Tuesday, January 07, 2020

2019: My Year in Reading, Part One

Depending upon how you read my blog, it's been possible to track my Best Reads of 2019 by clicking on a ribbon on my sidebar. You can see the ribbon to your left. If you read my blog on your phone, it may not be all that easy to find that ribbon, and since it's time for my year-end reading statistics posts, it never hurts to list them again. After all, they're books I loved, right?

I had eighteen "Best Reads" in 2019, which is a bit lower than usual-- probably because I read fewer books last year. (Funny how logic works, isn't it?)

I'm going to list them all in chronological order, and if you click on the title, you will be taken to my review of that particular book. Were there stand-outs on the list? Yes, there were, and I'll list those, too. Speaking of lists, I'd better get to work!

~~~Best Reads of 2019~~~

Rupture by Ragnar Jónasson
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
Desert Redemption by Betty Webb
The Widows by Jess Montgomery
The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey
The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths
Breaking Creed by Alex Kava
Breaking Wild by Diane Les Becquets
Salt Lane by William Shaw
Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh
The Long Call by Ann Cleeves
Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay
First Degree by David Rosenfelt
The Institute by Stephen King
Picture Miss Seeton by Heron Carvic
Wrecked by Joe Ide
Dead Stop by Barbara Nickless

Of the eighteen authors on my Best Reads of 2019 list, I've had the pleasure of meeting eleven of them, and that means a huge THANK YOU! to my favorite independent bookstore, The Poisoned Pen.

I also noticed that the list is fairly evenly split between male and female writers. Here's a look at the entire list...

Now you're probably wondering what the standout books were on this list. This is something I don't particularly enjoy doing because all these books are wonderful, but when I told you my standouts last year, I got a lot of feedback, so I bow to your wishes, dear readers.

In 2019, the standouts on my Best Reads list were:


All three were read early in the year, so you know they're good when your eyes light up at the sight of their covers almost an entire year later. The setting and the story of The Lost Man really captured my imagination. Betty Webb's Desert Redemption was a hugely satisfying ending to one of my favorite series, and Jess Montgomery's The Widows was a perfect evocation of a time and place with rock-solid, memorable characters. In many ways, it reminded me of my grandparents and great-grandparents: attitudes, language, living in a mining town...

Which books were your favorites last year? Inquiring minds would love to know. 

I can't wait to see what books I'll add to my Best Reads of 2020 list!


  1. I read six of your favorites, and two of your top three. And I loved "The Widows," as did a friend. And I liked "The Lost Man" very much. I got started on the Creed series and have read two of those books, and have read two books by William Shaw. And I'm now reading "The Plea," as I'n hooked on Steve Cavanagh right now.

    Actually, some of my favorite books for last year were a biography of Lorraine Hansberry, author of "Raisin in the Sun," a memoir by Nadina LaSpina, a disability rights leader, and a wonderful book called "Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero," by Christopher MacDougall. This is a very well-written story about a rescue donkey who is brought to good health and happiness due to the author and his family and friends. It's a book that makes a reader laugh and cry -- and learn a lot about donkeys, fantastic animals.

    1. I'll definitely have to look up the books you've mentioned, Kathy. Thanks for the info!

  2. I'm glad you had a good reading year, Cathy. Not surprised to see some of those entries (like the Harper) on your list. There are some really outstanding authors out there right now. And, of course, Betty Webb is great - she hasn't disappointed me yet.

    1. No, Betty Webb certainly doesn't disappoint!

  3. I read 8 of your top reads for 2019. I read 66 books this year and 11 books made my top reads list.
    In fiction books, my top two books were The Lost Man by Jane Harper and Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskin. In nonfiction, I read two doozies that were just excellent. They are The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan about the dust bowl and The Five by Hallie Rubenhold about the victims of Jack the Ripper. The book stirred many emotions and I feel that is a good book.

    The others that made my top reads list are: Cruel Acts by Jane Casey ( I wait for the new book every year like I do for Ellie Griffiths)
    Scrublands by Chris Hammer (set in Australia) ,Redemption Point by Candice Fox (excellent series set in Australia) Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Conviction by Denise Mina, What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr and The Wrong Girl by Donis Casey

    Like always I am looking forward to seeing what your 1st best read for 2020 will be.

    1. The Worst Hard Time is one of my favorite books of all time, and I keep hearing wonderful things about Nothing More Dangerous. Eskens will be at The Poisoned Pen, but I won't be able to go.

      You've got me curious about The Five, I have a Candice Fox on my Kindle, and I can't remember if I've read Jane Casey-- and you're not the first person who's mentioned her. We share a lot of reading DNA, so I'm definitely going to check these out. Thanks!

      PS...I've already read my first Best Read of 2020. The Hollows by Jess Montgomery.

    2. Thanks for letting me know about The Hollows. It is on order at the library and I just put a hold on it after reading your comment. I did enjoy the first book The Widows.

    3. There's something about the setting, the characters, and the descriptive language Montgomery uses that draws me right in.

  4. I agree with you re The Lost Man, which was one of the best books I read last year also. But the very top of my (unofficial, only in my head) list was nonfiction: Furious Hours by Casey Cep, about the murder trial that interested Harper Lee after her Mockingbird was published. It's a fascinating story, and the writing is beautiful.

    1. Furious Hours is now on my wishlist. Thanks for that, Kate! :-)

  5. I can't wait for The Hollows. Scrublands, Where the Crawdads Sing, What Rose Forgot and Conviction were good. And so is Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie book, Big Sky.
    I will check out Nothing More Dangerous and Cruel Acts.

    1. I've gotten away from reading Kate Atkinson, and I don't know why. I love the way she writes. I think I keep getting lured away by all the new authors and books I'm offered. *sigh*

  6. So many books, too little time. (sigh) I've got lists bookmarked on two computers, hand-written lists, book reviews bookmarked, etc. If I lived another 100 years I'd never catch up with what I already know about.

    1. And we're always learning about more. I've added to my lists just from the comments on this one post alone.

  7. Omigod! The library has one copy of The Hollows. I put it on reserve. Happy Dance!

  8. What a great list! I've only read 2 of them, but I own 3 more. Of course, I read the whole Lena Jones series this last year and loved it so much! I was really happy that I took the time to read all of them. Our mystery group is reading The Lost Man for March and so I've put that one off. And I need to see if I own The Widows or if I just meant to own it. I love these 'top' lists!

    1. I really hope you get a chance to read The Widows...and The Hollows.


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