2.10.2020

2019 Reading List

Priya the Blog, Nashville lifestyle blog, Nashville lifestyle blogger, 2019 Reading List, 2019 book reviews, reading list, books to read, mini book reviews
I love compiling this list every year for one simple reason - I am always looking for a great book to get lost in, because there is truly nothing better!

My reading goal for 2019 was just to read more than I did the year before (18 books) and now that I'm writing this post, I'm realizing I didn't quite make it. But, I'm making the same goal for 2020 and I have to say, I'm off to a great start!

Past year's reading lists: 2018 / 2017

Here's everything I read in 2019 with a very simple rating system: would I recommend this book to you? 

1. The Witness Wore Red - Rebecca Musser | I cannot resist a cult story! This book fascinated me and the story is absolutely insane. I couldn't help but put myself in the main character's shoes - how would I plot my escape if I was in a similar situation? An incredible tale of bravery that can be supplemented with a deep dive online - plenty of TV interviews, public speeches, etc. Would I recommend this to you? Yes! 

2. Born a Crime - Trevor Noah | I had to re-visit this before our trip to South Africa last Spring. I listened to it and would absolutely recommend the audiobook particularly, because Trevor Noah performs it! His comedy-memoir is just so entertaining, filled with hilarious stories from his childhood, as well as nods to how he got where he is today. A very enjoyable listen. Would I recommend this to you? Yes! 

3. Lost Girls - Robert Kolker | This book definitely scratched my perpetual true crime itch, but what I loved about it was how the first half of the book humanized each victim entirely. I found myself empathizing with each one - they weren't just "hookers that died." I appreciate how the author shared their stories. Looking forward to the movie adaptation out on Netflix this year! Would I recommend this to you? Yes. 

4. The Good Daughter - Karin Slaughter | This is one of those that has been on my list for years, the premise sounding exactly like my cup of tea, a thriller/mystery centered around two sisters. The story is actually a lot more complicated than advertised, and I enjoyed elements of the story that weren't directly tied to the crime - the fractured relationship between two sisters and the most interesting character, their mother. Would I recommend this to you? It's long, but, yes! 

5. Bad Blood - John Carreyrou | Occasionally I do push myself to read books that are out of my comfort zone! But of course, if I'm going to read about anything science related, it has to be mixed up in the most salacious story ever. I only knew bits & pieces about Theranos and their very, uh, deranged founder, Elizabeth Holmes, so it was fascinating to get the full story. As a former HR employee, I also gaped at their company policies! I read this towards the beginning of last year and need to come back to the podcast/miniseries on HBO. Would I recommend this to you? Yes!

6. Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered - Georgia Hardstark & Karen Kilgariff | Probably the book I was most excited about reading this year! I would say this is especially for fans of their podcast, My Favorite Murder, but not exclusively. I listen to the podcast on a somewhat regular (though not religious) basis, and I find myself especially enjoying stories from Karen & Georgia's pasts, as I feel like I've "gotten to know them" over the years. The book focuses more on them personally and less on true crime, so, if you've tried to listen in the past and liked them, but couldn't stomach the crime, this is for you! A very fun read. Would I recommend this to you? Yes! 

7. Not That I Could Tell - Jessica Strawser | I'm not sure how I came across this book, but thinking back on it, it was a light, intriguing, forgettable read. I think that sums it up! Desperate Housewives meets Gone Girl, if you're into that. Would I recommend this to you? Meh. 

8. Into the Water - Paula Hawkins | Let's just say - I wrote this title wrong initially AND I read it on vacation but I still don't think I liked it. This is by the author of Girl on the Train, which I enjoyed, but I found this story a little confusing and hard to follow! Would I recommend this to you? Not really. 

9. Still Lives - Maria Hummel | I already wrote about this as my favorite book of 2019! Truth told, I did read this on the beach in Portugal/Spain, and I'm sure that had something to do with it. This book so precisely hit the nail on the head of my interests, and was told through the lens of a character I could absolutely relate to. I also enjoyed how nicely it covered just...normal life for the main character? Is that weird? Which probably has to do with the title. Would I recommend this to you? Yes! 

10. City of Girls - Elizabeth Gilbert | This was a book club read but also one I saw on every list, etc. in 2019. A dazzlingly written story that puts you straight in New York City in the 1940's. There's a very interesting cast of characters that's bound to have someone for everyone (if you're like me and need a character to root for or at least appreciate to enjoy a book.) Also my linear brain really enjoyed how many years this story covered and how well it tied up every loose end. Would I recommend this to you? Yes.

11. My Story - Elizabeth Smart | I followed this saga in horror when it originally happened years ago, and truth be told, I'd been working up my courage for a while to read this book. It terrified me then and I was worried I would lose sleep now! Yes, it's a horrifying story, but it is also remarkable to read about the strength and resilience a 12 year old Elizabeth was able to maintain during her ordeal. Would I recommend this to you? Not for the faint of heart, but yes. 

12. The Actor's Life - Jenna Fischer | This is probably a good time to mention that I do some acting work, which explains why this book has been on my list two years in a row! I wanted to read it again because there is so much good information to absorb. And while it's fascinating from the working actor's perspective, I think it's also something fans of The Office or just, the industry in general, would enjoy. Would I recommend this to you? Yes!

13. The Hypnotist's Love Story - Liane Moriarty | My sister Galina literally had this book in a giveaway bag, but I grabbed it because I have enjoyed every Lianne Moriarty book I've ever read! This story was light-hearted and clever. Even with some darker moments, it was was easy, happy, reading before bed. Would I recommend this to you? Yes! 

14. The Silent Patient - Alex Michaelides | Ok this book blew my mind! It starts off simply enough as a mystery/thriller, but several twists and turns follow, including the last one I did NOT see coming at all. Come to think of it, this is probably the last book I can remember that I just couldn't put down. Would I recommend this to you? Yes! 

15. Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens | This was THE book of 2019, wasn't it? While there were elements of the story I enjoyed, overall, I have to say the the hype waaaay overshadowed how good I actually thought it was. It certainly feels like a page-turner, but then I was not too thrilled with the ending. Would I recommend this to you? Tough - I might be the only person on earth that would say no, so you might take that as a yes ;) 

16. Normal People - Sally Rooney | You've probably gathered by now that I'm very black & white, and like my stories to be tied with a bow. But this book is just as titled - a story about two very normal people and their winding relationship as friends, lovers, and every stage in between. My sister Carina recommended this to me describing Sally Rooney as the millennial voice for our generation, and I think she's right! Would I recommend this to you? Yes - something that everyone can relate to here.  

17. Disappearing Earth - Julia Phillips | This story hooked me with the plotline "two young sisters go missing" but ended up being a whole lot more. It's very intricately written, almost like a book of short stories that all overlap (some more obviously than others.) The ending is not black & white, but surprisingly, I was still satisfied, because it felt like the "plot" wasn't really the "plot." Does that make sense? Also really enjoyed a peek at life in a part of Russia that I was not familiar with at all. Would I recommend this to you? Not always the easiest to follow, but yes. 

This yearly list has to have more "yes" books than ever, so I guess I'm doing something right!

So tell me - what was the best book you read last year? What are you currently reading? Please hit me with any and all recommendations! 
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