My Top 10 Reads of 2019

Hello, Happy Thursday! It's only taken me two weeks but I finally narrowed down my favourite reads of 2019 to ten titles. Considering I read over 90 books in 2019, this was no easy feat. These are all books I found myself thinking back on particularly fondly, and some I chose based on what I had written about them in my journal. The enthusiastic, lengthy ramblings? Clear indicator there. So in no particular order, my top ten reads of 2019. Note: These are not ranked-no need to overcomplicate things. Also, not all of these books were released in 2019 though a fair few of them were. Anyway, on with the books...

Eve's Hollywood x Eve Babitz: My introduction to Eve Babitz happened about this time last year actually. She writes of Summer and celebrity culture and growing up in Hollywood. Being young, the heat and haze that fills the LA year, life and youth being there before you. Her writing is nostalgic, without being sappy or overly sentimental. To read Eve Babitz is to luxuriate in her words.

Lady in Waiting* x Anne Glenconner: I don't think I was expecting to love this book as much as I did. Though really it is no surprise. Princess Margaret? Check. Colourful, chaotic character-laden family? Check check. Lady Anne Glenconner has certainly led a far from ordinary life. In amongst the luxurious parties are familial struggles many of us may have experienced to some degree and I guess it serves as a timely reminder that all is never as it seems. This book is far from dreary though-it ripples with vibrancy and life. 

Saltwater x Jessica Andrews: A measure of a good book, when I am willing to not return it to the library, thus being fined just so I don't have to give it back. Okay, I reluctantly returned it but the consideration was there. Saltwater is an exploration of life and how our upbringings shape us. It's also about the complicated, intricate relationships that can be the Mother and Daughter bond. It's lyrical, poetic and exquisitely written. 

Spring x Ali Smith: The seasonal quartet is drawing to a close and this may be my favourite of the three. I also read Winter this year. Spring speaks to the optimism of the season and a time where political tides may have turned. In fact, it's really hard to think about optimism when international politics seems so...messy. Discussion for another day. Spring is a story of film and migration, literature and loss. It also pays homage to our very own Katherine Mansfield. If you like reading novels that experiment and unfurl the traditional narrative, this is for you.

Notes to Self x Emilie Pine: This. Book. Though. It was a confronting read. I wept, I laughed and I also experienced the sheer brilliance of writing that is unflinchingly candid and doesn't hold back.  Notes to Self blew me away, it knocked the air out of me and then had me frantically rushing to find paper and pen, writing out extracts that spoke to me. I doubt I will ever read a book quite like it again.

Daisy Jones & the Six* x Taylor Jenkins Reid: So this was one of my most anticipated novels for 2019 and it did not disappoint. Fictional, seventies band with major Fleetwood Mac vibes. A story that unfolded through a long form, magazine style interview. I loved it. Go give it a read now, it is perfect for Summer pool+beach reading.

Trick Mirror x Jia Tolentino: Jia Tolentino is a word goddess and I won't hear a word from anyone who says otherwise. See yourself out. All seriousness, I loved her debut collection of essays immensely. Yes it did give me serious writer envy but also it was so interesting and well written and cohesive. Sometimes I get nervous reading books with a lot of advanced praise, magazine write-ups etc but in the case of Trick Mirror, the hype was justified. If you haven't read this yet, add it to your Summer tbr now.

Florida x Lauren Groff: I love Groff's writing so much. It's deeply haunting, but in a beautiful way. I'm sorry, that sounds weird. Her stories usually are darker but they are done in such an evocative way. They are absolutely compelling to read. I love that they aren't all cutesy and perfect-there's something exciting in knowing that all is not going to be as it seems. I don't read a lot of short story collections, to be honest they aren't really my vibe. The fact I loved this one so much and still feel a pang of excitement when I see anybody else is reading it probably says it all. 

The Importance of Music to Girls x Lavinia Greenlaw: I have to thank Jay for including this book in his January bundles over at YourShelf. It set my lifelong love for Lavinia Greenlaw into motion, having already been a fan of her poetry. This book is essentially a memoir told through music and memories. Read it. It is exquisite.

The Handmaid's Tale x Margaret Atwood: Probably the last person in the world to have read The Handmaid's Tale, properly. After having multiple friends tell me to literally hurry up with both reading and watching it, I finally listened. Well, shock horror, I loved it. I mean, I love Margaret Atwood's writing a lot but I can see why this book is so beloved. The fact it is all so fortuitous in a rather disturbing way. The journey Offred goes on and the way it is so addictive. Cue many a late night and a bit of sighing when my train arrived at its destinations faster than it should have, thus interrupting my reading. I will definitely be rereading this, I loved it.

-What did you read and like in 2019?

*Review Copy

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