My Year in Books 2019

 

This year I felt like I was way behind in my reading. Maybe this was because of some longer books like The Brothers Karamazov or Embracing Defeat about how the US occupied Japan following WWII. Also some of my reading capacity was cannibalized by the My Brilliant Friend and Casa de Papel TV series. So I was quite surprised when I did the actual count: 29 books which is more than my usual average of 24 book per year.

Here is what I read (in reverse chronological order):

 

  • The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power
  • The Big Blowdown by George Pelecanos
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • What You Have Heard is True by Carolyn Forché
  • The Man Who Say Everything by Deborah Levy
  • I Wrote This Book Because I Love You by Tim Kreider
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Less by Andrew Sean Greer
  • Down by the River where the Dead Men Go by George Pelecanos
  • Nick’s Trip by George Pelecanos
  • Genesis by Eduardo Galeano
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  • A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mizra
  • Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W. Dower
  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
  • A Firing Offense by George Pelecanos
  • The Night Tiger by Yangzse Choo
  • River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana’s Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon by Buddy Levy
  • Kitchen Confidential by Antony Bourdain
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 1St Movement by Anthony Powell
  • The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
  • The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie
  • Conquistador: Hernán Cortés, King Montezuma, and the Stand of the Aztecs by Buddy Levy
  • We Cast Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • If Beale Street Cold Talk by James Baldwin
  • The Street by Ann Petry
  • North of Dawn by Nuruddin Farah
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

The year had some definite winners and one major disappointment. I was so excited to finally read The Brothers Karamazov yet found it very dated and slow moving. It only became interesting during the last fourth of the story. By far my favorite books this year were the two Buddy Levy histories of the Americas: Conquistador and River of Darkness. I also loved Carolyn Forchés memoir about El Salvador, What You Have Heard is True, and Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other. Honorable mentions go to Educated, the incredibly moving You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, and Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans. I am always so impressed how each Lalami novel has a different voice and timber.

Finally as in other years, I always seek refuge in George Pelecano’s novels. This year I read four, including The Big Blowdown which may be along with The Turnaround my favorite to date. I don’t know what I will do when I have finished all of his work.

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s