2019 in Books

The end of 2019 is on the horizon, so it’s time for all the wrap-ups to begin. Today, I start with books. I had a fairly good (though quiet) reading year, with 61 total books and another four I abandoned past the 50% line (Aspergirls, Soul of the Sword, The Power of Meaning, The Monstrous Citadel). Here are a few more stats before I begin the traditional book survey hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Book Type: 52 fiction – 7 nonfiction – 1 play – 1 collection
Fiction Type: 20 speculative – 32 realistic
Media: 29 text – 28 audio – 4 visual
Audience: 47 adult – 11 YA – 3 children’s
Authors: 49 women – 11 men – 1 nonbinary

New to me authors: 25
Most read author(s): Elly Griffiths (12)

Classics: 3
Translations: 1 (Danish)
Books I wish I’d abandoned: 8

Fun fact: My first book of the year was my tenth “City of __” book since I began blogging.

Best bookish experience: Harry Potter Wizards Unite! We have a great community for it in San Antonio. I know this is only peripherally bookish, but hey, it’s Harry Potter and I love Harry Potter!

Best book-related discovery: This year’s discovery is an author, Elly Griffiths, who writes amazing books!! I’m so glad to have found her!

And now for the 2019 End of Year Book Survey! As usual, I skipped questions not relevant to me, and combined others when necessary. Also as usual, this will necessarily be a long post.

1. Best book(s) you read in 2019?
Favorite of the year is one that stands out above the rest: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, which I read multiple times and which was a major influence on my year. It’s also my answer for MANY of the questions on this book survey, so I’m just going to combine them all into this one question. What Alice Forgot is my most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2019 (question #13), favorite book by an author previously read (#20), the book that made me cry (#26), and the book that crushed my soul (#28). It’s also involved in two other answers, but I’ll let those come up separately since they deal with characters rather than the book as a whole.

Runners up for favorites: The Vanishing Stair (Maureen Johnson) and The Stranger Diaries (Elly Griffiths)

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
I’d highly anticipated Better Than the Best Plan by Lauren Morill but really disliked the messages in that book. Otherwise, I found a graphic memoir called Gender Queer (Maia Kobabe) that I thought I’d love but found it scattered, incomplete, and disappointing.

3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read?
This is definitely The City in the Middle of the Night (Charlie Jane Anders). The bizarre non-ending of this book still throws me months after reading. (This is also my answer for question #17: Book that shocked me the most.)

5. Best series you started in 2019? Best sequel? Best series ender?
Started: the Ruth Galloway mysteries
Sequel: The Vanishing Stair
Ender: Grave Importance (I think it’s an ender?)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?
Elly Griffiths, hands down.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Two fall into this category in 2019. First, there is The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson, which I think I read six times back to back. Then there is the Ruth Galloway mystery series by Elly Griffiths. I read all eleven published books over the course of two weeks. Then I had to forcibly stop myself from going back and rereading them all a second time.

9. Book you read in 2019 that you are most likely to reread next year?
Call Down the Hawk – My reading of this book was so fragmented and affected by PTSD triggers that I have no idea what it was really about or whether I actually liked it. I will go back to it with a bit more wariness and mental preparation next time.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?

11. Most memorable character of 2019?
And for my most ironic answer of 2019: Gina from What Alice Forgot. Why ironic? Because she’s not actually in the book. She’s purely a macguffin, but by far the most memorable character I read this year.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?
Two books fall into this category in 2019. First, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, which is written in a specific atmospheric style that evokes mystery and deception. Then there’s The Stranger Diaries, which nods back at Victorian ghost stories in its writing in a way that is both careful and not too derivative. The writing in both books are absolutely amazing and impressive.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2019?
I’m terrible at keeping up with quotes from books. Looking back, the one thing that stands out is the opening chapter – yes, the entire thing – of City of Broken Magic. It’s probably the best opening chapter I’ve ever read.

16. Shortest & longest books you read in 2019?
Shortest Book: Strange Planet (144 pgs)
Longest Book: King of Scars (511 pgs)
Shortest Audio: Rosmersholm (2 hr 53 min)
Longest Audio: Return of the Native (15 hr 12 mins)

Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson – though honestly I feel bad about saying this because their relationship is messy and involves infidelity. But I do think the two of them are very good for each other despite everything.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Alice and Gina (best friends) from What Alice Forgot.

21. Best book you read in 2019 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
Akata Witch, recommended by my friend Stephanie

24. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?
I loved the world in/of City of Broken Magic. However, there’s a caveat to this: Sometimes the world-building wasn’t the best written, even though it was a phenomenal world. I also really loved the speculative settings in both City of Ghosts and Tunnel of Bones (Edinburgh and Paris, respectively). Victoria Schwab did such an excellent job making them vivid and vibrant.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?
Starsight! Especially the audio version, which was amazing!!!

27. Hidden gem of the year?
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths. This should definitely get more attention than it’s received. Plus it was a real gem for me, because it introduced me both to the Ruth Galloway series and to a new author that I love.

29. Most unique book you read in 2019?
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – What a fascinating way to set up a book!

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Gut Reactions, which made me mad enough to rant publicly. I really liked this book until I got to the Really Terrible Parts, and then I flat-out hated it. It’s really too bad.

That’s it for my 2019 year in books! Hope you all had a great reading year, and will have another one coming up in 2020!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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8 Responses to 2019 in Books

  1. Yay for a fairly good (though quiet) reading year. Quiet is good too. If I kept track of all the books I abandoned past the 50 percent line, I’d probably be a little higher than that. I abandoned a lot. So you like this Elly Griffiths, huh? 😉 I agree about The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I enjoyed that one as well.


    • Amanda says:

      I actually abandon a LOT more books than that, which is why I only list books that I abandon after reading more than 50%. I figure if I went that far, they at least deserve a mention. Heh.


  2. If you feel that strongly about What Alice Forgot, I think I need to look for it.


  3. Literary Feline says:

    I have a friend who loves Elly Griffiths’ books. I keep meaning to give them a try. I am glad you are enjoying them! I haven’t heard too much about What Alice Forgot, but it sounds like a must read. I hope you have a Happy New Year!


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