2019 Books in Review

  1. Bad Blood by John Carreyrou 
  2. Gigged by Sarah Kessler
  3. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
  4. The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
  5. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  6. The Caregiver by Samuel Park
  7. The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder
  8. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  9. The Heirs by Susan Rieger
  10. Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
  11. The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
  12. Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
  13. Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni
  14. Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos
  15. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
  16. Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
  17. Kid Gloves by Lucy Kinsley
  18. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan
  19. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry WInfrey
  20. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuisten
  21. An Anonymous Girl by Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks
  22. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
  23. Lethal White by Robert Gailbraith
  24. Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
  25. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
  26. Educated by Tara Westover
  27. Our Short History by Lauren Grodstein 
  28. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Greene
  29. Fleishman is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Askner
  30. Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
  31. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
  32. Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  33. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer WEiner
  34. Well Met by Jen DeLuca
  35. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  36. Sidelined by Suzanne Baltsar
  37. Family Trust by Kathy Wang
  38. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
  39. If I Could Only Tell You by Hannah Beckerman
  40. Perfect Life by Jessica Shattuck
  41. The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner
  42. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Bachman
  43. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
  44. Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
  45. Quiet by Susan Cain
  46. Dangerous Books for Girls by Maya Rodale
  47. The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine
  48. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
  49. Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane
  50. The Children’s Crusade by Ann Packer
  51. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
  52. The Witch Elm by Tana French
  53. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
  54. The Child by Fiona Barton
  55. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
  56. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
  57. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
  58. Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
  59. Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
  60. The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

 

Some quick stats: Twelve of these were non-fiction, 52 were by women, 10 books were by authors of color. The latter is a number I try to raise every year. I counted 19 of these books as literary fiction and 16 as romance or women’s fiction, even though I think a lot of those lines are increasingly blurred. 

Favorite Books of the Year:  “Quiet” and “Bad Blood” were two books that I did not stop talking about. The first gave me insight into both how the introverts around me function, and also how much I tend to “perform” extroversion. The second reads like a thriller – even if you know the story of Theranos, this is a comprehensive and fascinating perspective. I also found “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” thought-provoking in terms of how people approach therapy.

For romance, I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight “The Bride Test,” “Sidelined” and “Well Met.” I don’t pretend to claim objectivity because I love all these authors, but if you haven’t checked these out they are well worth your time. They are all character-driven books that are sexy, funny and heartfelt.

This year I was fascinated with books about wealth and privilege, especially within families: “The Mother-In-Law,” “Nothing to See Here,” “Fleishman is in Trouble,”  “The People We Hate At the Wedding” and “Family Trust” are all vastly different but approached this topic in ways I found fresh and interesting. 

In terms of books I couldn’t put down, I’d say two high points were “Ask Again, Yes,” “Red, White and Royal Blue,” and “Eleanor Olpihant.” “The Great Believers” was worth every amount of hype it got – I loved it. I also thought “The Most Fun We Ever Had” was an evocative and lovely debut – it turns out that my literary catnip is a family drama. 

Finally, I also feel privileged to have met Samuel Park before his death, and highly recommend his book “The Caregiver.” Every page is a reminder of that, while we lost his voice too soon, he left behind a beautiful legacy.