We’re almost at the end of 2019! The time between Christmas and New Year’s is a time of doing absolutely nothing while at the same time trying to finish up everything before a brand new year rolls around. Over the past few days, I spent most of my time reading (and I also went to the gym for the first time in my life whaaat) but I’ve also been thinking about my end of year lists as well as my 2020 goals. Those goals will come in due time, but let’s first recap 2019!
As was the case last year, I didn’t set a reading challenge for myself on Goodreads. I didn’t want the pressure of the “you’re 3 books behind schedule” terror and I just wanted to read what I felt like reading, instead of reading short books to try and catch up. Once again, it worked out well for me! In 2019, I read 55 books, which is an all-time record for me. According to Goodreads, my average rating is 4 stars, which is very good as well. I read a lot of books that I really liked, so it’s been a great year. Of course, there have also been some very disappointing reads, but we’ll get to those later.
My 2019 TBR
At the beginning of the year, I made a list of ten books I definitely wanted to have read by the end of the year, which you can find here. I’m very happy to announce that I read all ten of them! November and December were dedicated to reading the final two, but as of a few hours ago, I read them all. I also just realised that there are only two books on this TBR that didn’t make either my list of favourites or my list of least favourites of 2019. The first is The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien and the second is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, which I just finished today. The other eight all feature later on in this post.
10 favourite books of 2019
There’s not a clear order to my list of favourite books of the year, apart from the final two, which were my two absolute favourites. The first eight were amazing as well and I gave all of them either 4.5 or 5 stars. They were heartwarming, heartwrenching and/or heartbreaking and were either books that me very happy or books that made me think (or both).
My two absolute favourite books of the year were Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. They’re very different books, but I love them both with a passion.
Daisy Jones & the Six is a book that’s written entirely in interview format. It’s the story of the rise and fall of a rock band in the seventies. I happen to be a big fan of seventies rock music, so I was immediately interested in reading it. I hadn’t expected to be blown away by it as much as I was, though. To be clear, this is all fiction; the band or the individual people don’t exist. However, because of the way the story is told it felt as if all of it is based on real facts. I got so immersed in the story and so invested in all of the characters that I nearly cried at the end and immediately wanted to reread the book. Important detail: I listened to this on audiobook, which is an amazing experience since it’s narrated by an entire cast of voice actors.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is a sci-fi novel and the first in a trilogy. It focuses on the crew of a spaceship called the Wayfarer. There’s a plot to the story, of course, but, unlike most of the sci-fi I’ve read, the book is definitely character-driven. The characters are all incredibly well-developed and so believable. As a crew, they have to work together to perform their current job successfully, but since they don’t all get along and some of them have some big secrets, the focus is more on their relationships and backgrounds than on the job itself. The book tackles big themes like racism and discrimination but in essence, it’s a small story about these characters and it made me intensely happy.
Honourable mention: In September, I reread Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell after first reading it in high school. I loved it even more than I did back then and it’s now an all-time favourite! If you want to know more about my thoughts on this classic, you can watch this video I made on it:
Least favourite books of 2019
This year was a very good reading year, but I also read a couple of books that ended up being quite disappointing.
I’ve talked about my dislike of The Silence of the Girls a lot so I’m not going to go into it again, but you can read all about my angry thoughts right here. All I’ll say here is that it’s my least favourite book of the year and I was sorely disappointed by it since it didn’t do what it promised to do.
The other three books on the list were simply books that fell flat for me and weren’t as good as I hoped they’d be. I was really excited for Aurora Rising but both the plot and the characters weren’t believable to me. I wasn’t invested and the book mostly annoyed me, unfortunately. I made a full video on this book as well!
Children of Blood and Bone had been on my TBR since it came out and everyone was hyped about it. I really wanted to like it (because diverse fantasy that discusses racism!), but unfortunately, the story fell flat for me. I thought the plot was predictable and even though the stakes were high, it was constantly clear everything was going to be okay.
I’ve wanted to read If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller ever since one of my university professors talked about it in my first year of uni (which is seven years ago now). I was pretty disappointed, though. The concept of the story was really cool but derailed a bit at some point, and the writing felt a little too pretentious at times. What mostly put me off the book, though, was its treatment of women. I am so done with the male gaze and the entitlement some men feel when it comes to women, and this book was full of that.
And that was it for my reading year recap! I had a great reading year and I’m really looking forward to all the books on my TBR of 2020. Reading is just the best, isn’t it?
I hope you’ve all had a great 2019 and will have an even better 2020! How has your reading year been? Did you encounter new favourites? Let me know your favourite book of the year in the comments!