Books of the Year 2019

woman and books

As before (will this become a tradition?), I’ve listed below all the books I’ve read this year.

I choose books mainly based on recommendations from friends, followed by recommendations from reviews in the papers and on the radio, and then from suggestions on my Kindle and on sites like GoodReads.  This year, too, I’ve joined a book club, which has prompted a few of these titles. In the same way as last year, I also wanted to include some classics that I had never looked at properly before.

Here’s the list, this time in chronological order. I’ve marked the ones that surpassed my expectations with *, and any that I thought were overrated with !

  • Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  • The Lost Dog – Michelle de Kretser
  • The Rooster Bar – John Grisham !
  • The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf
  • India: Another Way of Seeing – various authors
  • The British in India – David Gilmour
  • City of Djinns – William Dalrymple
  • Blokes, Beers, and Burritos – Jo Blakeley
  • I am, I am, I am – Maggie O’Farrell *
  • Devil’s Peak – Deon Meyer [in translation]
  • Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
  • Love Factually – Laura Mucha
  • The Unexpected Joy of Being Single – Catherine Gray
  • The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  • Slade House – David Mitchell !
  • I know why the caged bird sings – Maya Angelou
  • The Second Plane – Martin Amis
  • Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Problems – Jade Sharma
  • By Jeeves – P G Wodehouse *
  • The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter
  • The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
  • Selected Tales – Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton *
  • The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky ! [in translation]
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsay
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  • Normal People – Sally Rooney
  • The Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula Le Guin
  • The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  • Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White *
  • Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata [in translation]
  • The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory
  • My Sister the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite *
  • Moby Dick – Herman Melville !
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
  • Goddesses in Everywoman – Jean Shinoda
  • Collected Ghost Stories – M R James
  • The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  • The Antidote – Oliver Burkeman
  • Antisocial Media – Siva Vaidhyanathan
  • Tough Tough Toys for Tough Tough Boys – Will Self
  • Fox 8 – George Saunders
  • Dead Famous – Ben Elton
  • I Owe You One – Sophie Kinsella
  • The Mother-in-Law – Sally Hepworth
  • What Red Was – Rosie Price
  • The Potter’s Field – Andrea Camilleri [in translation]
  • The Longest Way Home – Andrew McCarthy
  • Attached – Amir Levine, Rachel Heller
  • Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty !
  • Flight Behaviour – Barbara Kingsolver *
  • Doughnut Economics – Kate Raworth
  • How to be a Kosovan Bride – Naomi Hamill
  • Watching You – Lisa Jewell
  • The Better Sister – Alafair Burke
  • Hunger – Amélie Nothomb [in translation]
  • The Testaments – Margaret Atwood
  • The Prenup – Lauren Layne
  • The Holiday – T M Logan !
  • Christmas Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella *
  • The Understudy – Sophie Hannah, Clare Mackintosh, B A Paris, Holly Brown !

Books of the Year 2018

woman and books

In a departure from the usual, I thought I would list all the books I’ve read this year. I choose books mainly based on recommendations from friends, followed by recommendations from reviews in the papers and on the radio, and then from suggestions on my Kindle. This year, however, I wanted to include in my reading some classics that I had never looked at properly before. Here’s the list, in reverse order. I’ve marked the ones that surpassed my expectations with *, and any that I thought were overrated with !

  • White Oleander – Janet Fitch
  • Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton
  • Vox – Christina Dalcher
  • Less – Andrew Sean Greer *
  • Help me! – Marianne Power *
  • Release – Patrick Ness
  • The Spare Room – Helen Garner
  • Conversations with Friends – Sally Rooney
  • The Power of Acceptance – Annemarie Postma
  • The Happiest Kids in the World: Bringing Up Children the Dutch Way – Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison
  • Letting Go – David R Hawkins
  • C’est La Vie – Fabrice Midal (in translation)
  • Journey by Moonlight – Antal Szerb (in translation)
  • Four Seasons in Rome – Anthony Doerr
  • The Forgetting Time – Sharon Guskin
  • The Grass is Singing – Doris Lessing
  • The Jane Austen Book Club – Karen Joy Fowler
  • Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
  • Say My Name – Allegra Huston
  • The Wife Between Us – Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • The Year of Living Danishly – Helen Russell
  • There are No Grown-ups – Pamela Druckerman
  • David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  • Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe *
  • Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert (in translation)
  • Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K Jerome
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  • On the Road – Jack Kerouac !
  • Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit
  • Hunger – Roxane Gay
  • Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel (in translation) !
  • Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
  • Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  • Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry
  • The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*** – Sarah Knight
  • Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
  • Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabukov
  • Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (in translation) *
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë !
  • The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
  • Middlemarch – George Eliot *
  • Beloved – Toni Morrison
  • The Photographer’s Wife – Suzanne Joinson
  • The Gustav Sonata – Rose Tremain
  • A Dark-Adapted Eye – Barbara Vine
  • Where Have All the Boys Gone? – Jenny Colgan
  • We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Doll’s House – Tania Carver
  • All the Single Ladies – Rebecca Traister
  • Lullaby – Leila Slimani (in translation)
  • The Paris Wife – Paula McLain
  • The Return – Victoria Hislop !
  • Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie
  • The Sun also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  • The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafron (in translation) !
  • The Hours – Michael Cunningham
  • Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  • Memory Wall – Anthony Doerr
  • Kitchen – Banana Yoshimoto (in translation)
  • My Education – Susan Choi
  • Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Force of Nature – Jane Harper
  • Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell
  • How to Break Up with your Phone – Catherine Price *
  • I See You – Clare Mackintosh
  • The Anchoress – Robyn Cadwallader
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
  • Friend Request – Laura Marshall
  • Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

Thanks for tweeting about this, Allegra Huston!