After being out of college for over a year, I rekindled my love for reading BIG TIME. From historical fiction to memoir to nonfiction, here are a few of my favorites from 2019!
2019 was a year of big changes and adjustments. However, one thing that didn't change was my love for reading. This year, I received many recommendations from friends and family while also discovering many good reads of my own through Book of the Month, Goodreads and local/regional Indie Bookstores. However, most of my favorites centered around historical fiction, coming of age narratives and nonfiction. Here are the top 10 books I read this year.
The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah
An unpredictable page-turner set in the frontier of Alaska in the 1970s. Kristin Hannah literally left me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire novel. It is a coming of age story about a young girl named Lennie, who is caught in the tumultuous, passionate relationship of her parents.
Her father battles PTSD from the Vietnam war, and he earns a piece of property in Alaska from a former comrade's will. The family packs up and moves to a small, independent community in the heart of the unknown. As Lennie learns and loves her new Alaskan lifestyle, she also encounters love, abuse, friendship, adulthood and true grit.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires a complex coming of age story with beautiful imagery and family drama.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
I have been wanting to read this book for years, and 2019 was the year I finally picked it up. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a classic coming of age novel set in the early 1900s that can commonly be found on many high school reading lists. But, it was never on any of mine!
Francie Nolan shares her story as a young Irish-American girl growing up in the slums of Brooklyn at the turn of the century. From heartbreak to joy to faith to reason, Betty Smith conjures up a detailed image of Francie and the Nolan's life through rich language and a captivating story fit for readers young and old.
I recommend this book to readers who are looking for an easy-to-read classic they never encountered during assigned school reading.
Lost Roses - Martha Hall Kelly
Martha Hall Kelly does it again with her second novel, Lost Roses. I love her writing and stories, plus I learned more about WWI from the perspective of three women.
As a precursor to The Lilac Girls, Lost Roses takes us on a journey of Eliza, Varinka and Sofya during the travesties of WWI in Imperialist Russia. The story begins with Eliza visiting her dear friend Sofya in Russia days before the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand II and his wife. When Austria declares war on Serbia, Eliza makes it back to the United States, but Sofya is left behind to fall into danger because of her nanny, Varinka's tie to Russian Bolsheviks.
For readers looking for a female-centric, historical fiction novel, Kelly is the author you want to read.
The Energy Bus - Jon Gordon
A truly uplifting work of nonfiction. Jon Gordon took me on a journey of positivity, productivity and teamwork with his narrative about hopping on the energy bus. He shares 10 ways to improve your outlook on life in order to make yourself more present in work, family and everyday life. This was definitely the book I needed when I was in the thick of job hunting this year.
For an insanely quick and inspiring read, this one is for you!
Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert
I have given this nonfiction book out to so many people this year. As a person who works in the creative industries of marketing and writing, this book inspired my creative side.
Elizabeth Gilbert - author of Eat, Pray, Love - explains her creative process as well as encouraging readers to do what they love most regardless of other's expectations. This was an eye-opening read for me since I am someone who can be quite the people pleaser.
For those looking for a nonfiction to help them get out of their comfort zone and embrace their creative side, look no further than Big Magic. It is truly an underestimated gem.
Daisy Jones and the Six - Tyler Jenkins Reed
Get ready for a critically-acclaimed book to rock your world, literally. Daisy Jones and the Six is the fictional story of a 1970s rock and roll band who took the world by storm until they quickly disbanded after a Chicago concert.
Daisy Jones captivates the rock 'n roll scene with her stunning figure, carefree attitude and unique voice. The Six are an up and coming rock band who find a legendary pairing with Daisy Jones. Reed tells their story from the eyes of a reporter, and the results are truly fascinating.
For a read that mixes all the goodness of fiction with history, music and relationships, head to your local bookstore and snag Daisy Jones and the Six.
The Library Book - Susan Orlean
A story that is told from the eyes of an investigative journalist and a lifelong book lover, Susan Orlean shares her research of libraries and the unsolved mystery of the 1986 Los Angelos Public Library fire.
She creates a writing masterpiece that left me in awe with each page. Not only did I learn about libraries, but I also about how important they are to the very fabric of our lives.
For readers who love history, mystery and books about books, Orlean's work of journalistic and library majesty is your go-to.
The Huntress - Kate Quinn
The spine-tingling work of historical fiction about a British war correspondent and former Russian fighter pilot who strive to track down a Nazi war criminal known as the Huntress. Kate Quinn intersects the lives of the journalist and pilot with a budding photographer in post-WWII Boston to create a mystifying story of the truth behind the Huntress.
Get ready to have your mind blown when you read this twisted yet fascinating take on a post-WWII novel.
American Royals - Katherine McGee
If you loved Kiera Cass's Selection Series, American Royals is the newest YA book series you need to begin. While the first novel is the only one on the shelves, Katherine McGee has left me wanting so much more after I gobbled up this book.
Imagine this: what if America had a royal family that spurred from George Washington himself? Enter royal siblings - Beatrice, Samantha and Jefferson. Beatrice is next inline for the American throne, Samantha mirrors the likes of Princess Margaret of England and dashing prince Jefferson has all American girls with hearts in front of their eyes.
For a reader who loves a love triangle, a twist on history and a up-and-coming series, run fast to your bookstore to get this. Honestly, as quick as possible because this book has been off the shelves since its release!
The Little Paris Bookshop - Nina George
Another book about books...but this one is also a heartwarming tale that will leave you breathless and smiling.
Monsieur Perdu owns what he calls a literary apothecary. He prescribes his shoppers with books to help them heal their hearts and souls. However, he also still needs to heal his own.
A wonderful story of heartwarming adventure.
I recommend this to all book lovers who are looking for a descriptive novel that makes your heart and soul feel just plain good.