My completely subjective list of favorite books I read for the first time in 2019, plus one sentence to describe them.
10. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
This investigative journalist account of the escalating fraud and artifice of startup Theranos and its CEO Elizabeth Holmes is a mutant child of a train wreck and a soap opera that you just can’t look away from.
9. The Goldfinch by Donna Tart
This near 800-page tome about grief, antiques, and lying to yourself is either brilliant or vastly overrated – I can’t decide which – but I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished it.
8. Crush by Richard Silken
The ‘you’ve probably seen quotes from this on a tumblr gifset’ book of visceral poetry that I know I’m going to had to reread to let properly sink in.
7. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Found the story from this translated novella about a young woman who must stand up to the pressures of conformity to live the type of life that makes her happy even if it seems too simple or unsatisfactory to others a personally relatable tale.
6. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
The most prestige novel on this list, this story that flips between two timelines -- during the 80s AIDS epidemic and a survivor decades later -- was like a punch to the soul and has deserved all the credit it's gotten.
5. Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
A folkloric-esque fantasy novella about a magical woods, its caretaker, and the spirit that haunts feels like it was written to fit my exact interests and aesthetics and is making me eagerly await Tesh’s next publication.
4. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Steifvater
The much anticipated follow up to The Raven Cycle, Steifvater delivers on the Lynch family backstory, the world of the Dreamers, and the magical black market that had been suggested and brewing unexplored on the edges of her previous contemporary fantasy series.
3. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
Technically cheating because I listened to the audio in 2018 but read for print for first time in 2019, this fantasy book has everything: a magic warrior school, battles, a school drama production, a matriarchal elf society, a bunch of last names that are only funny if you know too much about YA lit, a boy who grows wings all the sudden, and a caustic nerd who just wants to be loved.
2. The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by Matt Bird
Screenwriter Matt Bird shares some writing tips that changed the way I write, with the major takeaway being the importance of creative contradictions in character and plot development.
1.The Prince and Dressmaker by Jen Wang
A teen graphic novel that is a beautiful story in a beautiful color palette about friendship, fashion, and gender representation with an ending that will make you go, ‘I’m not crying, you’re crying.’
Insights from the life of an aspiring, struggling writer; a passionate reader, and a working librarian.
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