It is strange to think that only twelve months ago that I was sitting at the dining room table writing all about the books I loved in 2018. It really doesn’t seem that long ago, and now I’m sat at my desk in my room about to start writing about the books that caught me in 2019 and which I believe will stay with me for a long time to come.
2019 was a strange year, to say the least, and it certainly was a difficult one as well. I entered my final semester of university and graduated, I got myself a job in an industry I never thought I would one day work. I read well over one hundred books – more than I have ever read before, found solace and comfort in worlds previously unknown to me and even entered old favourites too.
Lumberjanes Graphic Novels
All the way back in January, in the first two days, in fact, I read all the current volumes of the Lumberjanes, actually, it would probably be more accurate to the day that I devoured them. I adore the whole gang of Ripley, Jo, April, Mal and Molly – though I admit I do have a soft spot for Ripley. Going into this series I only had a vague idea of what it was actually about through pleasantly surprised by the introduction of mythical creatures. Most of this year whenever a new volume came out I would immediately reach for the familiarity of the Lumberjane world and spend an hour or so laughing and smiling at their adventures and wishing that I could join them too.
Safe to say I will definitely be rereading this series come the new year and am eagerly awaiting the next volume to be released.
Proud Book Edited By Juno Dawson and Published By Stripes
I cannot put into words how overjoyed I was when my copy of Proud arrived in the post – it was after all one of my most anticipated reads this year. An anthology filled with short stories by both known and unknown authors all with the same theme between them all – every story featured an LGBTQ+ main! A collection of beautiful and meaningful stories, I just couldn’t put it down at all.
I think my favourite stories were Penguins by Simon James Green; Almost Certain by Tanya Byrne; I Hate Darcy Pemberley by Karen Lawler and The Instructor by Jess Vallance.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
I think it is safe to say that this book will most likely be appearing in everyone’s favourite and most memorable books of 2019. This book seemed to encapture the minds of the entire of the book community online and it was easy to see why with the way that Taylor writes Evelyn makes her appear so real.
I especially love the inclusion of newspaper clips and moving between the past and present in order to explore not only Evelyn’s character but also the motives that drive her. I love that she doesn’t end up appearing this all good character. Characters which are dark and complex are my favourites because you don’t have to love them in order to enjoy them and that is something Evelyn Hugo certainly is.
Ninth House By Leigh Bardugo
I think I jumped on the Leigh Bardugo bandwagon quite late as Ninth House was my first encounter with her work and I adored it. It was a book I went into knowing absolutely nothing about except for the controversy surrounding it following YALC but luckily a friend lent me her copy before it’s release.
Ninth House follows Alex Stern as she enters Yale University and begins to fill her role as ‘dante’ for the Yale secret societies in order to ensure that they aren’t breaking the rules. I suppose why I love this so much was because of her Alex herself, like Evelyn Hugo she is dark and complex and not entirely likeable which is probably why I love her. I am really driven by characters and when I encounter a character I connect with along with an exciting and magical plot, I just couldn’t put it down.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold By Toshikazu Kawaguchi
I love Japanese manga so I think it is safe to say I also love Japanese fiction. I love how short Japanese novels appear to be but the amount of depth and underlying meaning that always shines through. At least, that is what I definitely got from Before the Coffee Gets Cold as I found myself to be very emotional by the time I put it down.
Again, magical realism set in a small cafe in Japan that allows you to go back in time to one moment in the cafe on the condition you must finish drinking your cup of coffee before it goes cold.
How was your reading in 2019? Which books were your standouts for the year?