50 books I read in 2019

For the past few years I’ve kept note of what I read in my journal, and I thought I’d share this year’s list with you. I like looking back occasionally, remembering which books I loved and which didn’t quite grip me. It’s a satisfying way to record how I spend some of my free time.

I gave myself the goal of reading fifty books this year but, rather than an arbitrary number or an end in itself, I see the list as an activity to keep me committed to reading. I set aside worries during the focused, relaxed time I’m turning pages and getting into a story – which is probably why there’s more fiction than non-fiction below.

I hit fifty books this week and I reckon I’ll have a couple more under my belt by 31 December. I’ve put my ten favourites in bold in case you’re looking for recommendations.

I understand that reading can be an expensive activity (if you were to buy a few new hardbacks a month, say), but with second-hand options in charity shops, borrowing from a library or other people and paperback deals, it doesn’t have to be. The books I’ve mentioned in this post were a mix of charity shop buys, borrows, Christmas/birthday presents and copies I bought new. The ones with an asterisk * were gifted from publisher 4th Estate with no requirement to review or post.

  1. Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood – Holly McNish
  2. Becoming – Michelle Obama
  3. The Ten-Year Nap – Meg Wolitzer
  4. Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan
  5. Mr Salary – Sally Rooney
  6. Brit(ish) – Afua Hirsch
  7. Less – Andrew Sean Greer
  8. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari
  9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
  10. The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  11. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage – Ann Patchett
  12. Ordinary People – Diana Evans
  13. The Blackwater Lightship – Colm Tóibín
  14. 26a – Diana Evans
  15. How to Fail* – Elizabeth Day
  16. Happy Fat* – Sofie Hagen
  17. We Must Be Brave* – Frances Liardet
  18. An Edited Life – Anna Newton
  19. Hot Mess – Lucy Vine
  20. The Age of Absurdity – Michael Foley
  21. Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
  22. The Importance of Being Aisling – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
  23. The Female Persuasion – Meg Wolitzer
  24. The Lido – Libby Page
  25. The Guilty Feminist – Deborah Frances-White
  26. Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata
  27. Author, Author – David Lodge
  28. Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
  29. Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty
  30. How to be Both – Ali Smith
  31. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson
  32. About a Boy – Nick Hornby
  33. Enron – Lucy Prebble
  34. The Pink Hotel – Anna Stothard
  35. Our Stop – Laura Jane Williams
  36. An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
  37. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
  38. A Tiny Bit Marvellous – Dawn French
  39. The Mother of All Jobs – Christine Armstrong
  40. Lighthousekeeping – Jeanette Winterson
  41. Winter – Ali Smith
  42. Wonder Boys – Michael Chabon
  43. Girl Meets Boy – Ali Smith
  44. The Bricks that Built the Houses – Kate Tempest
  45. Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
  46. China Rich Girlfriend – Kevin Kwan
  47. Rich People Problems – Kevin Kwan
  48. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – Hank Green
  49. Clock Dance – Anne Tyler
  50. Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

What have you enjoyed reading this year? Is there anything I should be looking out for in 2020? Let me know over on Instagram.

Featured image by Brandi Redd on Unsplash