These are not books that necessarily came out in 2019. They’re just books I read in 2019. I know I love book lists, so if you love book lists, here’s another for you… from (probably) a complete stranger!
How do I determine my favorite books? They are books that impacted my life. I changed. I grew. I felt inspired. I understood myself better. Or I understood the world better. Most books that I determine to have fulfilled any of those criteria tend to be non-fiction self-help books instead of fluffy, feel-good novels, but not always!
Here we go:
So, so good. I wish I could write like this. She writes in a way that makes you care so much about her story. I couldn’t wait to read each new piece of fucked up information that each chapter brought! Mid-read, I watched an interview with her and was surprised to see how small she was. Her story is so large, that I imagined a large personality to go with it… but she’s so small… in stature and in voice and in aura. It really changed the way I processed the rest of the book after that.
9. The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store — Cait Flanders
I really enjoyed this book and it is inspiring me to 1. quit drinking (again) and 2. Really REALLY analyze what I spend money on. It makes you take a look at consumerism and what we use in our daily lives to mask pain, stress, anxiety, sadness, anger, or even joy.
What a perfect book. Obviously it was about the life of a person I’m extremely interested in, but it was so moving, so poetic. I laughed, and I cried… a lot. Particularly when it was over and the realization of our current political realities felt even more acute. I loved how she let us in to see the ugly. The fights and the turmoil with Barack. How it wasn’t always easy. How she struggled to feel like more than “Barack’s Wife.” Even though she is the most influential woman in the world, in my opinion, she still had these very relatable struggles. Reading the book made her even more admirable. Highly recommend to anyone.
While reading this book, I came to realize how influential Mr. Rogers was in my own life. Reading about the impact that Mr. Rogers had on the people around him and the thoughtfulness he put into everything and how he went out of his way to make people feel special even when he was dying, I realized that I saw a lot of my dad in Mr. Rogers. And, in fact, the men that I admire most and love the most emulate Mr. Rogers, and the people that I dislike the most do not emulate Mr. Rogers’ characteristics.
We need more Mr. Rogers in the world. Even if that means we have more weird puppets as a result :-)
This is the book Aziz Ansari wish he wrote. Or it’s the book I wish he wrote. Or it’s the book I wish I wrote. Or all three.
Get over whatever preconceived notions you have based on its very marketable title and go read this book regardless of your gender or sexual orientation.
At Alexandra’s book reading and signing, she said that after her father passed away, she went to her book shelves looking for the healing that she needed, the book that she needed to guide her through her grief, and she couldn’t find it, and so she wrote it.
I’m grateful she created the book that so many people will reach for when they are struggling with grief. I’m grateful this book exists for me right now.
Thank you, Alexandra.
You guys. I never thought I’d read a book by Chelsea Handler, let alone rate it 5 stars. I was recommended to read this memoir by some woke ass brown queer/trans peeps and I was like “Whaaat?” And then…. Whoa… I think I am Chelsea Handler in a lot of ways, which is very confusing to me. When she was describing needing to be a fixer and in an egotistical way, not actually a selfless way, I had to take a hard look at myself. When she described bending over backwards for her friends and then cutting them off when they didn’t meet that same standard, I felt sick to my stomach because I 100% do that. She describes her sessions with her therapist throughout the book that helped her realize these aspects of herself and how to overcome them, and I felt like it saved me hundreds of dollars in therapy because I need to face the exact same issues. It was even more connecting for me, living in Jackson Hole, where her brother passed away in a hiking accident when she was younger. She even mentions Jackson Hole by name, and it just felt surreal. It’s also hilarious and readable. I am shocked at how deep and vulnerable this book was. Highly recommend.
3. Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness — Ingrid Fetell Lee
Such a great book! I might even read it a second time (which I never do)! I particularly loved how each tidbit about adding more joy in your life was backed up with science-based evidence. This is a book that definitely changed my life, and makes me rethink the ways in which I could increase the amount of joy I experience on a regular basis. Highly recommend.
2. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find — and Keep — Love — Amir Levine, Rachel S.F. Heller
A must-read for everyone in (or recently out of) a tumultuous relationship.
I was told to read this book by a few different people when I was on and off with a very toxic boyfriend. After reading this book, I had the right words to describe how I felt in the relationship, and it ultimately empowered me to finally escape from the toxicity.
I’m happy to report that I am currently in a very, very not fucked up relationship, and I feel like I am using the information I learned from this book to understand my current partner better.
I am named Anne with an E after Anne of Green Gables, and I know that’s because my mother was also adopted later in life, like Anne, rather than as a young child and she struggled with the same tumultuous feelings that Anne describes. I’ve never read this book before, even though I knew about my namesake, and I just fell in love with Anne Shirley. She is such a quirky, awkward weirdo. I feel a much deeper affinity with this character, story, and my mother now.
If you missed my Top 10 books from 2018, these are them:
10. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries from a Secret World — Peter Wohlleben
9. Shakespeare: The World as Stage— Bill Bryson
8. Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
7. The House at the Edge of Night — Catherine Banner
6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks — Rebecca Skloot
5. What We Lose — Zinzi Clemmons
4. The Nature Fix — Florence Williams
3. Pressed Flowers — Virginia Nemetz
2. The Book of Forgiveness — Desmond Tutu & Mpho Tutu
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