I think I speak for everyone when I say THANK GOD 2019 IS OVER. Golly, this has been a stressful and difficult year for me, to say nothing of the state of the social internet. But I’m so excited about 2020 and what it’s going to bring for me professionally, personally, and as a blogger.
It’s been an interesting year for me here at my third year at Never Not Reading. I set an all-time personal record, reading 74 books this year (mostly thanks to my children’s and young adult literature class). I “discovered” graphic novels and non-fiction. But I haven’t been blogging much. Non-review posts have basically dropped off my blog altogether this semester, and my bookstagram has come to a screeching halt a whopping three times this year. So the blog has had its ups and downs.
So thanks, y’all, for reading. This community is so amazing and supportive, and I love every one of y’all.
Wow, what a year! This might be my best year for reading ever. Which I’m pretty sure I said that last year too, but it’s even more true this year. I read so many books that could have been on this list. Six 5-star books is an all-time record for me, and there were countless four-star books that were a HIGH four stars. For the last three or four months every time I’ve had to bump a book off the list it’s been such a difficult decision. The books that did make the list have been re-arranged multiple times. For the first time since I’ve started blogging, this could have been a Top 20 list.
Yet, alas, for some reason I limit myself to a Top 10. So without any additional rambling, here they are, my favorite books of the year.
1. Bel Canto by Ann Patchet
This book gave me ALL of the feels. I connected with it on such a deep emotional level. Bonus points for the love of music that permeated the novel.
Genre: Young Adult Maturity Level: 5- View on Goodreads Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.
With the Fire on High is one of my favorite YA novels I’ve ever read. It was touching and thoughtful, and it was about real life. Acevedo doesn’t sugar coat the realities of being a young black woman or being a teen mom, but the tone of the book is still hopeful.
I’ve posted a couple of times in the last sixth months or so about my rather bizarre current tbr solution. I found that when left to my own mood-reading habits, I tend to pick up more YA fantasy than I can actually put up with, and I read a lot of books that are all kind of the same and get bored of them. Any time I would love a book it was usually something sufficiently DIFFERENT from all the other things I’d been reading. So I made up a solution where I had to read one of each genre before I could read another.
It was a lot. I ended up with 10 genres. YA, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, classics, and on and on and on. I really like this method because I was getting in a lot of variety and trying out a lot of kinds of books I hadn’t read much of before. It also forced me to read some of the literary fiction that had been sitting on my tbr for a while and not read because it isn’t as flashy and exciting as genre fiction.
The problem is, as I’ve been posting about literally all summer, that it left even less time for re-reading. When you’re forcing yourself to read ten genres, how can you possibly find time to re-read? I couldn’t.
So after some long, hard thinking, I decided it was time to reform.
I’ve done this tag the last two years, and since I don’t do monthly wrap-ups and the like, I think that I really enjoy this way of giving myself a year-so-far summary. I’ve had plans to do this post for a week or so, but after being tagged by The Orangutan Librarian I’ve decided to bump it up to now. 🙂
Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2019
I haven’t ranted and raved about Bel Cano the way I’ve wanted to, mostly because I haven’t been around all that much so far this year. But y’all. THIS BOOK WAS EVERYTHING. I am so in love. So many feels.