I set a goal for myself in 2019 to keep a list of the books I read and to try to get to 35 for the year. That won’t seem impressive to voracious readers, but I knew it would be a stretch for me.
The truth is, I don’t read particularly fast. I guess it’s an editor thing, I read sentences I like over and over and have no ability to skim boring parts. I’m counting the goal as accomplished, though I wasn’t quite finished with the last book in 2019.
One thing that helped me a lot was using the Libby app through Carnegie-Stout Public Library. I checked out several audiobook versions of what I was reading and was able to plow through books by reading when I could and listening when I was on a walk or driving. Check out the app — it was a fun way to gobble up more books.
Here are some of the highlights of the books I read.
“The Alice Network” — One of my favorites. Two strong and interesting female characters, one a spy in France during World War I and the other a woman she encounters years later. It tells both stories in tandem.
“Something in the Water” — A mystery, and a pretty good one. Page turner. Not too dark, though (although it does open with a description about burying a body).
“The Perfect Couple” — A beach read with a mystery thrown in. The best part is the descriptions of the food at this rich Nantucket wedding. It’s like food porn. Easy breezy.
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” — Funny. Quirky as hell. She’s awesome in many ways. It’s a quick read, too.
“The Great Alone” — Excellent. Made a lot of book lists last year. It’s epic and quite wonderful.
“Little Fires Everywhere” — I read two Celeste Ng books and preferred this one. It reminds me of Anne Tyler, if you read any of those, and I love me some Anne Tyler.
“Turtles All the Way Down” — I liked but didn’t love this book. I’ll tell you what, though, he does an amazing job of writing from the perspective of a teenage girl battling depression. I don’t know how he does it, but he describes what it feels like, and it’s incredibly insightful.
“The Hate U Give” — Loved it. A voice everyone needs to hear in this day and age. It exposed my own ignorance about African-American culture. Thanks for the life lesson, Angie.
“Hillbilly Elegy” — I tried last year to expand the voices I expose myself to, and this was another good one. Although it wasn’t political, it somehow helped me understand the change in American politics in the past few years. It’s just shocking how different the various facets of America are, even today.
“Educated” — Pretty much the same reasoning as above. Her stories are so far removed from my experience as to be almost unbelievable. Almost. She’s quite something.
“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” — In keeping with my fascination with true crime, this is Michelle McNamara’s book about the “Golden State Killer,” which she methodically researched — and then she died just before it came to fruition and the creep was caught. Her work as a journalist is impressive. And it’s a good creepy read.
“Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered” — This is my favorite podcast, “My Favorite Murder.” Again, you have to like true crime. And swearing. Start with the podcast. The two women are hilarious.
“Me” — You have to give Elton John credit — it’s an honest look at his life, which isn’t particularly flattering. But it’s funny and gossipy and authentic and made me like him all the more.
“Less” — It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner, so I can’t say it wasn’t great. Just not that much happens. But the writing is outstanding.
You can see the full list on TelegraphHerald.com if you’re interested. I do recommend keeping a list. It was fun to look back on and felt like an accomplishment to have read some 12,000 pages during the year.
I’ll take any suggestions for what to read in 2020. There’s nothing quite like a good book to open your mind to a new perspective.