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Best Books of 2019 by Genre

Cindy Burnett
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Best Books of the Year

Cindy Burnett shares lists of the best books of the year in her opinion, categorized by genre.

December has arrived, and with it comes the desire for reflection. I begin looking back on the current year and revisiting everything that occurred during that time period. One of my favorite things to contemplate is my year in books; I enjoy thinking about what I read in those 12 months including the books that I loved, the books that I liked, and those that didn’t appeal to me or that I could not even finish. 

It varies a fair amount year to year, but I generally read between 75-100 books annually. Some books appeal to me from the very beginning – the subject matter, the writing style, or the characters grab me from the start and do not let go. Others are a slow build for me; as the book progresses, I become more and more invested in the story. And rarely, a book will not really resonate with me as I read it, but after I am finished, it stays with me for a long while. My best books lists usually consist of a combination of the first two types of books and occasionally the third type appears too.

In a couple of weeks, I will share my top 10 list for 2019 (which, in previous years, has frequently been my top 11 or 12 list - it is very hard to narrow down to 10!). This week, I decided to focus on the best books of 2019 in the each of the four genres in which I commonly read. 

Within each genre, I listed the books alphabetically. This year was a banner year for books; I struggled to get each of these lists down to a reasonable number of titles and ended up listing eight titles in every genre but historical fiction where I just could not eliminate any more of them so I went with nine titles. Here we go:

In the mystery/thriller genre:

  • A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty
  • City of Windows by Robert Pobi
  • A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan
  • Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman
  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper
  • The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott
  • The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

In the historical fiction genre:

  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
  • The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis
  • City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay
  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger
  • Dragonfly by Leila Meacham
  • Learning to See by Elise Hooper
  • The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
  • Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

In the fiction genre:

  • Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
  • Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner
  • The Editor by Steven Rowley
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
  • The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin
  • This Is Home by Lisa Duffy
  • The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander
  • When You Read This by Mary Adkins

In the nonfiction genre:

  • 99 Bottles: A Black Sheep’s Guide to Life-Changing Wines by Andre Hueston Mack
  • The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont by Shawn Levy
  • Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
  • I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott
  • Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward by Valerie Jarrett
  • The Plaza: The Secret Life of America’s Most Famous Hotel by Julie Satow
  • Things My Son Needs to Know about the World by Fredrik Backman
  • Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant by Anne Gardiner Perkins

I hope you enjoy perusing these lists and finding some books that you have not yet read but now want to. December is a fun month for me because it brings a plethora of best book lists put out by magazines, newspapers, TV stations, and more – I love comparing my lists with others and discovering some new titles along the way. Comment below to share your favorites!

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram or Cindy’s Reading Recs.

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