When I was thinking about how I wanted to recap my 2019 reading for the blog, I knew I wanted to, in some way, share every single book I read. I thought about just putting together a full list, but then I found myself struck by a burst of ambition. Instead of a list, I decided I would rank all the books I read over the course of the year. 

Readers, this was really hard. But also fun and useful. I struggled because I loved so many of the books I read this year. Seriously. The top 50-or-so books on this list were all exceptional. That’s great because it shows that I’m quite good at picking books for myself, but that also made ranking individual books nearly impossible. The bottom of the list was a challenge too! I don’t finish books that aren’t at least somewhat enjoyable, so even the books towards the end of my list are books I’m glad to have read. 

What I personally love about my list is how much information I garnered about my own reading while putting it together. Here are some patterns I need to note for my future reading:

  • Only 25% of my 2019 reads were by authors of color. In 2020, I’m going to improve that.
  • I don’t think of myself as a nonfiction reader, but I know what I like in my nonfiction books. When I choose a good piece of investigative journalism or memoir for myself, it’s likely to be an overall favorite.
  • Thrillers just aren’t working for me, but I do like literary mysteries.
  • Even when I love a young adult novel for what it is, it’s unlikely to stick with me enough to be a true favorite.
  • I’m nearly guaranteed to love family sagas, magical realism, and books that play with structure.
  • I always want to read a great story, but exceptional prose is what gives a book staying power.

But my true hope is that you’ll find something to add to your own 2020 reading list. Learn more about each title through the Amazon affiliate links included, or scroll to the bottom of this post to search for books via Libro.fm’s Booklink and ensure that 100% of your purchase goes to independent bookstores. 

Without further ado, here’s (almost*) everything I read in 2019, ranked:

  1. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  2. In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
  3. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
  4. Disappearing Earth by Julia Philips
  5. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
  6. A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
  7. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  8. She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
  9. Know My Name by Chanel Miller
  10. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
  11. Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
  12. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  13. Naamah by Sarah Blake
  14. Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister
  15. There, There by Tommy Orange
  16. The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman
  17. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  18. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  19. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
  20. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  21. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
  22. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  23. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  24. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  25. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
  26. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
  27. The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley
  28. The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
  29. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
  30. Columbine by Dave Cullen
  31. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  32. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
  33. Good Talk by Mira Jacob
  34. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  35. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong 
  36. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  37. Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
  38. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
  39. Black is the Body by Emily Bernard
  40. Bunny by Mona Awad
  41. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  42. Furious Hours: The Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
  43. Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ 
  44. Normal People by Sally Rooney
  45. Women Talking by Miriam Toews
  46. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  47. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  48. The River by Peter Heller
  49. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
  50. The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
  51. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  52. Bull by David Elliott
  53. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  54. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  55. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
  56. Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls by Lisa Damour
  57. The Other’s Gold by Elizabeth Ames
  58. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
  59. The Guest Book by Sarah Blake
  60. The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
  61. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  62. The Likeness by Tana French
  63. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  64. The Virgins by Pamela Erens
  65. The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
  66. Transcription by Kate Atkinson
  67. I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O’Farrell
  68. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
  69. Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
  70. The Familiars by Stacy Halls
  71. The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger
  72. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
  73. The All of It by Jeannette Haien
  74. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  75. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
  76. A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Bronte, Eliot, and Woolf by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney
  77. A Quiet Life in the Country by T.E. Kinsey
  78. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
  79. Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free by Linda Kay Klein
  80. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
  81. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
  82. The Witches are Coming by Lindy West
  83. The Current by Tim Johnston
  84. Look How Happy I’m Making You by Polly Rosenwaike
  85. Out East by John Glynn
  86. American Royals by Katharine McGee
  87. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  88. The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
  89. The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
  90. I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott
  91. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  92. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
  93. The Maze at Windermere by Gregory Blake Smith
  94. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
  95. The New Me by Halle Butler
  96. Talent by Juliet Lapidos
  97. Dare Me by Megan Abbott
  98. Verity by Colleen Hoover
  99. Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
  100. From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein
  101. The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  102. The Winters by Lisa Gabriele
  103. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
  104. Watching You by Lisa Jewell

 

*I didn’t include rereads in my list. The books I reread are either because I love them and they’re incredibly dear to me, or because I’m reading them for work. Both of those contexts colors the reading experience in some way. But I will add that every year I read Beloved, Beloved will be the best book of that year.

2019 Rereads:

 

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