Book List for 2019 (Part 2 of 2)

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 9.17.09 AM
Since I didn’t enjoy any other book this year as much as Lolly Willowes, here is another great version of the cover!

I started my book list for 2019 here, but it was too long to write out all at once, so this is the remainder.

31. The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka. 5 stars. This is one I thought about a lot afterward and once I started looking at Gregor’s sister as the protagonist, I liked it a lot more.

32. The Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie. 4 stars. The second Poirot novel. At this point, they started bleeding into each other a bit, but still fun.

33. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. 4 stars. I wanted to read this especially after reading Kindred, but also because I think everyone should read it. While Kindred was more viscerally upsetting, this book is definitely more emotionally upsetting.

34. Murder in Mesopotamia, by Agatha Christie. 4 stars. Another Poirot novel that my library had. By this point, I fully grasped the point and use of the illustrations.

35. In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware. 3 stars. I enjoyed this and read it in a day but it was predictable. Still a fun way to spend a day.

36. Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie. 4 stars. Yet another Poirot novel.

37. The Woman in Cabin 1o, by Ruth Ware. 4 stars. I read this right after Death on the Nile, so I was confused because this book is actually the exact same. There is no way Ware didn’t just read the Christie book and say, “Hmmmm, I can also write that book.”

38. $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, by Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer. I liked the topic of this book and it has valuable information, but the way it was presented didn’t grab me.

39. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. 4 stars. I admit that I wanted to watch the show, but I don’t like watching a movie or show before reading a book. I really liked both and I am having trouble telling them apart because I started watching the show the same day I finished the book.

40. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote. 5 stars. I can’t believe I never read this before! The version I had from the library also had a short story called, “A Christmas Memory.” I read this story while on a bus and was sobbing hysterically over how good it was.

41. The Murder at the Vicarage, by Agatha Christie. 3 stars. The first Miss Marple book.

42. The Lying Game, by Ruth Ware. 3 stars. Probably my least favorite Ruth Ware book but still fun.

43. Rawblood, by Catriona Ward. 5 stars. I don’t read that much horror, much less gothic horror. The end of this was just perfect. I read it very quickly, waited about an hour, and then re-read the last few chapters, just to experience it again.

44. An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore. 4 stars. This is one I read because I can’t believe I’ve not read it before. Probably should read something more current about this topic, however.

45. Ark, by Veronica Roth. 5 stars. This was in a set of novellas I got free from Amazon. Recommended!

46. The Last Conversation, by Paul Tremblay. 5 stars. Same as above but I think this was my favorite in the set.

47. Summer Frost, by Blake Crouch. 4 stars. Same collection as above.

48. Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin. 5 stars. Another good one from the same collection.

49. You Have Arrived at Your Destination, by Amor Towles. 3 stars. The only one from the collection I didn’t care for.

50. The Turn of the Key, by Ruth Ware. 4 stars. The newest Ware novel is a retelling of the classic Henry James novel. I liked it!

51. In the Woods, by Tana French. 4 stars. This was recommended to me by a ton of people. It was fun!

52. Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo. 1 star. This was a book I read for a book club. I hated it. I can’t even how much I hated it. I am glad most of the reviews I’m seen around are also very negative.

52. Raising Boys, by Steve Biddulph. 1 star. Sexist and gendered. I read this because I have two boy children. The advice given in the first chapter was basically to stand back and let the male parent do it. Nothing about gender being a spectrum, or what if the parents are the same sex? bleh.

53. Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeir. 5 stars. This is a young adult graphic novel that my older son read, but it’s so good!

54. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. 4 stars. I was embarrassed that I never read any Bradbury, so I read the most well-known Bradbury novel. The latent sexism bothered me, so I couldn’t give it the full 5 stars.

55. A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf. 5 stars. Another book every woman should read!

56. The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides. 3 stars. This is another book from a book club. It was fun but predictable.

57. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. 5 stars. Really great book that also was made into a great movie!

58. Lilith’s Brood, by Octavia Butler. 4 stars. This is three books in one. If alien-human threesomes are your thing, then you should absolutely read this book.

59. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro. 5 stars. Such a great book! I want to watch the movie, but I can’t find it for free anywhere.

60. Unspeakable Things, by Jess Lourey. 2 stars. I got this book for a free promotion and read it quickly, but there are a ton of plot holes.

61. What Should I Do with My Life?, by Po Bronson. 2 stars. This book did not help me answer the titular question at all.

62. The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future, by Ryder Carroll. 4 stars. For a book that suggests brevity, the title is pretty long. Anyway, I decided to start a bullet journal in 2020, and this book was helpful.

63. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl. 4 stars. Part 1 of this book was about the author’s experience in Nazi concentration camps, and was horrifying. Part 2 was about the therapeutic technique of logotherapy, which I’m not sure I fully understand, but I believe is mostly concerned with ascribing meaning to meaningless events to help depressed persons function in the meaningless world. But I could be wrong about this.

64. El Deafo, by Cece Bell. 4 stars. This is a graphic novel that my older son was reading, but was really enjoyable. It’s about a deaf elementary-to-middle school deaf kid.

65. Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, by Richard H. Thaler. 4 stars. Yes, I really enjoy reading books about behavioral economics, even though I’m not that familiar with the topic yet.

66. The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov. 4 stars. As a default, I love any books about Satan, and bonus if another character is a large, talking cat.

Book List for 2019 (Part 1 of 2)

Sometime last year, I started keeping track of books I read by physically writing them down in a journal. This year, I transitioned to using Goodreads. If you are interested in connecting with me on Goodreads, you can do so with this link. I decided to participate in a reading challenge this year, and set my goal as 52 books, or one book per week. I went beyond that goal, but I’m not yet sure by how much as there are still three weeks left to get through.

Because this list is so long, I thought I would break it up into two parts. This is the first!

Since Goodreads uses a one- to five-star system, I’ll use that here as well.

  1. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. 5 stars. Is it  sad that the first book I read this year was probably one of my favorites? I loved, loved, loved this book. It was written in 1899 and (almost sadly) still so relevant today. In my opinion, every woman should read this book.
  2. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. 4 stars. Sometimes, I read nonfiction. I liked this one.
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden. 5 stars. I almost subtracted a star when I saw this was written by a white guy, but I did really like it.
  4. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls. 5 stars. This was a true story of poverty and neglect in America. Do read about the author but don’t bother with the movie.
  5. Audrey’s Door, by Sarah Langan. 3 stars. This is a horror story my husband bought, and horror is not a preferred genre of mine, so it’s probably better than I think it is.
  6. The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham. 5 stars. This was really, really great. The only other book of this author I had read was Of Human Bondage, and that was a few years ago, but I thought this was better by far. A terrific example of how a man can write a compelling female protagonist. I read about the movie and it seems awful and totally different from the book, so I don’t recommend that.
  7. My Abandonment, by Peter Rock. 4 stars. This book was based on a true story of a guy and his young daughter living in a park in Portland, Oregon. In this case, I do want to see the movie, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
  8. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson. 3 stars. Another non-fiction book. Obviously I love getting rid of stuff, so I had to read it.
  9. Three Floors Up, by Eshkol Nevo. 4 stars. I read this for a book club and to be honest I don’t really remember it, but obviously I liked it when I read it.
  10. Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, by Fumio Sasaki. 3 stars. I have to be honest that the best thing about this one was the photos.
  11. The Minimalist Home, by Joshua Becker. 3 stars. I think I read too many similar books in a row because I’m having trouble remembering this. I also think I read all this last spring to gear myself up for my biannual minimalism game.
  12. The Great Passage, by Shion Miura. 4 stars. I think I got this free as an Amazon promotion. It’s about an editor of a dictionary, and has a lot about the meanings of words. Fun!
  13. The Girl With All the Gifts, by Mike Carey. 5 stars. Sometimes, a funny thing will happen where several people will recommend a book to me, within days of each other. This was the first book this year that happened with, and it’s by the writer of one of my favorite comics, Lucifer.
  14. The Brain: The Story of You, by David Eagleman. 5 stars. This is obviously another nonfiction. If you love neuroscience, read this!
  15. A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life, by Tara Button. 4 stars. This topic is very important–quality over quantity.
  16. Knock Knock, by S.P. Miskowski. 3 stars. Another horror book my husband got on our shared kindle account. I loved the set-up, but I don’t know if the ending delivered.
  17. 2BR02B, by Kurt Vonnegut. 5 stars. I started reading Vonnegut last year, and I love everything I’ve read so far. Incidentally, I read the entire story before I understood what the title meant (mental facepalm).
  18. Delphine Dodd, by S.P. Miskowski. 4 stars. I liked this book, the second in the series, better than the first.
  19. Astoria, by S.P. Miskowskit. 4 stars. The third book in the same series.
  20. In the Light, by S.P. Miskowskit. 4 stars. This is the fourth and final book in the series.
  21. The Power, by Naomi Alderman. 5 stars. Another book that a bunch of people recommended to me and totally worth it. Great read.

    Screen Shot 2019-12-03 at 1.33.38 PM
    I wish I had this version, with an intro by Sarah Waters. So awesome and appropriate!
  22. Lolly Willowes, by Sylvia Townsend Warner. 5 stars. I just started tearing up remembering how much I loved this book. Currently tied for first place in books I’ve read this year with The Awakening. A book club I’m in had a vote between two books and this was one of them. The club chose the other, but I read this one anyway. What swayed me was the female author, the time it was written (1920s), and an Amazon review. The review read, “What do all women want? To be witches, always.” I read this book in a day while I was staying in a forest, and I have to say, if you can read this while in the forest, you will not regret it. Plus, I started reading about Sylvia Townsend Warner’s life and she was just an amazing badass.
  23. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol 1: The Crucible, by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. 5 stars. Yes, this is a graphic novel, but I loved it more than I loved the show (which was a lot). The art is gorgeous as well.
  24. Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie. 5 stars. On the recommendation of my very best friend, I decided to read Agatha Christie, so I started with one of the most popular books. I was never that into mysteries before, but this was a fun, quick read. I even watched and enjoyed the old black and white movie afterward.
  25. The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie. 4 stars. I decided to try to read Christie’s books in order as much as possible, and this was her first.
  26. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson. 5 stars. Many people who I interact with on a regular basis recommended this, so I read it, even though it’s about space, which unsettles me. The rating is partially based on the amount of time I thought about it after finishing it (a lot).
  27. Verity, by Colleen Hoover. 1 star. I read this for a book club. It was boring and predicable, with very unlikable characters.
  28. A Caribbean Mystery, by Agatha Christie. 4 stars. This was the first Miss Marple book I read, and I like her better the Poirot.
  29. The Secret Adversary, by Agatha Christie. 3 stars. This was the first Tommy and Tuppence book I read, and I’m not sure where it ranks.
  30. Kindred, by Octavia Butler. 5 stars. There is a rare book that is so stressful that I literally cannot put it down. This was one for me.

Partial Book List 2018

Imagine you are reading this on January 1, because that’s when I should have published it. Better late than never, I guess?

Anyway, I decided back in June of 2018 to begin tracking the books I read. I didn’t include non-fiction, because sometimes I read for work and it was liable to get confusing and maybe too long. Any book with a grade of an A- or better is recommended to all. As with all grading systems, mine is highly subjective. I considered both how much I enjoyed the book and how much time I spent thinking about it afterward. I tend to read every book that’s recommended to me, so feel free to recommend.

Books 2018
(Starting in June)

1. The Club Dumas
Arturo Pérez-Reverte
A+

2. Rosemary’s Baby
Ira Levin
A+

3. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick
B-

4. Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
A

5. The Changeling: A Novel
Victor LaValle
A+

6. Dietland: A Novel
Sarai Walker
A
-

7. Breakfast of Champions
Kurt Vonnegut
B+

8. Slaughter-house Five
Kurt Vonnegut
A

9. Cat’s Cradle
Kurt Vonnegut
A

10. Sloughing Towards Bethlehem
Joan Didion
B

11. Call Me By Your Name
André Aciman
A-

12. The Thorn & the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story
Theodora Goss
B+

13. The Ninth Life of Louis Drax
Liz Jensen
B

14. Heidi
Johanna Spyri
B-

15. Black Beauty
Anna Sewell
B

16. The Paying Guests
Sarah Waters
A-

17. My Sister’s Keeper
Jodi Picoult
C

18. European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman
Theodora Goss
C+

19. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon
A

20. The Golem and the Jinni
Helene Wecker
A-

21. Convenience Store Woman
Sayaka Murata
A

22. Sharp Objects
Gillian Flynn
B-

23. The Color Purple
Alice Walker
A

24. The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
B-

25. The Fall of Lisa Bellow
Susan Perabo
C

26. Carrion Comfort
Dan Simmons
B

27. The Red Tent
Anita Diamant
B+

28. Beloved
Toni Morrison
B

29. Hell House
Richard Matheson
B

30. The Death of Mrs Westaway
Ruth Ware
B+

31. The Pale King
David Foster Wallace
B

32. The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan
A-

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 9.04.47 AM
I don’t have, nor could I read, the original Spanish version, but I wish I did!

If I had to pick my favorite book of the year, it would probably be The Club Dumas, the first book on my list! I also love the movie, The Ninth Gate. Highly recommend both!