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My Book List for 2019

Submitted by Bethany on Tue, 01/01/2019 - 10:00

Hello! Welcome to a blog post that will get continuously updated throughout the year. I thought it would be fun to keep a list of all the books I have read, both so I can refer to it to know if I am reaching my goal of 1 book a week, and so I can share with all of you! Also if you're interested, here's everything I read in 2018

Feel free to comment if you have read/are reading any of the same books so we can chat about them - reading is even more fun together! 

My Book List for 2019:

1. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
I haven't seen the movie yet, but the book was so much fun! It's an easy read and an interesting peek into a world I will never experience myself. I can't wait to read the whole trilogy...but I have to...I have it on hold and it won't be available for approximately 17 weeks (not an exaggeration.)

2. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
I tend to enjoy stories that are told from different perspectives, and this one was no different. I found the story intriguing and a few reveals actually made me gasp! I'm looking forward to the next book from these two authors. 

3. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones 
This is a heartbreaking tale that really delves into the emotional lives of the characters. I couldn't put it down, and I highly recommend. 

4. Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott 
I love almost all of Lamott's writing - she speaks poetically, conjuring images that seem disparate and then expertly weaving them together into a poignant theological treatise. I recommend all of her books, this one included. 

5. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin 
I have fallen in love with Griffin's writing lately and this was her very first novel. It was also made into a movie in 2011, which I have seen but didn't really remember. The book was a fast, enjoyable read, and has me jonesing to watch the movie again! (I did look up the cast list so I could picture the characters as their actors, lol)

6. Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult
Picoult has long been one of my favorite authors and this year I'm hoping to catch up on all of her novels so you'll see her a lot on this list. This one was published in 2010 thought it's set in the early 90's. Picoult uses her usual style of weaving together the story from several different perspectives, sharing a story of a relationship gone awry. This one stirred up a lot of emotions in me, including frustration with the main character, which is something I love about Picoult's writing!

7. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink 
I am planning to write a full review on this one because I loved it! The author looks into the science of human motivation - and how what we use in conventional school/business/life practices is not in line with what science shows us. I had some personal revelations while reading this one! 
(P.S. I wrote a review of this one you can check out here!)

8.  The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
I read this book because it came highly recommended by a friend of mine. I found it hard to get into, for the first third of the book I really had to force myself to read it. However, once the story took off I loved it, and the ending was very emotional, I cried for a while. Well worth it, though. 

9.  Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
I love, love, love, Brene Brown. She takes actual sociological research she has done and weaves it into story and prose so interesting you want to absorb every word. Along the way, you learn a lot about yourself and how to be better - not through pithy sayings or pull up your bootstraps encouragement, but by giving you concrete ways to dig into your own emotions and come out strong. This book has given me tools that will serve me well in the future. I highly recommend! (But first, read her other two books - The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly .)

10. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
This is what I would call a "bubblegum" book. An easy read, no real substance, but fun nonetheless. I read the first book in the series Confessions of a Shopaholic way back in high school, but I had no idea there was a series. Now I'm like 8 books behind and I will probably catch up on them quickly...I plan to use them as brain breaks between more serious books. Also, the main character is British, and it was really fun to read this one and understand far more of the references now that I've lived in the UK for 5 months! 

11. Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes 
This book has been out since 2015 and I've been hearing about it off and on. Shonda Rhimes is the creator and writer of mega-hit TV shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal (both shows of which I have seen every episode). In this book, she shares her journey from withdrawn, overweight, miserable curmudgeon to happy, bright, healthy, more herself, all by saying "yes" to things she wouldn't have before. The writing style is very conversational and easy to read, and I like that she shares what worked for her without assuming it should/could work for everyone else. 

12. Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
I mean, what I can I say, I'm going to read this whole series. It's ridiculous and pure fluff but I love it. 

13. Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella
I was totally going to alternate these fluff books with more serious stuff but I can't help it, I just want to power through them! 

14. Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella
Yeah...I'm just gonna get all of these out of the way at once. I read this is one day (though that day did involve staying up till almost 3 in the morning reading. What can I say, the books are compelling!)

15. Mini-Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
I will get back to reading real books soon, I promise. Just one more after this one... 

16. Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
Ok, I lied, there is actually one more after this one, this one ended on a cliffhanger! How rude!

17. The More of Less by Joshua Becker 
I'm totally on the minimalism train right now and I've had this book on hold forever. So when it finally became available I read it almost instantly. I love Becker's take on minimalism - it's about making it work for you to create the life you want, not just getting rid of things and living sparsely. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that he has a past as a pastor, and he weaved in some really good theology with his points about minimalism. I would highly recommend!
(P.S. I wrote a review of this one you can check out here!)

18. Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella
Well, that was a fun conclusion to the series. I'm glad I read it all, and I'm glad I can move on now!

19. The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
This one ended up on my list because my mom's book club is reading it in April and I'm planning to read all of the same books. It's a beautiful story about love, loss, Alzheimer's and aging. I highly recommend it. 

20. Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating & Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food by Susan Albers
I mostly skimmed this book, but it had some good information about paying attention not only to what you eat, by how, why, and when you eat it. 

21. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This book came recommended by an Instagram friend, and in fact, I won a hardcover copy and a beautiful watercolor bookmark in a giveaway! Since that copy is waiting for me safely at home, I was excited to finally get this one off my hold list after 3 months. I found the story to be highly compelling with remarkable character development. I loved it!

22. Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance by Tish Jett
The author of this one has lived in France for over 20 years and has spent a lot of that time researching French style and beauty secrets. In this book she spills them all! I enjoyed reading it even more so since I am currently in France. It's aimed towards "women of a certain age" but I was able to take away some advice for myself as well. It's a fast read. 

23. The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
I put this one on my hold list because it is a #1 international bestseller, and one of NYT's 100 notable books of the year. I read it quickly, but mostly because I kept expecting something more exciting to happen. The book opened with the climax, then backed up to tell the story - and I HATE that method of storytelling. I felt the character development was weak, the story uneven, and it is so far my least favorite book I've read all year. 

24.  Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
This book is excellent - smart, well-written, and extremely funny (duh!). I learned a lot about South Africa I never knew before, and have gained a deeper respect for Trevor Noah in the process. I hope to write a review of this one soon.
(P.S. I wrote a review of this one you can check out here!)

25. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
I started the year with the first one in this series, and number two was just as fun! The third in the trilogy should be up on my holds list soon.

26. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
Someone recommended this book to me (I forget who) and it was a quick read - mostly because I skimmed it. I don't care for cursing very much and this book had a ton of it (in case you couldn't guess by the title). However, I just went all "The Good Place" on it and replaced every "f*ck" with "fork" which made it much more palatable to my ears. There is some good advice in here but its buried beneath catchy phrases and stories the author thinks are a lot funnier than they really are. I would skip this one. 

27. My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry
It's strange how many novels I've read lately have been set outside of the US - this was another that takes place in the UK, which feels so much more familiar now that I've been there! This book was very intriguing and I loved the way the author switched between the viewpoint of two characters. That isn't always well done, but it was here. 

28. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
This is the third book in the "Crazy Rich Asians" series and it was another fun, light read. It was extra fun when two places near us here in France - places we have been! - were name dropped in a list of luxurious items rich people buy - tapestries from Aubusson, and the famous porcelain from Limoges!

29. The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
This fun memoir is about when Helen and her husband move from the UK to rural Denmark when he gets a job working for Lego. As different as things are from the US to the UK, there's also a big shift between the UK and Denmark when it comes to social safety nets, work/life balance, and raising children. She focuses on studies showing that Danes are the happiest people on earth - aiming to find out why and if she can get some of that happiness for herself! I loved it. 
(P.S. I wrote a review of this one you can check out here!

30. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
This NYT bestseller is reminiscent of Gone Girl and Rear Window, so if you like a mystery/thriller you will enjoy this one! I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon/evening finishing this one by the fire - it got to a point I just couldn't put it down! 

31. Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
I wanted to read The Happiness Project (her first book on the subject) but for some reason, my library wouldn't allow me to download it on my Kindle (even though I had been on the waiting list for it for like 2 months, grrr.) This one was... just okay. Her reflections and insights gave me some ideas for myself, and I like the research she shares. But a lot of it does come off a little self-centered. 

32. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
After plowing through the whole "Shopaholic" series I wasn't planning on reading more Sophie Kinsella this year but an online book club I'm in picked her newest book for April. (Luckily a fellow book club member was able to send me a Kindle copy, since it as a 6+ month at the library!) It was cute, very much in Kinsella's style which I would classify as "easy beach read." And, like any good rom-com, it made me cry at the end.

33. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
Bryson is a fairly well-known travel author who grew up in Iowa but has lived in England for most of his adult life. This book is actually a follow-up to one of his first - Notes From a Small Island - in which he first explored his new homeland of the UK. In this one, he goes to some of the same places to see what has changed and checks out some still new to him places. The book was entertaining, though Bryson was sometimes annoying (several times I had to roll my eyes at his clearly old white man perspective) and used more curse words than I would like. However, I got great joy every time he talked about somewhere I have been in the UK, and agree with his assessment that despite its reputation, British food is, in fact, quite delicious. 

34. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty 
This novel took me a while to get into - the storytelling was a bit jumpy in places, and there were some intervals that took me a while to figure out exactly what they were. However, once I got into the story it was enjoyable. 

35. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
I've been reading a lot of self-help books (no particular reason, I just find them interesting) and this one was actually helpful! Her story-telling style was easy to read, and she related some familiar information but in a much less annoying way than some other authors (*cough*RachelHollis*cough*). I would recommend it! 

36. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
I enjoyed this novel with a dark secret at its heart, and how the characters were intertwined together. It made me cry!

37. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
This memoir of growing up a "hillbilly" in Kentucky and Ohio, then going on to become a Yale graduate, reminded me a lot of Educated which I read last year. If you enjoy a peek into the struggles and triumphs of a side of American that isn't your own (in this case, Appalachia) you will enjoy this book. 

38. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
I knew on our 8.5 hour flight from London to Chicago I wanted an easy read - so something by Sophie Kinsella was perfect! This is the tale of a high powered lawyer who runs away from her life in order to figure it out. (If you love the show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, it reminded me a lot of that in many ways.) It was a perfect plane read!

39. Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames
I found this memoir of a young professional couple living extremely frugally so they could retire early far more enjoyable and inspiring than I expected. I really loved that throughout the book Thames acknowledged that they were able to do what they did due in no small part to an extreme amount of privilege they were born with. They also did a lot of work and sacrifice on their own, but she states more than once that she knows not everyone can do what they did, because not everyone is lucky enough to start where they start. I plan to write a book review on this one soon because I loved it so much! 
(P.S. I wrote a review of this one you can check out here!)

40. We Pray With Her: Encouragement for All Women Who Lead edited by Emily Peck-McClain, Danyelle Trexler, Jen Tyler, J. Paige Boyer, Shannon Sullivan
I have a new rule for myself, which involves not buying any books unless someone I know wrote the book or contributed to it. So here I present to you my first (and likely only) book purchase of 2019! Three in real life friends of mine contributed to this book, as well as many other clergy colleagues/friends I know online. I read the whole thing this week and it is a fantastic book full of devotions and prayers. I am so glad I have a copy, and will even keep it in the back of my mind as gift possibilities for any women I know. I also got my friends to sign it on their pages which tickles me to no end! 

41. We Carry Kevan by Kevan Chandler
My mom purchased this memoir because we have a personal family connection to one of the people in it. The story is about Kevan who is confined to a wheelchair, traveling to Europe with a group of his friends (one of whom we are related to) who carry him on their back in a specially modified backpack. It's a story of faith, travel, friendship, and the beauty of interdependence and learning to accept help when we need it. I loved it and would highly recommend! 

42. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
This book (by the author of The Happiness Project and one of my favorite podcasters) explores how we form habits. I appreciate that she recognizes that there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to healthy habit formation, so she shares about all sorts of techniques including ones that did and did not work for her particular personality. I took away some nuggets that will be helpful to me in the future! 

43. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
This fierce memoir by Lindy West has been turned into a semi-autobiographical comedy series on Hulu (I'm almost ready to renew my Hulu subscription.) It was funny, poignant, and contained some searing social commentary. I highly recommend!

44. Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans
Reading this book was especially poignant as the author just passed away around Easter this year, at age 37, leaving behind a husband and two small children. Her journey of faith has inspired so many people, including me. I think this book is the best of her four, and I will be quoting it in sermons and Bible studies for many years to come. 

45. The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders
I'm currently loving memoirs and tales of minimalism so this book was right up my alley. Flanders gave herself a "shopping ban" for one whole year - she could only buy consumable items and the few things she put on her list at the beginning of the year. This experiment led to a year of learning about herself and transforming her life in ways she didn't see coming. It was a fun easy read with some challenging ideas!

46. Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It by Gary Taubes
In this book Taubes examines nutrition and health research for the last 100 years to today, and shows why a lot of what we think about healthy eating - and what is promoted by nutritionists and governments the world over - is wrong. I have experimented with eating "keto" some over the past year, and this book is motivating me to do it again and perhaps, more consistently in my life. Ya know, after Italy...

47. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson
If you can't tell by this list, I'm on a kick of reading everything relating to minimalism/decluttering, etc. This book was just okay for me. It came at the topic from a different angle - the concept of Swedish "death cleaning" - which is the idea that you get rid of your thing before you die, rather than leaving them as a burden for your loved ones. But there was no realy groundbreaking information on how to do this. It was clearly written in Swedish and translated to English, which led to some strange phrasing and choppy sounding writing. It was a quick read though!

48. The Hausfrau Honeymoon: Love, Language, and Other Misadventures in Germany by Beth Howard
I wanted to like this book. My mom knows the author and I have read one of her other books that I did enjoy. But this one? Blech. The whole book is nothing but one giant complaint about her life; and while I sympathize that living in a foreign country can be really hard (I mean, I'm currently typing this in Bulgaria!) she just comes off as a whiny privileged brat. Even her feminist leanings, which I would usually support as a fellow self-proclaimed feminist, came off as annoying. I'm sorry, when one spouse works at a job and the other stays home, the one who stays home should be in charge of household things such as washing dishes - regardless of gender. There, I said it. Also of note, it took me almost 6 months to finally read the whole thing I struggled with it so much. Skip it.

49. Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
This romance/somewhat mystery novel hooked me in at the beginning and kept me gripped until the end. I finished the last half in a reading marathon because I could not put it down. Be warned - it made me cry! 

50. The Four Tendencies: The Indispensible Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (And Other People's Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin
If you love personality tests and profiles (the Enneagram, Meyers-Briggs, etc) you will love this one! Rubin outlines four types of people and how they respond to outer and inner expectations - Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. I learned a lot about myself (as an Obliger), my husband (as a Questioner) and I think it will help me understand people in the future. If you work with people at all I recommend giving it a read!

51. Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free by Susan Pierce Thompson, PhD
I'm always interested in books on health/nutrition/losing weight and I'd seen a lot of ads for this "Bright Line Eating" (BLE) in my Facebook feed so I decided to check it out. The author shares a lot of scientific studies about how certain foods (particularly flour and sugar) affect both our bodies phsyically and our brains psychologically. While that was interesting, I find the conclusions she comes to about how best to eat healthy absolute rubbish. As far as I can tell BLE is an eating disorder in (poor) disguise and will really only work for a small segment of the population (particularly Upholders which you'll understand if you read book #50.) She claims the restrictions give you true freedom but I call shenanigans. Also, I'm never ever going to get on board with an eating plan that means I would literally never eat macaroni and cheese again in my life. Hard pass.

52. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 
This novel drew me in from the first page and kept me hooked until the very end! I loved it! 

53. One Coin Found: How God's Love Stretches to the Margins by Emmy Kegler
This memoir of growing up Christian and becoming a pastor while discovering and embracing her identity as a part of the LGBT+ community is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking. I found Rev. Kegler's courage in telling her story to be inspiring and I love the way she articulates her faith! 

54. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
The best way I can describe this book is that it reminded me of an episode of the Netflix show Black Mirror. That is a high compliment! The book is complicated but intriguing and incredibly well-written. The prose is very evocative and truly paints a picture! I highly recommend. 

55. Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
This novel written in three parts is both enticing and a bit confusing. The lack of chapters was a bit annoying to me (the end of a chapter is usually a good stopping point so I felt a bit lost without those) but the writing was excellent and the story compelling enough to keep me going. 

56. The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile
I was first introduced to the enneagram about 10 years ago and at the time I was pretty sure I was a 7. In the intervening years I've read books about the ennegram on and off, and for a while I was unceratin what my number is. After reading this book, I am 100% certain I am a 7. The enneagram is a spiritual personality typing tool that can give you insights about yourself and the people you love (you can't officially type other people but it can give you ideas on how to work with other numbers.) This book is a great introduction to the enneagram for first-timers!
(P.S. I wrote a review of this one you can check out here!)

57. Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis
I had some strong feelings about Hollis' first book (not good ones) so I was surprise to find that my feelings about this one were far less negative. I think it helped that she stayed away from trying to "preach" or inject faith into this one. There were a few good ideas but nothing earth-shattering. I think I'll write a review about this one. 

58. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I must admit it took me a long time to get into this book. The format jumps back and forth between time periods which I found a bit jarring at first, until I got into the rhythm. Once I was suitably hooked on the story I couldn't put it down and rushed through to the end! 

59. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
I read this book in just two short days. The story drew me in and I had to know what happened! It's one of those books I couldn't stop reading until I got to the end, then I was sad when I got to the end. 

60. A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting On Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master by Rachel Held Evans 
Rachel Held Evans is one of my favorite Christian authors and this is her second book. She spent a year trying to follow every command given to women in the Bible. She explores scripture, Jewish tradition, various Christian traditions (Amish, Quaker, a Catholic monastery, etc,) and does her best to live up to the many conflicting expecations that can be found for women. This is a great read! 

61. After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
This dystopian novel is set in a future that might not be too far off for us if we don't get a handle on climate change. The world has flooded, leaving the people who have survived living on mountain tops or continually navigating the ocean. We journey with Myra as she struggles to keep her daughter Pearl, alive, while searching for her lost daughter, Row. The story was gripping, if depressing as heck. It sure reminded me to be grateful for what I have (power, easy access to food, internet, etc.) and reminded me that if an apocalyptic event happens during my lifetime I am unlikely to be among the survivors.

62. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
This gripping tales charts the journey of a newlywed couple who find, well, something in the water. It quickly leads to the unraveling of the lives they have so carefully constructed.  A quick and easy read! 

63. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen 
It was a long wait to get this one off the hold list (I read their first novel in January) but it was worth the wait! Intriguing, twists and turns, and a satisfying ending! 

64. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
This creepy novel is written from the perspectives of a mother and a young daughter, exploring their fraught and freaky relationship. I devoured it in just a few days. 

65. The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
When I explained the plot of this one to Joel he called it a "soap opera" book and he's not wrong. Twins? Check. Mistaken identities? Check. Super fun and interesting read? Check and check! 

66. Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown
A mystery lies at the heart of this story of familial relationshps. It took me a while to get into it but I was hooked at the end. 

67. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
With a deeply damaged main character this story follows her return to her hometown to report on some mysterious murders that may be closer to her than she thinks. I loved it! 

68. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
I must say, after spending time in Australia I find Liane Moriarty's books set in Australia to be even more entertaining! This one was an easy read even though it jumped around to show the perspective of multiple characters. A fun read! 
 

XOXO, Bethany