Hello friends. It’s been a while! And while Goodreads has a link to my 2019 in books here, I felt I needed a little more space and time to let you know what I really liked (and didn’t) in my reading last year. Also, why does everybody rush to put up their lists before the end of the year? I was reading right up till I went to bed on New Year’s Eve.
Favorite book of 2019: Circe by Madeline Miller. One of the first ones I read last year, and I look forward to reading it again. So smart, well-written, subversive, and compelling.
I read a ton of books about writing last year. My favorites were Living Revision by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew; A Stranger’s Journey by David Mura; Family Trouble, edited by Joy Castro; Tell It Slant 3rd Edition, by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola; Meander, Spiral, Explode by Jane Alison; and Thinking about Memoir by Abigail Thomas.
I also read a bunch of great memoirs: All the Wild Hungers by Karen Babine, Safekeeping by Abigail Thomas, Heavy by Kiese Laymon, Deep Creek by Pam Houston, The Song Poet by Kao Kalia Yang, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, Flash Count Diary by Darcy Steinke, What God is Honored Here ed. by Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang, and The I-35W Bridge Collapse by Kimberly Brown. My favorites were In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, and A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas.
My favorite reading experience this year was devouring Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series to catch up to the latest entry, Big Sky, so I re-read Case Histories, followed by When Will There Be Good News (the one I liked best of all I think); and Started Early, Took My Dog.
Funny and useful was Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer.
Great fiction included a re-read of Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill, You Think It I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld, Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner (a great Halloween read), re-reads of Jane Eyre and Middlemarch, and Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer
Book I just didn’t get at all: Normal People by Sally Rooney. Some cringe-y sentences, a forced structure, non-consensual sex, and authorial torture of characters make me wonder why so many others have it on their best-of-year lists.
What did you love (or hate) in 2019?