You Should Know Me Better, Steve. It's amusing.
Anyway, I thought I'd make a list for you because you are not Steve. Here are the Top Books I've read this year. I only allowed my most highly rated books into this list...kinda like how you only want the COOLEST, CHILLEST, MOST BELOVED friends to come to your birthday party - which ends up only being your cute little dog. Because he's the only one that's completely LOYAL. But I digress. Without further ado, here are the top books of 2019:
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. I wish my review could just be adjectives: Wow. Cool. Inspiring. Troubling. Difficult. Trevor Noah grew up as Apartheid was ending in South Africa. Born of a white Swiss/German father and a black mother, the fact that Noah was mixed was against the law, and thus begins his story. Trevor's humor and insight make his writing riveting and I honestly felt honored to hear his story. (PG-13)
"I was nine years old when my mother threw me out of a moving car. It happened on a Sunday. I know it was on a Sunday because we were coming home from church, and every Sunday in my childhood meant church."
5 out of 5 copied CDs.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb. Love this book! Lori reviews her own work as a therapist and gives insight to the struggles and growth her patients faced (including general psychological principles sprinkled throughout) and she talks about her own growth experienced with her therapist. The book moved along well, the patients she introduces us to are interesting and well-developed as characters providing a backdrop for Lori's own processing of the situations in her life. I really enjoyed this book. And now I want a therapist. (PG-13)
"'Your feelings don't have to mesh with what you think they should be,' he explained. 'They'll be there regardless, so you might as well welcome them because they hold important clues.'
How many times had I said something similar to my own patients? But here I feel as if I'm hearing this for the first time. Don't judge your feelings; notice them. Use them as your map. Don't be afraid of the truth."
Okay, fine, this wasn't quite a 5 star book, but I'm including it because it was so close: 4.5 out of 5 Kleenex boxes (every good therapist has a box on their desk...)
Shopaholic Christmas by Sophie Kinsella. One of my favorite books of all time is Confessions of a Shopaholic. Mainly because I secretly would love to write a book that makes people laugh. And Kinsella does it right. This book takes us right back to her humor of the original Shopaholic book. If you are a Kinsella fan, try this one and ignore all the other in between ones. (And buy my book when it comes out. I'm gonna make you laugh.)
And here are the top THREE BOOKS - If you don't read these, we can't be Book Buddies anymore. I'll pretend we are to be polite, but we won't be:
On Writing by Stephen King. King spends the first half of the book telling his story. The second half is his writing advice. Brilliant. On any list of "books you must read if you want to be a writer." His big takeaways are if you want to write, you must read, read, read. And get rid of all passive voice/action. But more than the takeaways, this is a terrific read. Love love love. Marking my copy up and taking voracious notes. 10/10 (The only other King book I read was 11/22/63 - one of my other top books from a different year. Try that one if you'd like a good King novel.)
The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
This one was so good I couldn't stop telling people to read it. Once I recommended it to someone and didn't believe they really would read it...so I bought it and forced it on them. That's all to say: I found myself caring about this book: I am in the deep with this one. Love. The topic of four young people moving to New York so the two men can pastor the flailing Third Presbyterian Church through the tumultous 1960's. Love the background of each of their perspectives on faith. Love that it looks at ministry/calling. Love that it looks at the faith and feelings and thoughts of the wives (What if they didn't get the "call"??) It is not necessarily a "Christian" book, it is more of a book on faith (I'd describe it as being along the lines of feeling like Gilead by Marilynne Robinson). It rambles a bit toward the end, but even when it was rambling, I understood her point... so I kept the rating very high. Rating: 9/10. LOVE. PLEASE READ IT. If I know you, I'm sure I'll be recommending it to you. Beautiful.
The River by Peter Heller. Listen, this book. It was good. It wins as Number One Book of 2019. Don't even question me, order it now and read it. I can't stop recommending it to my reading friends. Two best friends canoe the the Maskwa River up in Northern Canada. As they're enjoying the beautiful, peaceful outdoor life, they discover a fire has begun burning out of control just up the river. They decide to warn a couple they had passed a couple days earlier, but can't locate them. The man shows up at their camp - without the woman. The friends go back to find her - and that's where the rest of the story starts its fast-paced mystery. While the storyline is terrific, it's also the writing in this book that makes it move up a level. Loved some of his sentences and loved the suspense in this book. 100% read it.
Rating: 5 out of 5 wild blueberries.