Here's our most memorable reads in 2019 list- not all of these are 2019 releases; we just read them in 2019. Like many of you, we don't have access to ARCs (advance reader copy) so we're often reading back list titles. But, a good book is a good book, whenever you find it. Links lead to our full reviews.
So in no particular order, here's what we loved this year:
Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
A young girl grows to womanhood living on her own in the marshes of N Carolina; great nature 'character' as well as the development and growth of the girl; a story of great loneliness but also kindness, triumph and independence
The Library Book, Susan Orlean
The true story of the giant fire that destroyed thousands of books at the main LA Public Library as well as the history of librarians, woven into an unforgettable narrative. We both found this book fascinating.
Once Upon a River, Diane Setterfield
One of my top books this year (Terrie). Mysticism, a mystery, love and loss, a leisurely, calm pacing, all combine in this fable-like novel told by an excellent storyteller.
The Lost Man, Jane Harper
This subtle mystery is more about familial relationships and is set so evocatively in the outback of Australia.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid
Reclusive Hollywood movie icon tells her life story to a journalist she has hired to write her memoir, but she has an ulterior motive for hiring the woman and telling her story to her. This is another book that we both read and gets two thumbs up!
A Robot in the Garden, Deborah Install
Ben Chambers has no job, his wife leaves him, and he finds an old robot in his garden (in the age when most people have androids). He seeks to repair it and travels the world looking for the original maker. Robot endears himself to Ben and everyone he meets, wife and man reunite. Robot is charming and adorable which makes for a great read.
The Space Between Us (#1), Thrity Umrigar
A complex story about the relationship between an employer and her long time servant and the action that destroys that relationship and others.
The Weight of Heaven, Thrity Umrigar
Heart-wrenching story of an American couple who loses their 7-year-old son suddenly, husband’s job moves them to India and gives them a chance to “start over” and recover; shattering section on the loss of their son; hardships and joy in India.
The Widows of Malabar Hill (#1), Sujata Massey
A story of the first female attorney in Bombay who helps her father protect the interests of three widows and getting involved in a murder case. An engaging heroine and excellent multicultural read.
Storm Front (#1), Jim Butcher
My first, but certainly not my last, book by Butcher, this one is a delightful mix of a good mystery, peopled by a wizard detective, faeries and other magical creatures and sprinkled with a touch of humor.
Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth Keane
I absolutely loved this book (Terrie): Two families, neighbors, teenage love that is derailed by a tragedy, love regained. Mental illness, addiction, so many difficult themes are explored with empathy and beautiful writing.
The River, Peter Heller
Another top fave book for the year (Terrie)! High adventure as two college buddies setting off on a week-long canoe trip find themselves racing a raging forest fire as well as being chased by some questionable, scary men. An excellent exploration of the bonds of friendship.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer
This entertaining tale has a Prince cursed by an enchantress and turn into a monster every autumn, killing people. Harper from Washington D.C. is transported to the magical kingdom with the hope she’ll fall in love with the Prince and break the curse.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King
He tells about his early life and what led him to writing and guidelines on how/what to write. He also talks about when he was hit by a van which almost killed him.
Dark Matter, Blake Crouch
Physics professor is knocked unconscious by an abductor, when he awakes he’s not in his world – his wife and son don’t exist, he’s now a celebrated genius; how does he get back to the life he knows?
The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone, Jaclyn Moriarty
Girl’s parents die and leave her instructions in their will which direct her to visit all her aunts to give them specific gifts; she must follow instructions exactly or her town will be destroyed (water sprites, dragons, magic potions). A humorous Young Adult book that I couldn't put down (Donna).
Amarillo Slim in a World of Fat People, Amarillo Slim Preston
Autobiography of his life; very entertaining with lots of great stories of his betting on ANYTHING, as well as lots of famous name dropping.