2019 was my first year tracking the books I read. Ever since I learned to read at just two and a half years old, I rarely stopped. There were a couple of years post college where I read less than normal, but I’ve since resumed my voracious appetite for written content. That includes blog posts now, but I still read a ton of books as well.

I had no sense of just how many books I usually read in a year, so I picked thirty as my goal without any idea if that was way too low or too high. I ended up reading fifty five books in 2019, so my initial thought of setting the goal at fifty two would have been more accurate. The number doesn’t matter so much as the fact that I’m enjoying having a list of what I read, and now I’m sharing that list and a few thoughts here.

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Nonfiction

1. Work Optional by Tanja Hester

I received an advance copy of this book and wrote a review of it here – and held a giveaway for it as well. No matter whether financial independence and early retirement is on your radar or not, I loved this book for anyone because of the first half of the book that deals with the mindset piece and the why more than the hard finances.

2. Nomadland by Jessica Bruder

The FIRE community has quite a bit in common with the senior vanlife community profiled in this book, the big difference being lack of funds that force the lifestyle versus making the lifestyle choice to be there. Fascinating and heartbreaking to realize how small the safety net can be in this country.

3. Inspired by Rachel Held Evans

Little did I know that Rachel Held Evans would pass away at the age of just thirty seven years old soon after I finished this book. She has been a big part of my faith journey, and I’ve devoured everything she’d ever written. It’s painful even now to realize we’ve lost such a powerful, loving, inclusive voice in the Christian community, and that void will be felt for a long time. I’ll be re-reading this – and her other books – at some point, but I’m not quite ready.

4. Evicted by Matthew Desmond

As I work for a company that creates and operates communities that are both affordable and sustainable, this book came up on my radar. Stable housing is such a huge issue for so many in this country, and this book was eye opening, even with my knowledge of the field. I didn’t agree with 100% of the commentary from the author, but this is a book that anyone remotely connected to real estate should read, as well as really anyone who wants to take a closer look at how it looks to stay housed while living in poverty.

5. Dreamland by Sam Quinones

At this point, I think most people in the United States have been impacted by the opioid crisis to one degree or another. This books is a detailed look at the history and current state of things today. A detailed read that will make you frustrated but informed with how things have developed in this country in regards to drugs and addiction. 

6. Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

After Rachel Held Evans, Jen Hatmaker is my favorite Christian author. I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t my favorite of hers. That goes to 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (and that book was maybe an unconscious push to my eventual clothes buying ban). Even so, I sped through this book, and it was an uplifting addition to my reading list this year. 

7. Critical Chain by Eliyahu M Goldratt

This book was “required reading” for my job. If you work in construction or a related field, you might find this interesting, but otherwise, this is probably one to skip. Intriguing, but very dense. A storyline, but much more textbook like. 

8. The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

This book inspired by December Plastic Free Challenge. This was a slow, dense read, but such a good one. If you’re looking for incentives to do better in regards to the planet, this one is a must read. This one will linger with you long after you’ve finished the book. 

More incentive to go green

Fiction

1 – 3. The Glittering Court trilogy by Richelle Mead

Richelle Mead is one of my favorite fiction authors, and this is her newest completed series. It is Dystopian YA, like many of her books, but it’s more the relationships between the characters that draws me it than the society sketched out in general. Young adult love stories for sure, but the premise is great and the characters are wonderful. Each book of the trilogy follows a different headstrong protagonist, though my favorite is the last of the three, Tamsin Wright. 

4 – 6. Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan

I haven’t watched the movie based on this trilogy, but I might get around to it someday because I really enjoyed these books. The descriptions of wealth in these stories are wild, and these were fun, quick reads. 

7. The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory

This book was a recommendation from my mom. It’s total chic lit but fun nonetheless. Sometimes you just need to read something that you know will conclude with a happy ending. 

8. Soundless by Richelle Mead

Richelle Mead’s first standalone novel. Considering she normally writes 3-6 (or 12) books in a world, it was very different to read one that concluded at the end of the first book. This story takes place in a village where everyone has lost their hearing and one girl begins to get hers back. As someone with abrupt hearing loss, I was more intrigued by this story than I would have otherwise. 

9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Read this book. Especially if you live in the United States. One of my goals moving forward is to read more diverse authors, and reading her other books will definitely be on my list. An intense, moving fiction that could entirely be real. 

10 – 12. The Dark Artifices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

This is a continuation of the world created with The Mortal Instruments series (see my re-reads). My favorite part of her books is that her stories include all sorts of LGBT perspectives without having them be THE point of the story. They are just part of the stories of the characters, both main and supporting. 

13. The Red Scrolls Of Magic by Cassandra Clare

More Shadowhunter stories. She is a seriously prolific author, and her writing continues to get better with each book. Magnus and Alec might be my favorite love story in this world, and this book is all about them. 

14. Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare

It’s probably clear by now that if I love an author (and a world creation), I devour all the books in the series and spinoffs. This is another one of those, following yet another character through time. 

15 – 17. Matched trilogy by Ally Condie

I think I may have liked this trilogy better during the reading than after I finished. I’ll likely re-read this one once more, but I don’t know that it will be a regular for me. Interesting concept, but it doesn’t quite get there. 

18 – 20. Books 2-4 of The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry

I had no idea when I read The Giver way back in school that there were three other novels in the Quartet, and I finally rectified that this year. If you enjoyed The Giver, you’ll enjoy the rest of the story. 

21. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

This is the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. I had to read that book in small doses because it was so anxiety producing (especially since I read it for the first time after the 2016 election). The Testaments is less anxiety producing, perhaps because the main characters are in a different situation than the protagonist in The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood is masterful, as always. Considering it’s been more than thirty years since she began writing that first story, she had a lot to say here. 

Re-Reads

1 – 4. The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

This saga is one of those guilty pleasures that I come back to time and time again, especially when real life feels hard. I began my year re-reading the Outlander series, but abruptly switched away from them when Uriah got sick. That series is wonderful, but there is far too much pain and death, which is not what I needed at the beginning of 2019. Twilight might be *trash* and there is a lot problematic with the relationship between Bella and Edward, but I can’t help but love it anyway. 

5 – 7. The Glittering Court trilogy by Richelle Mead

You’ll notice that this trilogy graced this list already, under my new Fiction reads. I read this series twice in a row because I just wasn’t ready to let the characters go yet. Will I go back and re-read this series again? Absolutely. I expect it will be added to my regular rotation of favorite re-reads.  

8 – 13. The Georgia Kincaid series by Richelle Mead

Oh hey. Richelle Mead again (sense a theme here?). This series is about a succubus, Georgia Kincaid, and it’s one of her adult series, which have quite a bit of adult content, making them very different from her Young Adult series. This one is also set in Seattle, which makes it extra fun for me. 

14 – 19. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

This is the series of six books that kicks off the Shadowhunter books. Honestly, they are my least favorite of all of the books written in that world. It’s easy to tell they are her first published novels, because the descriptions are far too lengthy. Regardless, the concept behind the stories is great, and they did suck me in enough to read on to the rest of the books.

20 – 22. The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

I did say that Alec and Magnus might be my favorite love series within the Shadowhunters world, but this trilogy is definitely the most heartbreaking. Set in Victorian London, it has steampunk flair to it that’s pretty great. 

23. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

More Magnus Bane, but not just his story with Alec in “present day.” He’s an immortal warlock, so these are his stories over the centuries (the book is a compilation of short stories). My favorites are still his time with Alec.

24. Tales From Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Okay, okay. She is a *very* prolific author at this point, but I can’t help it, and I have devoured all of the content she’s published about Shadowhunters. Definitely not my favorite content, but I read it again anyway. 

25. The Water Is Wide by Pat Conroy

I read this book the first time when we were living in South Carolina, as it is a memoir set on one of the Sea Islands near where we lived. There are definitely some big problematic pieces to this book – that were much more obvious to me reading it the second time around – but the prose is beautiful and the story is well done. What I would like, though, is to find a similar story written by a black author. 

26. The Giver by Lois Lowry

This was my first re-read since this book was assigned in school. Reading it now, this story feels a bit grown up for the age it’s typically taught. Then again, that feels true of a lot of books we read in elementary and middle school that I’ve re-read more recently.

Have you ever tracked the books you’ve read over the course of a year?

44 thoughts on “My 2019 Book List

  1. Look at you go! That’s an awesome and diverse list of books right there! I’d definitely recommend watching Crazy Rich Asians – I liked it infinitely better than the first book. I do indeed keep a record of the books I read, but I haven’t tracked re-reads before. I’m going to start doing so! Awesome job lady. I literally don’t know how you find the time to do all you do 🙂 . You’re an inspiration.

    1. I am a very fast reader. And I don’t watch television 😉 Though perhaps I should make an exception for Crazy Rich Asians.

    2. This was a great list. Laura and I are also avid fans of Richelle Mead. It’s so nice to find someone else who appreciates her writing and has read her older succubus series – love Georgia Kincaid! I’ve written down a few to add to my list this year. 😁🙏

      1. Yeah I have. Personally, I thought the angle was interesting, but it seemed lacking in depth compared to her other series. I found I couldn’t connect as much with the world/story, but did still enjoy the read overall.

      2. I completely agree. The hearing loss bit made it more intriguing to me, but I think she does better with 3+ books to work with. Have you read The Glittering Court series?

  2. Congratulations on 55 books! That is awesome! Especially enjoy how diverse your list is — looks like a great mix!

    I track my books via Goodreads. That said, I did consider not setting a reading challenge goal this year because having a number made me feel weirdly anxious last year. I say that because I have always done the challenge and never felt that way before. I did end up setting one — 50 in the end — but I’m going to try not to worry about it too much.

    Inspired is on my list of books to read this year. I read — and adored — Searching for Sunday (and Year of Biblical Womanhood) this year, shortly before she passed away. Agree completely with what you’re saying re: the painful void that was created by her passing.

    1. I adore everything RHE has written. The fact that she won’t be writing any more… completely heartbreaking.

  3. I started tracking my reading again in 2015. There was a steep drop off in 2017 and 2018, which were very tough years for me. I am not sure if I read less because life was tough, or if life seemed tougher because I wasn’t reading. I am working on reading more for 2020, just in case the latter is really the case.

  4. Wow 55 books is impressive. I thought I read a lot. It have never read more than 35 in a year. I have to keep track of the books I read or else I find I forget about them. Whenever someone asks for a recommendation I just bring up my lists to remember what I’ve read.

    I loved The Hate you Give and The Giver, alps read Work Optional this heat and was surprisingly impressed by it. Not that I didn’t expect it to be good, just that it was not what I expected.

  5. What a list! Lots to add in my wish list especially in the Fantasy genre… I read Crazy Rich Asians last year but lost interest mid-way through the second one… The first one is a crackling read!

  6. Thanks for sharing all of your books. We have very similar reading interests so now I have new ideas for more books to try. I too love Cassandra Clare, Jen Hatmaker, the Twilight series, and the Outlander series, but have never heard of some of the other authors. Some of my other favorite rereads are the Hunger Games series, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Heartless by Marissa Meyer (she does a great job reimagine fairytales), Into the wilderness by Sara Donati(very much like Outlander except no time travel, but is a sweeping historical sage centered on a romance…a little slow in the beginning but picks up quickly), Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus, Percy Jackson and the
    Olympians, Harry Potter (of course!), and The Selection series.

    **I do read a lot of nonfiction as well, but these are all my favorite fun fiction books to read (and reread again and again) Also, if you like podcasts check out What should I read next? with Anne Bogel. I get lots of fun book ideas from there.

    1. Thank you for the suggestions! You’ve listed a number of books I haven’t read, and some I haven’t even heard of!

  7. This is a wonderful list! I’ll have to read some of these book. I started tracking my book list a few years ago and I love looking back and recalling the stories. I’m awful at remembering authors’ names so it’s a great reference, too. Thanks for adding to my reading.

  8. What a great list! I’ve placed holds on many of these titles at my library. Thank you!

    Along those lines, and in line with your topical focus: you might consider linking to the books in WorldCat (https://www.worldcat.org/) instead of Amazon from your list. Your readers will easily find your recommended titles and borrow them for free instead of buying them.

      1. I hated reading as a kid but have really grown to love it as adult. I set a goal to read 75 books in 2019 and finished the last one with only days to spare! Every one of them was checked from the library except Work Optional because I wanted it as a reference. One of your tweets inspired me to start reading RHE. I loved her work and am equally crushed that she won’t be writing any more. She was a beautiful human.

  9. Take the Goodreads challenge! It’s a great way to keep track of what you’re reading. Last year I read 68 books (I was aiming for 60) and this year I’m aiming for 80. I’m going part-time this year so I figured I”ll have more time to read more.
    If you like YA fiction and don’t mind a good zombie story set in London, The Enemy series by Charlie Higson was a rollicking read. Straight after these 7 books I read The Maze Runner series… ugh! SO badly written!

      1. I hated it! Isn’t it funny how 2 people can see a book so differently? I guess I’m not a fan of his writing style.
        Have you read ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ by Anne Tyler? Totally different sort of read, but it was gooood. I devoured it in a day.

  10. You’ve just lengthened my 2020 reading list & even convinced me to try a few fiction books I wouldn’t normally read. Thank you for sharing, and in such an organized and thoughtful fashion!

    And I agree with the commenter above: linking out to libraries or indie online bookstores would be great, unless you get good commissions from Amazon 🙂

    1. What books are you considering reading now?? And I *do* get a commission from amazon, but it’s not huge.

      1. Well, I’m already a Rachel Held Evans fan, but Work Optional sounds interesting, as well as some of the Richelle Mead books! I agree that the Matched series didn’t hold my attention as much as I wanted it to.

  11. An interesting list of books, thank you for sharing. I use LibraryThing to catalogue all my books as I get them, leave reviews and chat to other people about book-related stuff. This is like having a virtual book shelf as we don’t have room to keep books once they are read but they are still there on my LibraryThing shelves:)

  12. Wow what a list! I started tracking the books I read in 2018 after I made it a goal to read more (since I rarely read any books from the period of college through 2017 😬) and I’m so glad I have! Made it through 12 books last year as I’m a pretty slow reader 😅

  13. Whew, that’s a lot! That’s the second reference I’ve seen to “The Mortal Instruments” in the last week – maybe that’s a sign. 🙂

    +1 on seeing the Crazy Rich Asians movie. I read all 3 books and the movie really does the book justice!

    On the YA front, have you read the Red Rising series? That one stood out as one you might like based on this list!

    1. I have not! Will look it up. And The Mortal Instruments is decent, but it’s the rest of the books that follow in that same world that make it very worthwhile.

  14. I love seeing what others read. Especially when their list covers plenty of different genres. I read The Giver a couple years ago but totally forgot to continue on with the series, I will have to do that soon. I’ll also be adding quite a few of these to my TBR.

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