My favorite book recommendations of 2019 are here. I tried to give you only 10 books.
But it couldn’t be done.
Instead, I divided my favorite books into three categories below:
- 10 Nonfiction
- 5 Memoir
- 10 Fiction
Most were published within the past five years.
Did you read any of these? What did you think? What was your favorite book this year? Please share in the comments.
Top 10 Nonfiction Books
1. Atomic Habits
An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
by James Clear
If you want to keep good habits, this is a must-read. This book lives up to all its hype (which is a lot). [My 1-minute video review of Atomic Habits is here.]
2. Never Split the Difference
Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It
by Chris Voss
Author Chris Voss is a former hostage negotiator for the FBI. He uses his experience (such fascinating stories!) to explain nine strategies to make our lives better (not just for negotiations, but for relationships). So good!
3. Off the Clock
Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done
by Laura Vanderkam
This book is a game-changer on how you use time and how you see time. It helps you see mistakes you make with time and how to correct them. [My 1-minute video review of Off the Clock is here.]
Related . . . 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think also by Laura Vanderkam
4. Happy Money
The Science of Smarter Spending
by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton
Another fascinating book, this one suggests how to use your money to be happier in the long run. In a nutshell:
- Buy experiences.
- Make it a treat.
- Buy time.
- Pay now, consume later.
- Invest in others.
5. Dreyer’s English
An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
by Benjamin Dreyer
Maybe an odd choice for a top 10 list, but this book about English is that good. Regardless of what you write, this book is a wonderful resource. Plus it’s entertaining.
6. Enlightenment Now
The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
by Steven Pinker
A data-filled book, this one shows us through facts, charts, and graphs that, overall, the world is getting better, not worse.
7. Women Rowing North
Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing As We Age
by Mary Pipher
I took so many notes from this book, a sure sign of a great book. It gives me much-needed hope about getting older.
8. Everybody Lies
Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
So intriguing! This book is full of interesting tidbits of information. It’s been called Freakonomics on steroids. [My 1-minute video review of Everybody Lies is here.]
9. The Myth of a Christian Nation
How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church
by Gregory A. Boyd
Although published in 2005, this book is a timely wake-up call to the church today. It urges us to rein in our hunger for political power and instead do the things Christ would do. [My 1-minute video review of The Myth of a Christian Nation is here.]
10. How the Bible Actually Works
In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers—and Why That’s Great News
by Peter Enns
Here is a different perspective on how to read our Bibles. Sometimes the Bible gets a bad reputation simply because we expect things from it that God might not have intended it to deliver.
Related . . . The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enn
Top 5 Memoirs
by Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama restores my hope; politicians and families can be moral, kind, and likable. She is really honest in this book, both about her years before Barack and about her years in the White House.
2. What Is a Girl Worth?
My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics
by Rachael Denhollander
This is a tragic story about systemic sexual abuse. But thanks to the courage of Rachael Denhollander and others, standing up for justice and doing the right thing wins out.
3. The Moment of Lift
How Empowering Women Changes the World
by Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates (Bill’s wife) is a stellar example of using money and power for good in our world.
4. Born to Run
by Bruce Springsteen
I didn’t expect to enjoy this so much; Bruce Springsteen is an authentic storyteller. (I listened to him read the audio version; excellent!)
Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive
by Stephanie Land
I wish this weren’t a true story because it is a difficult journey for a single mom in America. Even if we aren’t in these shoes ourselves, we know someone who is. A great read.
Top 10 Fiction Books
1. The Nickel Boys
by Colson Whitehead
Loosely basing this story on a real detention center for young boys in Florida, Colson Whitehead writes grippingly from beginning to end about a young African-American boy’s journey through life. [My 1-minute video review of The Nickel Boys is here.]
2. Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate
Revolving around a real-life scandal of a Memphis adoption agency, this novel tells about five siblings living in a shanty boat in Memphis in 1939, and then a present-day family with a yet-to-be discovered past.
3. Where the Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens
Kya Clark, the “Marsh Girl,” lives basically alone on the North Carolina coast. When a local boy is found dead in 1969, fingers point to her.
4. Washington Black
by Esi Edugyan
Prepare for a lot of hard and tender stops on this journey with Washington Black, an 11-year-old slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados. His life takes a big turn when he meets the master’s brother, Titch, an inventor and abolitionist.
5. The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn
Two stories intertwine in this historical novel about a female spy in France during World War I and an American girl looking for her cousin after World War II. Each story masterfully unfolds just when you need it too.
6. The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah
When her Vietnam veteran father decides to move the family to Alaska in 1974, teenage Leni isn’t thrilled about it. But there is far more at stake under the surface.
7. I Let You Go
by Clara Mackintosh
The most shocking plot twist I read all year was in this book about five-year-old Jacob who is killed in a hit-and-run accident. And the mystery that follows.
8. The Death of Mrs. Westaway
by Ruth Ware
Hal, a poor woman in England, receives a mysterious letter saying she has inherited money from her recently-deceased grandmother. Hal, knowing she’s the wrong recipient, shows up to get the money anyway.
9. Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty
Madeline, Celeste, and Jane are three mothers of kindergarten students at a school in Australia. Their interactions are entertaining and light-hearted much of the time, but serious and mysterious at other times.
10. A Place for Us
by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Centered around a wedding of an Indian couple in America, this is a sweet story of hardships and struggles in a family as they interact with each other and the broader community as Muslims in the United States.
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What’s one of your favorite (or least favorite) books from 2019? Please share in the comments.
sharing with Modern Mrs. Darcy
- Should You Take This Personally?
- How I Read and 2020 Reading Challenges