Favorite Books of 2019

Wednesday 18 December 2019

This, my friends, marks the start of my first ever yearly wrap up for this blog. It isn't surprising as this blog is fairly new. But what is surprising is my list of top 5 books of the year because I never thought I'd have such a wide variety. I thank my wife and my interest in expanding my reading horizons for introducing me to these wonderful books I otherwise never would have read.  Just look at my list! Not a single sci-fi or fantasy book on it! Past me would never believe it. So without further ado, lets get this show on the road and let me tell you about my top 5 books of the year.

Less By Andrew Sean Greer

Arthur Less's 50th birthday is looming and he wants to do all he can to not be home as he takes his first steps on the wrong side of the hill. So what does he do? He accepts every pending invitation for trips and guest teaching positions he has and doesn't look back. If he looks back he may see bits of his past he may way to forget, like his former lover or his first love whose health is failing, and those he's hurt or been hurt by along the way.

This was the first book I read this year and it took the top spot right away. Even though I've loved other books I've read this year, this one has stuck out in my mind as the best of the bunch. Andrew Sean Greer not only came up with a cleaver plot but also created realistic, flawed, and likable characters whose journey I loved to follow. I want more. I want him to write a sequel. Even if it's fluffy fan service, I just want more. I want more. I need more. Thank you, Mr Greer for writing a book that's now on my top 10 list of favorite books of all time. Read my review of the book here and then read about my dream cast if it's ever turned into a movie here.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo is Hollywood royalty. One of the biggest stars of her time. Her life has been filled with secrets and she finally thinks it's time to tell her story. So she turns to Monique Grant, a magazine reporter who has been summoned to Hugo's home under the guise of writing an article about Hugo's charitable donations. How many skeletons does Evelyn Hugo have in her closet and how exactly did she get to the top? Only she can tell.

My second favorite book of the year. It was a close call but Less just happened to beat out Evelyn Hugo. Don't let that take anything away from this book though. If I could I would have all five of these books share the number one spot. Taylor Jenkins Reid created a true Hollywood legend for this book and the story she wove was not only captivating, but page turningly plausible to boot. It felt like Evelyn Hugo was real and I have to fight the urge to look her up on IMDB. Just like with Less, I want Reid to write another book about Hugo. It could be a prequel, or a side story, I don't care. I just want more.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Ove can only be described as a grumpy old man. He likes things a certain way and he's had his routine set in stone since the dawn of time. When a loud family of four move in next door, Ove finds that not only is his world going to change, but his help will be needed.

Even though this was another book Anne recommended to me, I still count it as my discovery though as I learned about it by seeing a trailer for the original movie from Sweden back in 2016. This book was a joy to read because even though Ove was a curmudgeon, he was still a likable character. Just like John and Max from Grumpy Old Men. Fredrik Backman has a way with words and he created a beautiful and engaging story that I can't wait to revisit.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

WWII breaks out and France can't help but be engulfed by Hitler's Third Reich. This is the story of two sisters and how they deal with the terrifying new world they live in. They both choose to fight, but in their own ways. One has a daughter she must protect and one strives to do a more literal version of fighting. Together they show that there's more than one way to stay strong when all seems lost.

You know what would make this book better? The Fanning sisters, said no one ever. If you didn't hear, they were cast as the sisters in this film. So instead of watching the movie, you can read the book and be blown away by an epic historical fiction book. The Nightingale takes you through France's entire involvement in the war but the book never dragged. It was a page turning from the start and I experienced the whole rainbow of emotions.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

Nana, a stray cat, is adopted by Satoru. The two set off on a road trip to visit Satoru's old friends. Nana serves as the perfect companion for the trip as the pair travel across Japan and meet a colorful cast of characters.

This book was a gift from Anne who knows me oh so well. I say that with absolutely no sarcasm. She does know me very well. Based on the cover alone this book hits me in two areas I've very interested in. Cats and anything Japanese. The story is told from the cat's perspective so as Nana figures things out, so do you. Well, to be honest, you may figure it all out before Nana does but that did little to make the story any less enjoyable.



    Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages

    1. Thanks! Going in, I was pretty sure I was going to like it. I just wasn't prepared to love it as much as I did.


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