For my 2019 New Years Resolution, I decided that I would try to read 12 books in the year. To be honest, I had no idea how many books I had read the previous years, but I thought that one book a month was a reasonable task. However, at the end of the year, I found that I read/listened to double that! I decided that I would compile the list from my favorite to least favorite and tell you what I thought about them. I really did enjoy every book I read this year. I wouldn’t have finished it if I didn’t enjoy it. Even though a book might be the last on my list, I still really think it’s a good book.
1. The Shape of Water by Daniel Kraus and Guillermo del Toro
I saw this movie in 2017 when it released and it instantly became one of my favorite movies. This book was actually published in 2018, after the movie came ou. Daniel Kraus actually write this book while Guillermo del Toro was directing the movie. The language in this book is absolutely beautiful and visual. This is a story of a mute woman who works as a janitor at a science lab. One day she discovers a strange creature at the lab, and they develop a connection. I think this is probably one of my favorite books ever and anyone who is a fan of the movie should definitely read this!
2. All the Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doer
This book is about a French blind girl and a German boy during World War II, and how their lives parallel. I’m a big fan of books that show unconsidered realities during war, so I was intrigued by the plot, but the writing was what made me fall in love with this book. The language was rich and the way things were described were so visual.
3. Memory Wall by Anthony Doer
This book consists of 5 short stories. They all have to do with memory and what makes human beings. This book is beautifully written and the stories kind of reminds me of “Black Mirror” episodes.
4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I feel like I’m really late to the game in reading this book, but it absolutely lived up to the hype. This book is about a young man’s journey to find his destiny and is riddled with anecdotes that make you contemplate the meaning of life.
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime by Mark Haddon
This book is about an autistic boy who is determined to solve the case of a murdered dog. His investigation leads him to a discovery he is not prepared to find. This book is wonderfully written and is a great depiction of what goes on in the head of some people that have autism.
6. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
I’m not one to really enjoy self-help books. I usually feel like they’re pretentious and completely unaware of the realities of majority of the people in the world. But, when I picked this book up I truly felt like it was written for me. I love the no-nonsense style of writing and the very practical observations that Manson makes. If you deal with social anxiety or just care way too much about everything, this is definitely a good book to read.
7. My Friend Leonard by James Frey
In order to fully understand this book, you need to read Frey’s first book; A Million Little Pieces. This is a true story of Frey’s life and is an account of what life was like for him after he got out of rehab and became sober. Frey’s writing style is very dry and witty, which I enjoy, and his accounts are very interesting.
8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This was a book I tried to read when I was in high school and I remember being so not interested. I wanted to give it a try now as an adult because the plot was so up my alley. This book is written in the perspective of Death and tells the story of an orphan girl who steals books in Germany during World War II. This is a book you will definitely cry like a baby at the end of, so be prepared.
9. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
Bradbury is one of my favorite authors for turning science fiction into a parallel of life and this book does just that. This is a book of short stories that shine a light on our human existence and what we value. All of these stories are supposed to be based in the future. This book was written in the 1950s so his idea of what the future would look like is a little off but also so spot on. It’s amazing to see that the people in 1950 still struggled with the same things we struggle with today and still have the same worries about the future that we have.
10. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
This is a book of short stories all about different realities on Mars. This book is great for a sci-fi lover and is filled with anecdotes on life on Earth and the human condition.
11. Bright Shiny Mornings by James Frey
This book consists of a few different stories about different people’s lives in Los Angelos. The lives of these people are written in stories that jump back and forth. Some of the writing is a little strange because in-between stories, Frey talks about life in Los Angelos in a passionate and poetic way, but the stories are very interesting and insightful.
12. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
If you haven’t heard of Hygge you’re missing out. This is all about the Danish way of life and one aspect that makes this country the happiest nation in the world. It’s all about being comfy and being in a place that is aesthetically pleasing. This is a great book to read if want to Hyggify your house or if you want to throw a Hygge gathering with close friends.
13. Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons by Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author and looking back at this list, I can’t believe this is the only book I read by him this year?! This book wasn’t my favorite book because it is a book of his essays and speeches. None of them are a story and just really his commentary on life. I still enjoyed it because I am always up for a Vonnegut input on life, but if you’re not a Vonnegut fan already, I wouldn’t recommend.
14. Carrie by Stephen King
I really got into Stephen King this year. I really like his style of writing and I like that his books are actually more sci-fi than horror to me. This book is all about telekinesis, cultish religious views, and revenge. There is also a lot of commentary about human life and what we value which always piques my interest.
15. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
When I first started reading this book I absolutely loved it. The writing style was beautiful and the storyline was compelling. However, this book is the longest book I ever read and it was in fact way too long. There was a lot that I felt could have been left out which made it hard for me to finish. But, I did enjoy it and I do think that it’s a good book. This book is about a boy who’s mother dies in a terrorist attack in a museum when he was young. After this terrorist attack, he ends up taking one of the paintings as he escapes out of the rubble. The story follows this boy’s life and shows how this tragedy affected him, and what he has to do to keep the painting hidden.
16. The Shining by Stephen King
I’m not a big fan of horror, but this book met all my sci-fi and well-written needs. I have to say the book is WAY better than the movie. If you don’t know what this story is about; there is a family that is going through some hard times and the dad takes a job as a winter caretaker in a hotel way up in the mountains. The son in the family has some special abilities and the hotel does not have the best past. This leads to some very spooky situations.
17. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
This book is a biographical drama about a young journalist in New York City. She lives a very successful, put together lifestyle until strange events start happening with her health and mental state. This book shines a light on how even in today’s modern age, there is still so much we are learning about the human body and health.
18. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
This book is also a biographical drama and is about a girl who grows up with a very dysfunctional family and childhood. She recounts her life as a very poor child with parents that suffer from mental illness and how despite it all, she survived and made a life for herself.
19. Firestarter by Stephen King
Stephen King sure has a thing for telepathy and telekinesis.This book is about a man with a child of supernatural abilities. The two are on the run from an organization that wants to use their powers.
20. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King
I feel like this book was mostly written by Stephen’s son, Owen because the writing style is very different compared to his other books. This is the second-longest book I read, and again, it felt really long while reading it. This book is about a sickness around the world that causes all the women to not wake up once they fall asleep. Once the women are asleep, their consciousness is transferred to another world without men. I do like this book for its very feminist aspect, and I do like the sci-fi element. However, like I said it’s really long!
21. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
This book is about a retired cop who receives a letter from a serial killer of a case he was never able to crack. This book is well-written and has an interesting plot. However, there are some incestual elements that didn’t really sit well with me, so that’s why it’s not one of my favorites.
22. Elevation by Stephen King
This very short book is about a man who mysteriously starts losing a large amount of weight very quickly. And when I say losing weight, its more like he is losing his gravitational pull. This story was very well-written and had a very interesting plot, it was just very short and not a lot happened.
23. The Latte Factor by David Bach
If you have no idea how to budget and not spend more money than you make, then this is a great book for you. This book is written in a narrative style and is about a young girl who lives in New York at a job she loves but never has enough money to buy what she really wants. She meets a man who offers some insight into how she can live her best life. I did enjoy this book, but a lot of these things are common sense to me and are things I have been doing for my whole life. A big part of this book is how budgets don’t work for most people and I am the budget queen, so that didn’t really resonate with me.
24. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This is a very old book and was written in a time where people didn’t really know how to impress people. This is a very light, easy read. Although most of the stuff seems like common sense, such as look someone in the eye while they are talking to you, it is a good read.