As stated previously, I read thirty-two books in 2019. Some, obviously, were better than others; some were dreadful, but a few were wonderful. This list includes my top three favorite books that I read in 2019. I hope, if you choose to read them, that you enjoy them as much as I did.
Don’t let the fact that this book falls into the “young adult” category fool you – YA novels can be just as good or better than “adult” fiction. This book was, by far, my favorite that I read this year. The story of two star-crossed teenage lovers in New York is charming, and the characters are intelligent and full of the optimism of youth. You laugh at them and with them. You cry for them. You rejoice with them, and sometimes you wish you could reach out and comfort them or offer advice.
The ending is really what cinched it for me. It was satisfying without being trite. The writing is excellent, and the voices are distinct. The relationships between characters are complex enough for them to seem relatable and human, but are vague enough to be left to interpretation. All in all, The Sun Is also a Star is a darn near perfect novel.
As someone who has been journaling basically since she could write English words in decent order, I had definitely fallen into certain behaviors and habits when it came to journaling. That’s fine in general, but as journaling is another creative space I use to explore my life, my psyche, and my other creative pursuits, falling into a rut is not the best thing for me. So, I picked up this book at my neighborhood library.
I expected it to be a dry how-to, but it both surprised and helped me. Throughout the book, there are excerpts from famous writers, usually from their own journals. Bender then expands on the techniques they used, making them easy for the reader to implement in her own journaling. If you’re a writer, or just want to write a journal that doesn’t bore you to tears (because everyone has an interesting life, if looked at correctly), I would highly recommend this book.
Y’all – I have no excuse for not reading this book sooner. Under the Tuscan Sun has been on the market for a long time. The movie of the same name, which I’ve never seen and understand was inspired by the book, came out in 2003. With my dream of living in Italy, you’d think I’d have picked up this book sooner, but I didn’t.
When I did finally begin to read it, I found that often I had to put it down. The writing is charming and descriptive – but it would fill me with yearning for a life across the sea, in a country my maternal ancestors called home. That longing became so overwhelming at times that I would have to put the book down and return a few hours or even days later. But, if you love travel writing, or want an escape you can’t yet afford, I would recommend reading this book. You walk the streets of Cortona with Mayes, and feel the warmth of the sun on your scalp.
Though I certainly read things last year that were better written, and things that were mediocre or bad, these three are my favorite books I read in 2019. Reading these books brought me the most joy, usefulness, and satisfaction of any of the 32 I read last year. Let me know what your favorite read was in 2019 – recommend me some books yourself!