Updated: Jan 2
I read so many good books in 2019 (47 to be exact) and, as always, it is hard to narrow it down to my top 5. For this list, I tried to stick to books published in 2019.
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This was one of the last books I read of 2019 and it wrecked me so completely that I couldn't really focus on reading anything else. I have already purchased a copy for two friends and recommended to countless others.
The Amazon description: "Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden's raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight."
This graphic novel/memoir about race and parenting forced me to think differently, which is one of the biggest compliments I can give a book. Jacob's work is stunning and worth reading over and over.
Amazon's description: "Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love."
I didn't realize how much non-fiction I read this year until just now. But Thick, nominated for the National Book Award, stunned me. I read it out loud to my husband, and immediately thought of ways I could share with my students. Brilliant.
The Amazon description: "In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—is unapologetically “thick”: deemed “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,” McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work."
Talk about a book I couldn't put down. The Vine Witch was a delight. Smith's writing is stunning. With witches and wine, how could you go wrong?
Amazon's summary: "For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger."
Daisy Jones is on every "best of" list this year and I can see why. Told as an oral history, the book is riveting and worth buying for anyone who likes historical fiction or just fiction or just entertaining writing.
The Amazon summary: "The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice."
I am also on Goodreads, where you can follow my book reviews. Happy reading in 2020, friends!